Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

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Slapshot
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Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by Slapshot »

We inherited a house in Florida that turned out to be a hoarder's. Before we can sell it, we have to get rid of all kinds of stuff, some of which can be worth decent money. There are junk cars, a couple of boats on trailers, all kinds of tools and maintenance equipment, a full rented storage garage, etc. This is far too much for us to just put on craigslist or ebay. Plus we just don't have the time. Is there any type of outfit that can take a whole lot on consignment? How does that work? Any suggestions are appreciated.
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Re: Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by tainted-meat »

Contact a local auctioneer. They should be able to set up all the product and have a public auction to sell on site. Little if any work required by you.
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Re: Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by livesoft »

In the thread on dishes for formal dining, it came up that estate sales do this sort of thing. One of the sites that advertised estate sales even had the sale described as "former hoarder's home". The photos of the upcoming sale were amazing. So yes, there are outfits that do these sales.

Then one just rents a dumpster, puts it in the driveway and tosses away all the things that do not sell.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by ResearchMed »

Slapshot wrote:We inherited a house in Florida that turned out to be a hoarder's. Before we can sell it, we have to get rid of all kinds of stuff, some of which can be worth decent money. There are junk cars, a couple of boats on trailers, all kinds of tools and maintenance equipment, a full rented storage garage, etc. This is far too much for us to just put on craigslist or ebay. Plus we just don't have the time. Is there any type of outfit that can take a whole lot on consignment? How does that work? Any suggestions are appreciated.
For starters, you might contact the local elder affairs office for referrals to persons/companies that deal with hoarders.
Many of these are set up to help those who are still living in the midst of their "hoard", which is a separate and sometimes critical/emergency situation.

But they'd still need to have resources to help sort through the "collection", and then also help dispose of things, from the trash, to donations, to sales of any valuables that aren't being kept.

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Re: Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by selftalk »

Advertise an estate sale in all newspapers in your area and stay there and sell all you can. What`s left over call an auctioneer.
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Re: Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by ResearchMed »

selftalk wrote:Advertise an estate sale in all newspapers in your area and stay there and sell all you can. What`s left over call an auctioneer.
If it is a true "hoarder" situation, this probably won't work.

Figuring out "what is there" would be difficult, and walking around or trying to grab at things could be dangerous.
Depending upon the severity, it might also be a fire hazard (and might get condemned til cleaned up), depending upon degree.

I think it is the Discovery Channel (or??) that has a series on hoarders, and it's almost beyond belief, until one has seen it.

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Re: Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by GoldenFinch »

Your best bet is someone who buys entire estates and hauls it all away. You won't get top dollar for the stuff, probably more like 15%, but you won't have to do anything either. For items that are especially valuable, it's probably worth taking the time to sell them yourself or take them to an auction.
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Re: Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

We did it ourselves when my hoarder grandmother passed away. We set up a yard sale with a set price for any big box of random stuff. $5 from 9 to noon and $1 from noon to 5.

Anything of real value was simply not put out into boxes. My fiance and a couple aunts helped. We would have gotten more done without the aunts as they were more interested in finding and saving treasures (which did not exist). We got rid of probably 3 cubic yards of the junk. We contacted all of the charities to donate leftovers but all required that I bring the stuff to them and my car was an Alfa Romeo Spider, so it all went into a dumpster.

A big first step before the sale was to separate paper and cart that away to recycle (or sell).
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Re: Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by Rupert »

I'm not sure a legit estate sale company will empty a hoard for you, but I'd at least start there. Maybe they'll help you go through and pull out what looks valuable. I'd call 1-800-GOT-JUNK for the rest.
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Re: Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by nisiprius »

The local firms around here that take care of this kind of thing describe their work as "estate cleanouts." I've never used one.
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Re: Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by scone »

I've done this twice for friends and family, but I will never do it again, so help me. You have to imagine literally tons of junk, sometimes waist high or more, including random scraps of paper, filthy old clothes, food containers, and other worthless items mixed with-- and I kid you not-- masses of dead and living insects, mice, rats, etc. And then there is the human and animal excrement, both solid and liquid, literally everywhere and mixed in with all the junk.

It's a job for a HAZMAT professional. Pay them, disinfect, and sell "as is" for whatever you can get.
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Re: Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by vtjon »

tainted-meat wrote:Contact a local auctioneer. They should be able to set up all the product and have a public auction to sell on site. Little if any work required by you.
This is what I would do as well. Auction prices are crazy today so I suspect you'd get a decent price as people like to overpay for stuff. I'm not sure what the fees are but I suspect they are high. They could also sell the house as well if you wanted.

They are relatively common around here (normally one each weekend from Spring-Fall, maybe more). I often go to these as I like to look for hand tools among outdoor things. I grew going to auctions and I still enjoy going now. I went to an auction a few weeks ago where the people had so much stuff that they were running two auctions at the same time so they could finish in 4-5 hours. Much of it was junk but there were a good items.
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Re: Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by SkierMom »

Don't overlook the need for a cleaning/pest removal company services. In a true hoarding home, there are threats to public health, mice droppings, animal urine, fire and air quality issues.

Consider all your potential expenses for finding, perhaps a minimal number of items that will be worth a minimal amount of money.
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Re: Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by psteinx »

If it's a true hoarder type home, as sometimes seen on TV (and I've spent time in one in person), then assume that virtually the entire contents of the house are worthless - negative worth actually, as there will be costs associated with clearance and disposal.

Vehicle and boats and such probably have some positive value, but perhaps not nearly so much as you might expect. A 15-25 year old car that has not been run in 5+ years is likely worth approximately scrap value. I don't know much about boats, but old boats that haven't seen the water in years are also probably worth little.

If it were me, depending on how much time I wanted to devote to the project, I'd probably either set up a dumpster and quickly go through the household contents, assuming that most is junk (but there might be a few valuables and/or sentimental things like pictures). Assuming the cars and boats are as I expect (old and not very valuable), I'd try to liquidate them quickly and not push for top dollar.

But if you have more time and/or inclination, and/or you have reason to think there is a lot more value in some of these items than I've suggested, then go for it - put in the effort.

If you need extra hands beyond your own for the cleanout - then maybe Got Junk or somebody like them? And as others have suggested, be aware of possible health hazards.
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Re: Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by lthenderson »

My great uncle was a hoarder that could have been on the television show. We realized quickly that sorting through everything just wasn't worth the time and money we could get by trying to sell it. In the end, we did cherry pick a few items which we gave to an auction company that does consignment auctions once a month. The rest went out the door and into six of the largest dumpsters we could pay to rent and to the landfill. I think the money we got from the auction just covered the landfill bill.
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Re: Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by Slapshot »

Good suggestions. Thanks. I probably overstated the hoarding aspect as it's nowhere near as bad as what I've seen on the tv show.
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Re: Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by Mrs.Feeley »

Re: the junked cars. There are people that will tow them off and pay a set salvage fee. Problems can arise in obtaining and transferring the titles though. A friend helped clean out a hoarder relative's house with a lot full of junked cars. Since they were unable to find the car registration papers they had to contact the state to get title on the cars for the estate before they could send them off with the junker. There was one car that was running and a nephew drove it around to dealers to get offers and sold it for the highest offer at the end of the day.
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Re: Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by tim1999 »

Yep, did this once with a relative. 98% of the stuff was completely worthless, just trash. We rented a big dumpster and filled it twice. I swear he had every copy of the local newspaper from the past 30 years. But, we had to go through it all, since we did find a few envelopes with cash in them, a stack of old records that we were able to sell for a few hundred bucks, and some other minor victories. He did have a lot of mechanical "junk" strewn about the yard that we were able to get more than $1,000 for from a scrap metal dealer. The house was so neglected that it was pretty much a teardown and it was sold for the value of the lot.

If anyone had wanted 400 empty Honey Nut Cheerios boxes neatly stacked, I could have hooked them up.
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Re: Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by retiredjg »

A relative recently hired an auction house to do something similar. It seems they take care of everything, including the trash. The auction house takes a good cut, but I suppose the relative will get a check as well.
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Re: Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by crg11 »

The one thing I would be worried about is missing out of anything family history/genealogy wise. Photographs, important papers (letters, birth certifications, etc), and more.
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Re: Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by donall »

Safety is a concern, as there may be exploded cans (botulism), mice/rat droppings, mold, drugs, etc. Sometimes the odor from cats and dogs can be overwhelming.
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Re: Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by 22twain »

Cherokee8215 wrote:400 empty Honey Nut Cheerios boxes neatly stacked
Collapsed, I hope! :shock:
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Re: Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by Mudpuppy »

Slapshot wrote:Good suggestions. Thanks. I probably overstated the hoarding aspect as it's nowhere near as bad as what I've seen on the tv show.
Sounds like you're dealing more with an accumulation of piled up, but mostly clean, stuff (i.e. it might be dusty, but it's not covered in trash/waste). This is markedly different than what one envisions when one hears the word "hoarder" (one envisions a mix of trash, animal wastes, and other items, such that the trash/waste has created a hazard).

If it's just an accumulation of stuff, the ideas of an estate sale or auction house are good. If you notice a strong lean towards a class of items, such as the cars, boats, and tools mentioned, you might look into a company that specializes in those kinds of items. It's unlikely there will be much of value, but if you don't want to take the time to sort through it yourself, it's the best way.

If it's the more traditional hoarder with accumulations of trash/waste to the point of being a hazard, it might save you time and money to refuse the inheritance, if at all possible, unless the land is valuable. The house of hoarders of this nature are rarely able to be salvaged and will usually only sell "as is" for around the land value.
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Re: Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by theunknowntech »

Mudpuppy wrote:
Slapshot wrote:Good suggestions. Thanks. I probably overstated the hoarding aspect as it's nowhere near as bad as what I've seen on the tv show.
Sounds like you're dealing more with an accumulation of piled up, but mostly clean, stuff (i.e. it might be dusty, but it's not covered in trash/waste). This is markedly different than what one envisions when one hears the word "hoarder" (one envisions a mix of trash, animal wastes, and other items, such that the trash/waste has created a hazard).

If it's just an accumulation of stuff, the ideas of an estate sale or auction house are good. If you notice a strong lean towards a class of items, such as the cars, boats, and tools mentioned, you might look into a company that specializes in those kinds of items. It's unlikely there will be much of value, but if you don't want to take the time to sort through it yourself, it's the best way.

If it's the more traditional hoarder with accumulations of trash/waste to the point of being a hazard, it might save you time and money to refuse the inheritance, if at all possible, unless the land is valuable. The house of hoarders of this nature are rarely able to be salvaged and will usually only sell "as is" for around the land value.
Hoarders get a bad name. I hoard cool original art. I hoard high-end machine tools and industrial equipment. I hoard antique eclectica. I don't hoard cats, and my house doesn't smell of piss. (Many living cat owners' houses do.) The dishwasher gets used, as well.

If somebody after I died came in and said "omygod I can't deal with this" and tore the house down, I would return from the grave and smite them until they were dead of horrible natural causes.

It is arguable whether we hoarders of really awesome stuff have any obligation to future generations or descendants, most of whom are idiots, and wouldn't know their... well, you know.

Presented as a POV.
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Re: Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by pennywise »

theunknowntech wrote: Hoarders get a bad name. I hoard cool original art. I hoard high-end machine tools and industrial equipment. I hoard antique eclectica. I don't hoard cats, and my house doesn't smell of piss. (Many living cat owners' houses do.) The dishwasher gets used, as well.

If somebody after I died came in and said "omygod I can't deal with this" and tore the house down, I would return from the grave and smite them until they were dead of horrible natural causes.

It is arguable whether we hoarders of really awesome stuff have any obligation to future generations or descendants, most of whom are idiots, and wouldn't know their... well, you know.

Presented as a POV.
We inherited the house of a friend very much like you. He had accumulated large and varied collections of LP records, stamps, books, many many computers with peripheral gear and lots of other things. Whoever gets your stuff after you die is indeed going to say omygod I can't deal with this because unfortunately, the vast majority of whatever it is that (the general) you thinks is cool and worthwhile is in fact worthless to anyone else. If it doesn't have monetary value, all that stuff is going to be discarded by someone after you are gone because absent an emotional connection, it means nothing to other people.

Going through the experience of sorting and disposing of an entire life's worth of objects was a hugely enlightening experience. All those cliches about the meaning of life including 'you can't take it with you' and 'it's only stuff' are pretty much true. Stripped of their meaning to the owner, most of the physical remains of anyone's life are just detritus--and of course they don't mean anything to the owner either once s/he is no longer there. It reminded me to focus on the value of experience, of love and relationships and of appreciating the beauty of waking up each day. It's not about the stuff, indeed.
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Re: Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by marathonwmn »

pennywise wrote:
Going through the experience of sorting and disposing of an entire life's worth of objects was a hugely enlightening experience. All those cliches about the meaning of life including 'you can't take it with you' and 'it's only stuff' are pretty much true. Stripped of their meaning to the owner, most of the physical remains of anyone's life are just detritus--and of course they don't mean anything to the owner either once s/he is no longer there. It reminded me to focus on the value of experience, of love and relationships and of appreciating the beauty of waking up each day. It's not about the stuff, indeed.
+1
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Re: Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by Mudpuppy »

theunknowntech wrote:Hoarders get a bad name. I hoard cool original art. I hoard high-end machine tools and industrial equipment. I hoard antique eclectica. I don't hoard cats, and my house doesn't smell of piss. (Many living cat owners' houses do.) The dishwasher gets used, as well.

If somebody after I died came in and said "omygod I can't deal with this" and tore the house down, I would return from the grave and smite them until they were dead of horrible natural causes.

It is arguable whether we hoarders of really awesome stuff have any obligation to future generations or descendants, most of whom are idiots, and wouldn't know their... well, you know.

Presented as a POV.
That sounds a little more like collecting than hoarding... of course, one might counter with "one man's trash is another man's treasure", but "hoarder" as a term these days really does apply more towards obsessive collection of non-valuables/non-collectables, be that cats, trash, margarine lids, or whatever other oddity one might see. "Hoarding disorder" is literally a mental disorder diagnostic term that is now part of the DSM (added in 2013).

It may be an evolution of the term, but much like I've decided it's not worth fighting the public on the meaning of the word "hacker" for my profession, it's probably not worth trying to change the meaning of the word "hoarder". Just call yourself a "collector" instead. You can always use the phrase "eccentric collector" if you want to maintain some level of "awesome-ness" associated with your collections.
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Re: Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by psteinx »

+1 for Mudpuppy's comment.

Also:

I'm a fan of "hidden treasure" type shows - Antiques Roadshow, Pawnstars, and the like. But while I and many others find these shows entertaining, they can also cause folks to think that whatever bric a brac they have in the attic, or find at a flea market, is worth a great deal. Yes, occasionally odd, once low-value items like old baseball cards and comic books become worth a great deal. But I think it's far more common that old junk is, and remains, old junk, worth very little.
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Re: Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by theunknowntech »

pennywise wrote:
theunknowntech wrote: Hoarders get a bad name. I hoard cool original art. I hoard high-end machine tools and industrial equipment. I hoard antique eclectica. I don't hoard cats, and my house doesn't smell of piss. (Many living cat owners' houses do.) The dishwasher gets used, as well.

If somebody after I died came in and said "omygod I can't deal with this" and tore the house down, I would return from the grave and smite them until they were dead of horrible natural causes.

It is arguable whether we hoarders of really awesome stuff have any obligation to future generations or descendants, most of whom are idiots, and wouldn't know their... well, you know.

Presented as a POV.
We inherited the house of a friend very much like you. He had accumulated large and varied collections of LP records, stamps, books, many many computers with peripheral gear and lots of other things. Whoever gets your stuff after you die is indeed going to say omygod I can't deal with this because unfortunately, the vast majority of whatever it is that (the general) you thinks is cool and worthwhile is in fact worthless to anyone else.
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Re: Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by gd »

If you've got stuff you think is valuable, leave detailed instructions to your executor on how to dispose of it upon your death-- hobbyist groups or commercial collectors who will come in and make it go away. If there are none....it's likely junk. I put old papers and mementos not actively used in boxes marked "discardable". I expect that they'll be thrown into a dumpster unopened upon my death. And if I live long enough, will probably do it myself.
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Re: Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

A problem for heirs is that the collector puts high values on his stuff. I inherited 2 antique sleds with tags on them saying that each is worth $300. After way too much research and attempts to sell for anywhere near this, I craigslisted them and it still took a month to sell both for $10....and I had to deliver them 15 miles away. Other "priceless antiques" have gone into my wood furnace. Even coins from the 1800's are worth barely more than face value.

Old machine tools? Sounds like scrap steel at $100 a ton to me.

If you have a valued collection to leave to heirs, do them a big favor and sell the collection. Cash is easy to value.
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Re: Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by Rodc »

gd wrote:If you've got stuff you think is valuable, leave detailed instructions to your executor on how to dispose of it upon your death-- hobbyist groups or commercial collectors who will come in and make it go away. If there are none....it's likely junk. I put old papers and mementos not actively used in boxes marked "discardable". I expect that they'll be thrown into a dumpster unopened upon my death. And if I live long enough, will probably do it myself.
This. Somethings like stamps might be valuable, but one would need how to easily sell them. Not one at a time or in small lots, but en-mass to a dealer. Let your heirs know of one or two reputable dealers they can contact. This is what my father did.
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Re: Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by leonard »

Slapshot wrote:We inherited a house in Florida that turned out to be a hoarder's. Before we can sell it, we have to get rid of all kinds of stuff, some of which can be worth decent money. There are junk cars, a couple of boats on trailers, all kinds of tools and maintenance equipment, a full rented storage garage, etc. This is far too much for us to just put on craigslist or ebay. Plus we just don't have the time. Is there any type of outfit that can take a whole lot on consignment? How does that work? Any suggestions are appreciated.
Don't accept the inheritance. Too much work.
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Re: Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by white_water »

Sometimes local churches do estate sales/cleanouts. Inquire locally.
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Re: Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by prudent »

gd wrote:If you've got stuff you think is valuable, leave detailed instructions to your executor on how to dispose of it upon your death-- hobbyist groups or commercial collectors who will come in and make it go away. If there are none....it's likely junk. I put old papers and mementos not actively used in boxes marked "discardable". I expect that they'll be thrown into a dumpster unopened upon my death. And if I live long enough, will probably do it myself.
No way to over-emphasize the above. With collectibles, you cannot assume somebody, someday, will figure out how to extract the value from inherited items. It's not going to happen without the collector providing guidance to whoever gets stuck dealing with it. The reality is someone trying to unclutter a house is not going to have enough time or make the time to investigate items that they don't have any way of knowing the value of.

Had a distant relative who collected buttons, most of which were not campaign buttons, just buttons you'd have on clothes. Probably a couple thousand in all in a bunch of boxes. What's a button worth? I would have guessed 3 for a nickel IF you can find someone who wants buttons. The relative left the names of three people to contact who might want to buy the buttons. Turned out those buttons sold for 5 figures, but had the collector not left instructions for how to deal with them, they would 100% for sure gone in a dumpster without a second thought because nobody knew there was even such a thing as button collectors.

My friend collects old cameras - has about two dozen, none worth more than $20. He just likes them. His father, however, has a collection of 4 old cameras, worth about $10K as a group. If the average person knew my friend's old cameras are almost worthless, why would they assume his father's cameras are actually very rare and valuable? You have to leave instructions with names of people to contact for things like that.
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Re: Inherited hoarder's house. Now what?

Post by drawpoker »

Several posters have mentioned the TV show. But no one has yet pointed out the obvious __

Contact the TV show, tell 'em what you got, and see if they are interested enough to send out someone to take a look. If they are indeed interested, you could reap a pile of money in fees from the show to let them film the Hoarder's House.

An actor would be hired to play the part of the deceased relative, since having the guilty party responsible for the mess is an integral part of all episodes. You, however, and possibly other members of your family, could be picked to be in the show as well, as supporting cast.

If your house is accepted for a future episode, it will solve all your problems. The show assumes the cost of all cleanup and remediations required; plus you will pocket a nice fee for your trouble.

Won't cost anything to ask - you might be pleasantly surprised at the results.

(If you don't think the house is as bad as it needs to be to come up to the show's , er, standards, no worry. The prop department can add whatever "extras" might be needed to make it truly a certifiable horror. :wink:
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fire?

Post by daveatca »

I am sure there is a book titled: How to commit undetectable arson.
But, you will have to settle for calling a cleaning company.
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