LandInvestors.com Forums **Ask A Question** Infill lot clearer after house fire. Any concerns?

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    Matt
    Participant
    Post count: 159

    A seller wants to sell me an infill lot that had a house burned down on it 8 years ago. Says the property was professionally cleaned up. Assuming the property is cleared up, is there anything that I need to add to my due diligence? Environmental concerns, etc?

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  • Greg Srader
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    Post count: 13

    Be sure to check for city liens. I am working on a deal now where the city professionally removed a home in 1998 and has charged interest since then. They have a $5100 lien that did not show up in the deed records.

    Matt
    Participant
    Post count: 159
    Pro

    Looks like my title got autocorrected from “cleared” to clearer” haha.

    Anyway, thanks for the insight! I’d be closing this through title so I’m hoping they would smoke something like that out. The seller said he had it professionally cleaned so I had assumed that he paid for it but he could be referring to the city.

    I also read that you may need to really remove anything from the old house including the foundation and old septic. So I’m included to hire a property inspector to go there and poke around instead of hiring a photographer. There’s enough meat on the bone. I’m also calling the county to see what they have to say about developing it after a fire.

    Just wanted to see what the community thought.

    Kevin Farrell
    Moderator
    Post count: 1079
    ProAdvanced

    Matt – you may want to use InfillReports.com. It is a little pricey but they can help you avoid a big mistake on an infill lot. Check out their website and see if this is what you need.

    Luke Smith
    Moderator
    Post count: 1262
    ProAdvanced

    I got one in Detroit next to a rental. Hired it cleared out. $1500. They trucked it to Canada and dumped it cheap. The problem was the taxes stayed house high not vacant low so let it go for taxes made my rental look better.

    Milan
    Participant
    Post count: 518

    I puschased lot with half burned house on it. In my opinion sell it as is and mention its burned. That screams like someone is getting a bargain. It draws attention. Let the buyer deal with it.

    Matt
    Participant
    Post count: 159
    Pro

    All,

    Outstanding responses from so many folks. Thanks again everyone I really appreciate the piece of mind.

    Mike Marshall
    Participant
    Post count: 35
    ProAdvanced

    Matt,

    You need to be careful in the sense that there are zoning and land use regulations in most jurisdictions that speak to what can and can’t be done after a fire. It typically has to do with the extent (percentage) of the structure that was destroyed. That is a determination that is made by the building official and nobody else.Not to be dramatic, but it could mean the difference between being able to rebuild as it was or being required to do much more. That is information that a buyer/builder will eventually come across and may impact the time to sell, the price you sell at or both. There may be other issues as well but this is the big one that comes to mind.

    Matt
    Participant
    Post count: 159
    Pro

    Thanks Mike, yes this lot was completely torn down. Now idk of that means that say 50% of it was destroyed by file then they elected to tear it all down, or if the fact that 100% is gone then they consider that 100% destroyed. I’ll be digging in with the folks at the county.

    Mike Marshall
    Participant
    Post count: 35
    ProAdvanced

    Typically 50% is the threshold. If more than 50% burns down then you have to build to current development standards. If less than 50% is destroyed then you can be grandfathered in at the old development standards. Again, it will vary by jurisdiction. This may or may not be an issue depending on what the current development standards are and the unique characteristics of the lot. A dramatic and rare example would be an existing SFR where the zoning was changed to commercial and then the house burns down. These type of regulations would require that a commercial building be built in its place.If the county gives you bad news, have them show you the exact code language that guides their decision so that you can review.

    Again, good luck!

    Matt
    Participant
    Post count: 159
    Pro

    Thanks again Mike, that’s outstanding feedback and very well put. I really feel like I’ve learned a lot about the situation. Thanks for taking the time to be so thorough!

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