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Finding a hoarder house for sale near me is a common scenario we face. We pride ourselves on being helpful to homeowners who face difficult challenges when selling their homes. And hoarding is a very real challenge.

Let’s look at what hoarder houses are and the challenges both the seller and the buyer face. As an experienced real estate investor, I can offer tips for finding these houses. I can also share how to clean them and prepare them for sale, and evaluate the potential return on investment.

entryway of hoarder home filled with contents so you can't move down the hall

What are Hoarder Houses?

Real estate professionals refer to single-family homes filled with excessive contents as hoarder homes. People who live there often fill the home from floor to ceiling with belongings collected over time.

Challenges Sellers Face

Not always, but frequently, the person living in a hoarder’s house is fighting a mental illness such as compulsive hoarding. They collect and save to the point of excessive clutter resulting in distress, especially if they don’t have space for everything.

A hoarder may collect a variety of items ranging from clothes, books, magazines, newspapers, and even mail. They could collect crafts, furniture, antiques and other collectibles. Hoarders may even collect empty containers, trash, unopened or rotten food, and even animals.

They have a strong emotional attachment to items and find it extremely difficult to discard anything. They often don’t even see a problem with the condition of their home.

Tips for Selling a Hoarder House

Because of significant emotions connected to things, the potential for severe stress is high. As a result, the homeowner may wish to consider an alternative method for selling their family home. 

Traditionally, people call a real estate agent to list their home on a multiple listing service like MLS. But that may require a significant amount of effort and expense and even cause pain. It may force them to hire a professional to sort and clean the property. Preparing a home for sale on the market adds the pressure of time.

Some homeowners under extreme stress may reach out to house flippers interested in buying the home at a discounted price. If this is your preferred solution, make sure you choose the right buyer who will take your special needs into account and offer kindness.

What Buyers Should Consider

If you are purchasing a home from someone that struggles with hoarding, it’s important to understand the unique challenges of the transaction and the home itself. Here are some considerations I make when I find a hoarder house for sale near me:

Expect difficult emotions at closing.

If a hoarder is attached to the things in their home, imagine how attached they may be to the home itself. So be patient and flexible.

Prepare for extensive cleaning and associated costs for disposal.

You will most likely be purchasing the home as-is, with contents and all. Be aware of potentially unsafe conditions like sharp objects, mould, flammable and other hazardous materials, rotten waste and feces, and animal infestations.

Plan for unexpected maintenance and repairs.

With no way to inspect the home thoroughly, there is no way to know what additional problems lurk behind the homeowner’s belongings. It is unlikely a hoarder could maintain their home properly.

Ensure you have cash on hand or alternative financing options.

Conventional mortgages may be a challenge because of the condition of the home.

Don’t count on profit from selling contents.

You can hope to gain some additional profit by salvaging and reselling items inside the home. But we don’t count on it. Treat unexpected treasures as a bonus.

Advice for Finding a Hoarder House For Sale Near Me

Does this sound like an exciting challenge? Here are some tips for finding a hoarder home in your area:

  • Start with online sites and search terms like “as-is”, “needs work,” and “handyman special.”
  • Contact wholesalers who purchase distressed homes and resell them or assign their contracts to you.
  • Drive around and look for signs of a hoarding situation like piles of items outside the home and unkempt lawns. Are the mailboxes overflowing? Excess garbage outside?
  • You can go directly to the homeowner and make an offer or contact an agent to approach them on your behalf.

Evaluating Return on Investment

Like any investment project, you need to consider what you believe you can sell the home for when all the cleaning, repairs, and upgrades are complete. Subtract your estimated expenses from the sale price, including what you plan to pay for the home to get your projected return.

 

The primary unknown factors are your estimated expenses. So do some research on current prices for the following items:

  • Dumpster or bin rentals and disposal costs
  • Junk removal labour
  • Cleaning supplies and protective equipment
  • Labour costs for cleaning crew
  • Repair and replacement of damaged surfaces and finishes
  • Potential structural repairs
  • Borrowing costs 

Check out the before and after photos of a project we tackled. Read how we helped.