Home » Blog » 4 Common Problems Selling a Hoarder House in California

Do you need to sell a house that’s full of stuff?

If so, getting rid of it in a traditional manner may feel impossible. For those who own a hoarder home, cleaning it out and moving on may be your ultimate goal.

Yet, the process is far from effortless given the complex problems associated with these properties.

Why Property Owners Struggle with Hoarder Homes

Take a quick look at the listing of homes for sale in California. You’ll quickly notice most homes are beautiful, spotless, and uncluttered. Some may have renovations or beautiful upgrades that make them stand out.

These properties sell well because home buyers can easily see themselves living there. The homes don’t seem like they have a lot of work required before the buyer moves in either.

Hoarder homes tell the opposite story.

Property owners need to determine if they should invest the money in cleaning up and remodeling these homes or selling as-is.

In either case, there are limitations to the outcome.

You’ll either find yourself paying a lot of money to manage things like mold and rotting flooring or having to sell it at a loss.

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According to a survey from Trulia and The Harris Poll, 47% of home buyers plan to spend no more than $5,000 to remodel a home. Only 20% are willing to spend over $10,000. In other words, selling a home that needs lots of work on the traditional real estate market may be very difficult.


Let’s take a look at some common reasons a hoarder house is hard to sell on the California real estate market.

1. Interior photos are not possible

Listing a home for sale requires providing enticing information and crisp, clear photos to prospective buyers to encourage them to visit your property. Photos sell the home online, long before a buyer even arrives at the home.

Many property owners use professional photography services to capture everything from detailed architectural shots to drone video footage.

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A survey from Realtor.org found that 92% of buyers look for their home online and use listing photos to decide if they should even bother visiting the home.


That’s great, but with a hoarder house, it’s just not possible.

Even if you’ve cleaned up everything out of the home, you’re still facing stains from mildew and spilled drinks, damaged carpeting, and less-than-spotless walls.

Taking photos of the clutter in place, on the other hand, doesn’t help matters either and may scare away any prospective buyers.

Without photos, you’ll struggle to sell the home traditionally.

2. Open houses will not sell it

Another typical way to sell a home is with an open house.

Once you list the home for sale traditionally, you’ll establish specific times when prospective buyers can visit and check out the property.

This first-hand experience is critical.

They need to see the home and all it has to offer.

Yet, advertising for an open house means the home needs to be sell-worthy. It also needs to be presentable to the people who are most likely to buy from you. To sell a hoarder house you may need to host open houses with more selective buyers.

The other concern with open houses is that it’s not always safe to welcome people into the home.

Exposing them to germs and mold can be hazardous to those with illnesses as well as to children.

At the same time, these homes may have tripping hazards.

Even though you may have liability insurance to cover these types of injuries, that’s not something you want to have to think about as you’re trying to sell the house.

With a hoarder house in almost every case it’s necessary for the property owner to find new ways to reach prospective buyers.

That’s rarely an easy task, especially in a competitive California real estate market.

3. It takes time & money to clear it

Realizing you can’t list it easily on the MLS without photos and that hosting an open house is impossible, you may come to determine that it’s necessary to clear out the space.

Sometimes, a hoarder house will need a dumpster and hours of time spent by the owners moving item-by-item out of the home.

The process is challenging at best.

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The actual price for clearing out a hoarding house depends on numerous factors. This includes the size of the home, the scale of the hoard, and the environmental hazards onsite. Then, there’s also the disposal fees. If hazardous material is present, that drives up the cost as well.


To sell a hoarder house on the traditional market, clean up is going to be a requirement.

Most families will not buy a home that’s filled with stuff.

If a home is cluttered, on the other hand, you may be able to sell it with less time and monetary investment. Yet, most people trying to sell a hoarder’s home need a much more comprehensive clean.

This may include sanitizing and painting, too.

4. Embarrassment is a Concern

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America makes it clear that hoarding is a psychological problem.

Many people who hoard suffer from other disorders such as depression, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, and anxiety.

If you’re a hoarder, you may not understand why you do it or see anything wrong with it.

Embarrassment is common because of this minimized understanding of why hoarding happens. Yet, that embarrassment can make cleaning up and moving out hard to do, too.

It sometimes means facing the reality of what’s happened and why. For some property owners, that’s not easy to do. For others, it’s impossible without mental help from a licensed professional.

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Because cleaning out the hoard may mean facing uncovered demons or the reality that others will know there’s a problem, many people just don’t do it.


Many people in this situation will put off moving until they are required to do so.

If you’re in this position right now or trying to help someone in this position, realize that you don’t have to deal with this on your own.

What’s your best option to sell the house?

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Selling through a real estate agent isn’t a requirement.

You don’t have to list your home for sale in the MLS, and you don’t have to have professional photos taken or host an open house.

When you are selling a hoarder’s house, a direct-for-cash buyer may be a better option for you.

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7 key benefits to selling this way

1. No Clean-Up: Unlike with a real estate agent, you don’t have to clean up, clean out, do repairs, or update maintenance tasks. There’s no need to do any of this with a direct buyer.

2. Money Savings: A direct-for-cash buyer saves you money on that cleanup and clear out process. It also means no costs spent on remodeling.

3. It’s Faster: The clean-out process can take months. With a direct buyer, you can sell the hoarder house quickly and move out within days or weeks.

4. No Inspections: Unlike with a traditional home sale, a direct buyer doesn’t require a comprehensive home inspection. You don’t have to pay for repairs either.

5. Cash Buyers: Direct buyers are cash buyers, which means they buy from you without the need for a mortgage lender to approve them. That’s one less stumbling block to overcome.

6. No Agent Headaches: Direct buyers don’t use real estate agents. That means you can pocket the average 6% cost paid by sellers to agents for their fees.

7. No Open House: You never have to let anyone into your home to see what’s happening aside from the direct buyer themselves. There are no open houses to worry about.


When you sell a hoarder house to a direct buyer, virtually every one of your concerns are eliminated. These professionals know and understand why hoarding happens.

They’re not going to judge you or condemn you for these situations.

Hoarders’ houses tend to be properties that need significant updates and upgrades anyway, and therefore, they are the ideal professionals to do that for you.

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Selling a hoarder house in California

If you have a hoarder house for sale, your first step is to call SoCal Home Buyers. As direct home buyers, our team often works with property owners who need fast, reliable help selling their home as-is.

There’s no hard-to-understand paperwork involved or an expensive fee schedule to pay. You don’t have to hold a showing to the public. It’s all done quickly for you, too, often in as little as seven days.

When you sell a hoarder’s home to SoCal Home Buyers, our team handles the entire process for you. This includes buying your home without requiring any cleaning out, repairs, or updates.

The entire sales process is designed to be as simple for you as possible. You pay no closing costs, real estate commissions, or fees for this service. More so, you can close when you want to do so whether that’s a week or in 30 days.

With a hoarder’s home for sale, you may feel your options are limited.

Yet, a direct-for-cash buyer can resolve that.

We alleviate the stress and hassle of trying to sell your hoarder home on the California real estate market. We know this is a tough situation and a hard decision to make.

That’s why there’s no obligation to sell.

When you contact our team, we’re happy to make you an offer.

You can then choose what’s right for your needs.

There’s never a risk to you in contacting SoCal Home Buyers to learn about your options.

We buy homes from home owners that need to sell hoarder houses in Los AngelesRiversideSan BernardinoSan Diego, and Orange County. You can either fill out our online form below or give us a call at: 951-331-3844 to find out how we can help you with selling a home that’s full of stuff, today!

Call SoCal Home Buyers today: 951-331-3844 or request a cash offer here to sell your house without closing costs, escrow fees, agent commissions or the uncertainty of falling out of escrow!