The notion of hoarding has been popularized in recent years by TV shows and pop culture depictions. But it’s one thing to look at a hoarder’s house as a casual viewer and another thing altogether to be responsible for one. Selling a house can already be such a painstaking process that adding in the mounds of items and trash left behind by a hoarder might make it seem impossible. You can’t just snap some photos, put a fresh coat of paint on the place, and expect to field offers on the open market.
However, if you’re able to think critically about the process and take things step by step, you should be able to find a buyer much easier than you think. Here are five things you can do to sell a hoarder’s house fast.
Here Are 5 Ways to Sell a Hoarder’s House Fast
Take a Step Back Before You Jump In
If you’re unfamiliar with all of the reasons why someone could end up becoming a hoarder to the point where it threatens their health and well-being, it’s critical that before you try to fix the mess that you understand it. Hoarding isn’t just something a lazy or depressed person does. It’s an actual mental condition that affects a lot of people. In fact, according to a survey by Sparefoot, half of Americans say they know a hoarder and seven percent identify themselves as hoarders.
The first thing you need to do is have some compassion for the person who got the house in the state it’s in. Let them know that selling the house is part of the healing process and not a punishment. In a way, selling a house is a big step towards helping the hoarder move forward as well. Plus, the more you have the hoarder on your side, the easier it will be to sort through the problems and understand why things are the way they are.
Establish Ownership of the House
Sometimes, hoarding is just one issue surrounded by bigger problems. And it’s entirely possible that the hoarder doesn’t actually have ownership of the house. Or it’s possible that the house has been put in a trust or a relative has taken over ownership. Perhaps that relative is you. Whatever the situation, it’s important to get your documentation in order to determine actual ownership of the house. Not only does it protect the seller but it’s also necessary in order to prove to the buyer and any bank that you have the right to sell.
The last thing you want to happen is to start the process and get into negotiations only to find out that you don’t actually have the legal right to do this. You’ve got enough to deal with inside the house, don’t let red tape and fine print trip you up.
Bring in Extreme Cleaners
When you’re dealing with a normal house with general wear and tear, it’s entirely possible that you and a few friends could clean it up and get it in shape to sell. That is not the case in a hoarder’s house. This isn’t even the kind of clean-up job that the local mom & pop service can handle. This is when you have to pay for extreme cleaning professionals who do this kind of thing for a living.
It’s possible that you might look around and think you’ve got a handle on how to clean up but unless you’ve dealt with hoarders before you really don’t understand. Hoarder’s houses are like icebergs. What you can see is just a small sample of what lies beneath. You have no idea what’s lurking at the bottom of each trash tower and how long it’s been there. This isn’t just dirty clothes and moldy food. We’re talking about dead animals, dangerous chemicals, feces, and other things you don’t want anything to do with. So many aspects of a hoarder’s home can be unsafe and unhygienic, and if you don’t know how to handle it properly you could get sick or get yourself hurt.
Yes, you’re going to have to pay a premium for the kind of professionals who do this for a living, but if you want to get the house in the condition it needs to be in on the open market, it has to be done. You need the house to feel livable and that not only means a thorough cleaning but also replacing all of the furniture, carpeting, flooring, and anything else stained from years of neglect.
Even though you’re calling in pros to help you, make sure you’re aware of what they find. Not everything buried in that house is trash. There could be keepsakes and heirlooms that you or the family would like to hold onto. There also might be items in the house that you could sell to offset the cleaning costs or help the homeowner out until it sells.
Do a Damage Assessment
Cleaning up the mess is the major part of prepping the house for sale, but it’s also just the beginning in a way. You’re dealing with a house that has been neglected in many ways and one of them is in the general upkeep. Yes, the focus has been cleaning up the trash but what about all the problems in the structure of the house that probably hasn’t been dealt with in the same amount of time.
Once you’ve got the cleaning out of the way, it’s time to do a damage assessment. Check the structural integrity of the floors and walls. Have someone take a look at the electrical systems, plumbing, and any other system that’s critical to daily living. Consider what appliances need to be fixed and which ones just need to be scrapped altogether. There are likely to be costs involved with any fixes and replacements needed but they’re essential if you want to sell on the market. Buyers are already going to be wary of a hoarder’s house, don’t give them any extra reasons to be concerned.
Consider Selling As-Is
Selling a hoarder’s house on the open market is certainly a scary proposition. And while we’ve pointed out steps you can take to improve your chances and make it palatable, it’s still a lot to ask of buyers to put down their hard-earned money on a house that was mistreated for so long.
An alternative that not only eliminates all of those issues but also alleviates you of the burden is to sell the house as-is to a real estate investor like Cream City Home Buyers. They won’t even require you to clean the house or deal with all of the fixes needed. They’ll take a look at the house privately and then make you a cash offer. Then it’s up to you to decide when you want to close but they can take the problem house off your hands in a matter of days. Then it’s up to them to handle the clean-up while you get to move on to better things.
If you’re dealing with a hoarder’s house and want to sell fast for a fair cash offer, click here to get started.