Hoarder Houses and What to Do About Them

Newspaper piles tied up with string, brand new items never used in piles, maybe throw in an unhinged great uncle and what you have is a genuine bonafide hoarder’s house. Now that’s established what on earth can you do about it? 

Awareness of hoarding has been created over the years. Shows tackling hoarding are often aired on television and media platforms to understand the condition better. Hoarding is a delicate psychological disorder that leads people to accumulate items without immediate need and not able to let go of them. Most times, the condition is not recognized until it’s too late. The clutter piles up over time, creating hazards and unsanitary living conditions for the people occupying the house. Sometimes it is our relatives or friends suffering from this hoarding disorder. This article discusses how to go about it.

What Are Hoarder Houses?

A hoarder house is a real estate property that is overfilled with many personal belongings, clutter, or junk. These items fill up every available space within the house. This behavior has been diagnosed as a mental obsessive-compulsive disorder that affects every type of homeowner, regardless of living in an apartment, townhouse, condo, or single-unit home. Hoarders attach a lot of sentimental value to these items that it is extremely challenging for them to let go. It gets so bad that it harms their health and social wellbeing.

Levels of A Hoarder House 

There are five levels of hoarder houses :

Level One Hoarder House

In this, the house only has a small amount of clutter. Because of this, the odors are insignificant.

Level Two Hoarder House

In this house, clutter has started to gather and is restricting movement. It also emits smells, noticeable fecal matter, and rodents start to appear. 

Level Three Hoarder House

This hoarder house already has a bathroom and bedroom filled with so many items that it is unusable. The rooms cannot be entered easily since the countertops are brimming with garbage.

Level Four Hoarder House

This home is overrun with pests, stale food remainders, and a strong stench of rotting stuff. Such a house even has animal hoarding sometimes.

Level Five Hoarder House

In such a house, there is no room for movement. Junk is everywhere, the place is toxic, and the inhabitants have evident health issues.

Are Hoarder Houses on the Rise?

One might think hoarder houses are on the rise because of all the tv shows. But are they really? Are houses owned by hoarders really that common? We reached out to some real estate professionals that buy hoarder houses for a living to get their take on the current situation. 

“Recently I have purchased more hoarder houses than in the past but my evidence about hoarders is hardly the result of robust real estate research.” said Alex Capozzolo, a Real Estate Professional and Home Buyer in San Diego, CA. “To say that I have bought 7 hoarder houses in the last few months might sound a lot and significant but that’s just a drop in terms of total homes sold. That aside I have found it necessary to dedicate a page to answer a number of questions about how to sell a hoarder house for those that find themselves in this predicament.” He continued, “I’m not sure if it is related but I have also seen an uptick in the number of people having to deal with squatters, another situation that can leave a seller with their hands in the air, unsure of how to get the house sold.”

What Are the Symptoms of Hoarder Houses?

The behavior of hoarding items excessively and putting them in your house is a mental disorder. It normally starts during the teenage years and proceeds to adult age. As the hoarder ages from a teenager, the behavior manifests in storing items without any need for these items. In middle age, the person goes overboard and starts keeping items everywhere. In adult life, it is significantly evident that clutter has accumulated by the time family and friends notice it.

What Are the Effects of Hoarder Houses?

The clutter kept in hoarder houses has its downsides. These effects include:

Dangerous Living

It is dangerous to live with items that block easy entry and exit. Even worse, if these items are flammable, it makes them even more hazardous. They also make a room to be damp and are a breeding ground for rodents, flies, and other dangerous pests. This is because cleaning such houses is difficult. The pests, smelly crevices, dampness, and dirt can spread diseases and lead to further health impairments and ailments such as respiratory diseases from the contaminated air.

Unnecessary Death

Things can get worse in a hoarder’s house leading to death. A hoarder can trip on one of the hoarder items and hit their head on something sharp. This can lead to a head injury and premature death. Other times it can lead to an internal injury that worsens over time, leading to death. The stinky conditions within the house can also lead to diseases that can be easily prevented. These diseases can aggravate until the person passes away.

Financial Strain

The hoarder always buys unnecessarily, even without the budget or the space to store it. This cause the person to be broke

Strain in Relationships

Hoarders experience relationship strain because they fear throwing their stuff or losing it if they get evicted or condemned.

Family Issues

Children of hoarders go through depression or other mental conditions due to the environment they live in. They cannot invite their friends because of embarrassment. This breeds resentment and an unhealthy lifestyle.

Is Hoarding Treatable?

Since it is a mental illness, it can be diagnosed by a licensed mental health professional. These professionals include psychiatrists, counselors, psychologists, and clinical social workers. The hoarding is treated by cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Contact local authorities, child protective departments, or animal welfare organizations if you notice this issue.

Can a hoarder House Be Condemned?

An authoritative local health board can condemn a hoarder house if extreme conditions affect other people. If conditions deteriorate to the extent that it affects others, a board can label the house as condemned.

How to Clean a hoarder House?

Hoarder houses need professional work to address the clutter on multiple levels. You can use a professional junk removal service provider, donation pick-up services, storage units for items like furniture, a mold removal service provider, and pest treatment companies to eliminate bugs and pests.

How Do I Sell a hoarder House?

It is quite possible but challenging for a real estate agent to sell a hoarder’s home. It needs some cleaning to sell. Mostly, these houses are sold to contractors or investors. They will purchase them cheaply, fix them and flip them for a profit. There are a few options on how to sell a hoarder house. Though at a lower price, you can sell the house as it is without renovation or damage repair. In cases where the property is completely out of order or condemned to be inhabitable, the structure can be demolished so that the owner can sell the land. This is an option to take after exhausting all other options. The decision to make in regards to the sale of a condemned house should be based on cost, time, and financial gain.

 Selling a Hoarder’s Home As-Is

This is the best option when you are limited in resources or time to get the hoarder house renovated. A real estate investor is the best buyer for this kind of houses. This makes it even easier to close the sale because:

  •  No inspections are needed
  • No charges or commission required
  • The sale on cash basis

This will however will only be a successful procedure with a real estate professional to close the deal.

Renovating a Hoarder’s House

This is the alternative to selling the house as is. It is tedious and time consuming but may attract potential buyers and a better price in the long run.

  • Clear the house
  • Separate the stuff in categories of what to throw away, donate, or keep
  • Evaluate the property with the help of a professional
  • Scout for damage like faulty wiring and rot
  • Hire professional cleaning services for deep cleaning and sanitization of the property
  • Set a budget for the renovation

How to Find hoarder Houses for Sale Near You?

You can google search for a hoarder’s house near me or a hoarder house for sale. Google then check real estate’s website with MLS descriptions and gives the findings.

Final Thoughts

Hoarding needs to be treated as a serious mental disorder. On first notice, give help and take them to necessary professionals. Even offer to clean the house for them. However, if it persists, then proceed and alert the authorities. The effects are too tragic to allow a person to live in a hoarder house.

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