Hoarding – the very mention of the word conjures up images of struggling homeowners trapped behind stacks of boxes in their living rooms. At the very least, we envision carports overflowing with age-old trinkets and little breathing space inside.
It’s important to understand that hoarding in Hawaii or anywhere else is more than just the physical manifestation that we see from the street. It’s normally the result of homeowner distress. Perhaps there’s an unusual case of severe emotional attachment to decades’ worth of accumulations. Or maybe there’s a lone elderly resident who has no one else to help clear everything out.
If you’ve ever watched the TV show “Hoarders“, you know what I mean. The boxes and other items are the result of something else deeper at the human level. It’s easy to walk or drive by a house like this and condemn the owner, but most times that’s really not fair. Someone inside needs help.
I was recently quoted in the article “The Hoarding Hazard” in the September 2013 issue of Honolulu Magazine. The authors asked me, as a Hawaii real estate investor, how hoarding activity affected my business decisions. I was clear that one hoarder property in a neighborhood would unlikely affect whether I would buy houses in the area. However, a neighborhood full of hoarder houses would likely turn me away.
After all, we buy houses in Hawaii as investments and we need to take into account many different factors, including the ability to resell a house once we’ve finished renovating it. A newly renovated house sandwiched in between two eyesore hoarding properties would be difficult. Why?
Because hoarding affects property value.
The next question is: how much does a hoarder house affect YOUR property value in Hawaii? That’s not always easy to calculate down to the dollar value. Ok, it’s impossible. BUT — we can make a reasonable estimate.
Let’s say you have a single family house in Honolulu that’s worth roughly $650,000 — just about the median value for Honolulu County as of this writing. Now imagine of the 20 houses on your block, two of them are hoarders with boxes stacked in the carports and a couple derelict cars and lawnmowers to boot.
If you were to sell your house, you’d likely have to discount your price to give the buyer an incentive. Buying a house is an emotional decision and pictures are truly worth a thousand words, especially in real estate. Of course, other factors come into play — the degree of hoarding level, market demand and your need to buy. But all things being equal, expect roughly a 5% hit to your house level, if not more.
How to Help Hoarders
Is it worth talking your neighbor and seeing if they need help? Could you spend an afternoon or weekend helping them with packing or preparing for a garage sale? It might even be worth it for you to hire a junk removal team — even at your expense. Perhaps ask if you can speak with a family member to get a better idea of what’s going on and if they would welcome your assistance.
If they do want to sell their house to either get some cash out or relieve themselves of the emotional burden, just have them contact us at (808) 377-4379. We’d be happy to assess their property and present an “As Is” cash offer and see what else we can do. By buying hoarder properties and other distressed homes in Hawaii, we can help troubled homeowners as well as improve neighborhoods when we resell the property fully renovated.
We always believe in winning solutions for everyone.