Related posts


How to Sell a Hoarder House (Without Cleaning)

Selling a hoarder house might seem intimidating. Where do you even start when every room overflows with items collected over the years? Take a deep breath, though, as it is possible to sell a clutter-filled home without an expensive and time-consuming cleanout. 

With empathy, care and the right preparation, you can make a hoarder house market-ready on your own terms. This step-by-step guide equips you with practical tips to declutter just enough to facilitate a sale with minimum stress or discarding of possessions.

What is a hoarder’s house?

A hoarder’s house refers to a home that is cluttered from excessive acquisition of and inability to discard large numbers of objects. The clutter makes it difficult to use living spaces as intended. Hoarding ranges from moderate to severe based on the amount of possessions and the degree to which it impedes basic activities.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) issued an International Classification of Diseases in 2018, stating that it’s a mental health disorder in older adults. The diagnosis is made when persistent difficulty discarding possessions causes distress and impairs function. Sufferers have strong urges to accumulate along with excessive accumulation of items that appear of little value to others.

The volume of clutter in a hoarder’s home varies. In severe cases, narrow trails snake through piled belongings. Rooms become unusable for their intended purpose due to crowded conditions. Selling a hoarder’s house brings unique challenges requiring empathy and understanding around this complex disorder, especially if you’re tasked with selling a hoarder’s house on someone’s behalf or you’ve inherited the property. 

Why do people hoard?

Hoarding behaviours arise from a complex blend of emotional, cognitive, genetic and social factors. There is no single cause. The key drivers behind hoarding disorder include:

Traumatic events and loss

Painful life events, especially in childhood, can trigger overwhelming feelings of anxiety, grief or insecurity. Acquiring and saving possessions creates comfort against fears of hardship or scarcity.

Information processing challenges

Hoarders struggle with organisation, decision-making and categorising objects as useful or not. Faced with possessions, they experience paralysis choosing what to keep or discard.

Genetic predisposition

Research suggests genetics account for 50% of hoarding cases. The hoarding phenotype seems heritable in families where OCD and related disorders also occur.

Social isolation

Many hoarders progressively detach from family and friends, feeling shame over their living conditions. Withdrawal exacerbates disorders and removes external pressure to clean.

Why shouldn’t a hoarder clean their own home?

Put simply, it’s a lot to ask. Here are some reasons why a hoarder shouldnt clean their own home:

    • Maintains safety and stability: Attempting a hasty cleanout can be both physically and emotionally draining, especially for an elderly person. Moving heavy piles risks injury.
    • Avoids re-traumatisation: Forced purging can replicate childhood trauma and loss that shaped hoarding behaviours. This often leads the person to rapidly re-clutter once cleanouts cease.
    • Prevents destruction of personal property: Rushing to clean up risks losing or damaging precious personal possessions, causing immense distress along the way. Trash collectors may mistakenly remove wanted items permanently.
    • Time-consuming: Even if you remove the emotional burden, cleaning a hoarder’s house can be incredibly time-consuming.

What will happen if I decide to clean up a hoarder’s house?

When working within a hoarder’s home, you may experience several shocking and disturbing sights. As clutter piles up over the years, things that everyday homeowners would quickly discard start decaying and attracting vermin. Expect to potentially see things like bugs crawling on surfaces, flies gathering, spider webs filling corners, mouse or rat droppings scattered about and the stench of rotting food waste. 

In severe cases, maggots may feed on organic garbage, and dead rodents may be found trapped under debris piles. While traumatic, try not to react with disgust around the hoarder. Remain calm and remember that disorganisation and inability to discard these accumulations are symptoms of a mental disorder deserving empathy. You might want to consider enlisting a professional cleaning service to safely remediate any biohazards.

We’ve previously written here about the costs involved in clearing a hoarder house so do check that article out afterwards.

Should I instruct an estate agent to sell a hoarder’s house?

You can attempt listing a hoarder’s home with an estate agent, but it will prove very challenging to sell. Most agents refuse representing hoarder houses, or withdraw after discovering the condition. Property showings are hindered by narrow walkways and excessive clutter distracting buyers. And lenders usually baulk at providing mortgages without major cleanouts, especially if there are signs of structural damage or biohazards.

Estate agents are accustomed to showcasing properties in their best light to compete for buyers. A hoarder home will set off alarms for agents worried about wasting time on an unsellable listing. 

You may find few amenable agents, and consequently lose time and money, because agents back out or the property is not selling.

How can I sell a hoarder’s house without an estate agent?

The easiest way to sell a hoarder’s house is to do so without any risks of a sale falling through, and that involves selling to a property-buying company like Property Rescue. We buy hoarder homes in any condition with cash.

If you’re looking to sell a hoarder’s house fast without any cleaning or  getting the place up to scratch, we can help. We’ll work to your timeline, but can exchange contracts in as little as 48 hours (if needed). More importantly, we cover all of the legal fees, so all you have to do is sell to us without the need to worry about anything else. It’s that simple, and you can remove the emotional and physical stress of selling a hoarder’s house. 

Get a free, no-obligation quote to see how much your hoarder’s home is worth. 

Danny Nieberg

I have deep knowledge and experience in the property sector having worked in the industry for many years. I oversee several brands within our group. My experience encompasses high volume property trading, management of residential and commercial property portfolios, and property development.

Receive a free, no-obligation cash offer by completing our 30 second form

Invalid postcode

or just get in touch with our friendly team

Call us free on