Should I buy a house with fire damage?

Friday, June 22, 2018

If you have never done a house repair and renovation before, this is not a good place to start. Renovating a fire-damaged house has all the problems of any renovation of a house in disrepair, but with multiple additional complications.

    The four kinds of damage that happen in house fire are:

  1. Fire damage
  2. Smoke damage
  3. Water damage from fighting the fire
  4. Damage done by the fire department while fighting the fire

    The last three types of damage can be more significant that the primary destruction by the fire. Water can cause mold growth in walls, smoke residue means replacement of ducts and sealing of surfaces, and holes in roof and walls by firefighters must be repaired.

    The extent of damage to the plumbing and electrical system is not readily determinable until walls are opened up to check for things like melted plastic plumbing and fried electrical components. A structural analysis by an an engineer may be necessary to determine how much of the structure has been compromised and must be replaced. Bids by subcontractors often cannot be firmed-up until some demolition has been done.

    This kind of work can be profitable if you know what you are getting into, or have a partner with experience in fire damage repair work, and buy at the right price. But it will be a maze of unforeseen problems for a novice remodeler.

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  To learn more strategies for getting the best possible home inspection, here’s a few of our other blog posts:

How can I make sure I don't get screwed on my home inspection? 

How thorough is a home inspector required to be when inspecting a house?

Should I trust the Seller's Property Disclosure Statement?

Can I do my own home inspection?

How can homebuyers protect themselves against buying a house over a sinkhole? 

The seller gave me a report from a previous home inspection. Should I use it or get my own inspector? 

    To read about issues related to homes of particular type or one built in a specific decade, visit one of these blog posts:

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1940s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1950s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1960s house?

• What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1970s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1980s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1990s house?

What problems should I look for when buying a country house or rural property? 

What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been moved?

What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been vacant or abandoned?

What are the most common problems with older mobile homes?

What do I need to know about a condo inspection?

What are the "Aging In Place" features to look for when buying a retirement home?

    Visit our “SHOULD I BUY A…" page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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