My Home Caught on Fire: Now What?
Every year, thousands of homes across the country suffer from fire damage. While even a small fire can be devastating to homeowners’ possessions and their wallets, it doesn’t have to mean the end of the world. If you’ve been the victim of a fire, here are some steps to take to save your real estate investment:
1) Cut Your Losses. Don’t try to save anything that’s been burned. While it can be painful to part with a significant part of your floor or roof, wood that has been burned has been compromised and should be replaced. You can hire a professional clean-up crew to remove the refuse, but it’s cheaper to have a dumpster placed on your property and do the hauling yourself.
2) Get The Soot Out. The oily black soot left over from house fires is corrosive and will damage any surface it comes to rest upon. After clearing the damaged property, clean up the remaining soot as fast as possible to keep your real estate investment intact.
3) File a Claim. If you have homeowner’s insurance, you should file a claim to compensate for the costs of the upcoming repairs. Take detailed notes, and don’t be afraid to send pictures – and an itemized list of damages, too. The insurance company won’t reimburse you unless you can prove the worth of what was destroyed.
4) Handle the Smell. No matter the size of the fire, you’ll have to deal with the lingering smell of smoke – and not just because it’s unpleasant to you. It can kill your property value if you decide to sell the house. There are several ways to deal with this odor, but the cheapest way is to buy a smoke-concealing spray and treat all of your exposed wood with it. There are also several companies that offer oxy-treatment chambers, and those can help significantly. But if the smell is intolerably bad, you should consider demolishing the area and starting over from scratch.
The key to repairing after a fire is to move fast. Don’t linger over what can’t be saved – focus on what can be. It’s a tragedy when fire strikes your real estate investment, but by following these tips, you can make the recovery a whole lot easier.