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What to Do When You Need to Sell a Hoarder House

Do you wonder if you can sell a Hoarder's house with all the junk in it? You might have a Hoarder relative or a friend that needs to sell their house and you are looking to help them. it can be a delicate issue to deal with. Hoarding is a unique psychological disorder that has unfortunate negative effects on the hoarder and everyone around them. One of the telltale signs that someone has a hoarding issue by looking at their home. Can you see the flooring in the property? If there are piles and piles of random items, newspaper, and even trash and they refuse to get rid of any of it, they could be a hoarder. A hoarder house is one of the most unsafe and destructive dwellings to live in. Or maybe you inherited a house when the hoarder relative pass away. Some hoarder homes end up becoming condemned houses.

If you inherit the responsibility for one of these properties, you might be wondering if it is possible to sell a hoarder house. When you or someone you know needs to sell a hoarder house, here is some more information to help you understand what to do in this situation.

Are you selling a hoarder house? Request a cash offer from us here.

Hoarding was officially designated a mental disorder in 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association. It affects between 2 to 6 percent of the population, but that number is just a guess because caregivers often don’t get an official diagnosis. It can be hard to know what steps to take first to help someone in this situation.

Sometimes people don’t know about an older relative’s hoarding until it’s too late. By that time, the hoarding has gone on for many years and can have severe effects on the person and their house. If you find yourself in a position where you need to sell a hoarder home, here are the steps you can take.

When selling a hoarder’s house one of the first things you need to do is decide whether you want to get the most money for the property or sell it quickly. Answering this question will decide the next step in the process.

Selling hoarder houses as-is will be much different than fixing up the property to maximize the sale price.

If you just want to sell the property as quickly as possible and move on, then selling it as-is to a real estate investor or contractor will be your best bet.

Clean It A hoarder home will not usually sell on the market as-is. Even if you do find a regular buyer for it, they will need to take on the task of cleaning it out. The only way you can hope to sell the home is to clean out all the items. You’ll likely need to rent a dumpster and pull everything out. You can also pay people to come in and take all the hoarded possessions, however that will come at an increased cost. After you have removed all the possessions, there will be a lot more cleaning to do. A deep cleaning is necessary to remove the unsanitary conditions that have accumulated due to the hoarding. It’s not uncommon to find mold and pest problems in hoarded homes, which needs to be treated professionally to ensure it doesn’t come back. Some people try to take a shortcut by not doing the cleaning and only taking photos of the home’s exterior. Unfortunately, this is a red flag for many online buyers. If they only see exterior shots, they know something is wrong with the inside. This discourages buyers from looking at the house. Perform Repairs After cleaning out the house, you will likely discover that you need to do repairs. Hoarder homes can suffer from an array of damages from leftover food, vermin, mold, and pet damage. This can cause issues with the finishes, plumbing and even structural problems. Walls and floors may be damaged, and plumbing may be clogged or ruined altogether. Unfortunately, a lot of those problems are hard to see by doing a simple examination of the property. The best course of action is often to get a home inspector out who can tell you exactly what is wrong. Buyers will be having a home inspection done, so performing the inspection will let you know what you need to fix. You may also find that fixing one thing leads to the discovery of other problems. For example, removing a baseboard might show evidence of mold which needs to be taken care of professionally. Replacing flooring may reveal structural issues. Home buyers will be very wary of purchasing a property without these repairs done though, so, unfortunately, they’re necessary. Update the House to Modern Standards One problem with hoarder homes is that they often get to the point where the sheer volume of items prevents anyone from entering. The home has probably been owned for decades. In addition to repairs not being performed, nothing ever gets upgraded. The air conditioning system may be outdated. The owner may not have painted the home in years. You will likely have to perform a significant number of upgrades to modernize the house and make it marketable.

In other words, it will be very expensive.

The condition of a hoarder home often comes about from years of neglect and will need a lot more than a fresh coat of paint. Some common scenarios when repairing and selling hoarder houses include:

  • Structural problems

  • Dead animals

  • Rotten walls and floorboards

  • Biological waste (animal, and sometimes human)

  • Major problems everywhere

  • Extreme cleaning crew and heavy-duty cleaning equipment needed

  • HAZMAT protective clothing for dangerous chemicals or infectious disease

  • Pest control

  • Heavy odors that completely permeate surfaces. Walls, ceilings, floors, counters–all may have to be removed.

That’s so much work beyond a normal home that may just need paint and necessary repairs. It’s a full-time project.

You might want to hire a trustworthy contractor who can organize a crew for clean-up, interior demolition, and repair when selling hoarder houses.

What Does It Cost to Clean-up a Hoarder Home?

This can vary greatly and can depend on where you live and the extent of the damage. Hoarder house cleaning costs may be higher in San Francisco versus Nashville, Philidelphia, Atlanta, or Houston, for example, since the cost of living is different.

According to, the national average for mild hoarding cleanup is $3000-$5000 for a 2000 square foot home, or roughly $1000/day for larger projects.

But they note that if there are human wastes, hazardous materials, and other extreme cleanups, the same space could be upwards of $25,000.

FIXr breaks down some of these costs. Warning, some of these will be hard to read, but it’s important to understand where these added costs may come from.

  • Animal feces removal – $25/bag, which may include walls and flooring that have to come out because waste has been sitting on them.

  • Biohazard – Up to $600/hour. If the person had a contagious disease, for example, COVID, this would be on top of other costs. You would not want to let someone go into clean up without telling them about problems you are aware of.

  • Crime scene cleanup – $600/hour

  • Unattended death from natural causes varies, depending on how long it took to claim the individual from the home

  • Sewage backup – $10,000

Get A Cash Offer Instead If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of performing all these fixes, you’re not alone. To sell a hoarder home, you will need to clean it, perform necessary repairs, and update it to look more modern. There is no way around this. If you try and sell the home as-is, you will find that there are very few regular buyers on the market willing to step into that kind of a mess. Houses owned by hoarders can cost tens of thousands to repair. It’s not uncommon to see the total bill exceed $100k to make the home livable and desirable. Furthermore, it may take longer to prepare the house than you have time to wait for. It sometimes can take months for the home to get to the point where improvements can begin. It can be a steep hill to climb. It may not make financial sense to spend the time, energy, and money necessary to clean up a hoarder home. It’s a lot of work. Instead, it makes more sense to let a company that specializes in these types of home restorations take over. You can sell the hoarder house and get a cash offer. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars or, worse, get a home equity line to cover the repairs. Instead, you walk away with money, and we take care of the rest. You will also receive your cash much faster than if you took the time to perform all the necessary fixes and then market the home. Companies dedicated to cleaning up and restoring hoarder homes for sale are better equipped to deal with unforeseen issues. We can also offer you a quick and private solution to selling the house. Save yourself the time, energy, and money by getting a cash offer today.

Need Help Selling a Hoarder House in Harford County MD and surrounding areas? Request a FREE no-obligation cash offer!

Do Real Estate Agents Specialize in Selling Hoarder Homes?

Most real estate agents will be at a loss with what you do to help a family sell a hoarding house. Just like you, they don’t want to take on the work required to fix up and sell a hoarder’s house.

Real estate professionals are not typically equipped to handle this. With that being said there are good agents that work with cash buyers but those will mostly be investors and their price would include realtor's commission you will be paying if you choose to go traditional route of listing the house.

Generally, when you work with a real estate agent, you’re asking them to list your home on the open market. You would only want to do that if you chose to clean and repair it to get it market-ready.

But what if you chose to work with a real estate agent without fixing it up? Could you sell a hoarder house as-is on the open market? It’s not impossible if you take really good pictures inside.

However, what you need to consider is the fact that this is not discreet for your loved one or your family. These pictures will be public. They will show the living conditions of your loved one.

We understand that this home’s condition is possibly the result of a mental or physical health condition. But you may or may not feel comfortable showing the world the extent of it.

On top of that, finding prospective buyers when selling a hoarding house will be no easy task.

Generally, in these circumstances, you will only get offers from real estate investors, not a family that wants to fix it up and live in it. Selling to real estate investors is an entirely different type of home sale than what you might be used to.

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