We’ve all seen the TV shows and news stories about hoarders who live in homes filled from floor to ceiling with books, trinkets and “treasures”. It’s difficult for many of us to imagine living like that, but what happens if you’re left with a hoarder’s home to sell? Where do you start?
In this guide, we’ll share our top tips for selling a hoarder’s house as fast as possible.
What Is Hoarding?
Hoarding is classified as a mental-health disorder and is defined by the NHS as “where someone acquires an excessive number of items and stores them in a chaotic manner, usually resulting in unmanageable amounts of clutter.”
A hoarder will feel anxious about parting with their belongings, even if they have no monetary value and the buildup of clutter is interfering with their everyday life — for example, the kitchen appliances are unusable or the bedroom is inaccessible. Approximately 2-5% of the population (over 1.2 million people) in the UK are hoarders.
Why Do People Hoard?
Hoarding is recognised as a specific disorder, but it may also be a symptom of another condition, for example, depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Certain groups of people are more likely to hoard, including those who live alone, have a family history of hoarding or have experienced deprivation in their childhood.
Is It Difficult to Sell a Hoarder’s House?
People with this disorder are often unwilling or unable to face up to their problem — if they even see hoarding as a problem — which can result in a poorly maintained property that requires significant repairs and home improvements.
If you are helping someone with this disorder to move or you inherit a hoarder’s house, clearing the property in preparation for viewings will be a major yet essential task — in severe cases, viewings may be impossible until belongings are cleared to allow access throughout the home.
A hoarder’s home is essentially unsellable until it is cleared and any major maintenance issues are addressed.
How to Sell a Hoarder’s House Fast
There are a few steps you will need to take to make the property habitable, safe and appealing to potential buyers.
- Enlist Some Help:
Clearing the property solo will be time-consuming and, potentially, unsafe. There are many professional clearance and cleaning companies that can provide assistance. Whether you are helping the owner of the property to move or clearing the home of a deceased relative, it’s a good idea to maintain a presence during the cleaning process to ensure that items with sentimental value are not lost — a professional company will only be able to discern the difference between items that have monetary value and those that don’t.
- Clear and Clean the House:
Gather your troops, stock up on cleaning supplies and order a skip. Depending on the severity of the situation, it may be necessary to wear protective clothing such as face masks and gloves. The property needs to be entirely emptied to allow for a deep clean and the identification of any maintenance issues. Not everything has to be discarded — arrange storage for any items you or the property owner wish to keep.
- Identify Essential Repairs and Home Improvements:
Once the house is clean and empty, it will be easy to identify essential repairs and home improvements. You might be lucky enough to find a developer who will happily take on a fixer-upper, but you’re more likely to achieve a sale and a price you’re happy with if you undertake some maintenance work and a bit of decoration.
- Market the Property:
When you’ve revamped the house, you’re ready to start advertising it for sale. Selling a house on the open market took more than four months on average before the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, houses are selling quickly, but the sales process is taking a lot longer to complete due to a backlog of transactions caused by the first lockdown and demand outstripping supply. If you’re reluctant to wait for the right buyer to come along or to spend time and money on repairs — wasn’t the clearing and emptying enough work? — you could fast-track the house-sale process by selling to a quick house sale company.
A reputable company, such as those recommended by The Advisory Approved Program, will have the funds to buy your house in as little as seven days. This is the best way to sell a house fast, and it’s the only way to guarantee a sale. Most house cash buying companies will buy any type of property in any condition, which means that you can sell your house even if it needs repairs.
Selling a hoarder’s house will take more time and effort than putting a well-maintained property up for sale. You’ll need to empty and clean the property with due regard to safety and address any maintenance or home-improvement issues that are discovered in the process. You can choose to improve the property before selling or find a cash buyer who is happy to take on the property “as-is” for a quicker house sale.