In times of economic uncertainty, there are always money-making opportunities for those willing to work hard. One of the best examples of making lemonade out of lemons in hard times is to start a foreclosure cleaning business.
If you have ever looked at a foreclosure real estate listing in person, you might have noticed they are not normally as clean and “staged” as a regular house. In fact, some of them are completely trashed by the previous owners who are likely very unhappy about losing their homes.
Even if you do not already have a cleaning business, you can start a foreclosure cleaning business and work with banks and realtors who are looking for foreclosure cleaners and property restoration services.
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What is a Foreclosure Cleaning Business?
A house is foreclosed on when the owners no longer keep up their mortgage payments. This could be due to job loss, increasing mortgage rates or ballooning payments (as happened during the 2008 Great Recession).
While thankfully, we are experiencing crazy foreclosures like 10 years ago, in any given month, at least 4.1% of mortgages are in some stage of delinquency (including foreclosure).
Once a house has been foreclosed on by the mortgage company (often a bank), it is their responsibility to sell the house and try and recoup the money owing on the mortgage.
Why Are Banks Looking For Foreclosure Cleaners?
The owners of the house who are evicted have no incentive to get their house “show ready”. They have normally done everything they can to keep their house and are likely very unhappy to find themselves without their home.
Foreclosure houses often need a deep clean and at the very minimum minor repairs. In order to get top dollar for houses, banks look for foreclosure cleaners who can bring the house back up to sellable standards so it can go on the market asap.
The bank cannot relist the property for sale until these homes are completely cleaned out and all the previous owner’s possessions are removed. Banks refer to this as a “Trashout“.
How much do banks pay to clean foreclosed homes?
The average foreclosure cleaning business works on 5-25 houses a week depending on the area and pay on average is from $500 to upwards of $2500 per property, some properties even exceed $10,000 on very large jobs.
Bear in mind that the money is lucrative for this kind of work as it can be messy and pretty disgusting. Depending on how long the house has been empty, you may be looking at a very deep cleaning and refresh.
I visited one foreclosed house that was full of mouse droppings everywhere! This is not a job for the faint-hearted.
How to Start Your Own Foreclosure Cleaning Business
You really don’t need much to start your own business. A business name, phone number and maybe a simple website are it requires. Once you are ready, start bidding on cleaning foreclosed houses to banks!
If you need tips on starting your own website, make sure to check out my step by step tutorial.
Tips For Marketing Your Own Foreclosure Cleaning Business
- Build relationships with mortgage specialists and realtors in your area.
- Send mailings to real estate investors who are looking to buy and sell foreclosed properties
- Drop flyers in neighbourhoods where foreclosures are common
- Get online with your own website and promote your business with Google ads
- Join local realtor Facebook groups and market your services
When promoting your services be specific about what you include. For example, you could advertise that you’ll remove all trash in the home, down to the walls and floors.
Your job would be to carry out all the debris, load it into your truck, and take it to the dump. You can charge per property or hourly.
Scroll down for a free “How to Start A Foreclosure Cleaning Business” PDF cheatsheet.
Prior to bidding or accepting the job, meet with the owner at the property for a walk-through
This way, you’ll see exactly what you’d be dealing with so you can name a price you’re comfortable with. Before you know it, banks or contractors will be calling you for your services.
Offer additional services
Take care of the lawns of properties for sale
Contact the realtors or banks to let them know you’re skilled in lawn maintenance and have the necessary tools to keep up their properties.
Paint the interior or exterior of homes for sale
If you enjoy painting, why not sell that service to banks or home “flippers in addition to cleaning foreclosed houses
Offer snow removal services
If you live in a cold climate, offer to remove the snow on a regular basis from your properties. This is a service that all realtors and banks need in vacant properties.
Phone local building contractors and offer your “gopher” services on the weekend
Offering to pick up needed tools, building supplies, and even lunch for over-worked builders on their weekend workdays could grow to some pretty lucrative occasional work.
Poll your prospects and offer your services
Contact bank representatives, realtors, and property owners to inquire what kind of work they need done on their properties. Give them your name and number and have them call you with their needs.
Apply for work at banks or other lenders
If you have stellar office skills, consider checking to see if local financial institutions require additional assistance to process paperwork and make phone calls on short sales, bankruptcy properties, and the like.
Use your creative nature to put the current housing recovery to good use. You have the power to fill your bank account with extra dollars right now. Think of every step from property clean-up to putting up real estate for sale. You’ll be surprised at the money you can make!
Free downloadable Cheatsheet!
Click the link below to download a free How to start a foreclosure cleaning business PDF cheatsheet.
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