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Foreclosure Cleaning: Why Winterization Is Such a Lucrative Service to Offer on Foreclosed Properties

Updated on February 15, 2010

If you own a foreclosure cleaning business, winterization is a lucrative service to offer those who handle foreclosed properties. It’s a needed service that not a lot of foreclosure cleanup companies offer, and you can set yourself apart from them by adding it to your service list.

A simple postcard or email campaign at the appropriate time (eg, late summer/early fall and winter months), proclaiming:

We can help you protect your investment before the cold weather arrives. Call us to get a quote for winterizing your property(ies)!

Following is a story about a local small business owner who winterized more than 100 homes. Talk about a nice chunk of change!

Winterizing More Than a Hundred Homes

According to the October 2008 KAALTV article, "Winterizing Foreclosed Homes," in Austin, MN a local plumbing company winterized more than 100 homes, and expected things to get busier as home foreclosures continue to rise.

Now, there’s no reason you as a foreclosure cleaning business can’t offer this service. A foreclosure cleaning company in Atlanta remarked upon being asked about this service, “It’s a pretty straightforward service to offer. We get calls for it all the time.”

Why Lenders Need Foreclosed Homes to be Winterized

When a home is foreclosed on, it can sit vacant for months on end – even up to a couple of years – until it is resold or rented again. Those that aren’t winterized present special headaches for lenders.

To explain, when a home is vacant, especially during the cold winter months, pipes can burst. This leads to flooded basements, and other water problems (wood floors can buckle, carpet can get destroyed and not to mention the smell, rot and decay caused by mold buildup.

Even if the water has been turned off in a home, the water that sits in the pipes can lead to water leaks – big and small. And where there’s sitting water, mold (as mentioned above) is not far behind. Now imagine this situation not being addressed for weeks or months on end.

This is why banks, lenders and other entities responsible for foreclosed properties readily pay professional real estate services companies (like foreclosure cleaning businesses and plumbers) to winterize their properties.. In the long – and short -- run, it costs them less money.

If you're a foreclosure clean up company, winterization is an easy, needed service to offer. And, it can be quite lucrative because – as illustrated above – foreclosed property owners don't hesitate to pay for it.

Now that you know why winterization is needed, you may be wondering, what exactly is it. Read on.

What Is Winterization?

Basically, winterization is protecting a home while it is unoccupied for long periods of times. A large part of winterizing a property is keeping water out (ie, hence, keep pipes from bursting). Another equally important part of winterization has to do with the heating and cooling system in a home.

Following are some things that should be done to a home during the winterization process.

Turn Water Sources Off: This should be done at the main valve or at the inlet to the meter. Once the water is shut off, the meter should be capped - preferably by a professional - so that it can't be turned back on (eg, by vagrants or anyone else who illegally enters/occupies the property).

Drain Water Heater: Remember that even when the water sources are turned off, water is often left in the pipes or the water heater that can still cause significant damage. Hence, draining is necessary.

Drain Pipes: For the same reason outlined just above.

Open Faucets: This allows them to drain completely.

Drain Toilets: Be sure to get rid of any excess water left in the tanks and wipe them dry.

Turn Off Heating System: If the system is electric, double check that it’s turned off at the circuit breaker. This prevents the burning up of heating elements.

Turn Off Gas & Electric: Call your local electric company to make sure this is done.

Check for Faulty Faucets and Broken Pipes: If damage is found, make sure it's repaired so that when water is turned back on, there are no leaks.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it gives you an idea of what goes into winterizing a home.

HUD Payment Guidelines: Home Much Do Lenders Pay to Winterize a Property

If you're a foreclosure cleanup business and you offer this service, you should know that how much lenders will pay for this service depends heavily on HUDs pricing guidelines. This is true for a lot of jobs in this industry because many bank-owned properties are governed by HUD policies and guidelines.

For example, in the state of Georgia, HUD will pay anywhere from $100 to $460 for winterizing a foreclosed home. It all depends on what type of heat the home has (eg, is it dry heat, steam heat, or wet/radiant heat).

Imagine winterizing one or two properties a week. It’s a nice little simple service – that’s much needed – that any foreclosure cleaning company. Learn more about how to winterize homes in the Expert Village video series (see video below).

Tips on How to Winterize Your Home to Save on Energy


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      Michigan Home Winterization 7 years ago

      We offer winterization services in Michigan if anyone needs assistance.

      - Steve

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