As those of us who lost out homes to wild fire are learning, every square inch that make up the square feet of our replacement homes means something. It is a square inch of what you have to work  with and it is a measure of what you lost and what you are trying to find.

The process of rebuilding a house that was covered by insurance is that you are insured for that house, not a house in which you fixed the problems you had with that house. Some people build exactly the same house but most people I know are making changes.

Every square inch is important, it means something for the past and for the future.

At the simplest level it means “does this square inch belong to the Insurance to pay for or does it belong to me to pay for?” If the original bath tub was a 5 ft tub and you are 6 feet so you want a 5 ft 6 inch tub is it your legs or your body that belong to the Insurance rebuilding? A standard bath tub is 2’8″ and 60 or 66″ long. If you get the new longer tub you are now responsible for the additional tub, 32 inches by 6 inches or 192 square inches.

Not much you think but when you consider that houses around our area cost about $100 to $150 a square foot you can get into trouble with that sort of thinking in a big hurry. A one foot square bit of house is 144 square inches. The 192 suddenly looks different. It is now $166 dollars if you use a base of $125. Quickly things get out of hand.

The more important thing is that each square foot that is generating the payment for the new on is being paid based on the old because the old is not there. You have the potential problem of not rebuilding the old and ending up in a mess because you don’t have your house. That hurts.

Finding the old and then fixing or adding the new looks forward and takes you past the past. It gives you headaches trying to figure out who owns what vis a vis the insurance checks. It also gives you a new life. Like it or not your new home will be different and you life will be different.

A lot of us want to go home. We are homesick. The sad or happy part of that is not clear. If we are back in a house that is not the one we are homesick for does being on our own land with our own views and our own neighbors, are we back home?

photo of burned house with metal roof twisted and collapsed.

Our House that Died