Real Estate

Need Advice: risks of buying a home that had a fire ~20 yrs ago?

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  • Feb 6th, 2021 9:45 am
[OP]
Newbie
Feb 1, 2019
5 posts

Need Advice: risks of buying a home that had a fire ~20 yrs ago?

I really need advice ASAP on this as my condition day is very soon:

I like the house, around 440000 in Calgary, Alberta. It shows quite well.

The inspector found there was a fire in the attic in 2002, there is Fire Retardant sprayed over 75% of the trusses in the attic.

The attic was in a closet light fixture in the corner of the house, and they had to replace the outside siding (i think all of it, so it matches).

The insurance repairs were $50,000 in 2002. The inspector said the repairs don't look like they were dont by the most compenent people (typical of insurance company contractors). They likely should have replaced all the cellulose insulation in the attic, but did not (possibly smoke got into the roof / insulation?) - could replace this if neede. The bathroom the wall next to the fire was complete reno'd and looks good but doesn't have GFCI, no permits, etc). Would it be normal to get permits after a 50k repair paid for by insurance? (I have seen they proof they do have insurance and the payout was 50k)

I checked with the city and they haven't had any permits pulled for any of the fire repairs, or the bathroom or kitchen renovation since.

What would be the risks of buying this house?

*edit: My realtor says it is a good buy especially as the Calgary market has been heating up a lot the last few months (I've noticed that as well - multiple offers on nice properties first day)
Last edited by YawnAttack on Feb 4th, 2021 10:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
9 replies
Sr. Member
Dec 8, 2003
935 posts
21 upvotes
You already know the answer, but if you need to hear it from disinterested third parties, then yes, there are too many red flags. So unless it is priced significantly below market, just walk away.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Oct 26, 2007
2241 posts
1514 upvotes
YYZ
as @ptxpress mentioned unless its significantly under priced i'd avoid. likely you will have to do extensive repairs.
Licensed Full Service Realtor
Member
Jun 18, 2020
251 posts
202 upvotes
The fire was bad enough for me to say Walk.

But the bathroom and kitchen reno? Also no permits? I'd not want that on my mind. Nevermind what else exists that you don't know.

I dont want other people's shortcuts being my problem. Unless the discount allows me to gut the home... And surely it doesn't.
Member
Jun 18, 2020
251 posts
202 upvotes
The fire was bad enough for me to say Walk.

But the bathroom and kitchen reno? Also no permits? I'd not want that on my mind. Nevermind what else exists that you don't know.

I dont want other people's shortcuts being my problem. Unless the discount allows me to gut the home... And surely it doesn't.
Deal Addict
Nov 16, 2011
1285 posts
978 upvotes
HAMILTON
Big fire for 50K damage in 2002. Would think that would be close to total loss in 2002 but regardless........

Does anyone know if GFI were required in 2002 ? Did they need permits for insurance repairs in 2002 ?? Maybe it just needed to be inspected by the adjuster back then.

Your inspector says the repairs were done by possibly incompetent people but does he even know if they met the standard of 2002 ?? There are huge differences in construction/repairs when comparing 2002 to 2021 ..... He is probably comparing today repairs to those done 20 yrs ago.

You could get another inspection done to compare or bring in a contractor for opinions but, if you really want it, and the price is advantageous and you can afford any repairs then why not.
Member
Nov 26, 2012
330 posts
284 upvotes
Toronto
If the owner took a payout, my understanding is that the insurance company cut them a check for the assessed value of fixing it. The insurance company contractors did not do the repairs. Did you actually see the contractor bill for the repairs...doesn't sound like it? Since I can't imagine fire damage repairs not requiring inspection....that's a big red flag.

Also, not all kitchen or bathroom renos require a permit. If all you do is cosmetic updates (the flooring, fixtures, cabinets and paint) there's no permit required. It's only if you move wiring, plumbing or open walls that you would need to look at permits.
[OP]
Newbie
Feb 1, 2019
5 posts
Thanks all.

Yeah, not having any permits seems too shady even for an insurance company payout - likely they took a payout and didnt fix it properly at all.

Ended up not getting it.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Dec 10, 2008
4806 posts
1336 upvotes
$50k is nothing for fire. Did they disclose the issue?

I wouldn't walk if you like the house.
Let's hug it out
Deal Addict
Nov 16, 2011
1285 posts
978 upvotes
HAMILTON
`( $50k is nothing for fire. Did they disclose the issue? )

$50 k was a ton of money on a house 20 years ago..............

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