Fire Restoration

8 Replies

Hey guys, Wondering everybody's thoughts on an investment in a property that had been damaged by fire. The owner claims there was no structural damage, any advice as to how to handle this situation would be appreciated.

You need to get an exceptional deal.  You have to do more than a rehab.  You must tear out any damage, you must treat every inch to get rid of smoke smell, and finally piping or wiring may not have burned, but it may have melted and need to be replaced.  You don't need a melted sheath on a chunk of wiring to cause arcing and starting another fire, or have water damage from a melted plumbing line.

It's a flip, so start with the numbers, and as with any property get a thorough home inspection. In this case I would suggest asking for the inspection prior to your offer. Your home inspection is one of the biggest bargaining chips you will ever have when talking to home owners. It provides a professional unbiased third party look at the the real issues effecting the property. On the last house I did I negotiated a 40k reduction on a 135k home based solely on issues detailed in my home inspection. Smoke touches everything so plan for new flooring and paint everywhere. Is there electrical damage? If so, plan for the worst and get an electrician on site for an actual estimate. Fire can travel behind walls if this is a concern ask that they open them for further inspection. If the numbers work go for it. If the numbers aren't lining up but you can show evidence for why another number is better make an offer.

Thanks guys, the input is appreciated, I'm wondering, generally, do electricians and fire restoration company's charge for an inspection? is it absurd for me to be looking for free quotes?

In my experience estimates are free as this is how contractors derive their business. On the other hand a good inspection is always going to cost you as it is a service being performed for you. Depending on the level of damage you may be better off not going with a remediation company and rather a General contractor. Remediation companies are great if it is your intention to salvage the majority of the interior surfaces but their services come at a price. If new paint and flooring throughout is on the list for the rehab save your money. Hire a GC to complete the remodel and ensure the HVAC gets thoroughly cleaned.
We had a fire in our primary residence and the rehab was extensive. Part of addressing me the smoke smell for us was replacing the insulation in the attic and getting the entire attic painted white with kilz paint. Every single surface was covered which took painters several days in 100 degree heat to get it done. Then they blew in new insulation. Inside it was fresh paint on everything, new floors everywhere and ozone machines for days to get the smell out. As you get quotes look at them in detail and compare them. We ran into a few contractors that used scare tactics to up the amount of work that needed to be done. They are used to getting paid by insurance companies and prey on emotion of homeowners after a fire. Good luck!

I don't think I would recommend a burned property as a flip. It is extremely difficult to get out smoke smell and sometimes even drywall and insulation needs to be removed to make it go away.

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