If you know someone with hoarding disorder, you know the damage that the illness can do to a house. Selling a typical home is a big commitment, but selling a hoarder’s home can be even more challenging. You should understand what hoarding disorder is, how it can affect a house, and what you’ll have to do to get the home ready to sell.
What Is Hoarding Disorder?
Hoarding is a mental health disorder that’s characterized by an inability to get rid of possessions. Even if an item has no financial or sentimental value, someone with hoarding disorder may feel extreme distress at the thought of throwing it out. Over time, hoarders accumulate so many items that their possessions overwhelm their living space.
The American Psychiatric Association estimates that hoarding affects between 2 and 5 percent of Americans. However, one survey reports that 7 percent of Americans label themselves as hoarders.
Unfortunately, misconceptions about hoarding are common. Many people believe that hoarders are dirty, selfish, or lazy. In reality, hoarders are struggling with a mental health problem just like people with depression or anxiety. Judgment from others only adds to the struggle, so it’s important to be patient, empathetic, and understanding with a loved one who has hoarding disorder.
What to Expect When Selling a Hoarder’s Home
Selling a hoarder’s home can create a number of challenges. If you’re preparing to list a hoarder’s house on the market, you and everyone else involved should be aware of the obstacles you may face. This will help you create a plan of action and prevent unexpected hardships. If a traditional listing seems too daunting contact a real state investor like Andrew the Home Buyer in Mesa to get a fast cash offer for your home.
The first step toward listing the house is confirming ownership. If you’re helping a loved one with the sale, confirm that they are legally allowed to sell the house before you take any further action. The property may be in a trust and unable to be sold, or a different family member may own the house and rent it out to the hoarder.
Most potential buyers look at pictures of a home online before scheduling a showing, but photos of a hoarder’s house probably won’t look great. Open houses can cause the same issue. Even if the home itself is in great condition, the extreme clutter will cover it up.
Cleaning will be the most time-consuming challenge you face when selling a hoarder’s house. It can take weeks to fully clear out and deep-clean the home, and you’ll probably need help from friends or family. If there are serious problems with mold or trash, you may need to hire a specialized cleaning service. Depending on the severity of the hoarding disorder, you may encounter trash, laundry, papers, and even animal droppings or mold. Wear gloves, and keep the windows open if possible.
Take the cleaning process one step at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the task. Also, be prepared for this to be a difficult and emotional experience for the individual with hoarding disorder. They may resist throwing things out, so it will likely be easier to clean while they aren’t home.
A hoarder’s home will probably have more damage than usual. Regular maintenance and repairs are impossible when the house is so full of clutter, and the person living in the home may have felt too ashamed or anxious to bring in a repairman.
Prepare for issues like broken tiles, holes in the wall, stained carpets, and broken smoke alarms. If you fix the repairs upfront, you’ll have the proof to show the buyers. This will simplify the selling process, and it can increase the value of the home.
Preparing a hoarder’s house to sell can take much more work than a typical home, but it sometimes need to be done on short notice. Hoarding and financial trouble often go hand-in-hand, and the owner may be facing foreclosure or eviction. A severe case of hoarding may lead to the home being condemned by the local government, which creates a strict timeline for moving out.
Parting with belongings and with the home itself can be incredibly difficult for someone with hoarding disorder, so they may not be able to play an active role in the sale. They may prefer to sell the house as-is instead of increasing its value by cleaning and fixing it. You, the homeowner, and other trusted loved ones must determine the best course of action.
Hoarding is a serious mental health issue that does major damage to an individual’s living space. Selling the home comes with some challenges, and it can take intense effort from you and your loved ones to get the house in good shape. It is possible to sell a hoarder’s house, but you should expect to put in some hard work first.