One of the businesses that have been booming despite (or because of) the current economic downturn is cleaning out foreclosed homes. When banks purchase homes at auction, they usually begin eviction proceedings. After the eviction has been completed, any items remaining in the property will be thrown away. The lender or the county, depending on how evictions work locally, hire private companies to haul away the belongings.
Depending on how many foreclosures are affecting an area, this can be a significant source of income for small business owners in the real estate market. There is probably not a ton of money in cleaning out abandoned foreclosed homes, but the work might be pretty steady with a large inventory of homes that need to be cleaned out, and more coming on the market every week.
People looking to break into this type of market should contact either two places:
The first organization to contact is the county sheriff’s department in the area that the business will be working in. The sheriff is responsible for carrying out eviction orders after foreclosure, changing locks, and cleaning out homes. Except for bringing the guns to intimidate people into leaving, the other services are usually contracted out — sheriffs do not usually work as locksmiths or house cleaners. Others starting a new business may be able to do the cleaning by contracting with the county government.
Second, the cleaning business can try to contact the banks that purchase the foreclosures at the auction and attempt to get a contract with them to clean the homes. When banks purchase homes at auction, they hire local real estate brokers to list and sell the properties. It would not be out of the ordinary for them to hire a cleaning agency to clear out all the remaining property and keep the house in decent condition while it is empty.
The business will have at least a couple of concerns going either way. If they work for the government, the pay may be lower, as it is coming from a government with a decreasing tax base. And who knows how much red tape the business will have to cross to be a contractor with the county — or if there is already a politically-connected company doing this work. With the bank, it just might not be interested in hiring a small company and spending even more money on homes it has already lost to foreclosure.
But there might be some counties and some banks that will be open to these types of services. As with all businesses, some people will see the value, and others will pass on the opportunity. Cleaning out foreclosed homes is a growing business, but like all real estate related businesses, it is all local. There will always be more money to make performing these services in areas with a large population, high foreclosure rate, and with government or banks open to hiring such companies.
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