Acquiring Property from an Owner w/ a Hoarding Disorder

7 Replies

Hey all! I live in a condominium complex above a unit that's owner occupied. The current owner is believed to have a hoarding disorder, which is likely given what I've noticed about the unit and his car since moving in. (I'll spare you those details.) The owner is an elder, single man who has lived in that unit for approximately 30 years. I've been told that he's very stubborn about letting anyone into the unit, and mostly keeps to himself. (I've only seen him a few times, and he does not really respond when I said hello.) I've also been told offhand by my HOA management that this owner is delinquent in HOA fees; so, the investor in me thinks that acquiring this unit (off market) may be a great opportunity for he and I both.


My partner and I discussing how to approach/reach out to this owner, and wanted to see if anyone else has had any success convincing someone with a hoarding disorder to sell you their home. Any tips or details we should be privy to? I understand that hoarding is a disability, so we would like to approach the owner in a delicate manner.

I look forward to any feedback!

Sheila

Depending on how bad he is, you could run into real problems getting him to move out prior to closing. I've run into sellers that were relatively motivated to sell, but couldn't get their stuff packed up to move. The volume of stuff is too great to pack in any reasonable period of time. If he has a real disorder, he probably isn't just going to throw everything out. People that get an attachment to things are also likely to overvalue their personal residence. It's their largest possession after all. So, I'm not sure you're more likely to get a good deal from him than anyone else. However, once he has moved on, if it remains full of stuff, then there might be some real possibilities.

Also, if he really has a disorder, he may not have the ability to negotiate with you. You would need to be sure that there isn't someone else that handles his finances. I was involved in a deal where the supposed seller didn't actually have the capacity to sell, because they had been deemed incompetent. That was a mess. Now if I even suspect there is some real impairment, I look into that issue first.

Other than being behind on his HOA, what makes you think he'll be motivated to provide a good deal? Is he to a point where he's in danger of getting foreclosed on by the HOA?

Originally posted by @Joseph Cacciapaglia :

Depending on how bad he is, you could run into real problems getting him to move out prior to closing. I've run into sellers that were relatively motivated to sell, but couldn't get their stuff packed up to move. The volume of stuff is too great to pack in any reasonable period of time. If he has a real disorder, he probably isn't just going to throw everything out. People that get an attachment to things are also likely to overvalue their personal residence. It's their largest possession after all. So, I'm not sure you're more likely to get a good deal from him than anyone else. However, once he has moved on, if it remains full of stuff, then there might be some real possibilities.

Also, if he really has a disorder, he may not have the ability to negotiate with you. You would need to be sure that there isn't someone else that handles his finances. I was involved in a deal where the supposed seller didn't actually have the capacity to sell, because they had been deemed incompetent. That was a mess. Now if I even suspect there is some real impairment, I look into that issue first.

Other than being behind on his HOA, what makes you think he'll be motivated to provide a good deal? Is he to a point where he's in danger of getting foreclosed on by the HOA?

Thanks for your feedback @Joseph Cacciapaglia. To your last question: not currently, but "eventually". I've been told the HOA's lawyer will be reaching out to residents regarding delinquent fees, and (with respect to this specific owner) they will make the convenience of repaying the fees through a repayment plan contingent on his cleaning up his unit (given that his hoarding is in violation of the HOA's governing docs). If he does not cooperate at that point, then they plan to move forward with the foreclosure process.

@Account Closed in that case, it may make sense to mention to him that you would be interested at this point, but don't really give him the hard sell until that external pressure kicks in. Lot's of people facing delinquency can maintain amazing denial until the very end. Of course, I would still be wary of all those other issues.

An old stubborn recluse hoarder that's been in there for 30 years....good luck with getting him to volunteer to sell to you....not gonna happen.

Your only avenue is if he HAS to move....his family moves him into assisted living, the HOA kicks him out, he dies and the family wants to sell.....

I would just try and position myself to be the outlet to offload it IF any of these happen....... he wont sell it you voluntarily...... people like this don't do ANYTHING unless they are forced to do it.

Since he is unresponsive, send him a letter and keep in touch. A 30 year resident hoarder is not exactly a hot lead...they will do everything in their power to stay and the HOA does not seem to care.

@Joseph Cacciapaglia 's answer really hit it right on the nose for me.  Someone with a hoarding disorder forms an intense emotional attachment to their stuff.  They're not going to leave their stuff, they're not going to pack up on time.  I also really appreciate the discussion that the person might be under conservatorship for their mental disabilities and perhaps the contract is voidable for lack of capacity.

I would go really hard on due diligence for this one.  I'd probably order an all 50 states background check to see if there is a legal guardianship anywhere, and I would also put into the offer a specific allocation for the moving expenses.  I would say something like $5,000 of the offer is for pack-up and move-out.