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Jane Kalinowsky, 3rd Generation REALTOR® SRES®, CCS® (Luxury) (Pantanella & Partners)

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Cindy Davis
SD Home Source Realty - San Diego, CA

I wouldn't tell a potential client that he or she is a hoarder.  Labeling their behavior is only going to makd them feel worse. Price the home according to its presentation. If the seller wants top dollar, I would show him or her photos of what 'showing condition' looks like.

Apr 14, 2015 01:17 AM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, KW Diversified - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Without using the term Hoarder, let them know that this place WILL NOT SELL, until we move this stuff into a storage pod or a dumpster.

Then sit down with them and show them how to do this or hire someone to do it.


Apr 14, 2015 02:35 AM
Jill Murty, Realtor - Orange County, CA
Movoto - Laguna Niguel, CA

Advise your client that when selling a property, they should view it as a business transaction.  Let them know that having an abundance of things makes it appear that a property doesn't have enough space.  

If your client is planning to purchase a replacement property, listen to their comments about property listings.  When they say something negative about listings that look like their property, it's a great opening to say people looking at your clients' property may have similar thoughts. 

Apr 14, 2015 01:21 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

These cases will require your most diplomatic skills. Many will need professional help or very strong family assistance. 

Do not assume that you will be able to cure a hoarder. Price the property to attract an investor who will buy it in the current condition.

Apr 14, 2015 07:10 AM
Noah Seidenberg
Coldwell Banker - Evanston, IL
Chicagoland and Suburbs (800) 858-7917

I have had this happen a few times Jane. You just have to explain that you can't show a home this way. Most people know when you gently reason with them and show you are on their side. Also remember this is a OCD issue and be nice about it. I have had good luck with talking to their relative too.

Apr 14, 2015 01:48 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

A real hoarder needs professional help and it's not a word that should be tossed around lightly.  Many of my sellers have known that they need to edit but just don't know where to begin and how to go about it.  You have to gauge your client to see how receptive they are to what you have to say but ultimately, I never tell a seller what they have to do.  it's still their home.  

I do however, take a photo of the rooms and show them what it would like on the MLS to a prospective buyer.  This often works. 

Apr 14, 2015 05:04 AM
Kimo Stowell
HI Pro Realty LLC RB-21531 - Honolulu, HI
REALTOR Associate® RS-76763 - Honolulu Hawai'i

Aloha Jane, 

it is my understanding that "hording" is a symptom of mental illness. Depending on the individual the person may or may not understand how their condition might affect a sale. Evaluating the mental health of someone and diagnosing them is for licensed medical professionals. As a sales agent, advising people that keeping a well merchandised, clean home will attract serious potential buyers is typically the conversation conducted without the need for labeling the sellers housing keeping and hygene habits. 

A hu hou,

Apr 14, 2015 05:01 AM
John McCormack, CRS
Albuquerque Homes Realty - Albuquerque, NM
Honesty, Integrity, Results, Experienced. HIRE Me!

This actually happen.  I simply said, you must move all your belongs out. You must move out.  You must re-paint, re-carpet and have the home totally cleaned by professionals.  When this is done call me and we'll go from there with a listing.  This was 5 years ago. The home never went on the market and yep still collecting.   

Apr 14, 2015 03:04 AM
Raoul Loustaunau
EXP REALTY - Phoenix, AZ
urhomefinder.com myvaluetoday.com

I will let them know that the more clutter on the home will make the home sell slower and eventually the price will suffer regardless of where is priced at.so they have to make a choice of what they want to do.have a great day

Apr 14, 2015 02:32 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Hi Jane - you use a great word - politely and I would add honestly.   

I explain that how we might live everyday is much different than when a property is on the market for sale.  Once listed, a home is a house and a product that needs to be merchandised.   

As far as the necessary steps -- there are many resources available that "help" people prepare(pack, clean, toss, donate, recycle)their homes.  I would have those readily available to review as part of my marketing plan to successfully sale the home.

Apr 14, 2015 04:05 AM
Annette Lawrence , Palm Harbor, FL 727-420-4041
ReMax Realtec Group - Palm Harbor, FL
Making FLORIDA Real Estate EZ

Is it hoarding or just messy?

Is the seller an acknoweldged hoarder or an oblivious hoarder?

Is the seller able to make difficult dicisons independantly?

For the self proclaimed I would start:

"Wow! I see you love your stuff! You indicated you were intestested in down-sizing when we chatted on the phone. Let's talk about that a bit."

  • removal
  • storage
  • move
  • price accordingly
Apr 14, 2015 01:26 AM
Jane Kalinowsky
Pantanella & Partners - Redondo Beach, CA
3rd Generation REALTOR® SRES®, CCS® (Luxury)

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for the feedback! An out- of- state agent sent me this referral and warned me about the property. Apparently, her clients, 72-year-old father, widowed, lives in the property and I'm meeting them both in a few weeks. I did ask the agent if the eldest child knew what a hoarder house looked like inside. Her response was something along the lines of, ..."you mean like the show, Hoarders?" The agent sent her websites as a reference and her response was pretty much..."maybe worse." but only in the bedrooms, she said.

Long story short, all the siblings are putting their father in assisted living care because of early dementia and they are selling his house to pay for the expense. 

I will talk to the daughter at the end of the week to get more details but I figured I would put the question out there. She knows what they are in for and I have given them resources in my area for help.

I would probally not take a listing like this but someone has to help them. It would break my heart if there wasn't an agent out there that wouldn't help my grandparent(s), but then again, I would never allow this to happen in the first place.

Most likely one of my investors will buy it and flip it. Already have them lined up for viewings. It will be a silent sale.  I already got title on the property and it was purchased by this family in the 60's. Can't image what the condition is outside and inside.


Apr 14, 2015 06:03 PM
John Meussner
Mortgages in AZ, CA, CO, DE, FL, GA, IN, MD, MN, MT, NC, NJ, NV, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WI - Fair Oaks, CA
#MortgageMadeEasy Fair Oaks, CA 484-680-4852

Tread lightly and make suggestions would be my advice.  I like Cindy Davis idea of showing them what a place should look like for their best chances of a sale.

Apr 14, 2015 12:05 PM
Bruce Walter
Keller Williams Realty Lafayette/West Lafayette, Indiana - West Lafayette, IN

Jane, I would contact the local waste remover and have them deliver two industrial  sized dumpsters on their driveway. 

Hopefully they will get the hint!

Apr 14, 2015 10:46 AM
Marla Yost
The Yost Team- Keller Williams Realty - Arlington, TX
The Yost Team

I wouldn`t get envolved and I would let them know I just didn`t think it was a good business relationship.

Even if the the house is just nasty and I can tell they are going to do nothing different to improve the looks I walk  .....It`s my reputation also. 

Apr 14, 2015 07:54 AM
Rob D. Shepherd
RETIRED - Florence, OR

If its an obvious hoarder situation, I let them know I am not the right guy for the listing.

Apr 14, 2015 07:41 AM
Beatrice Briseno
RE/MAX Unlimited - San Antonio, TX
Beatrice M. Briseno, GRI, CDPE, San Antonio, TX

I have never had a seller that was a hoarder, but I did inherit a tenant that had been in place for over 30 years in an 8plex. She would come to pay her rent in a gleaming white Lexus and was a retired professor. She never called in any type of maintenance request. Than during our hot summer months she finally called and said her AC was not working. The maintenance man called from his truck to tell us that she was living in horrible conditions and they had to walk sideways to enter her unit!! Long story short we had to hire an attorney to try and get her out of the unit because she was a danger to herself and the 7 other tenants. I don't think I could go through that again.

Apr 14, 2015 07:33 AM
Kathleen Luiten
Resort and Second-Home Specialist - Princeville, HI
Kauai Luxury Ocean Home Sales

I'll assume this is a client who does not acknowledge they have too much stuff. If they are what would be clinically diagnosed as a "hoarder" they will not let go of their stuff, so it's a matter of getting it moved or stored. (PODs are a quick solution for that.) But if they are just terribly over-cluttered take them to some great, clean listings that are well staged. Tell them their home must be like these, feeling like a show room and devoid of personal items. Then give them referrals for people who help declutter!

Apr 14, 2015 04:41 AM
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
HomeSmart - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

Jane - This could be a real issue if this person is a true hoarder. First I would have a serious conversation with them about their stuff, and what they plan on doing with it, and be as nice as possible. Depending on how that conversation goes, I would know whether cleaning the home will become an issue, or if the client is willing to cooperate. From there, I would be able to explain what is needed to be done in order to sell fast and for top dollar. It is up to the client what they eventually decide to do. Then it would be your choice to take the listing or not, and determine whether you feel you would be able to sell the home in whatever condition it may be in based on the seller.

Apr 14, 2015 04:37 AM
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Try to be gentle, but tell them.

Sep 29, 2018 11:39 AM
Ajay Pandya
e-Merge Real Estate Unlimited - Columbus, OH
Realtor Ajay Pandya

I just 'show' them!

Apr 17, 2018 10:38 PM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Burlington, MA
Metro Boston Homes For Sale

As long as there is a communication between both parties... 

Apr 12, 2018 09:12 PM
S. Leanne Paynter ☼ Broward County, FL
United Realty Group, Inc. - Davie, FL
Davie, Plantation, Cooper City & Weston Specialist

It's likely they already know they have too much stuff.  Take photos of the main rooms and show them to the seller before placing the house on the market.  Offer a list of people or organizations that can help them declutter but I'd stay away from calling them a hoarder.  More than anything... price accordingly!

Apr 14, 2015 11:18 PM