Things You Need to Consider Before Buying a Hoarder House

You may have heard that buying a house previously inhabited by a hoarder has its perks. But you need to do your homework before you dive headfirst into this project. With help from Apartment Therapy, we take a look at 15 things you need to consider before buying a hoarder house.

1. ‘Clutter’ isn’t the same as ‘hoarder’

Big mess in an over stuffed suburban garage | Denis Torkhov/ iStock/ Getty Images

Real estate agent Tricia Lee Riley tells Apartment Therapy a cluttered home isn’t the same as that of a hoarder. Instead of a couple drawers packed with litter, there can be rooms so full of junk they can’t even be accessed.

Next: Something to keep in mind …

2. Hoarders aren’t the same as they appear on TV

Messy kitchen | saruservice/ iStock/ Getty Images

Television often portrays hoarders as living in decrepit homes full of garbage. In reality, however, hoarder homes may be worth a lot of money and could also be packed with expensive items, like piles of designer accessories or expensive furniture.

Next: Now, this is true …

3. You can get a good deal

Messy room | Yukikae4b/ iStock/ Getty Images

When a space to buy is still inhabited by a hoarder it may not be available to show prospective buyers, which can make the price drop since it can be less desirable. This is where buying a house can be cheaper — as long as refurbishing it isn’t too expensive.

Next: Unfortunately …

4. But securing a mortgage can be tricky

Home loan | William_Potter/ iStock/ Getty Images

Andrew Hillman of Hillman Real Estate tells Apartment Therapy getting a loan for a hoarder house can be a real challenge because. These homes often do need extreme makeovers and “banks may be hesitant to give out financing if they find it difficult to calculate the future fair market value, or the property value after everything is fixed up.”

Next: Something to be on the look-out for …

5. You may not realize at first it’s a hoarder house

Home listing
Home listing | Devonyu/ iStock/ Getty Images

Apartment Therapy tells us hoarder houses are very rarely listed as such, but certain key terms in a listing can tip you off. Be on the look out for “needs TLC” or a property that’s going to be sold “as is.”

Next: Once you start taking a look at the place …

6. Spotting problems right off the bat can be tricky

Rusted cabinet drawer | Nalin Prutimongkol/ iStock/ Getty Images

If the massive clutter isn’t cleaned out about before you view the house, it may be difficult to see all the problems the property may have. Structural damage can be hard to point out if a space is filled to the brim.

Next: On that same note …

7. Your move-in date may get pushed back

Move in day | shironosov/ iStock/ Getty Images

Moving into a new place is hard enough. But if you’re having to clean out a hoarder house and take care of some refurbishments first, plan on not moving into your new digs for a little longer.

Next: Here’s part of the reason why …

8. You’ll have to do a big clean before moving in

Deep clean | KatarzynaBialasiewicz/ iStock/ Getty Images

Don’t underestimate how much cleaning has to be done to a hoarder house. In addition to cleaning out all the excess, you’ll likely also have to do an extra deep clean to get rid of all the dust and grime that accumulated under around piles of hoarded stuff.

Next: If you have the means, this can help …

9. Bringing in home flippers can help

Home flipping | Lisa5201/ iStock/ Getty Images

There’s no harm in asking for a little help. Although gutting a hoarder house is considered to be even more daunting than your average house flip, bringing in professionals can help you move things along.

Next: Keep this in mind …

10. You may have to bring the house up to code

Buiding inspection | Pixsooz/ iStock/ Getty Images

Hoarding things doesn’t just cause a mess — it can cause a fire hazard in the home. Cleaning out a hoarder house may entail bringing the house to code before you can proceed with too many reservations.

Next: This can help …

11. You have to be good at visualizing

Think and visualize | fizkes/ iStock/ Getty Images

Like we said before, it can be difficult to see what’s wrong with a hoarder house if it hasn’t been cleaned out yet. It can also be difficult to see its true potential. Having a keen eye for a house’s potential can go a long way. Not one for visually decorating? Consider bringing a friend house hunting with you who is.

Next: You should be prepared for this …

12. This endeavor may be more expensive than you think

Luxury home | hikesterson/ iStock/ Getty Images

Even if you think you know how much it’s going to cost to fix up a hoarder house before you move in, you could still end up paying much more than you expect. Be sure to really do your homework before diving into a home improvement project.

Next: A helpful hint …

13. Consider your contract

Contract, Mortgage Document,Signing, Writing, Model Home | venuestock/ iStock/ Getty Images

Apartment Therapy suggests making sure everything is spelled out to your liking in your sale contract before you sign anything and move in. That can include having the property cleaned out before you start refurbishing it.

Next: A helpful reminder …

14. Consider your sanity

Headache | Ridofranz/ iStock/ Getty Images

Like we stated before, gutting a house that where a hoarder previously lived can be more difficult than a run-of-the-mill house flip, and therefore even more stressful. Even if you’re intrigued by buying a hoarder house because it can be cheaper, it’s always good to consider how much anxiety you can handle.

Next: Last but not least …

15. Moving into a hoarder house isn’t for everyone

House keys | FabioBalbi/ iStock/ Getty Images

As Hillman tells Apartment Therapy of buying a hoarder house: “You’re not buying a home… but buying into a project.” If this is your first time buying a house and you’re looking to make the experience as smooth as possible, buying one of these properties probably isn’t for you.

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