How To Sell a Hoarder Home


“Hoarding” isn’t something that is frequently talked about. It is often hidden behind closed doors, kept secret until a situation arises that forces it into the limelight.

Contrary to what many people believe, hoarding is a debilitating mental illness, and it is actually fairly common − especially among seniors and people living alone. In fact, up to 5% of the world’s population exhibits clinical hoarding (Source).

Hoarding is more than just an excess of “stuff”− it is the actual inability to discard large quantities of possessions, or to resist acquiring new ones. Hoarding can cause significant emotional and mental distress, but it can also render a house unsellable.

What Exactly is a “Hoarder Home?”

A hoarder home isn’t just cluttered; it is so full of personal belongings it can be impossible to even find a path to walk through. Often, the stacks of boxes and/or objects can be so high they reach the ceiling, or they can block access to household essentials like the toilet or refrigerator.

Hoarder homes are usually extremely dirty and filled with piles of litter and other garbage − even rotting food. Because the home is so filthy, in many cases the hoarder is too embarrassed or ashamed to let strangers in the house to fix or clean anything. This can lead to a home that is so dirty, it is considered a health hazard.

How Common are Hoarder Homes?

More common than you think. There are quite a few personality traits that can contribute to hoarding, including anxiety, depression, neuroticism and even perfectionism. According to research, up to 40% of people suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) display hoarding as a symptom (Source).

At GWG Properties, we have seen every possible worst-case scenario out there, and we have certainly seen our share of hoarder homes. Hoarder homes do exist, and they are extremely difficult to sell.

Why Hoarder Homes are “Unsellable”

A home in disrepair is hard enough to sell; a hoarder home is nearly impossible. If you are dealing with a home belonging to a loved one who is a hoarder, you may already know how difficult the situation can be.

Not only is there a huge cost involved in clearing away the piles of stuff, hoarder homes are often so filthy, they are almost impossible to restore back to marketable condition. Once the home has been emptied and cleaned, you will most likely be dealing with expensive structural issues. The house may even be “condemned,” which means it does not meet the health or safety codes of the local jurisdiction in which it is located.

I’m Dealing With a Hoarder Home… What’s the Solution?

  1. First, remember to be compassionate.

If you are dealing with a family member or loved one’s hoarder home, remember that hoarding is a clinical disorder. While hoarding can be overwhelming to deal with as an outsider, try to be respectful and nonjudgmental.

  1. Recognize that the home will require professional cleaning.

If you are planning on cleaning up a hoarder home yourself, it’s best to realize now that is nearly impossible. These types of situations require extensive attention by a team of professionals experienced in cleaning up hoarder homes. A typical cleaning crew just won’t cut it.

  1. Be prepared for extensive damage.

It is important to understand that there are almost always additional problems found once the house is cleared and cleaned, including structural damage, mold or animal infestation, to name a few. Don’t assume that because the house is cleaned up, it’s ready to sell.

  1. Work with a professional experienced in dealing with hoarder homes.

Here’s where we come in. The financial cost of restoring a hoarder home back to marketable condition is often prohibitive. Here’s the good news: GWG Properties actually specializes in this kind of real estate.

If you need to sell a hoarder home − we will buy it, no matter how serious the situation may be. We will take care of the process for you. Because of our extensive experience with hoarder homes, we can provide you and your family with a smooth, seamless process and a positive outcome.

There’s a good reason why we are the top home buying company in the Valley: we handle what others won’t. Call us for a complimentary consultation; we can help you sell your hoarder home successfully, so you can move on with your life.