House flipping is big business these days. Many investors purchase distressed properties, fix them up and then sell them for a profit. Houses that were damaged by a fire can be some of the best opportunities. Here are some tips for renovating a fire damaged house that you intend to sell later on.
Assess the Damage Carefully
You will need to assess the extent of the damage before purchasing the house or making any repairs. You may find that the cost of repairs is too high to justify purchasing the property, unless you can purchase the house at a significant discount. Here are some things that you will need to determine:
- How much of the house was affected by the fire? Was it only one room or the entire residence?
- What units were affected? Replacing any electrical or plumbing systems will be much more expensive than a few charred walls.
- Is there any structural damage that could create a serious safety risk down the road?
You will want to estimate the cost of making the necessary repairs before deciding whether or not to buy the house. It is a good idea to talk to a contractor beforehand. However, you may need to take their estimate with a grain of salt. They may estimate at the higher end of the cost spectrum, because it is easier to bill clients lower later on.
Focus on the Most Urgent Repairs
Fires can create a substantial amount of damage. You may not have the budget to make all the necessary repairs. Therefore, you will need to prioritize your repairs carefully. Here are some things that you should keep in mind:
- You need to make sure that the house will meet the city’s safety code. These policies vary between cities, so you should speak with your city inspector, the fire marshal or the state builders association for more information.
- You will need to make sure that the house looks fairly presentable. You should make sure that the doors and windows look nice, because they are the first thing that the visitors will see. If the windows or house have been damaged by a fire then you should consider having them replaced.
- You will probably need to gut the carpet and some of the fixtures in the house. It isn’t essential to make these repairs, but doing so could add to the value of the property or make it easier to sell. You will need to use your judgment, but they should be the last things to focus on if you are on a tight budget.
You will need to assess your priorities when repairing a damaged house. Make sure that you don’t become too fixated on repairs that you think look nice. Remember that the purpose is to increase the value of the house so that you can sell it at a profit. There is no point spending five thousand dollars replacing a carpet if it only adds two thousand dollars to the home value.
About the author: Kalen shares tips on home improvement and real estate investing. He recommends that people use the Gilkey Window Company if they need new windows or doors.