As some areas of the country have too much water, places like California are currently suffering from wildfires and drought. We have first hand experience as to what it is like to be affected by real estate ravaged by fire. After the sadness and concern for life has been addressed, what remains after a fire is a set of decisions based in both emotional and financial dimensions.
For those who have insurance, rebuilding after a fire is an option if the emotions can be managed past the memory of loss. The physical recovery is less complicated with adequate insurance. We personally review our policy for adequate coverage annually with our insurance agent(s). With insurance, we have witnessed some people end up with a much nicer and newer place than before the fire. That may not address the emotional loss, but it does help heal the physical loss. Absent lost personal items, of course. Those without insurance face a much larger emotional and financial dilemma and may need to look for community and familial charity to re-establish their mental wellbeing and living requirements. There are both professional and social organizations ready to help these victims. Fire can be devastating, but for real estate professionals, fire can also be an opportunity.
As for the real estate itself, as real estate professionals, we see opportunity. Options will vary depending on the severity of the fire damage, but we have seen the run of the list over the years. If the fire took the structure completely down, then you could be looking at a lot to build a new home, apartment, or other commercial structure. Like buying a vacant lot that just needs some clearing of debris. Everything requires permits, so that goes without saying, but 99% of the time, something can be built again. Perhaps only part of the structure was burned. One time, we worked with a partner to rebuild essentially a new home on top of an otherwise structurally in-tact foundation. If it was a minor burn, you may still be surprised at the number of items that need to be replaced (like ducting and electrical wires) or reinspected (like roof rafters even if not severely burned), but it can be remodeled. We have done those.
Fire is a serious issue and we hope nobody loses their life or that of a loved one, but fire is not the end. And for those that the emotional or financial toll is too much to pay after a fire, there are professional real estate operators willing to pick up the pieces and offer the neighborhood something useful again (most of the time). As many suffer in California and elsewhere from fire, we simply want to say there is hope and opportunity for a better tomorrow. We can not and do NOT offer tax, accounting ,financial, legal, nor investment advice.