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Landlords Can Be Fertile Ground For Real Estate and Foreclosure Cleanup Businesses

Landlords as clients can be fertile ground for real estate and foreclosure cleanup businesses. In this tumultuous rental market, landlords are an easy target for move-in and move-out work. According to the National Multi Housing Council, a national association representing the interest of apartment firms, the index measuring vacancies and rent levels rose the fourth quarter of last year. But vacancy rates in apartments recently hit eight percent, the highest in 30 years. So what gives?

Any Rental Activity is Good Activity for Cleanup Businesses

The long and short of it is no matter the "state of rentals," ANY rental activity means income for real estate and foreclosure cleanup businesses. How? When new tenants move into a home or an apartment, the place has to be cleaned and prepared; and when old tenants move out, the place has be cleaned and repaired. Read on to see how to target and service landlords and their rental properties effectively with your real estate and foreclosure cleanup business.

Services to Offer to Landlords

Your real estate cleanup services for landlords should, at minimum, include move-in and move-out cleaning, debris removal, and yard maintenance. You can also include lock changes, carpet cleaning and changing, painting and minor repairs if you are set up to handle those services.

Remember, your foreclosure cleanup business should already be structured to handle "real estate cleanup," too; not just foreclosure cleanup. Why? Because when the foreclosure crisis quiets down (and it will be some years), you still want to be able to capitalize off contacts you've made during the foreclosure crisis.

Your real estate cleanup division can offer the same services as your foreclosure cleanup division. You will simply market them slightly differently. Remember, as long as real estate is in existence, you will have an evergreen business in handling lawn care, repairs, painting, trash-outs, cleaning, etc., no matter if you're servicing an apartment building, a foreclosure client, a buyer's new home, etc.

How to Locate Landlords in Your Area

Find landlords in your area by scouring local websites and forums that cater to them near your business geographic location. You can also find landlords by researching real estate investment groups in your city. Use search engines like Bing and Google to begin your search. Start with keywords like the following, using Atlanta, GA, as an example:

  • Atlanta, GA landlords
  • Atlanta, GA real estate investors
  • Atlanta, GA landlord groups
  • Atlanta, GA real estate investment meetings
  • Atlanta, GA real estate investment groups

Forums and Chat Boards

Visit landlord forums and real estate investing chat boards and start reading questions and answers. After digging a little on these interactive web boards, find your way to the local geographic area for your city and state on the websites. Network and participate on these forums so you can effectively capture contact information from potential clients for your foreclosure and real estate cleanup business.

Property Management Companies

Many landlords, especially those with more than a few properties, use property management companies as their right arm to handle their rental properties. These companies do everything from screening tenants, to collecting rent, to handling evictions, property cleanup, maintenance, repairs and inspections. Contact property management companies in your area to offer your foreclosure and real estate cleanup services.

Working with Landlords in Eviction Scenarios

You can position your company to work with landlords in eviction scenarios in two ways: 1) you can choose to work with the sheriff's office to remove items from a home after a landlord has gone through a formal eviction process; or, 2) you can decide to instead focus on post-eviction cleanup, which means you will work with the landlord in getting the property in rental shape after the legalities of the eviction are over.

When working with landlords in post-eviction scenarios, make sure the eviction process is over, over, over before you enter a rental property. If you feel like the landlord is still in the process of evicting someone, do not move a thing out of the home or unit. You need to be sure the legal process has run its course so you're not caught up in litigation (or worse!) by an angry tenant.

If you're not sure about an eviction scenario, or your gut is telling you something stinks about the eviction, ask the landlord for proof of the eviction. Tell the landlord it's simply part of your company policy when working in recent eviction scenarios. Really, this little tactic will protect you, your workers, and your real estate and foreclosure cleanup business.

The Landlord's "Tenant" May Be Your Next Foreclosure Cleanup Client

Ironically, your business' foreclosure cleanup arm may very well find its next client in the landlord's apartment or rental home. How? Many tenants are renting again because they have just come out of default or foreclosure.

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, many owners of apartment complexes actually seek out potential tenants who are in default and nearing foreclosure. For example, the article cited Camden Property Trust, a leasing company that owns 62,903 rental units in the Las Vegas area, as buying mailing lists and marketing to owners who are about to lose their home in foreclosure.

This is proving to be a successful marketing tactic for many landlords and management companies. So don't be surprised if you are hired for cleanup jobs from the landlord's new tenant. Some of these tenants ultimately avoid foreclosure by getting paid incentives from their mortgage companies to move out early and leave the home in decent shape; which means they'll have cash on hand to hire a company like yours.

Working with Landlords Can Be Evergreen!

Once you establish a successful rapport with a group of landlords, you can expect work from them over and over again, if you do a good job and do what you say you're going to do. These landlords will come to trust and depend on you and your company. (As a landlord and a foreclosure cleanup owner, reliability is certainly "key" in all of my associations.) Landlords and property management companies can be fertile ground, and numerical bottom-line bread and butter, for foreclosure and real estate cleanup businesses for years to come.

Continued success with your foreclosure cleanup business.

NOTE: Throughout the internet/web and in real estate industry literature, you may see the terms or names mortgage field services, property preservation business, foreclosure cleanup, foreclosure cleaning, foreclosure clean-outs, foreclosure clean, clean foreclosures, cleaning foreclosures, REO trashout, REO trashouts, field asset services, property field services, field service, and field services used interchangeable. The main thing to remember is foreclosure cleaning and foreclosure cleanup generally refer to smaller entities; while property preservation generally refers to larger companies.

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Article by Cassandra Black, Author of How to Start a Foreclosure Cleanup Business and several foreclosure cleanup industry Guides, Reports and Forms. Sign up as a Premium Newsletter Subscriber. You will periodically receive foreclosure clean-up job leads and consultative advice to help you grow your foreclosure cleanup business!

For more industry information, visit the foreclosure cleanup blog and the foreclosure cleaning newsletter archive.

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