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Selling Your Home After a Fire

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By : Mike Ciucci    99 or more times read
Whether your house was already on the market, or you've decided to sell it after the fire, dealing with the clean up after even a mild house fire can be rather daunting. However, a thorough cleaning of the premises is essential to getting a fair price for your home after a fire; if your home has smoke residue you will not get the price that you want.

Your work begins immediately after the fire; call your insurance agent and make arrangements to stay elsewhere until the cleanup is sufficient for you to move back in. The smoke and soot residue can be extremely toxic, especially to children or anyone with a chronic health condition.

Once the fire is out and the fire inspector has finished with the property, have a building inspector come and check out the premises to ensure that it's safe to be there. Your insurance company might make these arrangements for their own records as well. If the damage is more extensive, you may need to have the power and/or gas turned off for safety reasons.

Take pictures of every room in your home; you should have previously taken pictures for insurance purposes which these ones can be compared to. Your insurance agent may want to take their own pictures as well.

The next step requires the hiring of a professional cleaning company to clean your home; while you can clean soot and smoke damage from your home yourself, hiring professionals can save you time and money in the long run and result in a much more satisfying end-product. Your insurance may pay for some or all of the cleaning done by professionals because it can cut down on what needs to be replaced.

Much of the soot and smoke will be in places that a homeowner cannot easily clean, like ductwork and in the pores of the walls. You can clean it yourself, but it is a lot of work and you may not be able to remove all the smell of smoke from your home; professionals will have all the proper chemicals and equipment. Professional cleaners will use ozone treatment to break up smoke residue to remove odors and thermal fogging to remove smoke odor from walls.

You may need to remove furniture and belongings so that house can be cleaned. Professional cleaners can let you know what items are beyond repair and need to be thrown away. Many items of furniture and draperies can be professionally cleaned and de-odored. Trying to clean these items improperly can actually make them uncleanable.

Other areas may need extra attention; the flooring in your house may need to be replaced, particularly if you had carpeting. Air your house out as much as possible; change your furnace filter daily until no trace of soot remains. Attic insulation may need to be replaced if it has been smoke or water damaged. You may also want to repaint the walls and ceilings in your home if they are stained.

Remember once your home is cleaned up and ready to go back on the market that you need to be upfront with your agent about your home sustaining fire damage. As long as you’ve done your clean up by the book, and made any repairs that are necessary, there should be no problem selling your home for a fair price and getting it.

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