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Should You Buy a House That has Been Damaged by Fire?

Buying a house that has suffered fire damage might be a good investment in some cases, but in other circumstances, it could be an expensive mistake. If you’re thinking about purchasing a house that has been damaged by a fire, ask the real estate agent where the fire started, how far it spread, how much damage fire and water caused to the house and if any repairs or restoration efforts have been made.

Before deciding whether to purchase the house, it’s critical to have it inspected. If the damage has not been repaired, you need to understand the extent of it to determine if it makes sense to buy the house and renovate it. If the house was repaired, you need to look for possible hidden problems. 

Hire Professionals to Assess Fire Damage
You should have a standard home inspection performed like you would before buying any other house. Additionally, you should seek input from professionals who could spot signs of fire damage. 

A structural engineer would be able to tell you whether the roof, beams and other components were damaged by fire and, if they were repaired, whether the repairs were done correctly. Other inspectors could check the walls, floors, windows and pipes for signs of warping and tell you if the electrical system suffered fire damage.

Water pumped into a house to put out a fire frequently causes mold. Even if there was no visible mold, mold behind the walls could affect your family’s health, which is why you should have the house inspected.

The smell of burned building materials, furniture, carpet and other items can linger in a home. If the house still has a smoky odor, it might be necessary to hire a team of fire damage restoration specialists and to replace anything that was damaged by smoke to eliminate the smell.

Is a Fire-Damaged Home a Good Investment?
If a house suffered limited fire damage and wouldn’t cost too much to repair, you might be able to buy it at a low price, make some repairs and instantly build equity, or flip it and make a profit. A house with major damage might need to be gutted. That could be an expensive and time-consuming project, but it could also give you an opportunity to change the layout to suit your family’s needs and lifestyle, or to fix up the property to appeal to potential buyers so you could flip it. 

Fire can damage a house in many ways that aren’t always obvious. Buying a house that has been damaged by a fire may or may not be a good idea. The best course of action is to seek expert advice so you can make an informed decision.