One of the most common questions asked by people whose home has been damaged in a fire is how long does it typically take to repair or rebuild? The answer to this question depends on a few factors. Let’s take a closer look.
Factor 1: How serious was the fire?
For our purposes today, let’s classify fires into three categories – small fires, medium-sized fires, and large fires.
So let’s begin by saying your house was damaged by a small fire. For example, the kitchen suffered minor damage during a grease fire that originated on the stove. Your first step with this type of fire would be to intensely clean the damaged area so that you can more clearly see and assess the damage. You should be able to clean the area with hot water, soap and a lot of “elbow grease.”
Once you have seen and assessed the damage, the longest part of the repair process will most likely be finding a contractor to handle the repairs and then scheduling a time for him or her to come to the house to actually make them.
The repairs themselves will probably be able to be completed in a day or two.
A medium-sized fire can still cause a lot of damage. For example, if you have a medium-sized fire in your living room it could damage the walls, the floor, furniture and other items.
Again, you will need to clean the area the best you can and then have a contractor come out, assess the damage and provide you with a project bid and timeline.
With medium-sized fires, you can expect repair times ranging from a few days to a few weeks.
With large-sized fires, the repair or rebuild time is going to be extensive. We’re talking several weeks to several months.
First, there will be several days of extensive cleanup by licensed professionals before the extent of the damage can even be assessed. Then you will need to hire a contractor who specializes in fire damage repair and can coordinate or provide all the different professionals that will be needed to rebuild the house. Again, rebuilding a fire-damaged house that has been involved in a large fire can take months.
Complicating matters with all three types of fires is that in addition to visible damage a house can also suffer smoke and soot damage that are not visible to the eye. For example, there can be smoke and soot in the air ducts. Both smoke and soot can be hazardous to the health of humans and their pets and must be dealt with by trained professionals. This work can extend the repair time even longer.
Factor 2: How long does it take to find a contractor experienced in repairing fire damaged houses?
This is another important factor in ultimately determining how long it takes to rebuild a fire-damaged house. Repairing and rebuilding fire damaged houses requires special training, knowledge and skills. Finding someone you trust who possesses the skills to transform your fire-damaged house back into “a home” can take a significant amount of time.
You want to work with a person or company that you can trust and that inspires confidence. Too often, home owners simply select the first contractor they come across and don’t stop to really consider the person’s qualifications. Selecting the wrong contractor can lead to project delays and inferior work that must be repaired, which in turn will produce even more delays.
You can ask your insurance agent for recommendations as they are probably familiar with contractors who do fire-damaged home repairs and rebuilds. But don’t just trust their recommendations. Do your own research and get familiar with the contractors so that you hire the best possible candidate. This is your home you are dealing with, it deserves the best (within your budget, of course).
Factor 3: What’s your budget?
Of course, if you have a higher budget you should be able to attract highly qualified contractors with the connections to get the work done according to schedule.
This is why it is important to work closely with your insurance company following a fire. In fact, after your house is damaged in a fire (and everyone is safe) your first call should be to your insurance agent. They need to be in the loop as soon as possible. This will go a long way in helping ensure you get reimbursed properly for your loss.
Once you notified the insurance agent then be sure to locate and read the Conditions section of your insurance policy. If it was damaged in the fire, your agent should be able to give you a copy. Read the Conditions section carefully as it should contain a list of things you need to do in the event of a fire. Follow the list precisely.
Doing these two things will get the process moving along and will put you on the fast track to having your fire-damaged has repaired or rebuilt as fast as possible.
In fact, to aid you in reporting a fire, most insurance companies now have a toll-free number that allows you to speak to a live representative and make a claim at any time of the day or night 24/7
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is a house fire is a very disruptive thing. It will disrupt your life significantly – first with the loss of possessions that you may suffer and then with the inconvenience that comes with the repair or rebuilding process. The good news is that if you don’t get discouraged and stick with it, you can get your house back.
Many homeowners decide not to subject themselves to the stress and frustration that can often come with repairing fire damage. These homeowners instead of waiting several days, weeks or months for their home to be repaired decide to sell their fire-damaged house. Selling the house allows them to move on and start over in a new house where they don’t have to worry about the lingering effects of smoke and soot damage.
If your home has been damaged in a fire and you are thinking about selling, We Buy Fire Damaged Houses has established a reputation for buying houses damaged by fire for a good price.
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