When you envision a hoarder house, you likely picture piles of stuff stacked to the ceiling throughout
the home. With mountains of stuff ready to come tumbling down and potentially release a swarm of
pests, it can be unsettling to enter a hoarder house. But is a hoarder house a good investment
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.
Beyond the obvious state of disarray, the mountain of clutter could be hiding major issues in the home.
Without the ability to take a closer look, an inspector is left to guess at what problems could be lying
underneath the mess. A few common issues include health hazards like mold and pest control issues.
But more serious issues, like structural or foundational issues could be hidden as well.
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.
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
Although you can request for the seller to clean out the home, it might not be possible. With that, you
might be left with a mountain of clutter to deal with. The first step is to get everything out of the house.
Prepare yourself with safe footwear, an arsenal of cleaning supplies, and even face masks to help with
the potential odors.
Take it one room at a time. Unfortunately, this process can take several days, depending on the
condition of the hoarder house. If you are tackling this on your own, getting a dumpster on site can be a
game-changer. Also, keep a supply of boxes to collect salvageable items that could be donated to
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
Cleaning out the entire space is a major accomplishment. However, you cannot stop here. Once you can
see the floor, rip out all of the carpets. You never know what has been able to seep into the carpets
without a deep cleaning in years. With that, it is better to trash the carpet altogether.
Plus, pulling out the carpet can help with the smell that normally accompanies hoarder homes.
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
Now that you can see the structure of the house take the time to look for bad subfloor and drywall.
Unfortunately, it is fairly likely that you will find spots throughout the house that need major
renovations. Original problems that may have caused minimal damage, like a small leak, can spiral out of
control when a hoarder ignores the problem.
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
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
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.