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Things to Consider After a House Fire

A house fire is one of the worst nightmares but also one of the most common disasters that could happen. After suffering a house fire, people are often at a loss as to what's to do next.

This article will discuss 4 important things a person should consider doing after a house fire.

Selling your Burnt House

Sometimes people have to choose between selling or restoring a burnt house. Usually your insurance company will send an evaluator over to check the damage of the house and decide whether the house can be saved or if it needs to be demolished and rebuilt.

In case you are under financial stress, do not have insurance for your home or just want to get away from the bad memory of the fire as quickly as possible, you can consider selling your house to a company specialized in buying burnt houses. There are various such companies and you can click here to learn about some of the sale options available to you. How it works is that once you reach out to the company, they schedule a free evaluation of your damaged house.

There is no need to clean or tidy up anything as they will make a cash offer right after the visit. There is usually no additional cost or realtor cost and you can get your money after settlement. Quite often, the whole transaction can be closed as fast within seven days. There are companies that buy fire damaged houses in all 50 states so it can be a significantly simpler and straightforward process than trying to restore your house to its original state.

Claim your Insurance

One of the first things you can do to help get back on your feet is to contact your insurance company. Report what happened and file a claim immediately to get the process started. You will most likely be able to receive an advance on your claim or a "loss of use" fund that will help cover living and daily expenses.

Make sure to keep the receipts and record of all purchases though. You will also be able to get recommendations from the insurance company on cleaning services or fire damage restoration. These will be so important because moving back into a house that has extensive fire damage can be extremely damaging to your health. There are all kinds of harmful chemicals and particles that are left over after a fire and the last thing you want is to have your family breathing them in.

It's also important to note that your insurance will usually cover items destroyed in your house fire. You will receive the cash value of damaged items, so to make sure everything is accounted for, you should always keep an inventory of your possessions. The inventory should be as detailed as possible, with the date of purchase, cost at purchase, the models and make, and description of each item.

Start the Paperwork Immediately

One of the most important pieces of paperwork that you will need to do first is to get a fire report from the local fire department. This will be required for several procedures, including making a successful claim to your insurance company. Insurance companies will often try to avoid paying out so it is vital to provide as much evidence as possible to force them into giving you a fair settlement.

It's also important to list out all the important documents you've lost in the fire, such as IDs, drivers' licenses, birth certificates and passports. You will most likely need to start the paperwork process immediately to replace them in good time. You will also need to contact the bank to replace any debit or credit cards you have lost, or to seek their advice if any important bank documents have been lost in the fire.

If your house is still under mortgage, you will still need to make mortgage payments even when the house has been burnt down, so you will need to contact the mortgage agent to discuss your options. Since you will not be in your home for several months, it is also wise to cancel cable and internet services and save some monthly bills because you won't be using these services.

Save your Possessions

If the fire department deems your house safe to re-enter, you can go back and retrieve any undamaged possession. If your home was only partially damaged by the fire, the chances are that there will still be items that were not affected.

At the same time, remember that even if your house was burnt, you still need to keep it safe from looters and criminals, so make sure to alert the local police department of the fire, and consider hiring someone to board up your windows and doors in the meantime to protect your property.

House fires are disasters that can result in serious physical and mental impacts to those involved. Recovering is never easy, but these steps will help you get started on the road to recovery.

3 Min Read
Business

Five Essential Lessons to Keep in Mind When You're Starting Your Own Business

"How did you ever get into a business like that?" people ask me. They're confounded to hear that my product is industrial baler wire—a very unfeminine pursuit, especially in 1975 when I founded my company in the midst of a machismo man's world. It's a long story, but I'll try to shorten it.

I'd never been interested to enter the "man's" world of business, but when I discovered a lucrative opportunity to become my own boss, I couldn't pass it up—even if it involved a non-glamorous product. I'd been fired from my previous job working to become a ladies' clothing buyer and was told at my dismissal, "You just aren't management or corporate material." My primary goal then was to find a career in which nobody had the power to fire me and that provided a comfortable living for my two little girls and myself.

Over the years, I've learned quite a few tough lessons about how to successfully run a business. Below are five essential elements to keep in mind, as well as my story on how I learned them.

Find A Need And Fill It

I gradually became successful at selling various products, which unfortunately weren't profitable enough to get me off the ground, so I asked people what they needed that they couldn't seem to get. One man said, "Honey, I need baler wire. Even the farmers can't get it." I saw happy dollar signs as he talked on and dedicated myself to figuring out the baler wire industry.

I'd never been interested to enter the "man's" world of business, but when I discovered a lucrative opportunity to become my own boss, I couldn't pass it up.

Now forty-five years later, I'm proud to be the founder of Vulcan Wire, Inc., an industrial baler wire company with $10 million of annual sales.

Have Working Capital And Credit

There were many pitfalls along the way to my eventual success. My daughters and I were subsisting from my unemployment checks, erratic alimony and child-support payments, and food stamps. I had no money stashed up to start up a business.

I paid for the first wire with a check for which I had no funds, an illegal act, but I thought it wouldn't matter as long as I made a deposit to cover the deficit before the bank received the check. My expectation was that I'd receive payment immediately upon delivery, for which I used a rented truck.

Little did I know that this Fortune 500 company's modus operandi was to pay all bills thirty or more days after receipts. My customer initially refused to pay on the spot. I told him I would consequently have to return the wire, so he reluctantly decided to call corporate headquarters for this unusual request.

My stomach was in knots the whole time he was gone, because he said it was iffy that corporate would come through. Fifty minutes later, however, he emerged with a check in hand, resentful of the time away from his busy schedule. Stressed, he told me to never again expect another C.O.D. and that any future sale must be on credit. Luckily, I made it to the bank with a few minutes to spare.

Know Your Product Thoroughly

I received a disheartening phone call shortly thereafter: my wire was breaking. This horrible news fueled the fire of my fears. Would I have to reimburse my customer? Would my vendor refuse to reimburse me?

My customer told me to come over and take samples of his good wire to see if I might duplicate it. I did that and educated myself on the necessary qualities.

My primary goal then was to find a career in which nobody had the power to fire me and that provided a comfortable living for my two little girls and myself.

Voila! I found another wire supplier that had the right specifications. By then, I was savvy enough to act as though they would naturally give me thirty-day terms. They did!

More good news: My customer merely threw away all the bad wire I'd sold him, and the new wire worked perfectly; he then gave me leads and a good endorsement. I rapidly gained more wire customers.

Anticipate The Dangers Of Exponential Growth

I had made a depressing discovery. My working capital was inadequate. After I purchased the wire, I had to wait ten to thirty days for a fabricator to get it reconfigured, which became a looming problem. It meant that to maintain a good credit standing, I had to pay for the wire ten to thirty days before my customers paid me.

I was successful on paper but was incredibly cash deprived. In other words, my exponentially growing business was about to implode due to too many sales. Eventually, my increasing sales grew at a slower rate, solving my cash flow problem.

Delegate From The Bottom Up

I learned how to delegate and eventually delegated myself out of the top jobs of CEO, President, CFO, and Vice President of Finance. Now, at seventy-eight years old, I've sold all but a third of Vulcan's stock and am semi-retired with my only job currently serving as Vice President of Stock and Consultant.

In the interim, I survived many obstacles and learned many other lessons, but hopefully these five will get you started and help prevent some of you from having the same struggles that I did. And in the end, I figured it all out, just like you will.