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Paradise for sale

Questions and fear keep some homeowners from selling.

Posted: Feb 14, 2019 7:43 AM
Updated: Feb 15, 2019 9:45 AM

For some in Paradise, healing from the devastation left by the Camp Fire means leaving the area for good. But questions remain that are keeping some from selling their homes and moving on.

"I'd stand at the bottom of the driveway and say, 'I love this house,'" Diana Nellis-Siler says. She has lived in Paradise since 2012 but is now planning to sell her dream home after the fire came through. 

Her home remains intact, like many of the other homes on the cul-de-sac where she lived. 

"We decided that this could be an opportunity for someone else who really wants to embrace growing with the town," Nellis-Siler tells Action News Now. 

But as her family moved to sell, the questions began to pile on. 

"How can you sell this town?" asks Nellis-Siler. "How does this even work? You're basically selling a town in a disaster zone!"

Action News Now reporter Stephanie Lin sat down with realtor Brian Voigt, who has worked real estate in the Chico and Paradise area for over a decade. 

"These sellers are scared," Voigt says, "and why wouldn't you be? The whole town is gone, who is going to want my house?

Voigt expressed optimism towards the home sales in Paradise. 

"Your house can sell," he said, "and pre-fire pricing or a touch higher seems to be the wheelhouse right now."

Voigt adds that thousands who remain displaced by the Camp Fire and who choose to stay in Butte County are still looking for homes. 

But don't expect your listing to sell quickly. Location, Voigt says, will play a big role. 

"I firmly believe the setting around the standing houses will affect the impact of someone's home," Voigt explains. For example, a home in a neighborhood still intact after the fire will have a higher chance of being purchased, fast.

In terms of bare minimum requirements to sell a home, Voigt says sellers only need a working septic system, a Town of Paradise Clearance to Record, and smoke, carbon monoxide and water heaters up to code. He also confirms that it is not necessary to install a water filter when listing a home for sale, but does not advise it. 

"Your second option is to put the home on the market and have an itemized schedule of what is going to be done and what the seller is going to do before the closing of Escrow for the new buyer," he says. 

"Option three – get your property completely fixed. Get the Insulation done, structures replaced. You put together completely done product, and hand over a livable home." 

Your listing price can change depending on how much work you put into the property before sale.

Nellis-Siler plans to go with the third option.

"The walls need to be washed, carpets cleaned, insulation needs to be taken out," she lists. 

There are now 18 paradise homes on the market. And once Siler and her husband are ready, they will add their home to that list.

"Paradise is going to be wonderful again," Nellis-Siler says. "It was, I say, one of the last great towns in America. People who live here are going to have the heart to see that happen again." 

Nellis-Siler has started a Facebook group for those with questions on selling and buying properties in paradise. 

You can also find the clearance to record application here. 

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