New Fire Damaged House Flip

We are working on a new fire damaged property.

This is a 3 bedroom 1 and a half bath colonial located in Springfield.

The fire started in the first floor stairway and traveled up to the second floor. The majority of the damage was done by the smoke, the actual fire damage is pretty limited. The good thing is the fire didn’t spread up through the roof or burn through the exterior of the home.


Here are some pictures of the house:

Springfield MA Fixer Upper




Dining Room

Living Room with Melted TV

Front Hallway

Living Room


We are taking this house with all the contents so the next step is going to be the clean out.

Once we get it cleared of all the junk we’ll figure out what we’re gonna do with it.  We’ve got quite a few rehabs going on right now and some new purchases lined up so this may turn into a wholesale deal.


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House Flip Before and After – 93 White St

I haven’t done any of these cool before and afters in a long time. I’m about 20-30 properties behind 🙁

I’m gonna make a point to get caught up so you can see all our beautiful transformations!


Here is a look at the before and afters of our rehab at 93 White St in Westfield. This was a fire damaged 2 family house that had sustained significant fire damage to the second floor unit. We ended up gutting both units and doing a full renovation.




Reader Questions – Rehabbing a Fire Damaged House

We’ve rehabbed alot of houses that have fire damage, because of this I get quite a few questions from our readers on renovating fire damaged homes.

These types of properties can seem very intimidating to the new and experienced investor alike. You have multiple issues with fire damaged homes; not only are you dealing with the burn damage, but there is also smoke and water damage that come into play when renovating these houses.  Because of this trifecta of potential problems we usually just look at most fire damaged properties as full guts…. this way there is little question as to what we can save and what we need to replace….. we just replace it all!!!

Below are two recent questions I’ve recieved from visitors to the site along with my responses. 

I was curious if you could give some tips on rehabbing a fire damaged property. I am making an offer on one today and would like to hear from you about any ‘gotchas’ or unique requirements from buyers, lenders, fire departments, municipalities, etc.


My response:


Alot of it depends on the extent of the fire damage. Was it contained to one small room, or did the fire spread throughout the house?

We generally budget for a full gut rehab with all new mechanicals when doing a fire job. Once you have the house gutted out it becomes pretty easy.

Make sure you pay close attention to any burn damage to structural beams and joists. These usually will have to be sistered or replaced depending on the extent of the burn damage.

You can walk the building inspector through before you start the project and he will point out what he wants fixed and corrected.

Also be sure to work with a very good contractor that has experience with full gut rehabs and knows alot about framing and correcting any structural/support issues.

Good luck with your offer!!!

And now the second question:

Hey Matt

I live in Baltimore and am looking to do some similar things to what you and your partner are doing up in MAss. Can I get any tips on renovating a burned out place…Is there anything specific I need to do prior or during renovation? How do you deal with the smoke smell, do you guys like wash them down inside or once the drywall goes on it kind of encapsulates all that? Any kind of special testing group I need to bring on or anything?

And my response:
Most of our fire damaged renovations are full guts. So we rip out all the sheetrock, carpeting, electric, ductwork etc…..
The smoke smell is tough to get rid of. We encapsulate all the burn damage with an oil or shellac based primer/sealer like Killz. We are usually tearing all the sheetrock out so this is done to burn damage that remains on wood framing, ceiling/floor joists or the roof rafters. On one project we did the fire was contained to an upstairs bedroom and hallway. So we kept some of the sheetrock on the first floor. However I did notice that on really warm days I could still smell some of the smoke left in the walls.
Make sure you are working with a good contractor that really understands framing and building codes.

Hope this helps – Matt

Obviously theres alot more that could be said on this topic and each fire damaged property is going to be unique. The best ones are when you are dealing with a small fire that only burned a couple interior rooms. The more questionable ones are when the fire really spreads throughout most of the house and does damage to the exterior walls and burns up through the majority of the roof. I’ve found that some of these can’t be fixed or it doesn’t make sense economically to rehab them, as the potential rehab cost far exceeds what the house will be worth when finished (especially in areas with lower priced homes).  
You’ll notice that in both responses I made sure to recommend using a good contractor, as this will make or break your rehab, especially when your dealing with fire damage.

House Flip Update – 70 Glenwood St Sold

We put 70 Glenwood St on the market just over two weeks ago and it is already sold!!! We were able to get this done so quickly because we found that ever so elusive retail cash buyer

We met our buyer over at Glenwood St on Thurs. April 1st and she immediately fell on love with the house. She informed us that she had the cash available to purchase the house and she could close in a week. Well, that was music to our ears and we made it happen. After negotiating the price a little, title was ordered, inspections were done, and we officially closed one week later. Another bonus is she was not working with an agent so we saved a few bucks on that end as well.

Here are the final pictures of it finished and staged (you can see the before pictures HERE) … enjoy;

70 Glenwood St Springfield MA

Flip This House - 70 Glenwood St

Flip this House - 70 Glenwood St

Green Renovating - Bamboo Flooring

Porch Converted to Living Space. Archway

Stainless Appliances

Glenwood St Kitchen

Full Bath 1

Kitchen Looking from Dining Room

Full Bath 2

Bedroom with Shiny Hardwoods

Master Bedroom

Full Bath 2 with shower panel Body Jets

Beautiful Bright White Handrail and Railing

Well, I wish they could all be that easy. Two weeks exactly, from the day the property first hit the market, to the day we are at the closing table signing the deed over, that’s definitely a record that will be hard to beat!!

70 Glenwood; Where Have You Gone

If you’ve been following my blog for a little while you may have remembered the property at 70 Glenwood St. This is the property with some major fire damage where we completely knocked out the floor of the first level. If you missed that video you have to see it … click HERE to watch it!!

Well we hit some delays getting our heat on there because the gas company told us they cut the line at the street and they wouldn’t be able to fix it until spring time. Long story short, they finally sent someone to the house and realized the line wasn’t cut at the street and we did have gas to the house, however we lost a good amount of time because we couldn’t get heat to the house, which also meant no water.

So I have a video we put together awhile back, as well as some more recent photos of the property near completion. Heres the video:

And here are some pictures of the house nearly complete. This is the first property we started using those nice archways, we borrowed the idea from Tom Tarrant over at .

Check it out:

Living Room with Bamboo Flooring

Front Door Looking from Living Room

Kitchen Looking from Dining Room

Archway Between Dining Room and Kitchen


Full Bath

Master Bedroom

Finished Attic Space

New Main Support Beam

This house was a small two family home that we converted to a single family. It is now 4-5 bedrooms with 2 1/2 baths and maybe 1600-1700 square feet.

Next step is to stage it and get it SOLD!!

Crazy Week + 37 Mansfield St Final Video

The week started and ended very good with us getting two more offers accepted, one on Monday and the other on Friday. The first deal is an estate property that was brought to us by one of the bigger REO agents in our city. The house is in a little rougher neighborhood than I like, but this will be the third property we’ve purchased from this particular agent in the last couple months so I’m viewing it as a way to further solidify our relationship.

The second deal is a short sale that we received an approval letter for on Friday. This should be a pretty sweet deal but we’ve got to clear up a few little title issues before we can close on it.

In other news, after only owning the house on Ravenwood St for a little over two weeks, we’ve got the rehab finished and our new buyer is already moving in!!!  I’ll have pictures and videos of this property coming up in the next week or so.

OK… to wrap it up I want to post our final walkthrough of the fire damaged multi family home we did at 37 Mansfield St in Springfield. You can see all the before pictures here, and our initial walk through video here.

Check it out;

17 Bessemer Before and After

Heres a look at the before and after of the property we rehabbed at 17 Bessemer St. This was our flagship deal of 2009. The stars seemed to align on this property; from finding it, to rehabbing it, to selling it…. everything went real smooth and the deal was very profitable.

The transformation was really amazing!!

37 Mansfield St – Final Pictures

37 Mansfield Before

The renovation work is totally complete at 37 Mansfield St. The property came out awesome and we found a buyer without even having to put it on the MLS. This property had alot going against it; it was condemned, it was fire damaged, the porches were falling down, and it had some serious structural problems… but we fixed all that and turned it into a real gem!! With over 3,700 square feet, 10+ bedrooms and 3 full bathrooms this was by far the biggest property that we have rehabbed. We started renovation of the home in June and work was completed at the end of September. We ended up converting this property from a three family to a two family. This was a total gut down to the studs; we did new electric, plumbing, heating systems, roof, siding, windows, kitchens, baths, sheetrock, etc…..   

You can see more of the before pictures here and some video here.

Heres a look at the finished product:

37 Mansfield St- After

37 Mansfield After

Kitchen Unit 1

Kitchen Unit 1

Bathroom Unit 1

Bedroom Unit 1

Living Room Unit 1

Bedroom Unit 2

Third Floor Living Room Unit 2


I was amazed out how nice the hardwoods came out. When we first started work I didn’t think we were going to be able to save any of the floors but our hardwood refinisher was able to work some real magic on those old floors!!

So have another look at the before pictures here and let me know what you think….