What is a hoarder house?  Hoarding in Real Estate

What is a hoarder house?  Hoarding in Real Estate

What is a Hoarder House?

A hoarder house is a house where someone has collected an excessive amount of objects and materials. It  is a residence that has been overrun with personal items by the owner or tenant.

This frequently indicates that the house and/or property have become disorganized due to an abundance of unstructured personal possessions.

Many of these personal belongings have no monetary value and will clutter the rooms, leaving little to no trail, so basically a hoarder house is a house that has been overrun by clutter.

A hoarder is someone who accumulates an excessive number of goods and stores them in their living space.

Hoarding is a continual battle, and hoarders fight to get rid of their possessions. They feel compelled to keep them for a number of reasons.

Here are some examples of things a hoarder could keep in their home:

  • Memories and family heirlooms.
  • Religious or other significant items.
  • Vanity items, clothes, or knickknacks.
  • Collectibles such as photos, coins, stamps, etc.
  • Antiques or collectible items they want to preserve.
  • Items that have sentimental value
  • Filing cabinets full of paperwork and correspondence and a section of the house dedicated to filing cabinets full of paperwork and correspondence – specific categories like “supermarket receipts”, “medical bills”, etc.

Hoarder House Living Conditions that are Hazardous

A hoarder house might put its people in perilous situations. If a fire breaks out, it is more likely to spread fast due to the accumulation of flammable things throughout the house.

Excessive clutter may also make getting out of the house more difficult if the entrances and exits are obstructed or if those insides are prone to trip while racing out of the house.

Another problem with a hoarder house is that it may become unlivable. When one or more people in the house are hoarding, there are no paths to pass through, so it is difficult for those inside to get around. These people may also avoid others, who will be left to seek their own sufferers of hoarding.

A hoarder house can lead to obsession and depression if living conditions persist, as they are prone to becoming obsessive over their possessions.

A hoarder house may also become overgrown with pests and animals. They will forage for food and shelter, attracting predators and scavengers. This can lead to dangerous situations inside the house if a hoarder is living in it.

A hoarded home could also cause issues while trying to sell the property due to its condition.

Hoarding in Real Estate

In the context of real estate, a hoarder is someone who owns or inhabits a house or property that has been overrun with goods to the point of severe clutter.

By the time a real estate agent gets involved, a hoarder residence has often produced a hazardous living situation.

A real estate professional may come into contact with a hoarder household in a variety of ways.

In one case, they may be an investor who determines it is a good investment to try to clean and repair the property.

In another case, they may be a real estate agent who comes upon a hoarding issue while attempting to advertise or sell a home on someone else’s behalf.

Both of these scenarios provide significant obstacles.

Why People Hoard?

Hoarding could be the cause of a variety of mental health conditions, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and clinical depression.

Some of the common reasons people choose to hoard are:

  • Fearing that their belongings will be taken away from them or hoarding because they felt neglected as a child and didn’t learn how to deal with new possessions correctly.
  • Hoping that someone will take pity on them and take all of their belongings away voluntarily. Another method is hoarding as a form of self-punishment and using these possessions as a tool for self-soothing.
  • Hoarding could also be a way to cope with an overwhelming problem, such as cancer, sexual abuse, or other grief.
  • To avoid feeling lonely or like an outsider weakens the hoarder’s ties to others and the world around them.
  • Hoarding could also be a result of an obsessive or compulsive personality.
  • Hoarding can also get in the way of daily life and routines because of a lack of organization.
  • Hoarders may spend excessive amounts of money on buying items they don’t need and they may go through withdraw when throwing items away.
  • Hoarders may feel overwhelmed by saving memories, and find it hard to throw anything away because it is a reminder of something they love or hate.

Steps in Cleaning a Hoarding House

Hoarding can have a huge impact on the safety and appeal of a house.

A hoarder property has to be cleaned from top to bottom. It is most effective to begin by throwing away old newspapers, catalogs, magazines, and other items that do not have enough value or importance to warrant keeping.

Once these throw-away items are discarded, it is time to dig into the bigger parts of the house.

Start in the kitchen and bathroom, throwing away any expired food, cleaning surfaces, and cleaning drawers. Clean all of the areas that have been affected by mildew or mold first.

Work your way out of the house and into the garage. Work on all of the corners, closets, cabinets, drawers, and all of the nooks and crannies.

Clean each room thoroughly until you are satisfied that it is presentable enough for a potential buyer to notice anything wrong with it.

The last thing you want to do it clean the garage. You may want to do a quick and thorough job, but there are some items that are worth salvaging and selling.

Clean the garage and make sure to throw away any extraneous items that could be sold or donated.

If you contact local charities or churches ahead of time, they will give your room a thorough cleaning.

They can also provide you with cleaning supplies, if necessary, but they may not be able to dispose of any hazardous waste materials for you.

Stages of Hoarding

The levels are as follows:

Level 1: The least severe level with a limited number of indicators.

This is the mildest kind of hoarding, yet it goes beyond simple gathering in that goods and belongings are not sorted and exhibited.

There are few signs that this level of hoarding is occurring since the problem may be masked owing to a lack of obvious clutter, despite the fact that most acceptable storage locations in the house are crammed with stuff. Cabinets, closets, storage sheds, and bookcases are overflowing.

The individual who is a level 1 hoarder finds it difficult to throw away goods and spends an excessive amount of money on products that are not required. A level 1 incident may look like this:

  • All entrances and stairwells are open and accessible.
  • Light encumbrance

Level 2: Notable Object Collection and Visitors’ Embarrassment

When a hoarder reaches level 2, he or she begins to avoid guests due to embarrassment, tension, or anxiety over their hoarded belongings. At this stage, normal hoarding traits begin to emerge. Level 2 hoarders exhibit the following characteristics:

  • There is at least one blocked exit.
  • Clutter has gathered in hallways and is overpowering in one or more rooms.

Odors, Poor Hygiene, and Narrow Hallways at Level 3

Hoarders at this level often have poor personal hygiene and are in mental discomfort. These two circumstances frequently contribute to weight-control concerns.

When questioned, a level 3 hoarder becomes highly defensive of their living arrangement and frequently rationalizes their living status because they cannot perceive the hazards inherent within their house. Level 3 hoarding may consist of the following:

  • For the past six months, two or more household appliances have been in disrepair.
  • There are an abnormally large number of pets.
  • Corridors are narrow.
  • Excessive dust and filthy clothes accumulation

Level 4: Sewage problems, structural damage, and unusable rooms

Individuals who have progressed to this degree of hoarding may go weeks without showering. They are frequently suffering from a mental health crisis and are oblivious to the fact that their setting is unsafe or unclean. Level 4 hoarding can be identified by the following signs:

  • Food that has spoiled or rotted in kitchen areas
  • Home structural damage that is at least six months old
  • Mold and mildew are visible throughout the house.

Level 5: Fire Dangers, No Power or Water, and Accumulated Human Feces

This is the most serious kind of hoarding, and persons at this level may be unable to remain in their own house, nor can it be recovered for future occupancy.

Human and animal waste is frequently gathered in receptacles that cannot be flushed but stay in and around the home. Level 5 hoarding scenarios frequently match the following requirements:

  • Paper buildup near open fires, for example, is a major fire threat throughout the home.
  • The house has suffered severe structural damage.
  • Neglect has resulted in no electricity or running water.

How to buy a Hoarder House

When considering purchasing a property that is a hoarder, you need to be prepared to deal with the following problems:

The house will most likely be dirty. There are a lot of things that need cleaning and they may take some time and effort.

Some things may smell bad, so it would be good to use air fresheners.

The house may not have furniture, although it is possible to buy the furniture at second-hand shops.

You may need to buy new appliances, especially if they are old.

As a rule of thumb, it is best to avoid purchasing a hoarding house in the summer months, as they often attract more flies and other insects. Look at houses in the spring and fall instead.

The best practices for buying a Hoarder house are discussed below.

Most typical purchasers will face difficulties in purchasing one of these properties. However, some home flippers and real estate investors believe they are a good investment.

If you want to move forward, here are some best practices to consider.

  • Always have a property inspection performed.
  • Request that the residence be made empty.
  • Investigate your financing options as soon as possible because a conventional mortgage may be out of the question.
  • Increase your budget for repairs (you don’t know what you don’t know!)
  • Be adaptable and accommodating – this will help you get a good bargain.
  • Be patient and deal with the situation as it comes.
  • Try to negotiate a discounted price, if possible.
  • Ask a home inspector if he or she has dealt with hoarder properties before and what types of problems they’ve run into.

How to get rid of a hoarder house

Some basic tips are as follows:

  • If a tenant has lived in the home for more than 1 or 2 years, it may be impossible to evict the occupant.
  • Hire an expert hoarding cleaning service so that they can evaluate the house and help to remove any hazardous materials.
  • Lastly, you will have to invest in cleaning supplies and equipment.

This should ensure that you are able to handle the situation adequately.

Here are some other tips on how to get rid of a hoarder house:

  • Try not to spend too much time trying to negotiate with the hoarder.
  • Make sure you have proper safety equipment before attempting entry and clean-up.
  • Always wear proper safety equipment.
  • Use wet cleaning methods and avoid dry cleaning methods. Dry cleaning can release dust that may contain toxic chemicals from the materials that make up the hoarded objects.

Factors To Consider When Buying a Hoarder Home

There are many different factors that should be considered before deciding on buying any hoarding house.

The following factors should be kept in mind:

Property Value

It is obvious that a hoarding house will be priced lower than other houses, but you have to consider how much the general condition of the house affects its market value.

Buyers can use resources such as Zillow and Trulia to get an estimate of the property value. Another thing you may want to know is how much renovations will cost and how much can be gained after selling the property.

Property types

There are different types of properties that you can purchase.

Some of these include a duplex, single-family properties, and apartments.

Make sure that you choose the best type of property for you and your family before investing in it.


It is important to consider the floor type before purchasing a hoarding house, as flooring can affect the durability of your belongings.

Consider wooden or hardwood floors in order to protect the structure from rotting or damage due to moisture.


You can only call a hoarding house a home if it has all the basic necessities. If you are planning to buy a hoarding house, consider how many rooms you need and whether they are sufficient for your needs.

Owing to their poor quality, hoarding houses usually lack certain aspects that may seem trivial but they matter to the home buyer.

Lighting fixtures and electrical wires.

A working kitchen with facilities such as cabinets, countertops, appliances, etc.

How to find Hoarder houses

If you want to buy a hoarder house, you might try one of the following websites:

Craigslist: This website allows individual property owners to market their properties.

FSBO (For Sale by Owner): This is another website where homeowners may market their houses.

Multiple Listing Service: Keywords such as blind offers only, sold “as-is,” presented with accepted offer, limited showings, TLC, contractor’s special, handyman special, and requires work are likely to turn up hoarder properties.

Wholesalers: People that source distressed properties and then sell or assign the contract to you are known as wholesalers.

Driving for Dollars: is a real estate technique in which you drive around a certain neighborhood seeking for distressed or abandoned homes.

In the case of hoarder homes, check for things obstructing windows, untidy lawns, overgrown foliage, mailboxes overflowing with mail, extra rubbish around the property, and furniture and hoarded goods on the exterior of the home.

Estate Sales: Another approach to get your hands on a hoarder house is to attend an estate sale.


What is a hoarding house?

A hoarder house is a residence that has been overrun with personal items by the proprietor or tenant. This frequently indicates that the house and/or property have become disorganized due to an abundance of unstructured personal possessions.

How is it possible to live in a hoarding house?

People usually end up buying hoarder houses because they are willing to pay less than their worth. People that buy hoarding houses do not realize how much work it takes to deal with them, especially when you have small children.

How do you remove a hoarder from a home?

It is not easy to remove a hoarder at all.

The best approach is to find professionals who can professionally remove the items that are inside. They must be able to discreetly handle the situation in order not to raise suspicion.

Are hoarding houses illegal?

This depends on where you buy your property from, but most of them are legal.

What is the root cause of hoarding?

Hoarding behavior manifests when an individual acquires a large number of possessions that they cannot manage or control.

It may be a result of an obsessive-compulsive disorder and an anxiety disorder. Hoarding is considered to be a mental health issue, but it is also associated with health problems such as cancer, and strokes.

Are hoarders just lazy?

Hoarders are not lazy, they just become disorganized and overwhelmed by the items they have collected.

How do you clean up a hoarding house?

Hoarders have to be very careful because the items in their houses are full of germs.

The first thing that should be done is to hire a specialist cleaning service that can remove the risk of exposure to harmful chemicals and pathogens from discarded materials.

Do hoarders choose to live this way?

Hoarding behavior is a compulsion, not just a choice.

What does it cost to clean up a Hoarders house?

The cost of cleaning a hoarding house depends on the size of the home, its location, and what needs to be done.

There are many companies that can perform this service for you.

Do hoarding houses have air conditioning?

Air conditioning systems that don’t work well in hoarder houses must be replaced by an HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning) system.

A new HVAC system may cost thousands of dollars, but it will work efficiently and keep your home cooler in hot summer months.

How do you help a hoarder let go?

Hoarders must be allowed to hold on to some possessions so that they will have a sense of attachment and feel secure.

They must also be taught how to discard their items properly, as well as how the re-cycle them.

Should you buy a hoarding house?

Buying a hoarding house is a very complicated process and requires extra work and money. You should have no doubts about your ability to take care of the property, or else you might end up regretting your decision later.

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