How To Sell A Fire-Damaged Property

Fire Damaged House

Few events are as horrifying and traumatic as a fire in your home. There is no ‘best case’ scenario here, but the safety of you, your household members and your neighbours are paramount. If they are unharmed, you can move on. But at the same time, you are seeing your house – perhaps the culmination of years of dreaming and saving – as well as all of your possessions, which can include items with great sentimental or monetary value, literally going up in smoke.

Thoughts quickly turn to the cost. How will you rebuild? Can you afford to? Do you have sufficient insurance cover to help you through this difficult time? And certainly, the impact on the value of your property, as well as your ability to sell, can be catastrophic.

This guide is not about fear-mongering; it is designed to inform you about your options. We will explore how to sell a fire-damaged property so you can truly move on – literally as well as figuratively.

The Cost of a Housefire

It is challenging to quantify the cost of a house fire because it is so heavily dependent on a variety of factors. These include:

  • The size of the property. As you would expect, the larger the home (and the more rooms), the higher the cost for restoration, repair or rebuilding.
  • The extent of the damage. A fire can be devastating. An experienced tradesperson should do an assessment to determine how much damage was caused and which, if any, possessions can be salvaged.
  • The type of damage. You may be facing damage due to smoke, flames, soot, and water, as well as structural damage. All of this will affect the cost of remediation.
  • The cause of the fire. If, for example, a fire started in the kitchen, it may be more expensive to repair because there is a greater risk associated with hazardous chemicals. As well, fires in upper levels are also more expensive because they are typically associated with more extensive structural damage.
  • Your location. Damage clean-up costs more in certain areas, such as London. It also holds true in remote areas, which involve longer commutes for tradespeople.

In general, house fires can result in:

Smoke Damage

Not only does smoke damage cause unpleasant odours, it affects air quality and can render a home uninhabitable. There are some options here, such as ozone treatment. It works to break down and remove odours from the home. Thermal fogging may also be used to remove smoke from fabrics, textiles and the like. Cleaning smoke damage can cost about £500 (though, again, this is dependent on factors such as the size of the home and the extent of the damage).

Soot

Soot is stubborn and unsafe for you and your household members. It clings to walls, ceilings, floors and other surfaces with tenacity, and it can cause permanent damage. Dry soot costs about £500. If the soot is a by-product of grease (i.e. oily soot), it is more expensive to clean.

Water Damage

Firefighting efforts naturally involve copious amounts of water. After the fire, it can lead to extensive damage, the disintegration of items and surfaces, staining and mould development. Expect to pay from £100 to £1500.

Fire Damage

This is the big ticket item if you will. Cleaning fire damage costs an average of £12,000. Each item and each room must be thoroughly assessed and cleaned; it is labour-intensive and gritty work.

Structural Damage

Another significant cost is structural issues that may require you to replace or repair furniture, flooring, drywall and more. You can see costs rise to thousands or tens of thousands of pounds.

How to Sell a Fire-Damaged Property

You can do it. Here are some options:

Restore Your House

Take a deep breath and get out the chequebook. Hopefully, your insurance will cover most or all of the costs (but 80% of UK houses are underinsured). Restore your house to a market-ready condition and sell it via a traditional process.

This is not always the right solution; if you are dealing with significant structural damage, for example, it may cost more to repair than you’ll be able to recoup in a sale.

Sell As-Is

Who would want a fire-damaged property? You’d be surprised! Cash house buyers that are ‘We Buy Any House’ truly live up to their name here. They may invest in the property in order to restore and flip it, to restore and rent it to tenants, to raze and build new or to hold for their portfolio.

Selling as is allows you to escape from the expense and aggravation of restoration or rebuilding. Cash buyers do not have mortgage lenders with stringent requirements that traditional buyers must comply with. They can, and will, purchase your house quickly and for a fair and ethical price.

You can sell a fire-damaged property and achieve a fresh start.

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