House fire flip insight

4 Replies

I am considering making an offer on a big house that has had a fire in it recently it's all boarded up so I can't see how bad the damage is from the outside. I do see the huge hole in the roof which is normally from the fire department.

I am wondering what extra expenses I might expect or anything that a beginner flipper won’t think of.

I am in Washington state and not sure when the fire was so I’m sure there will be some mold and rot from the rain.

You likely will have extensive water damage from the fire supression.  

Depending on the heat of the fire, you likely will have melted plumbing and electrical wires.  Both can be tricky as you will not know how much the wires melted together until you have electrical service, and then wow!  Pop!  and with plumbing water leaks if they are bad just look for the arc.  The water will be flooding.

And the walls, carpet, other surface features will have a smoke smell, and possible mold smell.

Chimney may be cracked from the fire suppression and heat with water.

Tile becomes brittle from the heat.

Demo can be real expensive because roofing, flooring, walls, all can have asbestos.  You have to test for it, then if present handle the demo of that item as hazardous material.

Good:  ask for the insurance report.  It may have some good photos of the inside and information on the costs of restoration.  Also stop by the fire department for their report.  And it never hurts to ask the building inspector if he has a report.  Sometimes they do a condemnation report on burnt properties.

Of concern:  Make sure that your purchase offer is clear on any rental obligations, that they are paid up to date, if there is an end of rental contract, if there is a decommission contract.  Often with burnt property the homeowner, insurance company, or local government agency has a fence put around the property for protection of the ramsacking public.   These fences are generally rented by the week or month, often not paid for up to date, and often have a large cost for them to remove it.

Also make sure title does a check for lawsuits related to injury that may attach to the house.