Selling after a disaster

October 2, 2017

Selling a house these days is not an easy process. Buyers today are more educated on their target market than ever before. When buyers know they have lots of choices they can get very, very picky and every real and perceived flaw is noted. If your home experienced a fire, floor or other natural disaster, selling it down the road can be tricky.

Assuming you’re looking to get the best price you can for your home (as opposed to unloading the property at any cost) you must first and foremost completely document the problem and then repair all damages. It is a best practice to document all repairs well so that you can prove that everything was done properly. Every state has its own laws regarding real estate transactions and required disclosures. It is recommended that you contact your local Real Estate Attorney or Realtor to help walk you through the repair, disclosure, and selling process.

Damages caused by an “Act of God” such as earthquakes, fire, or storm flooding are generally seen as one-time-only events. The cleanup and repairs should return the property to the same, or even better, condition than pre-disaster.

Wallboards, wood floors, and carpets may need to be replaced due to flooding, warping, and potential mold issues. You will want to make sure that all repairs are done properly by licensed individuals to help prevent future headaches when a potential buyer, or their inspector, walks through. Since these types of events are newsmakers, sellers are likely to get direct questions about any damages they sustained. Having documentation from a reputable structural engineer or other proper authority that there was either no damage or that it was successfully repaired will be a necessity for a smooth sales process.

Natural disasters may be an opportunity to upgrade certain spaces and improve the overall property during the restoration process. Generally speaking, wall-to-wall carpets and wood floors that have been flooded will nearly always require replacing. Old and outdated carpeting can be replaced with new carpet (updated color), tile, or wood which would instantly add value back into the home.

Depending on the level of damage sustained, it may be necessary to enlist the services of a restoration service which specializes in home disaster cleanup. They are equipped to move in fast to mitigate further damage and to clean up and repair the existing problems. You should always ask for copies of the contractor’s general liability and worker’s compensation insurance. Check the contractor’s identification and references. Avoid paying more than the minimum in advance. Deal with reputable people in your community. If you need a list – contact your Local Realtor! They will be able to provide you will a list of reputable services in your local community.

After a disaster, whether it’s a hurricane or small kitchen fire, it is important to remain calm and focused on the steps needed to return your property to sellable condition. Taking the appropriate steps to assess the damage, repair it, and document the entire process will pay you back well when it comes time to sell. is always here to help buyers, sellers and investors who Love Naples & SWFL as much as we do! Be sure to visit for information on homes for sale as well as local resources.