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.