room with water damage How to Sell a House with Flood or Water Damage

How to Sell a House with Flood or Water Damage

Home » disasters


Hurricanes, flash floods, or burst pipes after a freeze – you never know when water damage will occur. It frustrates the majority of homeowners and leaves them wondering, “What now?”

Selling a house with water damage is intimidating but not impossible. You have options, depending on your budget and timeline to sell.

Here are the essential steps to sell a house with flood or water damage.

Step 1: Call Your Insurance

Water damage claims put home insurance policies to use more than any other claim. Most policies cover overflow, accidental discharge, or sewer and water backup, but not flooding.

The damage has to be accidental; you could not have predicted it. Any water damage as the result of negligence or a lack in maintenance is NOT covered.

The insurance company will send an adjuster to assess damages and estimate costs to repair. You should document the loss of personal belongings and damage to your property, before or while the adjuster is there. Take plenty of photos and guestimate the value of your loss.

Collecting insurance can take several days or weeks. There is no guarantee the insurance will cover the full cost to restore your house.

If you decide to sell the property “as-is”, filing a claim may not be necessary. I recommend you discuss options with your insurance agent.

Step 2: Turn Off Utilities

No doubt you shut off the main water supply valve to stop water flow. But you also need to turn off the power because water and electricity do not mix. Same with your gas lines.

By turning off the utilities, you prevent additional damage and put yourself and professionals out of harm’s way.

Step 3: Start Water Damage Cleanup

Pump out standing water and dry the affected areas. Gather those belongings the water missed and throw out anything that is ruined. You want to do this fast because mold sets in after 24 hours.

Open windows to let in fresh air, and if a professional says it’s safe to restore power, use floor fans and dehumidifiers.

Depending on the extent of damage, and if mold is present, you might consider hiring professional water damage and restoration services. Make sure the company you hire is licensed and insured.

Step 4: Start Restoring the House

Repairs could take several months, depending on the amount of damage. Flooring and sometimes walls need to be replaced. Electrical wiring and corroded parts must be switched out. Bad plumbing needs to be changed and the spaces around them refinished.

Water and mold remediation should be done by licensed professionals. It is not the type of work you do alone, not without risks to your health or the house, or without significant loss of time.

Step 5: Disclose the Truth to Buyers

Even if damages are remediated, you must disclose water damage and mold to buyers. If you never corrected the problem, legal remedies can be pursued against you if, after closing, the buyer discovers the truth.

Disclosure requirements vary between states. Research these and maybe ask a real estate agent to explain them.

Step 6: Alternatively, Sell “As-Is” at a Lower Price or Offer Credit

If you cannot afford repairs, and want to roll the dice on the market, you have two options. You can either lower your asking price or credit the buyer to cover repairs.

The issue here is lenders have strict loan requirements, and buyers cannot secure funding to purchase a property with water damage.

Step 7: Alternatively, Sell “As-Is” to a Cash Buyer

Your best option, if you want to sell fast and without repairs, is to sell to a real estate investor. Investors pay cash for properties in any condition. It can have water damage, mold, and be full of soaked furniture and belongings.

Investors do not need an appraisal or inspection, and they skip traditional sale warranties. All closing costs and additional sale fees are covered by the investor, saving you money. All you have to do is choose the closing date.

You can close in a few months, 15 days or less, giving you plenty of time to pack up anything left untouched by the water. You enjoy a quick closing on a washed up problem property for a sure deal without getting all wet.

burned interior Selling a House with Fire Damage

Selling a Property with Fire Damage

Home » disasters


If you experience a house fire, the loss is stifling. Not only are your personal belongings gone up in smoke, but you lose thousands of dollars in damages to your property. Most times the insurance money is not even enough to cover repairs.

So what do you do? Here is what you need to know if you decide to sell a property with fire damage.

1. Contact Your Insurance

The first thing you need to do is call your insurance and report the fire. You’ll start a claim and provide a copy of the fire report to your insurance agent. They’ll send out an adjuster to take pictures and assess the damage and needed repairs.

Insurance can take a few days or a few weeks. You ONLY need to deal with insurance if you plan to make repairs. If you decide to sell the property “as-is”, filing an insurance claim is not necessary. I recommend you talk it over with your insurance agent though to understand your options.

2. Contact Utilities

While the property is damaged, it is dangerous to continue running electricity, water, or gas. Contact your utility providers to have these shut off till the property is restored. Otherwise, you risk additional damages.

3. Recover Your Possessions

Once a fire department official gives you permission to reenter the premises, retrieve anything of value the fire did not destroy. Also, take pictures and document the damages. When it comes time to sell, you’ll have to disclose to buyers this incident, even if it’s remediated. Keep a copy of the fire report for your records too.

4. Get an Assessment from a Fire Restoration Contractor

This step may be optional, depending on how you feel about the insurance adjuster’s report. It never hurts to get a second opinion. A fire restoration contractor will assess the damage and estimate repair costs.

5. Start the Cleanup Process

If you hire a contractor for repairs, their team will likely do the cleanup for you. This is preferred because exposure to soot can cause health issues. Moreover, you need the proper clothing and equipment to remove contaminated materials and debris.

There may also be water damage and mold from the water used to fight the fire.

Be sure to open the windows to vent smoke and charred odors from the house, but also to ventilate it so it dries out.

6. Make Repairs

Repairs can take several months, depending on the extent of damage. The cost of remediation after a small fire can fall between $3,000 to $5,000. Significant damage though can run up to tens of thousands of dollars.

7. Alternatively, You Can Sell “As-Is” to a Cash Buyer

Chances are you will not find a traditional buyer who can or will purchase a property with fire damage. Even if a buyer were interested, a mortgage lender will not give them a loan unless the house is in good condition.

The good news is a real estate investor will pay cash for a house “as-is”, be it damaged and full of charred belongings. You can skip the formalities of a traditional sale, like warranties, an appraisal, and an inspection. Also, the inspector pays all closing costs and associated sale fees.

You can sell in 15 days or less, or in several months: the investor lets you choose the closing date! You enjoy a quick closing, taking the heat off owning a problem property, and get cash in hand without getting burned.

how to sell a house after a hurricane damaged flooded houses

How to Sell Your House After a Natural Disaster

Home » disasters


Selling a house is difficult enough without damage from a storm, hurricane, flood, or fire. Most homebuyers are dissuaded by the house’s poor state and insist on repairs, or you likely have to sell to a flipping investor.
Follow these steps to sell your house after a natural disaster.

  • Sell “As Is” or Restore

Ask yourself if you really want to make repairs to the property. Doing so improves your chances of making a sale. However, the restoration process will be expensive. If you sell the house “As-Is,” you are guaranteed to earn less money. Buyers will insist on a lower purchase price for a property they have to pay to fix up themselves.

  • File an Insurance Claim

File a homeowners insurance claim with your insurance company. Find out what is covered under your policy and how much damage it covers. Photograph and inventory damages, and keep a record of estimated repair costs. Once you file your claim, you will have a better idea of what your insurance will pay out and decide if it is worth restoring the property.

  • Decide How Much to Fix

The bottom line, you need to make the house safe. If damages force you to live someplace else temporarily, renovations are necessary. Avoid drastic changes because buyers may not share your taste in remodeling. Your repairs must make the home livable and might go so far as to increase its value.

  • Make Repairs

Depending on how extensive the damages are, repairs can take several months. This delays you in listing the home on the market. During that time, you may lose prospective buyers or miss out on a trending time to sell.

  • Determine Area Value

Consider this: if you live in a high-risk area for flooding or fires, does your property value dip? Buyers lose enthusiasm for a property if it is in a hot spot for natural disasters. Even if you restore the house state, be prepared to negotiate with buyers over lowering the price.

  • Prevent Damage from Future Disasters

If the property is in an area prone to disaster, prevent future losses and damage, if possible. For example, if you make repairs after a big freeze, but are still in the height of winter, take precautions. These include the addition of extra insulation, cleaning gutters, and guarding water pipes. It would be unfortunate to invest in repairs after one disaster, to then pay new repairs after a second calamity.

Skips These Steps

If you would like to sell your house “as is,” consider selling it to an investor. Most investors will make a cash offer regardless of a property’s condition, location, or state of livability. You can forgo repairs, save money, and enjoy a quick closing on a property that would take months to fix and sell.