March 27, 2023

Selling a Fire Damaged House Washington DC

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Selling a fire damaged house is possible, though may be difficult with a real estate agent. Selling as-is to a Washington DC cash buyer is one of the best options. Fill out the form below to get started and find out what your property is worth.

Selling a Fire Damaged House Washington DC

Selling a Fire Damaged House Washington DC

A house fire is one of the most horrible things that can happen to anyone. On top of the damages caused by the fire, the home becomes harder to sell in the traditional market. The buyer pool is limited and the Washington DC homeowner may need to spend thousands for home repairs.

Generally, you have three options when selling a fire-damaged house— sell as-is to a cash buyer, sell with a real estate agent, and sell in an auction. If you want to avoid all the hassles of making repairs, working with a realtor, and listing your fire-damaged property, selling to a cash buyer is the best route.

In this blog, we'll go into the details on how to deal with a fire-damaged property and possibly sell it. We also answered some FAQs that are helpful if you are clueless about dealing with a fire-damaged property.

Actions to Take After a House Fire Washington DC

Actions to Take After a House Fire Washington DC

Before we discuss how to sell fire-damaged house fast, we should first go over what you should immediately do after a home fire. We know it can be overwhelming especially if your home is totally damaged, but it is crucial that you get yourself together and do the following:

  • Contact your area's Washington DC disaster relief service or the Red Cross if you need temporary housing.
  • Do not enter the fire-damaged property unless the fire department allows you. This can cause harm to you or further damage to the property.
  • Request your utility providers to shut off your connection because of the fire emergency.
  • Get in touch with your homeowner's insurance company to get your claims.
  • Assess the damage (whether you can still save personal belongings, etc.) and start the cleanup of your property with the help of a fire damage restoration contractor.
  • Document all the fire damages to your Washington DC property.
  • Request an official report from the fire investigator or fire marshal that you can give your insurance company when you file an insurance claim.
  • Decide whether to sell your home as-is or repair the fire damage first.

If you still need information on how to deal with fire damage or you are just plain curious about the firefighting efforts of the government, get in touch with the National Fire Protection Association.

Meanwhile, if you plan to move to another Washington DC home, make sure you read these fire prevention tips to avoid such accidents from happening again.

Can I Sell a Fire Damaged House Washington DC?

Yes. You can sell a fire-damaged house. However, it may be harder to sell in the local Washington DC real estate market in as-is condition. You would have to make repairs and possibly rebuild most parts of your house before a buyer takes interest in the property.

Your best option when selling a fire-damaged house is a cash buyer. They buy burned houses as-is so you don't need to spend money on repairs. They'll handle all the cleanups and renovations for you, however, expect that their offer may be below the cash value of your property.

Reasons to Sell Your House After Fire Damage Washington DC

Reasons to Sell Your House After Fire Damage Washington DC

Selling a Washington DC fire-damaged house is difficult for many because of their emotional attachment to the property. However, there are six reasons why it is better to sell a house that has fire damage. They span from health, financial, and emotional reasons.


Restoring the house to its old state so that you can live in it again will require much effort and money. Smaller repairs typically incur $3,000 to $5,000. Meanwhile, the cost of repair of larger damages has a national average of more than $50,000. Not only will you spend on hiring a contractor but also on inspections, construction permits, and possible fines.

Time Constraints

Repairing fire damage can take a few months. Minor repairs would have you live in a construction zone—not a good idea if you have little kids.

If your house needs total rebuilding, that means you would be displaced for a long time. You may ask your relatives to take you in, but if no one is kind enough to do so, just sell your property and move to a new house.

Health Concerns

Although the fire has already subsided, a fire-damaged home can still cause sickness due to the toxic materials present on the premises.

Remember that the fire burns an assortment of materials and when you unintentionally breathe them in, you could have respiratory illnesses including bronchitis, coronary heart disease, and asthma.

Emotional Distress

A home fire causes trauma and extreme emotional distress to many homeowners. Living in a fire-damaged home can trigger memories of the fire which can make one's life miserable.

There are even cases when owners can still smell smoke even though there aren't any. This is probably psychosomatic, but distressing nonetheless.

Low Fair Market Value

A fire-damaged property has a lower actual cash value than typical houses. This is to be expected since it needs major repairs. Thus, holding on to it for a long time may not be wise since you also have to pay taxes and other expenses related to your Washington DC property.

New Life

Selling a fire-damaged house fast promises a new life that is free from stress. If you decide to sell, especially to an investor, you don't have to deal with an insurance adjuster, contractors, city inspectors, real estate agents, and a lot more!

You can choose a new city to live in and you'll get enough money to rebuild your life.

Options When Selling Fire Damaged Houses Washington DC

Options When Selling Fire Damaged Houses Washington DC

Generally, selling fire-damaged property is extremely difficult, especially when you're trying to sell to the local real estate market.

But it isn't the only option when you want to get rid of a Washington DC fire-damaged property. You can also choose from selling the house as-is to a cash buyer or selling in an auction. This section compares all your options to help you decide which path to take.

Sell As-Is to a Cash Buyer

A cash buyer or real estate investor is someone who can buy your property in cash in Washington DC. They don't need to apply for a mortgage loan, which makes the sale a lot faster.

These potential buyers are your best option whether your house has extensive or minimal fire damage. They would buy your house as-is so you can skip all the hassles of making repairs or rebuilding your property. 

Sell As-Is to a Cash Buyer Washington DC

Here are some more reasons why you would never go wrong when you choose to sell your fire-damaged house to a Washington DC cash buyer:

  • Less Risky Transaction: Selling a house to the local market can fail if the mortgage lender does not approve of the buyer's mortgage loan. This is pretty common for fire-damaged homes. Selling a burned house to a cash buyer helps avoid a risky sale because no mortgage lender approval is needed. Cash buyers and real estate investors also rarely back out of a sale once they've put in an offer.
  • No Appraisal: Home appraisal can be very expensive, especially if your house has fire damage. Appraisers may also find it hard to determine your home's actual cash value if they have no experience dealing with fire damage before. This won't be an issue with a cash buyer since they will assess the property themselves.
  • Not Much Paperwork: Traditional home sales have a lot of paperwork since mortgage lenders are involved. Since cash home buyers and real estate investors remove lenders from the picture and buy the home as is, you can expect fewer paperwork when you sell your burned house.
  • Fast Closing: It makes sense that you want to close fast on your fire-damaged property to move on with your life. A fast closing is possible when you get a fair cash offer since the buyer can pay cash. They're just waiting for the closing date so they can transfer the money to your bank.
  • No Commission Fees: Selling with a real estate agent means paying 4% to 6% commission fees during closing. There is no such fee when you get a fair cash offer.
  • Avoid Negotiations: Getting offers from the local market means spending a lot of time at the negotiating table. If you are busy rebuilding your life after house fires, you probably don't have much time to sit and negotiate with home buyers. Which makes getting a cash offer very convenient.
  • No Marketing and Showings: Cash home buyers will buy your burned house directly from you. You don't have to market or schedule showings just so a cash buyer would take interest in your property. All you have to do is call them or fill out a form on their website.
  • Reduces Stress: The stress brought about by selling a house after a fire can overwhelm many homeowners. Getting a cash offer means avoiding emotional, physical, and financial stress.
  • No Closing Costs: Unlike traditional sales, cash buyers buy houses with the promise of paying closing costs. They'd happily cover the Washington DC closing costs for you so you get the exact amount of their offer on your bank.

The Process of Selling Fire Damaged Property to a Cash Buyer

Can I Sell a Fire Damaged House Washington DC?

The process of getting a cash offer for a burned house is pretty much the same as any property type. However, it is best if you can contact your home insurance company first before getting an offer for your house after a fire.

Your Washington DC home insurance company can help assess the extent of the fire damage as well as the repair costs. This can help you decide whether selling a house as-is to a cash buyer is really the right path to take.

Once you have decided that you really want to get a cash offer, here are the next steps you should take.

Important note: This doesn't apply to all cash buying companies.

1. Request a Cash Offer

You can easily find cash buyers in your Washington DC area by searching online. Once you found a reputable cash buyer, head over to their website to fill out a form or give them a call to ask for a cash offer.

Most cash buyers and real estate investors give no-obligation cash offers so you can still ask other cash buying companies how much they can buy your fire-damaged property.

If you are unsure about the background of a cash buyer, you can always ask them for proof of their source of funds.

2. Welcome the Cash Buyer into Your Home

The cash buyer or real estate investor may want to check your fire-damaged property for the repairs and improvements it needs, especially its roofing, walls, foundation, etc.

You won't have to pay for these repairs when selling a Washington DC house to them, but experienced home buyers or real estate investors consider repair costs to make an accurate cash offer.

3. Review the Contract and Sign

Once you accept the cash buyer's offer on your fire-damaged home, they would furnish a sales contract and send it to you electronically.

You will be given time to go over the terms and ask questions. After everything is settled, sign the contract to make the deal with the Washington DC cash home buyer official.

4. Closing

During closing, expect less paperwork since there are no lenders involved. After you have signed the minimal necessary paperwork and the Washington DC deed is transferred to the cash buyer's name, you'll get your cash in your bank account.

If you aren't confident attending the closing by yourself, bring a real estate attorney with you.

5. Set Your Preferred Day to Move-Out

If the property has minor fire damage and you are still living in it, communicate to the cash home buyer when you want to move out.

This is also a good time to ask for a sale-leaseback agreement if you don't have a place to crash on while you are still looking for a new Washington DC home.

Sell With a Real Estate Agent

Sell With a Real Estate Agent Washington DC

If you are not really after a fast home sale after the fire, then opt to sell traditionally with the help of a real estate agent. This can give you more profit after the home sale, however, it also requires more effort from you.

Tips on Selling a Fire-Damaged Home With a Realtor

Selling a typical home with a realtor already takes so much time so expect that one with fire damage can take a lot longer. Nevertheless, if you've made up your mind to sell in the local market, take note of the following tips:

Repair Fire Damage

Before you sell a fire-damaged home traditionally, you may want to contact your Washington DC home insurance agent or insurance company to ask what repairs will they cover and what expenses you will pay out of pocket. They'll also tell you if they'll give you the actual cash value or replacement cost for the property damage.

Once you learned about all these, you can then proceed to repair fire damage. Structural, electrical, and plumbing damage are the primary issues you should address.

You also have to pay for smoke damage, soot removal, water cleanup, and fire-extinguisher cleanups.

Disclose the Fire Damage to the Buyer

Even if your burned down house is already back to how it used to look, you still have to disclose the fire damage to the retail buyer in accordance with your state's disclosure laws.

You should inform the Washington DC home buyers when and how the fire happened, what codes it violated after the fire, and what repairs did you make to ensure that it is now code-compliant.

Don't leave out any detail as it may cause the sale to fall eventually.

Document the Fire Damage Restoration

In disclosing the fire damage to the buyer, you should be able to present detailed documentation of how you restored the property. Pictures are really crucial, as well as invoices and receipts.

The latter can help you determine a very fair price for your property. In case the buyer haggles, you have proof of how much you spent to rebuild your Washington DC home.

Be Patient

Two of the main challenges you can encounter when you sell your fire-damaged home are inquisitive home buyers and a limited buyer pool.

Of course, since a fire occurred in the property before, most home buyers don't want to risk living in it again even after you made repairs. Thus, offers may not come as fast as you want them to. And if you do find Washington DC home buyers, they'll try to haggle with you. 

Once you find individuals who buy houses with fire and smoke damage, the sale can still take longer because of their questions. This is to be expected because after all, they'll be living in a previously fire-damaged home. They would want to make sure that everything is up to code.

Should you choose to sell traditionally, you should pack enough patience, because if not, you won't see a successful sale.

Selling at an Auction

Selling at an Auction Washington DC

Homeowners who want a faster sale, but also want to get the most out of their fire-damaged property can also opt for an auction. However, there's also the risk that the burned down house may not sell at all if you choose this option.

Selling in an auction means potential buyers would bid on your property which can drive the selling price up in Washington DC. While this seems great, most auctioneers charge a hefty amount during auctions. The bids may also be lower than what you expected for your fire-damaged home.

Frequently Asked Questions Washington DC

How Do I Price a House With Fire Damage?

To price your fire-damaged house, you need the help of a fire damage restoration contractor. They can tell you how much fire damage your house has and how much it costs to repair them.

If you plan to sell as-is to the local market, you should then discount the repair costs from the fair market value of your Washington DC property— that will give you an exact asking price.

Meanwhile, if you are selling to a cash home buyer or real estate investor, there's really no need to price your property since they will do it for you. They would personally assess your home so they can put in an accurate offer.

Who Would Buy Fire-Damaged Houses Washington DC?

The buyer pool of damaged homes usually consists of real estate investors or cash buyers. These people will rebuild or flip the property so they can sell it at a much higher price or use it as an investment.

You can also find Washington DC retail buyers of fire-damaged houses, but these people will try to lowball you to the point of almost giving away your home. 

Do I Have To Disclose Fire Damage When Selling My Home Washington DC?

Yes. You have to disclose fire damage when selling your home. This is required by most states, but even when your state doesn't have a fire disclosure law, you should still tell your buyer so they can give you a more appropriate offer.

Most homeowners who have made repairs and brought their homes back to pre-fire condition think that disclosure is already unnecessary. But to avoid future lawsuits, it is best to disclose it to the Washington DC buyer as early as possible.

My House Burned Down Do I Legally Still Own The Land?

Whether or not you still own the land when your house burned down depends on what you paid for during the Washington DC home sale. If you transacted with a fraud, chances are, you'll discover that you aren't the legal owner of the land after the fire. This is not common, but it happens. 

If the home sale is clean, then, by all rights, you still legally own the land where your house used to stand.

Should I Demolish My House With Fire Damage?

Yes. You should consider demolition if the fire damage is extreme. You should not risk making fixes if you are unsure if the foundation of the property is still intact. You better demolish and build a new home if you still really want to live in the same spot. 

Meanwhile, if you plan to sell to a Washington DC cash buyer, there's really no need to demolish on your own. The cash buyer would assess your property and demolish your house if they see fit.

Can You Get a Mortgage on a Fire Damaged Property Washington DC?

Getting a mortgage for a fire-damaged property is possible, however, it won't be easy even if only a small portion of the house is damaged. Most Washington DC mortgage lenders believe that fire-damaged properties are more at risk of foreclosures. 

They would ask for a detailed plan on how a buyer or a seller will restore the property. They also need documentation from the fire restoration contractor on how much the repairs will cost. Even then, their approval of your loan still isn't assured.

Final Thoughts: Selling a Fire Damaged House Washington DC

Selling a fire-damaged house is a challenging experience since your buyer pool is significantly reduced. Nevertheless, you can still make a successful Washington DC sale if you opt to sell as-is to a cash buyer or real estate investor.

Cash buyers are known for giving fastcash offers on fire-damaged homes and houses of any condition. They don't require homeowners to make repairs before closing on a Washington DC property and they also cover closing cost.

If you need help selling your fire-damaged house, connect to us at House Buyers Network. We buy houses nationwide and we'll do all the work for you.

Give us a call at (855) 835-2544 or fill out our form below to start selling your house with fire damage.

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catherine mack
Author: Catherine Mack

Catherine Mack is a seasoned real estate investor and enjoys sharing her expertise through writing on relevant real estate topics. Catherine aims to educate home sellers, so they can make the best decision for their real estate problems.

She’s been featured on a plethora of publications including Better Homes & Gardens, Acorns,, Apartment Therapy, MSN, Yahoo Finance, HomeLight, and

House Buyer Network™ since 2004. We buy houses nationwide. As house buyers, we offer cash for houses to homeowners looking to sell their house fast. Our cash offers are free and come with no obligations. See what we can offer and get cash for your house!

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