Fannie Mae guidelines state that “Appraisal reports must reflect adverse conditions that were apparent during the inspection or discovered while performing research, such as, but not limited to, needed repairs, deterioration, or the presence of hazardous wastes, toxic substances, or adverse environmental conditions. Detrimental conditions of the improvements must be reported in the appraisal even if the conditions are typical for competing properties.” A highly cluttered home is a detrimental condition. Interior photos are required for all lender appraisals. If the condition is not properly noted in the report, it will show in the photos, so it is best to be upfront and report the true condition of the property.
An estimated 3 to 5 percent of Americans suffer from hoarding, which in May 2013 was listed for the first time as a distinct disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. There is professional help available for people living in such situations. I know many fabulous organizers in our local market that would love to help these homeowners. The hardest part is for the homeowner to take the steps to move forward and have the desire to live in a healthier environment.
With all that said, we must take a moment to remember that we are mere real estate professionals who were hired to perform a specific job. We really do not know this homeowner, who has allowed us to intrude into their personal space. We do not know the circumstances that have led to this situation. It is not our place to judge or ridicule anyone. Sometimes, we need to take these situations and look at ourselves. How do we compare? Do we have clutter in our own home?