Hoarder House in Denver

7 Replies

Hi fellow Denver folks and anyone who might have experience with a hoarder house.  I would consider doing the cleaning/repairs myself, but also curious if anyone can recommend a local cleaning company or provide an estimated cost?  This is a 3/2 with about 1300 sq ft.  There are dead mice, mouse droppings covering most of the visible carpet, piles of books/papers/stuff everywhere.   Dishes and food in the sink, a spill (perhaps soda) that's deteriorated a good portion of the kitchen floor.  A very unpleasant odor as you might imagine.  Also, any potential problems to be on the lookout for if I enter into contract (i.e. how to structure contingencies or ways to manage the stuff that is in the house?)  The listing currently states "as is."  How does an inspection work in a situation like this when an inspector obviously can't get a good visual on huge portions of the space?  My realtor has been extremely helpful in answering some of these questions, but just want to know if there's anything I'm missing and how I can reasonably estimate the cost to get this property either move-in ready or sellable.  

Thanks for your thoughts/comments as I navigate whether or not this is a good territory for me to jump into.

If it's been sitting on the MLS here in Denver, it's not a good deal. Hoarder homes can easily hide things like mold, water damage, and structural. Unless you can get a good look at everything, I'd move on.

If the condition requires gutted out, tear down, redo the interior by all means. Right now focus on exterior, siding, roofing etc.  If exterior is crap you need to consider a tear down.

Making sure the contents do not stay at the house per your contract.

Sounds like my kind of house.

1) Everything salvagable left behind gets put on eBay.  If it's not salvageable then strip the copper, aluminum, etc. out of it so you can sell it to Atlas Metals.  Books get sold to used book stores.  Dishes get thrown out or donated to ARC/Goodwill for the tax write off...one man's trash is another man's treasure.

2)  ALL CARPET GETS REPLACED.  Seriously...carpet is cheap (stay away from Home Depot - there are better options...and carpet is cheap).  Mice and droppings go out with the carpet...in fact, once you remove the food source, mice generally go away as well.

3) An inspector doesn't care about huge portions of space and honestly, if it's sold as is, an inspector is no different than a contractor that comes in after the fact...I would also go as far to say if you have any experience with construction/rentals, you're wasting your money with inspectors - it's being sold as is...the only value an inspector is going to give you is to tell you what you need to do to sell it to someone else - if this is a rental property, the new tenants aren't going to care about the same things an inspection is going to reveal.

Based on your post...this sounds like your first deal.  My general comment that I argue with people all the time about is that in real estate, your money is made up front - not after the fact.  I don't care if you're considering this for a flip or as a rental, if you're looking at a house in this condition, it needs to be priced at 60-70% of reselling market price.  In other words, if it can sell for $100k, you need to pay between $60 and $70k.  The difference will be repair costs...and they should be much less than $30k.

Carpet is cheap, paint is cheap.  When valuing this property look for low hanging fruit...do you need a new furnace?  Do you need a new roof?  Do you need to replace the sewer pipe to the main (big deal here in Denver)...etc.  Is your objective to rent it or flip it?  What are your goals?

1800 got Junk will get most of the stuff out for you. 

@Matt M. , it's actually a new property, so not sure how long it's been sitting like that.  The owner lived there for a few years, so definitely worth considering how long it's been like that.

@Sam Shueh it's a townhome and from what I could see, it looked to be in decent shape.  The interior was the main concern & my thought was that unless it has been sitting for a while and liquid or mice have done significant damage, hopefully taking out carpet, hosing everything down in bleach and some paint will fix most everything.

@Ed E. Thanks for all of the input.  I appreciate the suggestions, I'm really hoping removing stuff/carpets and bleach and paint will be my main initial goals.   As far as my background, I  have purchased an owner occupied house outside of Colorado, but if this works out will hopefully be the first of many investment properties.  I would be using a conventional loan, so I know I can't do much in the house before contract ends, but sure don't want all that junk sitting in there deteriorating the condition of the house further.  I'm aware I might be up against cash buyers and that would most likely push me out of the running all things considered.  I was asking about the inspection because I am looking for an owner occupied property and was considering living there or possibly renting.  It looks like it might be a better flip option though the more I think about it.  I'm just used to going through the process of getting an appraisal/inspection to make sure I have all the facts, but it does seem futile to have an inspector look around if it's as is. 

When you asked about goals, I was initially looking for a deal on an owner occupied property with the potential to become a rental within the next year or 2 as I find a different owner occupied property. This house, like I said, might be a better rental to start or even a flip if the numbers make sense. I'm not sure about my comfort level living in a house after I've seen it go through such a big transformation. :) Right now I'm waiting on my realtor to get some more information and see what other offers we're up against. When considering the exterior of the property, as a townhome, that would fall to the HOA. Otherwise, when looking around, there weren't any additional repairs that were obvious that would need to be done to the interior. Walls/doors looked to be in good shape.

@Kevin Grinstead Thanks for the suggestion.  I'll check them out if this all goes through.

Sounds like a great opportunity either way.  Good luck on the purchase!

@Heather Rudy so getting the stuff out can be done by any number of trash-out companies (google is your friend). Getting the rodents and bugs out can be done by an exterminator. Cleaning can be done by anyone but there are companies that specialize in especially rank situations. You can even do yourself but I would not recommend that. Cleaning up nasty properties makes for tired grumpy landlords. Hire it done too. Really all it takes is money.

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