Anyone who has experience in flipping homes knows that you can come across some, let’s say, interesting properties. Some houses are fairly straightforward when it comes to repairing them to sell them quickly, while others require a lot more prep and a lot more labor before they’re ready to hit the market again. One such example is the hoarder’s house.
Did you know that hoarding is considered a psychological disorder? According to WebMD, up to 5% of the population in the United States may have a hoarding problem. This causes people to excessively hold onto various things, to the point that their living situation could become hazardous to their health.
As you probably already imagined, stepping into a hoarder house can be overwhelming, and it could be difficult to see the potential underneath all of the clutter. So, we’ve compiled a few tips to help you navigate this type of real estate project.
Before You Put in an Offer, Get Advice from Experts
First off, while checking out a home that was previously owned by a hoarder, it’s best to wear protective clothing, such as boots, gloves, a mask, long sleeves, and long pants. As you walk from room to room, be aware that there might be some structural problems, so tread carefully.
Take inventory of what you see so that you can get a better idea of what you’d be getting yourself into if you decided to purchase the home to flip it. Hiring some experts can also help you estimate just how much you’d need to spend in order to get the house ready for sale.
For example, plumbing experts, structural engineers, and electrical experts can all come in handy when it comes to figuring out the extent of the repairs that will need to be made. They may advise you to make some extensive renovations, or they might even tell you that a teardown is your best option.
In the end, you might realize that there’s far too much work that needs to be done, and that your profit after the sale of the house won’t be high enough for it all to be worthwhile. Alternatively, you might find out that, once the clutter is removed, it isn’t so bad after all and you can proceed with a renovation that will allow you to make a nice amount of money when all is said and done.
Note: Hoarder houses could take much more time to flip than traditional properties, and time is money. If you’re thinking about buying a home in as-is condition, be sure to factor in the time that it’ll take to get rid of the clutter and fix things up.
The Cleanup Phase Is Easier with the Help of Pros
Hoarder houses aren’t just full of junk; they might even contain hazardous materials like urine and feces, especially if the hoarder was housing animals that weren’t properly cared for. And don’t be shocked if you find areas of the house that are rotting away, or nasty odors that make it hard to breathe. Therefore, in addition to watching your step, it’s also wise to protect your health.
Cleaning up the mess left behind by a hoarder might be too difficult and time-consuming to do on your own. While doing it yourself could help you save money, it might be in your best interest to hire a professional cleaning crew to help you efficiently remove all of the trash and disinfect the home before you begin making repairs.
Diving into the Repair Phase May Yield More Surprises
When more of the house is revealed after the cleaning phase is complete, it’s time to get to work making necessary renovations to ensure the property is safe, modern, and appealing to buyers. Unfortunately, you might end up finding additional unpleasant surprises.
Be aware that repairs in a hoarder property might include the removal of pests and mold. Also, the paint might be peeling off the walls, the floors or walls may have holes in them, the windows might be damaged, and all of the appliances will likely need to be removed and replaced.
The bottom line is this: much more than a mere facelift, these properties often need to be gutted, so be prepared to spend extra time and money on making your renovations and ensuring everything is brought up to code.
Hoarder Properties Could Be a Smart Investment for Flippers
Sure, hoarder houses require more in terms of time and effort, but they could be worth every minute and every bit of frustration you go through. In the end, when you purchase a hoarder property for a super low price, renovate it to breathe new life into it, and then sell it at a much higher price, you could walk away with a substantial profit. So, although the work involved might be intense, the reward might also be great. With other flipping opportunities available, though, you really need to do your research and crunch some numbers before determining whether or not a hoarder house is really worth pursuing.