Hoarder Houses: Everything You Need to Know — FIbyREI

What is a hoarder house?

First, let’s define what a hoarder house is.

How to deal with a hoarder house

The only way to deal with a hoarder house is to clean it out. Of course, a hoarder house cleanout is easier said than done. But we will walk through the steps of clearing out a hoarder house.

Empty everything

Depending on the situation, the seller may want to leave the house with everything in it for the buyer. In this case, the language of the contract will read that the house is listed for sale with ‘all personal effects included.

Rip out carpet

Wash walls and exposed floors

After the house is clutter-free and the carpets have been ripped out, it is time to start cleaning. You can get started by washing the walls and exposed floors with TSP cleaner. The specialized cleaner will help you cut through grime and smells quickly.

Run ozone machines

Once everything is cleared out and cleaned with TSP cleaner, take advantage of ozone machines. These machines can help to clear the airspace of the house. Hopefully, these machines will help to make the air smell clean within a few days.

Potential — remove any bad subfloor or drywall

Without regular access to the entire house, a hoarder can easily miss regular maintenance issues that could have been easily solved. With that, it will be up to you to fix any issues that you find.


Depending on the extent of the hoarding situation, you might find that a bad odor remains in the home after all of your cleaning. If you haven’t gotten the smell out, then you’ll have to repeat the steps above. Continue to clean and repeat until the smell is more manageable.

Prime everything with Kilz oil-based paint

When you are ready to move forward, your first step should be to paint the entire house with Kilz oil-based paint. The formula of this paint acts as a stain and smell blocker to seal unwelcome odors into the walls for good. A coat of this primer should keep the memories of harsh hoarding smells at bay.
After this step, you can move forward with your other plans such as getting the place ready for tenants or staging it for potential buyers.

What is the average cost to clean out a hoarder house?

The cost of cleaning out a hoarder house will vary based on your location. Plus, the extent of the hoarding will come into play.

Does a hoarder house depreciate value?

When a hoarder house is on the market, it is easy to see why the value of the home is depreciated. Generally, buyers aren’t looking to take on a major project or jump into a property with too many unknowns. With that, you may be able to find a great deal on a hoarder house.

The bottom line

A hoarder house can seem like a risky deal at first. Although there are obvious risks and unusual costs that come with purchasing a hoarder house, there could be an opportunity for a savvy real estate investor to make a profit.



Host of “The House Hacking Podcast” and owner of www.FIbyREI.com

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Andrew Kerr

Andrew Kerr

Host of “The House Hacking Podcast” and owner of www.FIbyREI.com