While settling an estate, it is not uncommon that we encounter a home owned by a hoarder. Recently I attended a presentation by Cory Chalmers, an expert on hoarding, and learned a lot of valuable information about hoarding.
The first thing I learned is that there are different levels of hoarding ranging from one to ten. One being a mild hoarder, maybe someone who collects a few old magazines or something similar, and 10 being an extreme case of hoarding with all rooms of the home being filled to capacity with stuff. I personally have been in a home near Bowie, Maryland in which every room was filled to eye level with papers and only a walking path leading from room to room through the home. I attempted to ease the family’s shock when entering the home. But there was no way to prepare them for the onsite view of the amount of clutter in the home.
I also learned that hoarders may hoard very particular items. One person may hoard newspapers and another person may hoard empty glass jars.
The job of the administrator of the estate is to get the home clean and ready for sale. With a hoarder this will add additional time and expense. In an extreme case of hoarding the amount of time and effort to sift through the contents of the home will be significant. With a mild hoarder the administrator may need to hire a professional cleaning crew. Also depending on what the person is hoarding it may be necessary to stay away from the home until a professional can safely prepare the home.
Working with a team of professionals experienced in estate settlement will ease the process of cleaning up a home and getting it ready for sale.