Hoarder Houses: Everything You Need to Know — FIbyREI

Andrew Kerr
4 min readFeb 26, 2021

Let’s take a closer look at everything you need to know about a hoarder house.

What is a hoarder house?

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

Although most homes have a fair amount of clutter, hoarder houses have more than a single layer of superficial clutter. Instead, the house has years of accumulated items that have slowly grown to unmanageable heights over time.

Often, you’ll find that these hoarder homes are stacked to the ceiling with piles of clutter. Typically,
there is barely a pathway to scoot from room to room. And in some cases, you might not be able to
enter certain rooms at all.

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.

Once you have everything out of the house, you’ll be able to take a closer look for bigger issues that were hidden under the clutter.

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.

When the smell is 99% gone, you can move onto the next steps. Don’t move on too quickly, otherwise, you’ll face bigger problems in the future.

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.

A good estimate on the cost ranges from 75 cents to 2 dollars per square foot. This can add up quickly depending on the size of the home. For example, a 2,000 square foot home could cost between $1,500 to $4,000 to clean out.

Although cleaning out the house yourself may seem like a cheaper option, the emotional and physical effort of cleaning out a hoarder house is immense. Don’t dive into the DIY route without considering these less tangible costs.

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 flip side is that you’ll have to put in significant effort to clean it up. Typically, you won’t have all of the information you would normally have from an inspection report which can leave you open to unexpected costs.

Although there are some red flags when it comes to purchasing a hoarder house, it could be a good option for the right investor. If you have the time or money to clean out the house and make any necessary renovations, then a hoarder house could be a good deal.

Pro Tip: As real estate investors, we can make great profits for solving problems that the average buyer doesn’t want to deal with. And let’s face it — the average person doesn’t want to deal with a hoarder house. With that, there may be an opportunity for a real estate investor to make substantial profits.

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.

If you are interested in building a successful real estate portfolio, then check out our free guide to start investing in real estate today.

Originally published at https://fibyrei.com on February 26, 2021.