Selling a Hoarder House: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

How to Sell a Hoarder House

How to Sell a Hoarder House

Selling a hoarder house can be a difficult process.  Learn what to look for, such as hidden costs and other problems that might arise.  Can you sell it as is or is it worth fixing up?

If you have just inherited one of these homes or been asked to help sell one, you might have questions and don’t know where to start. Undeniably, selling a hoarder home isn’t easy, but with proper guidance, you should be able to get through the process without setting yourself back too much in time and money.

What Is Hoarding? 

A hoarding disorder is characterized by feelings of severe distress when one is parting with or getting rid of items. A hoarder always feels the urge to save items even if they have no value. This type of disorder often leads to the cluttering of living spaces as more items get brought in over time.

Please note that hoarding is very different from collecting. Collectors are individuals that acquire possessions and store them in an organized manner. Hoarding disorder is prevalent amongst older people, especially those that have lost loved ones. It is also common in individuals that suffer from other mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. Signs of hoarding often start in one’s youthful years, and as they grow old, it becomes more severe.

This disorder can significantly interrupt normal functioning. It can also get in the way of relationships, work, and other social activities. Hoarding can also be detrimental to your health both mentally and physically. People that become hoarders also suffer from conditions such as loneliness, which can make the condition worse, as collecting items is one method of dealing with the isolation.

Examples of Hoarding 

There are different types of hoarding disorders. Some are more common than others. A person may suffer from one, two, or even three types of hoarding disorders in some cases. If a loved one is showing signs of hoarding, helping them get urgent medical assistance can ensure they lead a new and healthy lifestyle. Below are a few examples of hoarding:

Shopping Hoarding

This ranges from food, clothing, survival gear, and collectibles. This disorder urges individuals to shop for items that they don’t even need. If you enter the home of a person with a hoarding disorder, you will mostly see these items piled up in their original packaging, even with their price tags still on. A shopping hoarding disorder can lead to unmanageable clutter in the long run.

Food Hoarding 

You can tell a person is suffering from food hoarding when they are always buying groceries, yet their cabinets and refrigerators are already packed to the brim. Even though there is nothing wrong with buying and storing food, when someone exaggerates it, their homes will often smell bad because of rotten food. This can also attract rodents.

Trash Hoarding

Have you ever come across people who cannot get rid of trash? Well, these are what we refer to as garbage hoarders. A trash hoarder will never get rid of the garbage in their home. They tend to see value even in the most useless items. There are many dangers of hoarding garbage. It attracts pests, and it’s also unhealthy. Hoarding trash can make a home uninhabitable.

Animal Hoarding

Though not as popular as other hoarding types, this disorder has its dangers. People suffering from animal hoarding own more animals than they can manage. In a home setting, most people can only handle a few pets. The more pets you have, the more difficult grooming, feeding, protecting, and getting rid of their waste becomes.  Often in the case of hoarding, it becomes totally unmanageable. This leads to contamination of the entire house. This is not only wrong for the animals, but it is extremely difficult for the pet owner.

Paper Hoarding

The last type of hoarder disorder on our list is related to paper. Some people find it extremely difficult to get rid of papers. This might be newspapers, letters, or invoices. The person can’t seem to throw them away when they become useless. Paper hoarding is dangerous. It can be a fire hazard, and there have been reports of people being trapped under piles of paper.

Irrespective of the type of hoarding disorder your loved one is portraying, you must be understanding of their behaviors. This will be of significant help in their recovery.

What Is a Hoarder House? 

By now, you are well aware of hoarding and the types of hoarding disorders that exist. If you are planning on selling a hoarder house, you must know what it is. A hoarder house can be defined as premises packed with trash, junk, and unnecessary items.

These houses are often filled with junk because this mental disorder pushes people into saving random items, whether valuable or not. Things are more likely to pile up faster in a hoarder’s house because they have trouble letting go.

Hidden Threats That Arise From Hoarder Houses

Hoarder houses pose several dangers. You have to act quickly if you currently own one, or these issues will catch up to you. Being the owner of a hoarder home, the authorities can penalize you for damages.

Other than that, these premises are usually filthy and unsafe. As hoarders clutter items in their homes, the ventilation is greatly affected, since the clutter will take up a considerable amount of space. Sometimes, hoarder homes can be so packed that they restrict movement within the home.

Due to the nature of hoarder homes, they are both fall and fire hazards. The presence of an abnormal amount of trash can interfere with the building’s structure, and this can cause it to collapse. If something catches fire, paper clutter can quickly spread the fire to other parts of the house.

Can You Sell or Should You Even Try to Sell a Hoarder House?

The short answer is yes.  You can sell a hoarder house as is oftentimes at a discount, or fix it up and possibly get more money. Either way, if you have been left in charge of a hoarder home, selling it is probably the best course of action. However, you can’t get top dollar it if it’s still packed with trash. You must convert a hoarder home to something more appealing to buyers.

Unlike regular homes that require minor renovations when you decide to sell them, a hoarder home needs a lot of work. A hoarder house is always left in terrible conditions, which might include the following:

1. There may be dirt and debris all over the place, thus requiring intense cleaning.

2. The home may have several structural issues which make it unsafe.

3. The walls and floorboards are either rotten or damaged.

4. There may be dead animals within the premises.

5. Biological waste could also be an issue.

6. A hoarder’s house is most likely to be infested by pests.

7. The odor from rotten food or dead animals can make the home unbearable.

When selling a hoarder house, you should know that all these things will lower the property’s value. Let alone value, finding a buyer interested in such a home will be difficult. This is why you have to invest a lot of money cleaning up and restoring a hoarder’s home.

Why Property Owners Struggle With Hoarder Homes

If you are the new owner of a hoarder house, brace yourself for tough times ahead. Many property owners struggle with hoarder homes primarily because of the recurring monthly costs. You will be required to pay for insurance and taxes for the property. Because hoarder homes feature more risks for falling or fires, the premiums will be higher than usual.

The other struggle you may face is the local authorities condemning your house because it’s not up to standard. If this happens, you will lose a lot of money that you were to make from selling the property.

Because of these complications, the best course of action is to sell a hoarder’s home as soon as possible.

If You Need to Sell a Hoarder House, Consider Your Options

To avoid these high costs, selling a hoarder home is the best course of action. However, the approach you will use in selling this home isn’t the one you would with an ordinary house.

The first thing you have to decide is whether to fix the home or sell it as it is. We will dig deeper into the benefits of each later on. However, this is a very critical step. The most significant advantage of selling the hoarder house as-is is that you won’t have to engage in costly clean-ups and renovations. On the other hand, if you take the time to restore a hoarder’s house, your home will fetch a higher value in the market.

If you want to sell a hoarder house, you should consider the following:

  • Approach a real estate investor – Some real estate investors specialize in these types of homes. They buy a hoarder’s house, fix it, and then put it back in the market. Approaching a real estate agent can ensure you sell the house fast without renovating or cleaning up.
  • Look for a cash buyer – If you are afraid of losing your home when the local city authorities condemn it, you can sell it to a cash buyer. Selling a hoarder house to a cash buyer is a fast and easy method of getting its burdens from your hands. You also don’t walk away empty-handed. When looking for cash buyers, research is critical. The buyer needs to be a legitimate person or company. Therefore, performing a background check is essential.
  • Real estate agent - If you are planning on selling a hoarder house, you may contemplate seeking the services of a real estate agent. The downside of doing this is that many real estate agents deal with direct buyers, such as families looking to buy a home in excellent condition. Some real estate agents may not be of much help since they, too, don’t want to clean and restore a hoarder’s house. That being said, KDS Homebuyers utilizes agents for their own properties that understand this type of home well, so it's worth a call to see which option is best for you. It's also worth mentioning that due to the amount of competition in the market, retail buyers have started considering fixer-uppers as well as even buying hoarder houses to fix up and live in.

On the other hand, a real estate investor specializes in such kind of work. They will renovate, restore and clean up the home before putting it back on the market.

What Is the Total Cost to Clean-up a Hoarder Home?

The area where the property is located and the current condition significantly affect the total fees of cleaning up a hoarder’s home. For an average sized home, it can cost you around $3,000 to $5,000. If the home is relatively bigger, a cleaning company can charge $1,000 a day. This is for mild hoarding clean-up.

For homes that are super dirty and contain animal or human waste and hazards, the fees will be higher. For an average sized home, you can pay up to $10,000 to $20,000. Before hiring a clean-up company, you should always compare the rates of various companies.

Sell As-Is or Fix Up a Hoarder House?

You avoid the responsibility, costs, and trouble of cleaning the hoarder’s house by selling the house as-is. However, if you have the time and resources to do so, you can attempt to convert the hoarder’s home into a beautiful house and advertise it in the real estate market.

The latter option requires a lot of time and money — two things which most people don’t have these days. If you don't have a lot of experience with this, the costs of repairs and renovations can get out of hand fast, and you will have wasted a lot of your time. Services like KDS Homebuyers fix and list program are designed to help in situations like yours. Before deciding between these two options, you have to evaluate what will be worth your efforts.

In Summary: Selling a Hoarder Home Can Help You Avoid Unexpected Expenses

As stressful as inheriting or owning a hoarder’s home is, you can quickly get yourself out of this mess. You can sell the property to a real estate investor or cash buyer. Managing a hoarder’s house is quite expensive, and if you are not careful, it can get you into debt. Selling it is one of the ways you can avoid these expenses and not walk away empty-handed. 

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