“Hoarders” isn’t just a hit television series. It’s actually a disorder, which causes people to experience difficulty discarding or parting with possessions, according to the Mayo Clinic. Some of the most commonly hoarded items include magazines, newspapers, bags, boxes, photos, supplies for the home, clothing and food.
As you might imagine, it can be hard to sell a hoarder house. In some cases, the clutter may have accumulated to the extent where you can’t even walk through the house. At that point, you may need to hire professionals to help you get the house in working order before you can sell it.
Here are some considerations for selling a hoarder home, whether it’s yours, you’re helping a loved one, or you inherited it.
Hire a Professional Organizer
The “bones” of the home may be great, but it’s difficult for buyers to get past the clutter. The first thing you’ll need to do is go through everything and decide what to keep and what to throw out. This can be an overwhelming process, especially if the possessions are yours. Professional organizers can help people suffering from hoarding disorder come up with a strategy for what to do with their stuff.
“Only Handle It Once” (O.H.I.O.) is a popular strategy, according to the International OCD Foundation. Difficulty making decisions is a common struggle for those with hoarding disorder. As a result, they might work up the energy to go through a pile and then become frustrated, unsure of what to do with the items. Instead of making a decision, they end up setting it back in the same pile or starting a new one. The OHIO approach teaches clients to only handle an object once.
A related tactic the foundation recommends is sorting items into three piles: “keep,” “discard” or “unsure.” The last category allows for discussion. To help her clients let things go, professional organizer Ann Zanon of Connecticut calculates the cost of keeping unused items, reported AARP, a nonprofit organization that focuses on issues affecting people as they age. Zanon uses the cost of space per square foot of the house. Using our own example, if you spent $350,000 on a 2,000-square-foot home, that’s $175 per square foot. If you have a room that’s 132 square feet and it’s covered from wall to wall with odds and ends, that stuff is taking up $23,100 worth of space. On top of that, people who hoard might also be paying for a storage unit to hold the items that couldn’t fit in their house.
Hiring a Professional Cleaner
Clutter comes with a cost — and it can be a hefty one. Professional cleaning is another service you’ll likely have to pay for before selling a hoarder house. The price can vary greatly depending on the work, but it can cost upward of $15,000 just to clean a mobile home.
Why so much?
You might expect to pay $80 an hour per consultant for a specialty cleanup service. It could take a couple weeks to go through everything with the owner. Add in the cost of cleaning supplies and then trash removal.
That cost addresses the clutter you can see, but not the problems that lie underneath it. For example, it’s not uncommon for houses that have a clutter problem to have a bug or rat problem, too, which requires an entirely different specialist (and cost) to address. There’s likely some interior work to be done now as well.
Fix It Up
One couple found their dream home, but it was a hoarder house, reported Good Housekeeping. They saw the potential, however, and did something most buyers won’t. They spent nine months and 12-hour days at that house, helping the owner go through every item. When all was said and done, they had thrown out five dumpsters worth of stuff, 26 tons of paper and made countless trips to the owner’s storage facility. Only then could the real work begin, gutting the inside of the house.
It’s extremely rare for buyers to be willing to put in that kind of work though. Normally, it falls onto the homeowner, who will need to clear the clutter, clean the house and fix it up before it can even go on the market.
Some of that work might include painting, new cabinets, new flooring, and plumbing. Painting the interior of a house costs an average of $1,765. Large homes will be even more costly. Installing six upper and lower cabinets is roughly $3,560. Wood flooring installation can cost roughly $2,816 (wood laminate) to $4,240 (hardwood). Replacing small sections of piping might cost you more than $1,000, while repiping or installing new plumbing for the entire home can be tens of thousands, depending on the job.
Real Estate Photography
If you’re selling a hoarder house, you have to decide whether you want to wait until the work is done to publish a listing with photos or get it up while the work is taking place. Real estate photography is often a major barrier to selling a hoarder house though. Obviously, pictures of clutter won’t sell well online.
Brokers or real estate agents might opt to only show the floor plan, the exterior, an epic view from a window, or a comparable model. Buyers, naturally, want to see inside the actual property during showings, however, even if given a virtual tour.
Staging for showings is nearly impossible. The entryway into some rooms is so narrow, you can barely squeeze through. They’ll often ask the buyers to “close your eyes and imagine the possibilities.” Some buyers might be willing to “see” past what’s in front of them, while others will move on, not willing to make the time or monetary investment to fix it up.
This becomes an emotional rollercoaster for those who want to sell a hoarder house. Every time a potential buyer falls through, the process to find another one starts all over again. That’s particularly draining for those who inherited the house from a loved one who passed away, as it drags out the process and makes it hard to move on.
Skip the Hassle + Sell “As Is”
Selling a hoarder house is an investment of your time, money and emotional energy. Fortunately, there’s a much easier, faster way to sell a hoarder house. The Buy Guys pay cash for single- and multi-family houses, townhouses, or apartment properties “as is” in Florida, Georgia and Texas. No mobile homes, manufactured homes or vacant land.
We buy homes in any condition, which means you don’t have to go through the clutter, pay for the cleaning or fix anything up. Simply call us. In less than five minutes, we can make an offer, using our advanced buying tools. After that, we’ll schedule a time to come by and take photos of the house (following COVID-19 safety protocols, of course) — and you can decide whether you’d like to be there. Roughly 10 to 15 days after receiving your signed contract, we’ll pay you. It’s that simple. The entire process can be completed from home on your side, which means you can sell a hoarder house from the comfort of your couch.
For a free, no-obligation estimate, call (888) 204-7603 or fill out this form on our website.