Dealing with a Hoarder: A Family Guide to Making the Right Move

Understanding Hoarding: Definition and Symptoms

Hoarding isn’t just about collecting items. It’s a complex disorder where individuals have difficulty discarding items, resulting in excessive clutter that can disrupt daily functioning. Recognizing the difference between mere clutter and hoarding can be a game-changer. But how do you know? Often, hoarders find it challenging to maneuver within their own homes, with pathways narrowed by stacks of items.

Statistics in the U.S. and Des Moines, Iowa

According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 2-6% of the population suffers from hoarding disorder. But the impact isn’t just on a national scale. Des Moines, Iowa, has not been immune to this issue. Local support groups and organizations in the city indicate a growing need for resources and assistance for hoarders and their families.

Challenges Faced by Families of Hoarders

Emotional Strain

Seeing a loved one buried under their possessions is heart-wrenching. Families often grapple with feelings of frustration, sadness, and even embarrassment. How did it come to this? Why won’t they let go?

Health and Safety Concerns

Piles of items can pose significant hazards. From blocked exits in emergencies to the growth of mold and pests, the safety concerns are vast and varied.

Property Value Decline

A hoarder’s home often has hidden damages. From structural issues to pest infestations, these damages can significantly decrease the property’s value.

Steps to Assist a Hoarder Relative

Communicate Compassionately

Approaching a hoarder confrontationally can backfire. Instead, express your concerns lovingly, ensuring they understand your intentions are for their well-being.

Seek Professional Help

Therapists and organizers specialized in hoarding can be invaluable. Their expertise can guide the cleaning process and provide emotional support.

Cleaning the House: Do’s and Don’ts

Don’t just throw things away; this can traumatize the hoarder. Work alongside them, categorizing items and prioritizing safety.

Why Selling to a Cash Buyer Makes Sense

Quick Sales Process

Selling a hoarder home in the traditional market can be time-consuming. Cash buyers, on the other hand, can finalize deals in as little as a week.

Fair Price Without Renovations

Renovating a hoarder home for sale can be costly and exhausting. Cash buyers typically buy “as-is,” eliminating the need for repairs.

Confidentiality and Sensitivity

Cash buyers experienced with hoarder homes approach the situation with empathy and discretion, ensuring the sale process is as stress-free as possible.

Experience in Dealing with Hoarder Homes

Many cash buyers in Des Moines, Iowa, have dealt with several hoarder homes, offering solutions tailored to such unique situations.


Dealing with a hoarder relative can be an emotional rollercoaster. But with compassion, professional help, and the right sale approach, it’s possible to ensure their safety and well-being while preserving family ties. Selling a hoarder house to a cash buyer in places like Des Moines can be the best choice, offering a quick, empathetic, and hassle-free solution.


  1. Why is hoarding considered a disorder? Hoarding is considered a disorder because it affects daily functioning and can lead to health and safety concerns.

  2. How common is hoarding in Des Moines, Iowa? While exact numbers aren’t available, local resources indicate a growing need for support in the community.

  3. What’s the difference between collecting and hoarding? Collectors usually organize and display their collections, while hoarders accumulate items haphazardly, leading to clutter and disruption.

  4. How quickly can a cash buyer purchase a hoarder home? Often, deals can be finalized in as little as a week.

  5. Do cash buyers always offer a lower price for hoarder homes? Not necessarily. Many offer fair market prices considering the condition of the home.

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