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How to Pass a Property Preservation Quiz and Get More Biz Contracts

Many Larger Property Preservation Companies Are Now Requiring the Completion of Quizzes by Subcontractors

As a smaller foreclosure cleanup business, your company can sign up for subcontracting work with larger property preservation companies. You can offer your services on a subcontracting basis for work such as repairs, lock changes and window boarding, lawn maintenance, winterization, interior trash-outs, exterior debris removal, etc.

Many of the larger property preservation companies are increasingly requiring the smaller foreclosure cleanup subcontractor to complete a quiz to be considered for foreclosure cleanup subcontracting work with their companies. These quizzes are simple "weeding out" tactics so the larger companies can get the most qualified subcontractors.

Many of these mini-exams are designed to determine your level of understanding of HUD's government guidelines for property preservation work. Many of the larger companies get a great deal of their properties directly from HUD Management and Marketing (M&M) Contractors. The M&M Contractors literally market and manage single-family properties owned by, or in the custody of HUD. (These are homes that had an FHA-insured mortgage where the homeowners defaulted on the payments. The lender or mortgage company that suffered as a result of the default ultimately deeds the home to HUD in exchange for an insurance claim payment.)

A property preservation quiz can range from the very simple to the ultra-complex. Check out some sample questions and answers below.

Sample Questions and Answers

Many property preservation quizzes contain common real estate industry definition-type questions as they relate to HUD. For example, a quiz may ask the following:

Question: What is the definition of Conveyance Condition as it relates to a HUD property?

Answer: You could state something very simple, such as the following: For a property to be in Conveyance Condition, as it relates to the foreclosure cleanup end, the property must be undamaged (undamaged by flood, fire, hurricane/tornado, boiler, etc.); the grass must be cut; the property must be sufficiently winterized; all debris and hazardous and unhealthy materials must be removed from in and about the property; and the property must be efficiently boarded and secured, including all pools and hot tubs, at minimum.

Another sample question you may come across on a property preservation test may be the following:

Question: Please describe in detail the steps you must take when you winterize a property with a dry heat system.

Answer: Dry Heat Systems. The hot water heater and all domestic water supply and distribution piping must be drained in a manner sufficient to prevent freezing and other damage. All valves and faucets are to remain open during process. (After draining has been completed, they should be closed.) An appropriate amount of antifreeze should be placed in all fixture traps, including in toilet bowls and tanks.

To set yourself apart as a potential foreclosure cleanup subcontractor, you could go into greater detail in your answer. For example, using the above winterization question, you could elaborate on the answer by describing winterization requirements in greater detail by pulling information from HUD guidelines (which can be found pretty easily by scouring the internet).

For example, you could include the following in your answer: Answer -- Generally properties are to be winterized once between the 1st day of October and the 31st of March, though there can be exceptions based on local requirements. Unless otherwise specified, winterization should encompass cleaning toilets and draining of "all" heating systems and plumbing in a manner sufficient to prevent damage and freezing. Air pressure, or in some cases antifreeze, can be used to clear system and prevent freezing. All winterization should be performed taking local and state codes, rules and regulations into account. Photos (before and after), along with other supporting paperwork and documentation, must be submitted for reimbursement of expenditures.

"HUD Guidelines" Good Resource

Many of the above answers can be found in HUD Guidelines, which can be found online and in the Pricing Guide for Foreclosure Cleaning & Real-Estate Service Businesses.

Though many of the larger, more formalized, companies require completion of a quiz to register your foreclosure cleanup business with their companies, many do not. So search around the internet, and if a company seems to be a fit for your business service-wise and geographically, don't let a quiz prevent you from signing up as a potential subcontractor with their company.

Larger Companies Key to Growing Business

Do your research and attack the quiz with fervor. As a smaller foreclosure cleanup company, getting subcontracting work via the larger property preservation companies that service your area can add exponentially to your bottom-line. Many of these larger companies often service hundreds of properties at one time, across several states. Forging an alliance with the larger property preservation company is the key to really growing your foreclosure cleanup business.

Good luck to you in your foreclosure cleanup business.

NOTE: Throughout the internet and in real estate industry literature, you may see the 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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