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Many people who lost homes in Marshall Fire selling land instead of rebuilding

Brett Sawyer with BOLO REALTORS said 17 lots have been sold so far.

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. — More people who lost their homes in the Marshall Fire are deciding not to rebuild.

Over 70 lots have been put up for sale in Louisville and Superior so far.

Many of these listings are being put on the market now, after families finished clearing debris on the property. Some families are deciding rebuilding their home is just too hard, emotionally and financially.

People are underinsured, and estimates from builders say it will take at least a year to move back into a home on the vacant lot.

RELATED: East Troublesome Fire survivors waiting years to rebuild

Brett Sawyer, the incoming chairman for BOLO REALTORS, said they saw the first lots come on the market in February and March and sell in May,

According to Sawyer, 17 lots have been sold and another 11 are under contract.

Credit: KUSA

"Insurance for lot mitigation runs with the homeowner not with the land, so I think there were a number of people who were inadvertently or intelligently waiting until those lots were mitigated to put them on the market," Sawyer said. "Buyers were aware that if FEMA and Boulder County didn’t come through with their mitigation they may end up having to have the entire mitigation bill on their own shoulders."

RELATED: Some Marshall Fire survivors face delay accessing donated rebuilding funds

Sawyer said he thinks a minimum of one-third of fire survivors will decide to not rebuild. That is hundreds of people, and hundreds of lots that could go up for sale. 

"People recognized they weren’t going to be able to rebuild their home any time soon and they needed a house," he said. "They just spent two years with COVID and their kids not being in school and work and their community was lost."

Credit: KUSA

Few banks are willing to approve a loan to buy a piece of land, so many of these lots will be bought with cash offers. Right now, lots are going for over $300,000 in Boulder County.

Joe Gibbs, a realtor for the BoulderHomeSource Team at RE/MAX, just helped someone sell a lot in Louisville. 

"We went on the market and over the first weekend we did have a lot of interest," he said. "We did have one buyer who came in really quickly and swooped it up."

Gibbs thinks the property was sold quickly because it was next to homes that had not burned. 

Credit: KUSA

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