RISMEDIA, June 21, 2011—As a national columnist, I am often about other income opportunities in the real estate field. Foreclosure clean-out is another revenue stream for real estate professionals. Renee in Arizona asked me about this opportunity.
Renee: I have heard people can make $20,000 a month with a foreclosure clean-out business. Is that true? If so, how do get I started?
Elaine: Yes, it is true. I have contacted several real estate agents around the country and found that many are making additional money from the foreclosure clean-out business. Many are also offering their services for the regular lawn care required.
They charge up to $2,100 for a major clean-out, less depending the state of the house. hey clean-out 10-15 houses a month which can add up to $20,000 a month.
According to Dan in the Detroit area, “We started a side business of foreclosure clean-out to supplement real estate commissions when business was slow. We get all of our jobs from agents who specialize in foreclosure listings. You can find their names next to the foreclosure listings on websites that specialize in foreclosure homes such as www.foreclosuresUS.com and others. I just called the real estate agents and told them I was available for the clean-out work. I know sometimes they may refer you to the bank that owns the house, but that hasn’t been the case with us. Area banks usually pay foreclosure real estate agents to have the work done and they pay us. Very large national banks use asset management companies. We do not get work from them.”
The foreclosure clean-out business has been spawned by the ten-fold increase in foreclosures in the past two years. Banks and financial institutions are overwhelmed with the properties that they own and must dispose of.
Again from Dan, “We find homes filled with furniture, toys and even clothes. I guess people just load up whatever they can fit in a car and leave. It can take a crew of two or three men an entire day to remove all of it. We charge $1,500 for that.”
I asked Dan about cleaning the houses. “We are not a maid service. We clean off the counters and sinks. We don’t vacuum or clean stoves or windows. We are there to remove everything that has been left behind.”
I asked Dan about how he handles the disposal of the items he finds and valuables or personal items that he finds. “We handle the items according to the guidelines we are given. We submit a bid for each job. If we win the bid, we are usually given instructions on what we can and cannot do with the items we remove. Sometime we are instructed not to sell items we remove at flea markets or garage sales.”
“Sadly, sometimes we find items that seem too important to be discarded—driver’s license, birth certificates, military discharge papers etc. We carefully put those things in an envelope and deliver them to the people who hired us to do the work. We know so many people in financial trouble. We would hope someone would do the same thing for us or a family-member.”
Elaine Zimmermann is the nationally known author of “How to Retire with a Million Dollars – A Levelheaded Guide to Real Estate Investing.” For more information visit www.foreclosuresUs.com.