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So, You Bought a Hoarder House...

You found the perfect property. It’s in a great location. The price is right. However, there’s one problem, and it’s a big one: this was the home of a hoarder.

That shouldn’t necessarily be a dealbreaker. Many hoarder houses can be rehabilitated. Here’s what you need to know before closing the deal.

What Is a Hoarder House?

A hoarder house is a home previously owned by someone with a hoarding disorder. This affliction compels people to collect and store all kinds of objects, including those that are worthless and have no sentimental value.

A hoarder house will be packed with clutter. Floors, counters, tabletops, stairs, desktops, and other surfaces might all have large piles on them. In fact, it can be hard to walk from one room to another in such a dwelling.

On top of that, hoarders often stick things inside ovens, sinks, microwaves, dishwashers, and other appliances. And, if there isn't enough room for a hoarder's possessions inside, outdoor areas might get filled up. Yards, garages, sheds, and even automobiles could become overstuffed.

Reality Vs. TV

If you're familiar with hoarding, it might be because you've seen it on TV. In recent years, some cable networks have featured reality shows on the topic. Are those programs accurate, though?

Hoarding shows often depict hoarder homes correctly. That is, they show these houses as they are in real life, with buildups of junk and grime. What hoarding reality shows often distort, however, is the cleaning process. Some of them give the impression that hoarder houses can be tidied up in a few days by a few people. After that, they're safe to live in.

In truth, many of these properties have serious structural and contamination issues. These problems take significantly more time and effort to fix and will often require professionals who specialize in rehabilitating these homes.

How to Spot Problems in Hoarder Houses

When you move into a hoarder house, you must remove all of the clutter, which can be a huge task. You could spend days searching the attic, the basement, the closets, and every nook within the home.

The problems of a hoarder house go well beyond the piles, however.

Strong Odors: Certain spaces may have strong odors. Look carefully for clusters of mold and mildew on floors, walls, and other surfaces. Fungi, of course, can be harmful to your health. You could also buy an air quality monitor and test the air inside your new home. It might be contaminated with microbes or pollutants.

Plumbing Issues: In some hoarder houses, objects fall down drains or get flushed. As a result, the plumbing could get obstructed. Therefore, you check all of your sinks and toilets, and you ought to look for leaks as well. Leaks can cause major water damage.

Excessive Pet Hair: If a hoarder owns one or more pets, animal dander and waste could be scattered around his or her home. The bodies of deceased pets could be buried under clutter, too. Again, a full and careful inspection will locate those items.

Pests: Hoarder houses can be havens for pests. That's scary since rats, mice, and other creatures can spread diseases. Not to mention, rodents and other animals can chew electrical wires, which can lead to serious hazards. And certain pests eat through wood and other construction materials, causing structural damage.

With that in mind, look shed skins, nests or nesting materials, gnaw marks, dead insects scattered around, and animal droppings.

How Can a Professional Cleaning Crew Make a Hoarder House Habitable?

The safest way to handle cleaning is to hire a professional team. After all, this home may contain many perils, including biohazards and sharp objects hidden in piles.

A professional cleaning crew will:

  • Remove all clutter

  • Deep clean each room and carpet

  • Figure out which types of fungi are growing in your home, and take the right steps to eliminate them

  • Locate asbestos and other dangerous materials, and safely transport them out of your house

  • Scrub windows, walls, patios, driveways, and other surfaces

  • Repair damaged objects and architectural elements

  • Fix cracked walls, ceilings with holes, and warped flooring

  • Check your plumbing and electrical fixtures, replacing any broken items

Bottom line: The professional restoration crew at Cut N Dry Restoration will have all the necessary supplies, tools, and materials. We will conduct a thorough investigation, develop a customized and efficient plan of action, and then get to work. With the right team at your side, your hoarder house will soon be a happy home. To schedule your appointment, call (909) 829-5002.