How To Sell A Hoarder House In 2022
by Kevin Bazazzadeh – Updated July 7th, 2022
Are you trying to sell the home of someone who hoarded possessions?
Unfortunately, it can be a real headache to sell a house with hundreds of possessions that are packed into every nook and cranny of the home. Just CLEANING the place can take months. So what should you do? At Brilliant Day Homes, we’ve worked with many homeowners in this exact situation.
What Is A Hoarder House?
A hoarder house refers to the home of a person with the incessant habit of stacking items in the house without discarding them once they become unnecessary. Hoarders place intrinsic value on possessions that they do not really need to have in the first place. When such items pile up over time, they pose a threat to homeowners and those in the vicinity. Commonly hoarded items are food, photographs, clothes, newspapers, cardboard boxes, magazines, and even animals in some cases.
Hoarders characteristically exhibit symptoms of emotional turmoil. They are anxious about discarding items, indecisive about which items to keep or throw away, embarrassed about their possessions, and suspicious that others are trying to touch their property. Obsessive thoughts on how they might need certain items in the future and difficulty in organizing possessions are common.
Since not much is known about the causes of hoarding, there is no surefire way to prevent it. Getting treatment early can however go a long way in preventing hoarding from taking root and complicating selling the property.
Can You Sell A Hoarder House?
Yes, you can sell a hoarder house in as-is condition, although a hoarder home will not usually sell on the market as-is. Hoarder houses will not pass home inspections which makes getting a home loan impossible for a conventional buyer. Hoarder houses are more easily sold to cash buyers that won’t need a home inspection.
How To Get Rid Of A Hoarder House
If you want to sell a hoarder house on the market you will need to verify ownership of the property, determine if there are any liens on the property, clean out all the items that are trash, and make the necessary repairs so that the house is not dangerous to enter into or occupy.
1. Verify Ownership of The House
This might seem like an unnecessary step but considering the circumstances, it is always wise to cover your bases when it comes to the legal ownership of the residence itself. Many times it is heirs to the property after the hoarder has passed away that end up either trying to fix up the house or trying to sell it. The last thing you want to happen is to start the process and spend a bunch of money cleaning and renovating the home only to find out someone else has a claim to the ownership. The home is already a big mess, don’t add a legal mess to it as well.
2. Check For Liens
Most hoarders don’t keep up with financial obligations over time. This includes not paying property taxes, HOA dues or and even not keeping up with mortgage payments. All of these things can result in a lien being placed on the home. Since property liens are public information you can search the property records on the county clerk’s website, or if the information is not online, you can contact the county clerk or recorder of deeds.
3. Clean Out All The Items
This is not a clean-up job for you and your friends. This is not even a clean-up job for the local cleaning service. This is a job for extreme cleaning professionals. The cost of clean-up isn’t cheap but you should spend the time to research the cost to clean out a hoarder house and what it entails.
The truth is that when it comes to cleaning a hoarder’s house, what you can see is merely the beginning. Every pile of newspapers or towers of trash is hiding something underneath, something that is probably unhygienic and possibly toxic. We’re not just talking about moldy food or dirty clothes. We’re talking about feces, dead animals, and black mold. So many things in a hoarder’s house could be unsafe if not handled and disposed of properly. Mold and bacteria need to be cleaned thoroughly. Animal and human waste needs to be disposed of in a proper manner. In all these cases the house will smell terrible and it can be a challenge to deodorize the house.
The point is, if there was ever a situation that called for professionals who understand what it means to enter a potentially dangerous environment in order to clean it, this is it. Whatever costs are involved, they’ll be worth it in the end so you can bring the home back up to a livable level.
One other thing to consider…not everything being hoarded is trash. There might be valuable items buried amongst the piles. There might be keepsakes that the owner or the owner’s family would like to keep. There might also be items worth selling in order to defray the costs involved in the selling process (or to help the homeowner get by in the meantime). Don’t make assumptions about what you’ll find.
4. Make The Necessary Repairs
Just like you don’t know exactly what’s going on underneath the mess until you start cleaning it, you don’t know how extensive any damage is to the house until you really get in there as well. Years of neglect are bound to take their toll and it’s very likely that a hoarder hasn’t done their due diligence to maintain the integrity of all the materials that make up a livable home.
Even after the cleaning is over, you’re not out of the woods yet. You might be able to see some damage but you won’t know the full extent until you get inspection professionals in to look for structural damage, electrical issues, and plumbing problems. Even if you can make the home look spotless, you might have a dozen issues that aren’t up to code lurking behind the walls and under the floors. Repairing these issues can help you out in the long run.
Don’t cut any corners when it comes to knowing every single issue going on with the house. The last thing you want is to put in extensive work decluttering and cleaning up the home and selling it only to have the buyers back out because they discovered damage you hadn’t considered. Buyers may already be wary of buying a hoarder’s home, to begin with, don’t give them any further ammunition.
Time is of the essence when one contemplates getting repairs done. You start repairs with the goal of netting more income, and by the end, have lost more money than gained due to ongoing costs (taxes, utilities, insurance) and mismanagement.
Selling A Hoarder House As-Is
Selling a hoarder house ‘as-is’ is a good option for homeowners strapped for time and cash to transform the house. A big thing to consider if fixing the house up is the surprises you might find. Unlike a normal house where most of the issues can be seen up front, hoarder houses can hide major damage under all of the trash and items. What might look like a simple paint and carpet remodel could turn into a full renovation if major mechanical systems like the HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and roof have not been taken care of.
Can A Hoarder House Be Condemned?
A hoarder house can be condemned if the condition is bad enough. Public health and/or fire safety problems put the home at risk for condemnation. These problems include blocked access to any doors, electrical hazards, the presence of biohazardous material like dead animals or animal waste, mold, and structural dangers like a bad roof.
Can You Sell a Hoarder House With A Realtor?
You can use a realtor to sell a hoarder house, however, hiring a real estate agent means listing the house on the market. Most buyers will have no interest in the house since there are a lot of financial risks to buying a hoarder house. In addition, hoarder houses are not likely to qualify for a conventional loan.
Can you Sell A Hoarder House Without An Agent?
You can sell a hoarder house without using an agent. If you don’t want to list the house then selling it as-is to a real estate investor or contractor will be your best bet. Investors pay with cash, so the house doesn’t need to pass inspections that are required by a bank for a traditional buyer.
Want to sell a hoarder house without doing any cleaning or making any repairs? We buy hoarder houses.
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