Selling a Fire Damaged House?

This guide is intended to help UK property owners requiring assistance with the sale of a fire damaged house, flat or commercial premises.  In most cases the owners of a fire damaged property are looking for the quickest sale without hassle.

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Selling a fire damaged house – a guide for property owners.  When a property owner has to deal with the task of managing a property affected by fire damage, they will have two options: 1) repair the property or 2) sell the fire damaged property as is. The decision of which route to take will depend on the extent of the fire damage, the prospect of a successful insurance claim and the time and resources available to the property owner.

Fire damaged properties usually sell for more at auction. Request a free auction sale estimate or call 0800 862 0206 to talk about your options.

In most cases where a property has been so severely damaged by fire that the structure of the property has been damaged, owners decide to sell the property as is, rather than embark on lengthy building project.

Maintaining a fire damaged property

Owners of fire damaged properties have a responsibility to ensure there is no risk of harm to the public, so any loose materials or unstable structures need to be dealt with as a matter of urgency. The council can even fine you if the property/site appears unsightly or messy, as this example of a fire damaged property in Southend shows; the owner was fined £1,550 by the council for failing to clear up.

It may be necessary to appoint a fire damage clean-up company to help. Spending money to keep a fire damaged property safe can seem like a low priority, especially when you’ve lost so much already.  But using the services of a fire damage clean-up company can be a good investment, they will be able to offer guidance on reducing any secondary damage.

How to sell a fire damaged house

Once the formalities of insurance and police enquiries have been taken care of, property owners usually want a fire damaged property off their hands as quickly as possible. The conventional route of selling through an estate agent is fraught with difficulties as far as fire damaged properties are concerned. Even though an estate agent might tell you they can help sell your property for a fair price, in practice they rarely do.

Whenever the audience of buyers are the “trade end” of the market, an estate agency sale usually results in the price being negotiated downwards, stage after stage, as the buyer picks holes in the property and tries to secure themselves a deal. And of course, the audience of buyers for fire damaged houses is the trade (builders, developers, investors and the occasional amateur DIY enthusiast). It’s important to know that trade buyers purchase properties in a very different way compared to owner-occupiers, as this this article about why to avoid selling a poor condition property with an estate agent explains.

When dealing with trade buyers, auction is a far better option. Auction sales ensure properties sell for a fair price because multiple buyers have to compete against each other, forcing the price upwards. There’s no opportunity for buyers to reduce their offers and no back-handers to estate agents – the sale is entirely transparent at auction.

What price do fire damaged houses sell for?

In addition to the cost of works (time and materials) a trade buyer will want to make a profit of at least 20%. If the property is not suitable for mortgage lending (not habitable) as most fire damaged properties will not be, then a cash sale will also come at a cost – cash buyers usually want a 10% discount.

There are plenty of builders and developers keen to find a project – it’s how they make a living. And if the property is on their patch then they’ll be keen to purchase the property and start work as soon as possible. You can usually rely on regular trade buyers to pay a fair price for a property under the rules of an auction sale. In addition to trade buyers, there are also amateur buyers who pay a quite a more than they should, mainly because they underestimate the cost of work! This can result in properties achieving sale prices well above expectations at auction.

Need help deciding if auction’s for you?  Call us on 0800 862 0206 or send us an enquiry.

Selling a fire damaged house? Request a free auction sale estimate and or call our team on 0800 862 0206 to talk about the best options for you. 

Best options for selling a fire damaged house in the UK

The best route for you will depend on the level of damage to the property, the outcome of any insurance claim and the time you are prepared to wait to find a buyer. If you need to be sure of achieving a certain price for the sale you will need the auctioneer to agree a high enough reserve price.

As explained in the section below about the process for selling a fire damaged house at public auction, the reserve price will be the minimum amount your property will be allowed to sell for. With an auction sale the price starts low and can only increase. Bear in mind with any other method of sale (e.g. an estate agency sale or a direct sale) the price will usually be negotiated down from the original asking price and the sale could drag on for many months, depending on the buyers situation.

Selling a fire damaged leasehold flat

The considerations for selling a fire damaged flat are different from selling a freehold house, that’s because the freeholder for the building will need to be involved in the process and in some cases there may also be damage to neighbouring flats or communal areas.

Selling a Fire Damaged Leasehold Flat

If you’re selling a fire damaged flat it’s important to find out from the freeholder if they will allow the sale to proceed, so don’t rush into anything without their consent.

What’s the process for selling a fire damaged house at auction?

Our guide to selling at auction explains the basic process. The starting point to determine the reserve price (starting price) will be to carry out a valuation for the property, so in the case of a fire damaged house that won’t be all that straightforward. If you have a valuation report provided by an insurance company that will be a big help.

In most cases the best option for selling a fire damaged property will be at auction. request a free auction sale estimate and or call 0800 862 0206 to discuss your requirements. 

Auction Link helps homeowners by providing free and unbiased information about selling at auction. If auction is a suitable option for you, then we’ll help you through the process to ensure you achieve the best price for your property. We also buy property direct, for a guaranteed and hassle-free sale.

Other resources

Some other resources that might be of help when dealing with a fire damaged property.

If you require emergency housing due to your property being uninhabitable after a fire, the British Red Cross may be able to offer accommodation.

Sometimes fire damaged properties will be exempt from council tax, so it’s worth contacting your local authority to find out.

If you’re having difficult progressing an insurance claim, you may find the Association of British Insurers are able to help.

Owners of fire damaged flats should know their rights when dealing with the freeholder, the Leaseholder Advisory Service can help. 

Examples of fire damaged house sales in the UK

Fire damaged houses sell for more at auction compared to an estate agency sale because prospective buyers do not have the opportunity to negotiate the price downwards! With an auction sale the price can only increase through the process of competitive and transparent bidding. These examples show how effective an auction sale can be, to help property owners achieve the best possible sale price.

25 Frontfield Crescent, Plymouth, Devon PL6 6RY
This property was entered into auction in September 2019 with a guide price of £50,000.  The property is described as a fire damaged, ex-local authority, four bedroom, end terraced, extended house. Good sized garden with potential for off street parking. Ideal for investment.  See below for details of the final sale price. 

tata from Land Registry shows properties in good condition, on the same street selling for around the £140,000 to £150,000 in the last few years.  We don’t know the full extend of the damage, but looking at the external photos it looks severe. The property requires a new roof and internal renovation at the very minimum. For this fire damaged property we would have expected a final sale price of around the £80,000 level.  In fact the property sold for a lot more. See below!

After fierce competitive bidding on auction day, this fire damaged property in Plymouth ended up selling for £103,000. If the vendor had tried selling this property with an estate agent the price would almost certainly have been negotiated down. The other benefit of selling at auction is the sale happens so quickly – typically completion of sale takes place in around 6 to 8 weeks. 

21 Croft Way, Weedon, Northampton, Northamptonshire NN7 4QX
This fire damaged house in Northampton sold in September 2018. The property was severely fire damaged but was on a double width plot, so had potential for extending or redeveloping. 

The auction guide price was set at £110,000 to £120,00 and the eventual sale price was well above expectations at an impressive £141,500.

33 Bushey Hill Road, Camberwell, London SE5 8QF
There’s never a shortage of buyers for fire damaged properties in London. This property in Camberwell was sold at auction in February 2017 with a guide price of £700,000.  

The final sale price for this fire damaged house was more than £100,000 over the reserve price, it reached £815,000 by the end of competitive bidding on auction day.

Find out more about auction reserve prices and why they’re so important!

Next steps…

Contact us to find out if your property is suitable for auction Request a free pre-auction appraisal or feel free to call us on 0800 862 0206 – we’ll be happy to help.

Guide to Selling a Fire Damaged Property in the UK

Are you a UK property owner trying to find the best way to sell your fire damaged house, flat or commercial premises? This guide provides free and unbiased information about your options for selling a fire damaged property.

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“One real advantage of selling at auction is the competitive effect of having multiple bidders fighting it out for your property, bidding up the price within the space of a few minutes.“
Property Ombudsman Member