What Should You Do With a Hoarder’s Home?

Hoarding is a serious psychological condition that can make homes dangerous and unhygienic to live in. These homes can also pose a broader risk to the community as the cluttered conditions can create a fire hazard, and hoarded items can attract wildlife and breed disease. 

Due to the danger associated with hoarder houses, many landlords or government authorities are forced to evict residents and the hoarder house is put up for sale. However, as a seller, how do you know what to do with a hoarder house and its contents? Do you sell a hoarder’s house as it is? Or get rid of the items and make structural repairs?

If you want to know how to sell a hoarder house at an optimal price, consider its condition, the contents, and any structural issues that it may have.

Photo of a hoarder home, filled with clutter that can make it dangerous and difficult to sell.

What is a Hoarder?

A hoarder is a slang word that refers to a psychological condition. The American Psychiatric Association defines hoarding as an obsessive condition in which a person compulsively keeps objects well past their usefulness or viability.

A hoarder is someone who has such strong emotional ties to objects they collect that they have a difficult time letting them go, so they keep them indefinitely. Commonly hoarded items include:

  • Food
  • Photos
  • Memorabilia
  • Clothes
  • Newspapers
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Recyclables

Affecting 2 to 6% of the population, this disorder can lead to severe consequences for the sufferers, including the loss of income, isolation, and loneliness. It also creates a hazardous environment for the homeowner as the risks of tripping, falling, and having piles of junk toppled over on you is ever-present.

The Challenges of Selling a Hoarder’s House

If you are in charge of selling a house that has previously been occupied by a hoarder, you have an enormous task in front of you. Hoarders’ homes often are left to the seller with all of the hoarded items, many of which have been in the structure for months, if not years. 

A hoarder’s house may contain mold, rot, and decaying food, which are all significant health concerns for everyone involved. Most of the time, to avoid a black mold infection, workers wear ventilation masks when working in a hoarder house.

If there are animals on the property, the conditions can be even worse. Feces, decaying pet food, or even animal corpses can surprise workers dismantling the piles of items inside the home.

If the hoarder is on the property to help clear the house before sale, it can make the process even slower and more difficult as many hoarders become anxious and distressed when they see what they believe to be valuable items thrown out.

A photo of the garage in a hoarder's home.

How to Sell a Hoarder’s Property

If you are trying to sell a house that once was inhabited by a hoarder, you have a few options.

You can sell the house as-is, with all of the damage, at a low price. Or you can undertake renovating the home, either on your own or with a contractor, to revamp the property to make it attractive to potential buyers.

When deciding which route to take, consider the time it will take, the costs, and the perceived financial gain.

There is a third option, but it is usually reserved for the direst of situations. In some cases, the hoarder’s property is too far gone and is condemned by the state. In this case, the state has deemed that the structure is too dangerous for any inhabitants. If this is the case, your best bet is to raze the structure and sell the land.

Selling a Hoarder’s Home As-Is

If you don’t have a lot of time to devote to a home renovation, or don’t want to spend the money to renovate it, you can sell a hoarder house as-is.

The best buyer for a hoarder’s home is a real estate investor. These agents don’t need to see the property a lot or make too many inspections as they mainly buy property for cash and quickly turn it around.

Some of the significant benefits of selling a hoarder house as-is to a real estate investor are that they complete the closings quickly, sell on cash terms, and don’t charge real estate commissions.

To ensure your hoarder home sale is uncomplicated, always vet the real estate investor before you finalize the deal. You can check the investors’ online presence and reviews, meet with them in person and obtain references.

Renovating a Hoarder’s House

This option is more time-consuming and costs more money than selling a hoarder house as-is, but it can also net you more money in the long run. The first step is to empty the house. To ensure the health and safety of workers, masks, gloves, and protective jumpsuits should be provided.

Separate the stuff into three categories – keep, trash, and donate. Once you have emptied the house, evaluate the structural integrity with a professional. There may be rot or damage to load-bearing beams, pipes, electrical wiring, and more.

The third step is to hire a professional cleaning crew to scrub the house from top to bottom. Some services specialize in deep-cleaning hoarders’ homes as it may take some extra elbow grease to get the property clean and sanitized.

Whether you plan on renovating the house yourself or using a contractor, set a firm budget and timeline so you don’t end up losing out on your investment. If you can’t dedicate the time or money to fixing a hoarder house, the best option is to sell the place in as-is condition, as it may be more cost-effective for your long-term.

A distressed hoarder home.

Final Thoughts

Selling a hoarder house on the open market is difficult and not always successful, as it may not show well or appeal to buyers. But helping dismantle a hoarder house and making it livable again is a worthwhile and noble cause.

By putting your property in our hands, we can help you make the right decision for selling your distressed home. Simple Sale Central Florida can help you get rid of a hoarder house quickly and easily with no excess fees. If you have a hoarder house for sale, get started by submitting your address or call us at (407) 338-4183 to get your offer.

This article is meant for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as financial, tax, legal, real estate, insurance, or investment advice. Simple Sale encourages you to reach out to an advisor regarding your own situation. Please consult with your advisor when making legal or financial decisions.

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