Fire Property Advice

4 Replies

Hello 

I am planning on investing in a Property in Dallas that has extensive fire damage. Need some Advice on how to go about inspecting and rehabbing it. For the inspection do i need contact somebody who specialises in fire damaged properties ? If yes then what do they do differently ? Also please post if you have any references.

For rehabbing , what are the big items apart from foundation and plumbing does one have to worry about. Thanks.

Any special permits required for properties like this. Let me know. Thanks

@Shahdan Calcuttawalla

I'm not sure what your experience level is, but there are many layers involved in rehabbing fire damaged properties and it's definitely not for the novice. 

- There are 3 main aspects companies get involved in, when it comes to rehabbing fire damaged properties. Most specialize in doing 1, or 2 of the 3 aspects. Rarely will a company do all 3. 

1) Boardup companies: As the name suggests, these companies only do boardups. 

  

2) Restoration companies: They're involved in the demo, drying, smoke sealing & clean-outs of all the debris from the incident. 

3) Rebuild/Rehab companies. These are companies who do the full renovation, and may use other subs, such as roofers, to finish the whole project. 

Everyone knows finding the right GC is hard enough, but with added layers in the process, the task in finding the right people to tackle fire damaged property is exponentially harder. 

(i.e. if you end up hiring the wrong restoration company that doesn't do a proper job of eliminating the smell of smoke due to improper sealing. If this happens, and the finishing work is completed by a GC, making the place new again, the smell of smoke will permeate throughout the property once the weather turns hot & humid. To prevent this from happening, find a company that does both restoration & renovation, and have them guarantee their work.) 

- Look for companies online based on rating system, so you can see other people's reviews. 

- Also, it's good to see how responsive they are to your calls/texts. How one does something, is how they do everything. If they can't call/text you back in a timely fashion, they'll be sloppy in their work also. 

- Inspection is done by the city/township, so as long as you're working with a licensed GC, it's fairly straightforward; it'll just have more line items due to extensiveness of damage that has to be remedied. 

- Also, most Restoration/Renovation companies that specialize in rehabbing fire damaged properties will use a web based tool called Xactimate for a comprehensive scope of work, which may at times be, as long as 300 pages. Most regular GCs won't even know how to use this tool. 

Hope that helped.  

@Shahdan Calcuttawalla

ServPro is a franchise, and they mostly specialize in boardups; individual operators may tell you otherwise, but they primarily do boardups. 

Some operators do restoration work, but if I were you, I would google "Fire Damage Restoration," and talk to the ones with good reviews. I would start there, but have a whole filtering process in place to find the right restoration & renovation company (i.e. test their responsiveness; set up the appointment a week out to see if they remember; see how quick they are to submit a proposal, ask to see their previous projects, or better yet, if they're ok with it, current project job sites you can visit, etc.) 

Even if ServPro did restoration work, like I've mentioned earlier, you want the restoration & renovation work done by the same people. 

Most companies stick to doing boardups & restoration work, because the job turnaround time ranges between a few hours (boardups), to a few days (restoration work). And the margins on restoration work can be as high as 70~80% profit. 

Very few companies will handle the renovation aspect, cuz they're "stuck" doing a rehab for months, with margins ranging between 20-30%. 

I personally wouldn't use ServPro, or anyone they recommend. Just look at their reviews. 

Google the way I mentioned and filter out the less professional ones from people who'll actually deliver on their promises.