Buying a fire damaged home can be a smart move if you’re looking for a fixer upper. Many people will caution you against buying any home with such extensive damage, but as long as you do your research and thorough inspections, you can find a great deal on a fire damaged home. It’s extremely important to hire a professional first and foremost to evaluate the structure and integrity of the building. Some fire damaged homes are not worth an ounce of time, and a professional will know fairly quickly whether or not the home can be saved. Here are a few more important things to consider before buying a fire damaged home:

Clean Up – Cleaning up the home is one of the first issues when buying a fire damaged home. Before investing in this kind of property, it’s important to understand that the smoke residue will be one of your biggest issues and you will need to hire a professional to correctly remove the problem. If you plan on covering up the odor with simple paints and air fresheners, you will find that the smell will seep back into the house in a few short months. It’s also important to note that “sticky smoke” residue can be even more difficult to remove, and needs to be evaluated by a reputable professional. Sometimes the cost of cleanup alone can turn a good deal into just barely breaking even.

Water Damage – Putting out a fire requires that the ceilings, floors and walls be soaked in water and other fire-retardant chemicals. Not only does the fire department need to soak the home, but it’s very common for water pipes to be damaged or to even burst in a fire. Water damage can cause both mold and structural problems, especially if the home has sat vacant for an extended period of time. One of the most important things to check is if there has been any standing water in either the basement, and next make sure that the water heater and furnace haven’t been damaged from the water.

Electrical System – Make sure to check the fuse boxes and pipes before planning to buy. Burnt light switches and light fixtures should alert you for closer inspection. You should also check for short circuit hotspots. Copper wiring and pipes have been known to melt in extreme heat and can cause some serous expenses, so make sure you have a thorough electrical inspection before buying.

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