Selling a hoarder’s home
While many people enjoy tuning into reality television shows that expose the nightmarish conditions within which many hoarders live, the reality behind the ratings push is often much more morbid.
Many of us know, or have known an individual who lives in a hoarder house, and are more than aware that the problem has its roots in mental illness. For older people who lived through the Second World War, the lack of available provisions and luxury items at the time led to a shift in mentality where the idea of discarding unwanted or unnecessary items could come back to haunt them if they ever faced the same situation. For others, it is an offshoot of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and depression – believing that an item they no longer need could be either useful in the future, or has a sentimental value that elevates its status above that of a simple ‘object’.
As hoarding itself is surprising prevalent across the country – albeit at different levels of severity – it often affects not just the hoarder, but their friends and family also. Moreover, hoarders themselves are more likely to suffer from depression, social anxiety, and various other disorders that heavily impact their mental and physical health. And sadly, as a result of these ailments they are far more likely to die earlier, leaving their nearest and dearest with the unpleasant task of selling a loved one’s hoarder home.
On the other hand, a hoarder may simply be trying to move so that they can fight the illness and make a fresh start, and in these situations, they are hoping to sell their house fast before they have a change of heart.
Obviously, a hoarder home is often unsellable as it stands, and so a number of steps must be taken to make the property seem appealing to those who are in the market to buy. But how do you go about selling a hoarder’s house?
Cleaning a hoarder’s house
An important realisation to make early on in the process is to be aware that you need more than one person to see the task through to completion. Not only is it dangerous to clean a hoarder home by yourself in case of an accident, but also because of the sheer scale of the task. While there are many companies who are happy to be sub-contracted to carry out the cleaning, they are unlikely to have known the hoarder on a personal level, and as a result they may find it hard to differentiate between the accumulated items that bare no value, and those items that are genuinely important or carry a true sentimental value to the ex-resident. By overseeing the project, you can ensure that important memories are kept safe by employing people you trust to help.
In order to put a hoarder house up for sale, it must first be habitable and safe. So, if you find yourself tasked with a hoarding clean up, there are some important rules to be followed.
1) Make the necessary safety arrangements
Due to the sheer number of objects, a hoarder house will have been hard to keep clean. It is, therefore, of paramount importance to wear the right protective clothing in case you run into any issues that could directly affect your health.
- Ensure that you have face masks to protect your team from dust, fibreglass insulation, rotten food, or dead rodents.
- Wear industrial-grade protective gloves to prevent cuts, or from having your skin exposed to dangerous materials.
- Wear appropriate waterproof overalls to prevent you from carrying any hazardous substances away from the house in the fibres of your clothing.
- Have a first-aid kit on site, as well as someone who is trained as a first-responder.
2) Hire skips for disposal
It is surprising just how many items can fit inside a home. In many cases, a small two-bedroom house can hold up to several skips worth of refuse, so be sure not to underestimate the situation.
3) Gather your cleaning supplies
Some of the key supplies needed throughout the clean-up will include: heavy-duty leak-proof refuse sacks; receptacles for items you aim to keep; both light and heavy-duty cleaning agents; disposable sponges, mops and cloths; a vacuum cleaner; and commercial carpet-cleaning equipment.
4) Empty the house
For anyone looking at buying a hoarder house, it’s much easier to see the property’s potential if they can see the layout in all its glory – so get your team to start with a single room, separating out items that need to be kept from those that can be disposed of, and start filling the skips. Once the first room is complete, move onto the next.
5) Start cleaning
Using the cleaning supplies, start sponging down walls, windows and windowsills before utilising industrial strength cleaners in rooms such as bathrooms and kitchens to remove any residual bacteria. There are likely to be many things in the house that are unsalvageable such as soiled carpets and curtains, as well as dis-coloured and damaged wallpaper – so prepare yourself for several days of elbow-grease.
It is also important to find the source of any unpleasant smells – if a hoarder has had pets, you may find that certain floorboards are soaked with urine, and they will need to be replaced.
6) Start restoring
Once cleaned, your can start making the home look habitable again. Go for neutral-colours when painting the walls and ceilings, and ensure that any out-dated equipment such as old ovens and microwaves are removed and replaced. It’s also a good idea to check the heating systems, as boilers in a hoarder’s house are unlikely to have been serviced in recent years.
Selling a hoarder’s house
Once you are ready to sell, the majority of the hard work will be behind you. Look for a local agent with prior experience with hoarder homes, but ideally, hire the photographer yourself. A true professional will always know the right angles from which to snap a shot, and through the use of a wide-angle lens make the home itself seem much more spacious.
For those who would prefer to avoid the traditional route of selling a house, you can also try hosting open days where in a preferred time slot, anyone who wants to look inside can come and show their interest.
Alternatively, you can contact National Homebuyers who will offer you a competitive price for the home, with the benefit of a fast sale within two weeks regardless of situation or location. And remember, if you would rather avoid the task of cleaning the house yourself, house buying companies will gladly offer to do the hard work for you once it is purchased.
Are you desperate to sell a hoarder home? Why not ask National Homebuyers for advice, as we buy any house. Call 08000 443 911 or request a call back to find out how much you could get for your property.
How to sell a house that needs work done
For those who need to sell their house fast but don’t have the time to renovate, finding a buyer willing to pay a decent sum is hard work – so how do you maximise your profit?
Many individuals purchase a home with the hopes that, over time, they can renovate it. However, by the time they need to sell, they find that they have either never had the time to commit to making the necessary repairs, or simply lacked the motivation to do so.
The house, if sold, may provide a better return than the price it was purchased for, but the likelihood is that it will fall well-short of the asking price the vendors were hoping for.
Luckily, if you are selling a house that needs repairs, there are steps that you can take to ensure you attract the right kind of buyer who sees the potential in your home, despite the obvious drawbacks.
So, what are the important repairs to make when selling a house?
Deciding which features are worth spending money on is always a bit of a gamble, but the best way to get the most out of your sale is by putting yourself in the shoes of a potential buyer, and identify issues from the outside-in.
If you were to look upon your home for the first time, what would be immediately obvious? For many houses, the front elevation can be easily improved by re-varnishing wooden window and door frames – as well as ensuring that the windows themselves are kept clean. It’s also worth looking at the possibility of purchasing a new front door if your present one is beginning to look a bit shabby.
For many city houses, a build-up of carbon from road traffic can also make a home look tired and undesirable. So why not hire a pressure washer to dispel the decades of unsightly pollution and make your external walls look brand new?
Other peripheral features that are easy to tidy up include gardens and yards. By using weed-killer on paths and flower beds as well as re-gravelling your driveway and re-seeding your lawn, you can easily show that the house itself is well cared for, providing a great reason for buyers to enquire further.
Inside the home, there may of course, be a number of obvious issues that need attention such as damage to walls and doors – much of which can be taken care of with a liberal application of filler – but what about the less obvious details?
Many sellers choose to replace flooring in preparation for a sale, but it is worth noting that the majority of buyers will be replacing the floor themselves at some point, no matter how pleased you are with the present style. So why not save yourself money and time and hire a carpet cleaning machine which can easily remove years of dirt and discolouration.
So, what else should you consider when selling a house that needs repair? Regardless of your preference for colour and style, remember that you need a buyer to see the potential in your home, so make sure that all walls are painted in neutral colours such as cream, white, or lavender. While a paint job may take up a few weekends, the increased saleability of the property will make it all worthwhile by the time you finalise a deal.
What about a house that needs major repairs?
The roof may be starting to sag – but is it leaking? The foundations are not in the best condition – but do they pose a threat to the house in terms of stability? For serious issues, there is little point trying to pretend they don’t exist.
Any self-respecting buyer or developer will undoubtedly employ a structural surveyor prior to purchase, and if these structural problems end up being exposed in a Homebuyer’s Report after you have tried to conceal them, any trust a buyer has invested in you will disappear.
If a potential buyer is aware of an issue before a sale, however, it is a lot easier for you to negotiate the cost of repair into the asking price itself. In situations such as these, honesty is king.
Of course, you can fix serious defects yourself prior to selling, but it is worth remembering that the amount you spend on the repairs may end up costing you more than the return you gain after a sale – so temper your hopes and expectations.
Selling a house that needs repairs done
Selling a house that needs repairs is all about knowing your target buyers, the majority will fall into the following categories:
- Flippers – who aim to buy low, renovate and sell high.
- Developers – who make their living by flipping, but on a larger scale.
- Landlords – who aim to restore the property for rental purposes.
- Bargain hunters – who hope to find themselves in a great district for schools, or simply wish to move into a well-respected neighbourhood but have so far been unable to afford a house in A1 condition.
All of these potential purchasers will be aware that the home will need some renovation, but their urge to buy – especially in the case of bargain hunters – will allow them to see past many of the flaws your house exhibits.
It is worth, however, being a little savvy if dealing with flippers, developers and landlords as these individuals are professionals, and will go out of their way to secure a price that maximises their profit, not yours. This can be remedied by having a valuation carried by an impartial third-party surveyor complete with an estimate of value once all repairs have been carried out. This ensures that you know where you stand with regard to the value of your home, and gives you further ammunition when dealing with particularly ‘hostile’ buyers.