Have you ever heard the term “hoarded house” and wondered what it meant? A hoarder house is a property that a homeowner or tenant has overfilled with excessive personal items.
Hoarding can occur in a single-family home, condo, townhouse, or apartment.
Hoarding disorder is a mental problem that causes people to accumulate excessive amounts of clutter and junk. It’s become such a fascinating topic that there is now a popular television series called Hoarders.
A hoarder finds it extremely challenging to part with anything. When you have a hoarding illness, there is extreme stress when thinking about giving up any items, whether they hold value or not.
Hoarding can become so bad it leads to severe health problems and social isolation.
A Hoarders House is often used to describe a home that has fallen into chaos because the owners have accumulated an overabundance of disorganized items, most of which hold no value.
Almost everything has sentimental value with a hoarder. Let’s have an in-depth look at everything to know about hoarder houses.
What is a Hoarder?
Hoarders keep anything and everything. A hoarder may collect food, newspapers, magazines, household items, clothing, boxes, and other knick nacks.
A hoarded house contains so much clutter and garbage that there is usually only a narrow path through the property’s rooms.
Countertops, sinks, stoves, desks, and stairways are usually cluttered with an unfathomable amount of things.
Once there is not enough room inside the home, a hoarder may continue to spread out into other areas of the property, such as the garage, storage sheds, and yard.
There is a persistent difficulty in getting rid of anything. Almost everything has sentimental value with a hoarder.
Hoarding is a mental illness that will need to be treated by professionals. Those with a hoarding disorder may also have an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
It’s estimated that a hoarding disorder affects two to six percent of the population. Family members are usually the first to notice there is a mental disorder that will probably need professional help.
A Hoarders House Creates Dangerous Living Conditions
Hoarders often live in houses with dangerous conditions, leading to health problems for the hoarders and their residents.
Firefighters often advise people to keep combustible materials out of a home. It would not be unusual for a hoarder to keep flammable products or gasoline on the property. The conditions in a hoarder’s house often create fire hazards.
The clutter in the home can make it more difficult to escape if exits and entrances are blocked or if people inside are likely to trip.
Rodents, flies, and cockroaches are also attracted to houses in a hoarding condition, mainly if there is rotting food and feces around the house.
Hoarded Houses Create Health Problems
A hoarder not only has a mental illness, but their issue can bring on further health problems.
Many people living in hoarder houses suffer from poor health because of the conditions inside the homes. It is challenging for occupants of a hoarder house to clean because of the clutter.
Some hoarders live in properties known for excessive dust and overflowing garbage, along with mold and mildew formation in kitchens and bathrooms.
Those who visit a hoarder house with pets may find unsanitary conditions such as pet hair, urine, and even feces throughout the property. The smell can often be unbearable.
Many residents in hoarder properties are breathing air contaminated with harmful chemicals, which can lead to respiratory problems and a decline in their health over time.
In hoarder homes where regular home maintenance has ceased, unusable toilets can be caused by objects that have fallen into them, lice on bedding, chewed-through electrical wires from rats, rotting food, and flea and rodent infestation.
Hoarders Who Have Died in a House
If things get bad enough, people can die from living in a hoarded house. It doesn’t sound pleasant.
If you consider buying a hoarder house, here are some methods to see if someone died in the property. It is a morbid thought, but it does happen.
House hoarders often will suffer from numerous health conditions due to their environment.
There Are Five Levels Of Hoarding in a House
The Institute of Challenging Disorganization has created a chart of five levels of hoarding, from minor to severe.
Level One Hoarder House
There is only a small amount of clutter and little to no odors in a level one hoarder house.
Level Two Hoarder House
Level two hoarders have started to accumulate junk that is beginning to block living areas, with noticeable odors. There is often pet feces on the floor and evidence of household rodents.
Level Three Hoarder House
A level three hoarder often has one bedroom and bathroom that has accumulated so much stuff it is unusable. There are often garbage filed countertops. Garbage cans are filled.
Level Four Hoarder House
A level four hoarder home will have excessive pests, animal sanitary problems, and rotting food added to all of the above hoarding seen in levels one to three. There are strong odors that can be nauseating. Sometimes there is also animal hoarding.
Level Five Hoarder House
A level five hoarder house is the worst of all the afflictions. Most of the entryways and exits have been blocked off by junk.
There are unfathomable levels of clutter that create toxic conditions. Health problems are often evident with anyone living in the home.
What Are The Symptoms of a Hoarding Disorder?
Those who end up with a hoarded house have early warning signs.
Hoarding disorder is a mental health condition characterized by an excessive accumulation of items, leading to difficulty discarding things and living spaces becoming cluttered. It typically surfaces during the teenage to early adult years.
As the person grows older, they typically start acquiring things with no immediate need or space.
Middle age is when symptoms can be severe and challenging to treat.
Problems with hoarding gradually develop over time and tend to be a private behavior. Most of the time, significant clutter has built up by the time family and friends notice it.
What Causes House Hoarding Disorder?
Hoarding disorders start with extreme feelings of not wanting to throw anything away. Those afflicted begin to believe that their things are unique and will be useful in the future.
Often the items can represent something of emotional significance or happier times. The things they accumulate make them feel safer and wanted.
Sometimes there is a family history of others who have been hoarders. It is possible there could have been a life-altering event that triggered the hoarder’s mentality, such as a death.
Hoarding is also associated with those who have an obsessive-compulsive personality disorder or depression. Studies into Genetics, brain functioning, and stressful life events are being conducted as possible causes of hoarding.
Being a house hoarder should not be confused with a collector who is very different. People who have hobbies such as comic books, stamps, coins, or other such things seek out such items.
These collectibles don’t create a situation where a property becomes cluttered or unsanitary.
What Are The Downsides of a Hoarders House?
When someone becomes a hoarder, their life can become a constant battle against clutter. This often leads to financial distress because hoarding makes it challenging to buy necessary items.
People with hoarding disorder may experience strained relationships due to the potential for loss of housing if they are evicted or condemned.
Children of people with a hoarding disorder may experience depression or another mental condition because of the cluttered and overwhelming environment they live in.
Some adolescents and teenagers may avoid inviting their friends or relatives to their house out of embarrassment from a hoarding parent.
Children can resent their parents for the unhealthy lifestyle the hoarding creates, while others may be removed from the home to escape health hazards.
A hoarded house can also have severe impacts on the property’s market value. Even homes with minor clutter will sell less than turnkey properties.
Hoarder houses are often labeled as fixer-upper properties due to the awful conditions.
How is a Housing Hoarding Problem Treated?
As mentioned, a hoarder house is a mental illness that needs to be addressed by a doctor or health specialist who deals with this type of affliction.
The diagnosis of hoarding is made by a licensed mental health professional. Professionals who might specialize in diagnosis include a psychiatrist, counselor, psychologist, or clinical social worker.
It is essential when hoarding is noticed to have the hoarder get assistance. According to the American Psychiatric Association, hoarding disorder is often treated using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
Some communities have health agencies that deal with problem hoarding. Local or county government resources may be available to help solve this problem.
If your loved one’s hoarding disorder is causing them to endanger their health or safety, you may need to contact local authorities.
In some high-level circumstances, it may be necessary to notify the police, fire department, child or elder protective services, or animal welfare agencies. Not only can they help hoarders but anyone who is living with them.
Can a Hoarder House Be Condemned?
It is possible a local board of health could condemn a property if the conditions got bad enough. If there is garbage, trash, and other debris in someone’s yard impacting others, it’s more likely.
A person with this level of hoarding could be labeled as a bad neighbor. When it gets bad enough to affect neighborhood property values, action can be taken.
Getting a Hoarder House Cleaned
Once a hoarder has recognized they have serious health problems, they can be addressed. Most hoarder houses need to be dealt with professionally in order to be adequately cleaned up.
The best option is to attack the problem on multiple levels.
There are often multiple professionals who will need to be called in, including:
- A professional junk removal service. There are many excellent junk removal companies. 1-800-Got-Junk is one of the most recognizable and in the most locations around the united states.
- Donation pick-up services – some items that a hoarder has collected will hold some value. In this instance, you can have one of the recognizable charities pick up these items.
- If there is excess furniture, you may want to consider getting a storage unit nearby. Some folks will even hire a professional organizer.
- Professional cleaning service – once all of the clutter has been removed from the property, an experienced professional cleaning company should be brought in. All the surfaces in the property should be scrubbed, including woodwork and flooring.
- A mold remediation professional – if the home has been contaminated with mold, a professional in that industry will need to perform remediation services.
- Professional pest treatment – if there are bugs and rodents, professional pest extermination will need to be conducted.
When selling a hoarder’s house, it will be necessary to take these steps in order to get the fair market value. Without addressing these issues, a hoarder’s property will sell for a fraction of what it should.
The average cost to clean a hoarder’s house can be as high as two dollars per square foot. It’s hard work getting these properties into better condition.
Real Estate Professionals Can Encounter Hoarders Properties
It is quite possible for a real estate agent to be hired to sell a hoarder’s home. Hoarders’ homes are extremely challenging to deal with just by their very nature. You are an entire house filled with stacks of clutter but also someone who has a mental health issue.
Most of the time real estate agents will have another family member who will be helping with the sale. There is often financial strain that leads to further stress from these types of properties.
Who Buys Hoarder Houses?
In some circumstances, the steps cannot be taken to clean up a hoarder’s house as described above. When a property is sold as-is, the buyer pool shrinks considerably in cases like these.
It often leads to a cash sale from real estate investors or a contractor. Companies like We Buy Ugly Houses look for distressed properties to purchase, such as hoarder homes. They will make a cash offer and close quickly.
Many of these we buy houses for cash companies would love to get their hands on a hoarder’s home.
These companies will purchase properties cheaply and then fix them up. They will then be flipped for a profit after a complete makeover.
When you want to maximize your profits, selling to an investor is not the way. If you research, you’ll notice these properties sell for a lot less when left in their hoarded condition.
You may need rehab loan financing to buy one of these properties when you’re not an investor. An FHA 203k loan could be a good financing option given the likely poor condition.
How to Find a Hoarders House For Sale Near Me?
Is it possible to find hoarders’ houses nearby? Yes, although it is not particularly easy.
If you are a contractor or in the business of flipping houses, you can try doing a google search for a hoarder’s house near me or hoarder house for sale. Google can pick up on MLS descriptions within popular real estate websites that describe such properties.
You can also try driving around yourself, although that is much more challenging. Some characteristics to look for include unkempt properties, excessive trash, overflowing mail, blocked windows, and lots of collected debris around the yard.
Final Thoughts on Hoarder Houses
Hoarding is something that should be treated seriously. Mental health disorders are a problem that should be addressed when signs first appear. If you have a friend or relative hoarding things in their home, try to get them some help.
About the Author: The above Real Estate information on what to know about hoarder houses was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at [email protected] or by phone at 508-625-0191. Bill has helped people move in and out of many Metrowest towns for 35+ Years.
Are you thinking of selling your home? I am passionate about real estate and love sharing my marketing expertise!
I service Real Estate Sales in the following Metrowest MA towns: Ashland, Bellingham, Douglas, Framingham, Franklin, Grafton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hopedale, Medway, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Northborough, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Sutton, Wayland, Westborough, Whitinsville, Worcester, Upton, and Uxbridge MA.