Selling a Hoarded House: A Guide to Compassionate Real Estate

Hoarding is an increasingly common challenge which we encounter in buying real estate. It not only affects individuals living in the home but in many cases it makes selling a hoarded house very difficult for their family. If you find yourself in the position of helping someone sell a hoarded house, it’s essential to approach the situation with empathy, patience, and a clear plan. In this post we will discuss how we have assisted several clients sell their hoarded house without the traditional hurdles encountered with listing such a house and provide some ideas on how you can assist your loved one in this transaction.

Establish Open Communication

The first step we do in helping someone sell a hoarded house is to establish open and non-judgmental communication. We understand that hoarding is a complex issue often linked to underlying emotional struggles. We show empathy and listen to the homeowner’s concerns and fears. Building trust is crucial for the process to move forward.

Develop a Clear Plan

We will work with you to create a clear plan for buying your hoarded house without all the decluttering required by agents who want to list your house for sale. 

Roger Needed to Sell His Father’s Hoarded House…

Roger and his siblings received a call that their elderly father had fallen inside his house. The rescue response to his home required the front door to be cut in half so they could carry him out. The house was hoarded so severally most rooms were not accessible, including to the point the front door could not be fully opened. The house was deemed uninhabitable and the family was forced to make some fast decisions. None of them had been in the house for more than a decade and they were blown away by how bad the hoard had become since their last time being inside. Overwhelmed and dealing with getting the proper care for their father we were able to put together an offer for the house along with all the contents. This saved the family valuable time and as a result they were able to get their father the care he needed.

Start with Small Steps

Decluttering a hoarded house can be overwhelming and very slow, so start with small, manageable areas. Focus on one room or even one corner at a time. We’d encourage you to sort items into categories such as keep, donate, sell, or discard. Be patient, as progress may be slow. If you find that time is moving too slowly in the process, we can put together an offer for the house with the contents to save you from needing to clean out a thing.

We Bought Sharon’s Inherited Hoarder House…

Peggy inherited her childhood home a few years before calling us. She had been slowly working her way through the house cleaning it out but she was growing weary after years of clearing items and making little progress. She reached out to us to see if we could buy the hoarded house with all the remaining contents. After our evaluation of the house we made an offer to her on the spot. She accepted the offer and we quickly closed on the house, with all the remaining contents. Afterwards she commented that she wished she would have called us years earlier.

Professional Organizers and Cleaners

Another option if you decide not to sell the house is enlisting the help of professional organizers and cleaners who specialize in hoarding situations. They can provide guidance, support, and manpower to speed up the decluttering process. These experts understand the sensitivity of the situation and can help maintain a respectful atmosphere. Of course, this can get very costly.

Legal and Financial Support

This is something we see with hoarding, it can lead to various legal and financial issues, such as code violations or unpaid bills. Help your loved one address these concerns by connecting them with proper legal and financial advisors who can provide guidance on how to resolve these issues. Code violations create further financial strain and stress with neighbors. Something to consider is that when a hoarded house is sold the proceeds typically cover any outstanding code violations.

Home Repairs and Improvements

So this is a big one, once the clutter is removed a full understanding of the condition of the house can be determined. Many hoarded houses require significant repairs and renovations. Some of the things we have encountered after buying a hoarded house are faucets that have been leaking for years, extensive mold, termite damage, damaged walls and floors, non-working heating and cooling systems, electrical issues from rodent activity, etc. This is all a risk we knowingly take in helping you sell your hoarded house without cleaning out the contents. 

Susan was Embarrassed to Show Us Her Hoarded House…

Susan reached out to me and said she had to sell her house because she was delinquent on taxes and she had multiple unpaid code violations. She then delayed for over a year in allowing me to see her house. Finally, she called back and said she had two weeks before her house was being auctioned by the city during a tax sale. We performed our evaluation and found a severely hoarded house. She was sleeping on a recliner in the living room because her bedrooms were inaccessible. She had put us off for more than a year because, in her words, “I was so afraid for you to see how I was living.” To her surprise we never even mentioned the things in the house and she quickly realized her fears about us being judgemental were unfounded. We were able to buy her house before the auction and pay her more than she was hoping to get for the house. As a result she was able to pay off all the debts against the house and walk away with a check.

These are only a few of the examples of people we have bought hoarded houses from without them needing to lift a finger in clearing or cleaning anything. Helping people sell a hoarded house is a complex and sensitive undertaking and we have repeatedly helped sellers in this situation. If you or anyone you know needs help evaluating the value of their hoarded house please feel free to contact us and we will have a quick conversation to see if we’re a solution.

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