We’ve inspected hundreds of distressed properties in Utah over the past ten years, and each situation is always unique. But there’s always a delicate line we tread when it comes to hoarder cleaning costs in Utah houses.
It’s not simply that it can be an emotionally sensitive issue to discuss with owners. And it’s not just that cleaning costs for a hoarder house can vary wildly with each given circumstance. There are also hazards to your physical health in hoarding cleanup that compounds the underlying emotional damage and stress. And sometimes, those hazards can cost you more than you might expect.
It’s been estimated that it can cost an average of up to $10 per square foot to store items in your home. The average single family home in Utah? It’s in excess of 2,600 square feet. That’s $26,000 estimated for storage in the average home. Imagine what that cost is going to look like with a hoarder home.
Now factor in hoarder cleaning costs and the result isn’t pretty.
How Much Does Hoarder Cleanup Cost?
Unfortunately, there’s no possible way to estimate a national average for cleaning a hoarder house. Each hoarder cleaning costs are unique and dependent on any number of variable factors, including:
- The size of the property.
- Materials available.
- Quantity of items to be disposed of.
- Methods of disposal.
- Location and distance of the property.
- Dumpster rentals.
- Maintenance & compliance
- Client involvement.
- Protective equipment.
- Deadline for completion.
- Supplies available.
And that’s just to start. You also need to consider the cost of the actual labor itself. Some experts have been known to charge in excess of $1,200 a day—and that doesn’t even include the cost of materials. And to make your uncertainty worse, you can’t always rely on a contractor’s word when it comes to a hoarder cleanup estimate.
Top 5 Hoarder Cleaning Costs
1. Unlicensed Contractors
Because there’s no federal or state regulatory commission in Utah overseeing hoarder cleaning costs, there’s no such thing as a licensed clean up specialist unless they’re certified in biohazard material disposal and transportation. That means virtually anyone can advertise themselves as a cleaning specialist, regardless of whether or not they’re licensed, bonded or insured. We’re not trying to insinuate that unlicensed contractors are unskilled. We’re merely indicating the lack of oversight can lead to unscrupulous activities.
It’s not unheard of to receive a free ”estimate” of an hourly rate from a contractor for hoarding cleanup that seems entirely reasonable. But that initial 12 hour estimate could turn into weeks on end, if not months. And that doesn’t even count the personal protective equipment they’re renting—by the day. Or materials. Or transportation costs. If you’re going to work with a contractor in cleaning up a hoarder house:
- Insist on a carefully itemized bill., detailing actual costs incurred for services rendered.
- Check references, especially with the Better Business Bureau.
- Shop comparatively and always get a second estimate.
- If possible, insist on a labor cost per square foot. This will not include the cost of transportation, disposal and materials, but it will give you a much clearer estimate of what to expect.
2. Hazardous And Biohazard Materials
The problem of distinguishing hazardous and biohazard materials becomes even more blurry during a hoarding cleanup because you don’t always know what to look for in the piles of junk and refuse. Almost all biohazard and hazardous material cleaning services are capable of handling residential hoarders; but not all situations are going to demand those services. For the sake of convenience, hazardous and biohazard materials can include:
- Flammable materials.
- Ammunition and gunpowder.
- Paint thinner.
- X rays.
- Animal waste.
- Human bodily fluids.
- Medical waste (including disposed needles, IV tubing, discarded medical gloves and specimen cultures.)
- Pharmaceutical waste (including empty pill bottles and expired medication.)
Keep in mind that there are different levels to hazardous materials and their safe removal and disposal. Your final costs will ultimately be determined by those levels.
3. Location And Transportation
For those of you in a heavily populated city like Jordan or Salt Lake City, distance isn’t going to play a huge factor unless you choose an agency located out of state. But for those of you in more rural or isolated communities, the cost of transportation can turn out to be pricier than you may have expected. Many cleaning services tend to charge per diem for long haul transport of hoarder waste, which means food, lodging and gas mileage in addition to time, labor and materials. And if you’ve got an unusually large cleanup to address, you can only imagine how quickly those amenities are going to add up.
A hoarding cleanup isn’t simply a few hours armed with a mop, bucket and a few rolls of industrial strength trash bags. It’s a time, labor and material intensive job which can last well over a few hours here and there. Some of the materials regularly used in cleaning a hoarder house can include:
- Plastic sheeting.
- Roll off containers.
- Fumigation sprays.
- Personal protective equipment (including face masks, heavy duty gloves, eye protection and protective outerwear.)
- Industrial strength cleaners.
- High efficiency particle vacuums.
- Follow up repairs.
And that’s just for a house that doesn’t have any biohazard contamination. In fact, the price of materials to clean a hoarder house can sometimes cost as much as it would take to build a new home.
5. Your Time And Your Frustration
You may have inherited a house from a loved one with a hoarding problem and there’s no easy way to address their emotional distress. They were probably just as ashamed of their environment as you might be compassionate to their plight. But that doesn’t stop the very real frustration of hoarder cleaning costs both in terms of time and money. And sometimes, it just makes more sense to sell the house altogether.
At Gary Buys Houses, we’ve dealt with this very situation countless times. We know it can be a delicate one. But we also know both you and the hoarder need to move on with your lives. That’s why we can offer you a fair estimate on a hoarder home quickly and compassionately. We’ll even work with you if you choose to consider purchasing it post clean up and repair.
There’s always a cost involved with any emotional burden. Spending more than you should doesn’t always have to be part of it.