The Definitive Guide to Buying (or Selling) a Hoarder House Pt 1: Meaning, Cause and Dealing With stands by its claim that we will buy anything and everything (as long as its priced right)! This past month, we bought a hoarder home in Hackettstown (Mansville) NJ. And … woah!

Words cannot do it justice.

We took some photos and videos of the clean-up, shared them with friends/family and had a TON of questions come back. Lots of folks mentioned wanting to learn more about the process (driven, perhaps by HGTV’s Hoarders series) so I figured it’d be a good excuse to write a number of articles on hoarding. The blog series is outlined as follows:

Here’s a video of the initial walk-thru of the property.

We bought a hoarder house in Hackettstown, NJ For Cash : Walk-through/Day 0

Hoarding or Hoarder House: Meaning, Cause, Dealing with

Meaning recognizes hoarding as a mental disorder and defines hoarding as “a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them.”

There’s no real limitation on what a hoarder can keep: newspapers, food and grocery items, refuse, electronics and hobbyist materials, clothing, and even human waste (gross, I know). In fact, most hoarders might seem like they keep everything that they are given or find on a daily basis. In lesser cases, some hoarders will keep a relatively clean home – yet have an excessive number of live animals (eg, cats).

Signs and symptoms of hoarding may include:

  • Excessively acquiring items that are not needed or for which there’s no space
  • Persistent difficulty throwing out or parting with your things, regardless of actual value
  • Feeling a need to save these items, and being upset by the thought of discarding them
  • Building up of clutter to the point where rooms become unusable
  • Having a tendency toward perfectionism, avoidance, procrastination, and problems with planning and organizing

People with hoarding disorder typically save items because:

  • They believe these items are unique or will be needed at some point in the future
  • The items have important emotional significance — serving as a reminder of happier times or representing beloved people or pets
  • They feel safer when surrounded by the things they save
  • They don’t want to waste anything
Hoarder House NJ: Basement Steps


It’s not clear what causes hoarding disorder. Genetics, brain functioning and stressful life events are being studied as possible causes.

Risk factors

Hoarding usually starts around ages 11 to 15, and it tends to get worse with age. Hoarding is more common in older adults than in younger adults.

Risk factors include:

  • Personality. Many people who have hoarding disorder have a temperament that includes indecisiveness.
  • Family history. There is a strong association between having a family member who has hoarding disorder and having the disorder yourself.
  • Stressful life events. Some people develop hoarding disorder after experiencing a stressful life event that they had difficulty coping with, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, eviction or losing possessions in a fire.


Hoarding disorder can cause a variety of complications, including:

  • Increased risk of falls
  • Injury or being trapped by shifting or falling items
  • Family conflicts
  • Loneliness and social isolation
  • Unsanitary conditions that pose a risk to health
  • A fire hazard
  • Poor work performance
  • Legal issues, such as eviction

Other mental health disorders

Many people with hoarding disorder also experience other mental health disorders, such as:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)


Because little is understood about what causes hoarding disorder, there’s no known way to prevent it. However, as with many mental health conditions, getting treatment at the first sign of a problem may help prevent hoarding from getting worse

Click here to learn what does it cost to clean a hoarder’s house?


John is owner of, based out of Cranford, NJ. John and his team of cash buyers have bought and sold homes, offices, and land across North Jersey, Central Jersey, and South Jersey.