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House Fire Update


MickinMD
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As to  @Airehead's appreciated concern, I won't know for sure for several days what can be saved.

My back porch seemed barely touched and my bicycle looks ok as well as most of my major electric lawn tools.  But my Garmin 510 Edge, heart strap, bike helmet, and Igloo water bottle are trash - State Farm will pay the new prices to get them.  State Farm gave me a $4000 check to get started replacing things.

Other things I can't check for a while. They aren't even sending the cleanup crew inside for a week until the house dries a little - huge amounts of water were used - and theres a potential for ceilings caving in, etc.

The firemen rescued, on the night of the fire, my car keys, wallet, and three laptops: where only my bad-keyboard backup to my current one boots - it has a touchscreen keyboard so I've kept it as a backup - it runs fine with a USB keyboard.  I have a new laptop arriving tomorrow.

I was allowed inside briefly Wednesday to rescue my passport, checkbook, a couple of credit cards I don't carry with me, and a couple USB backup drives - one of the backup's works so my financial and budget stuff was saved - most of it is stored online anyway, so in the future I'm going to store the budgetinfo as I already do my stock info without providing personal details on Google Docs online.

There's an intact, metal, 2-drawer file cabinet that has my grad thesis, birth certificate, papers related to my stocks and bonds (all kept online).

The major intact clothes will be collected and cleaned and smoke smell removed.

My piano, guitars, and banjo are trash and State Farm will pay me their current cost, around $20,000, not a depreciated cost.

My mother had a large collection of expensive dolls in a curio cabinet and dishes/glasses in china closet that both appear ok.  Considering that I've been trying to get someone else in the family for 10 years without success, I won't be too disappointed if they're ruined and State Farm gives me the money.  One is a Greek Bride Doll I bought in the Plaka in Athens, another is a Chinese Goddess Doll I bought outside of Beijing.  They're worth a few hundred each.

I have some old photos that may be recoverable but most have scanned and spread around the family.

I have some old vacation VHS tapes buy they've all been converted to digital video files and I have them all.

I have until Monday to tell the head of the cleanup company what to look for that may be worth saving.

There is limited edition print my mother had that one initial person looking over the ruins said was badly damaged but, if it could be restored, is worth somewhere between $200 and $8000.  If it can't be restored, I hope it's worth close to the high end.

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1 hour ago, MickinMD said:

Today I asked if I could get a 55" Smart TV so I could run Amazon Instant Video directly from WiFi to the TV.  I was told it probably wouldn't be a smart TV (I can get by with an HDMI cable that's in my car) but I'd get something close to a 55" TV and did I want a 32" one for the master bedroom?

Why not ask for the money for the TV(s) they will pay for, and you get what you want?  

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21 minutes ago, roadsue said:

Will the rebuild change the layout of the rooms, or are you keeping the same floor plan?

Mick   I've been thinking about that too.  If your foundation is in good shape, it maybe worth the price (yeah I'm spending more of your money) of an architect (or at least a good builder) to design a new home layout using the foundation.

https://blog.buildllc.com/2012/01/reusing-an-existing-residential-foundation-part-1/

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1 hour ago, Bikeguy said:

Why not ask for the money for the TV(s) they will pay for, and you get what you want?  

Thanks for the thought!  Actually, they've already given me a $4000 advance until I get my total claim together, which will be very much more.

I'm ok with the rental (which they pay) TV's.  I'd rather wait and move brand new TV's in their padded boxes into the new house aand watch the rentals as long as they are pretty good.

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13 minutes ago, Bikeguy said:

Mick   I've been thinking about that too.  If your foundation is in good shape, it maybe worth the price (yeah I'm spending more of your money) of an architect (or at least a good builder) to design a new home layout using the foundation.

https://blog.buildllc.com/2012/01/reusing-an-existing-residential-foundation-part-1/

If I was going to put a lot into it, I would sell the finished house and move into a better neighborhood because the money I would use for a redesigned home would be out of place in the current avg-home neighborhood and wouldn't sell for a lot more when that time comes (maybe in a decade).

I've already talked to one candidate contractor about making some changes and I can change things around as long as it stays within how much State Farm is paying or if I want to spend extra.  I may decide, as a neighbor did, to move my up/down stairs and join two room into a larger one.  I currently have a chimney that runs through the middle of the house. I was told it might be much more expensive to move it outside, but that might depend on how much total ripping down they do.

I can also decide to do things like if I want to pay a little out of my pocket to put better cabinets, refrigerator, etc. in the kitchen than were there previously.

I'm told it's going to take a month to clear out the debris and at that point State Farm and the contractor will decide how much of the existing house must be replaced.

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When my neighbors century old farmhouse had a fire he wanted to just repair the house. His insurance company said he could go that route if he wanted but they would prefer to tear it down and build him a whole new house. That’s what he did and he is very happy with it.

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On 3/5/2020 at 10:20 PM, MickinMD said:

I'm told it's going to take a month to clear out the debris and at that point State Farm and the contractor will decide how much of the existing house must be replaced.

When you get to this point in time... One thing I learned the hard way when we built our home, is find a contractor who is good and will provide an end date for the construction.  My contractor talked about a deadline, but didn't put it into the contract.  Like, no problem we can build the home in 8 months.

My contractor built a good home, but it took him WAY too much time.  He was very sequential, one task at a time.  When one contractor would finish, then he could call the next, and the we got the 'he can get here in 2 weeks' explanation.

We got a construction loan for 8 months, and the bank extended the loan for free (OK not free, lots of  principal  and interest accumulating) to a 12 month loan.   When it looked like the construction wouldn't get completed in 12 months, then the discussion with the builder was 'You get to pay for any refinancing cost of the loan, because you didn't get done with this in 8 months like you told us.'   That got things done before the loan expired.

I'd hire the guy again, only with a deadline.   They did do good work.

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1 hour ago, Bikeguy said:

When you get to this point in time... One thing I learned the hard way when we built our home, is find a contractor who is good and will provide an end date for the construction.  My contractor talked about a deadline, but didn't put it into the contract.  Like, no problem we can build the home in 8 months.

My contractor built a good home, but it took him WAY too much time.  He was very sequential, one task at a time.  When one contractor would finish, then he could call the next, and the we got the 'he can get here in 2 weeks' explanation.

We got a construction loan for 8 months, and the bank extended the loan for free (OK not free, lots of  principal  and interest accumulating) to a 12 month loan.   When it looked like the construction wouldn't get completed in 12 months, then the discussion with the builder was 'You get to pay for any refinancing cost of the loan, because you didn't get done with this in 8 months like you told us.'   That got things done before the loan expired.

I'd hire the guy again, only with a deadline.   They did do good work.

Doesn't the insurance company 'manage' contractors in these type of situations. Completion bonds, etc.

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