Following is another guest post from author Jessica Kane
There is nearly always work that must be done to a home to prepare it for sale and the marketplace. Even if nothing else, some coordinated staging needs to be undertaken to make the interior appealing to prospective buyers. Some effort may be needed to up the curb appeal of a property to garner a prospective buyer’s attention in the first instance. Unfortunately, there are especially challenging situations in which a property needs more than the normal amount of work to get it into a condition suitable for sale. One such circumstance is when hoarding has occurred in the residence.
What most people know about hoarding they’ve gleaned from media reports or perhaps one or another of the television programs that featured people who hoard. There are three phases that you need to understand when it comes to efficiently and affordably preparing a hoarder’s home for sale.
Before diving into these tactics, it’s important to note what this article does not address. This article is not intended to provide you with insights on how to reach out to a person with hoarding disorder in the first instance. This article presupposes that a hoarder either had made a decision to allow the property to be cleaned up and intends to move, a decision has legally been made on behalf of a hoarder to move that individual, or a person who hoarded in life has died.
Prepare Thoroughly for Hoarder Cleanup
You must plan and prepare thoroughly before diving into the work of hoarding cleanup. The first step in this process is to ascertain what exactly is present in the way hoarded items, trash, and waste. A hoarder becomes progressively worse over time.
Depending on how long a resident of a house has been hoarding, you may find yourself in a situation in which you must address everything from accumulated objects and trash to facing the prospect of eliminating dangerous biohazardous waste. A horrific reality of hoarding disorder is that as it continues over time, a house and its facilities become unusable, resulting in the presence of human waste and other dangerous matter throughout a residence.
Once you are able to ascertain the status of the interior of the house and the extent of hoarding, you can make decisions regarding the types of professional assistance that will be necessary to address the situation fully and prepare the residence for sale.
At a minimum, arranging for a suitable dumpster to be on site for the hoarding cleanup is a must. If the results of hoarding are severe, and if it continued for an extended period of time, you may need to consider seriously engaging the services of a biohazard remediation specialist. A key reason you may need a specialist is to ensure that the residence is thoroughly cleaned up and sanitized. In addition, oftentimes professional assistance is required to fully remediate the odors that are associated with a severe hoarding situation.
Initiating and Undertaking the Cleanup Process
When it comes to dealing with a hoarding situation, you must understand that there very well may be no rhyme or reason to the way in which items of different types are maintained in a residence. For example, important documents may be strewn together with trash, all of which is mixed with rotting food or human waste. In other words, the hoard cleanup process focuses initially on sorting items and materials of all types that may be found in a residence.
A vital first step during this phase of cleanup is finding important papers in the residence. This includes identifying and stowing safely away both papers with legal as well as sentimental significance.
The next phase is sorting actual items in a residence into specific categories:
- Items to keep
- Items to sell
- Items to donate
- Items to throw away
Ideally, you are able to establish a staging area in the residence. This becomes important when the hoarding resident is involved in the process. If the hoarder is involved in the process, that individual must be empowered as being able to make final decisions as to what items will be sold, donated, or thrown away. This can be accomplished when a staging area is created that allows a hoarder the feeling he or she has some breathing room between making a decision about eliminating certain items and the actual elimination of them in one way or another.
Full Physical Restoration of the Residence
Once a comprehensive cleanup process is complete – including cleanup, sanitization, and deodorization – the last major phase of recovering a home after hoarding is repairing damage to the structure. Damage to a residential structure because of hoarding occurs because of two primary reasons. First, the hoarder is not taking proper care of a residence. Second, the act of hoarding itself damages the physical aspects of a residence.
Unless you are an avid do-it-yourselfer, you will also want to reach out to professionals to assist you with these tasks. Indeed, there may be some restoration needs that mandate professional assistance, including such tasks as rewiring the residence or addressing serious plumbing problems.
Restoring a home once occupied by a hoarder to a salable status is challenging. Nonetheless, by understanding what is needed in each phase of the process, you gain a better understanding of what is needed to get the residence once occupied by a hoarder in the best possible shape for the real estate marketplace.