Cleaning foreclosed homes. How do I get started? Who can I contact? Is there a market in the Metro Area?

Asked by Dan, Inver Grove Heights, MN Thu Mar 19, 2009

I am looking for definite answers. I am looking for solid information that will be useful. I am looking for someone that may know someone that might need this service. Would minor repairs be a part of cleaning? Do you need to be licensed and/or bonded?

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Kathy Weber’s answer
Kathy Weber, Agent, Murrieta, CA
Wed Sep 16, 2009

Our family has had a REO/Short Sale "Trash-Out" full service company of over two years. Top Priority is to understand that this is a BUSINESS, not just a cleaning service. I will bullet some basics, but it actually takes experience and time to put it into full force:

* Apply for a license! Either through your State, County, or City - or all! It varies.
* When you receive your License - get Bonded.
* Set-up a Business & Marketing Plan.
* Talk to your CPA and discuss your tax options - 1/4ly tax payments, etc.
* Set-up a Professional Business Name you will use on Biz Cards, Marketing & Advertising materials.
* File for a Fictitious Business Name through the County. (There's a waiting time while it's being published in the lcoal newspapers)
* Once you receive approval for your Business Name, set-up a Business Checking/Savings Account at your bank separate from your Personal accounts.
* Get a .com
* Set up a simple website so you can direct potential Lender's, agents, and clients to. Looks more Professional.
* Network, network, network! Get your name out there.
* Be confident - this is a new adventure but if you do your leg work, and educate yourself, you could be successful.
* Make sure you have a "nest" egg put aside. When you are cleaning, repairing, etc. REO properties, you must front the funds and wait to be reimbursed from 30 days to 4 months at times from the lender. (We NEVER have the agents pay us! They have enough on their plate)
* PREVIEW the properties before you EVER give an estimate!!! NEVER rely on someone's opinion as to what they think it costs! You'll come out on the wrong end of the profits everytime!
* If you get the job - DO IT ON TIME & RIGHT THE FIRST TIME! REO agents have a strict time-line to get these properties completed and they have to answer to Asset Manager's. They can't afford to look bad or have the bank check up on the property only to find out it wasn't done propertly. You'll be DONE!
* Stay on top of your Quick Books billing!
* Invoice's become overdue quickly! REO agents are for the most part very good at keeping up with this, but the banks, because they're inundated, can lose track. It's your business and your responsibility to make sure you get paid!
* Invest in the proper materials, tools, & supplies the FIRST TIME. If you cut corner's you'll wind up paying more in the long run.
* Make sure you have a small "crew" waiting that could jump in at a moment's notice in case you get more than a few properties at a time....most likely they'll all have to be done at the same time! Like yesterday at times!
* Always communicate with the REO agent!!! If you see something at "their" property that they may not have seen, or it had changed since they were there, CALL THEM! Keep them informed.
* Ask for referrals........everyone in the RE industry love's referrals. You need to ask too!

Best of Luck with your new business! Have fun with it......if you have questions along the way, please feel free to ask!
Web Reference:  http://www.weberhomes.INFO
4 votes
Patti Ann Ka…, Agent, Coon Rapids, MN
Thu Mar 19, 2009
Dan, there are sometimes large costs involved here that you might want to check out first.

What you call "cleaning" is called "Trash-Out" by REALTORS, so you might want to google that term and the word Minnesota and see what you find.

My husband was considering doing this too, but he decided against it because of the possibility of handling hazardous materials and the costs involved.

To be best of my knowledge, you do not have to be licensed to pick up "normal" garbage, but then what do you do with it? You DO have to be licensed to do certain kinds of Trash Hauling and Disposal. In other words, once you clean out the house, how you handle the trash is critical? That can be VERY costly and require multiple licenses.

Another consideration is what kind of trash is it? If you have chemicals, batteries, used oil, flourscent light bulbs, paint, electronics equipment, etc. these are considered hazardous and need special handling. Hazmat handling gets expensive fast.

You will need to be insured and bonded, or most REALTORS will not want to work with you.

Minor repairs may be needed, but are not generally considered to be part of a "trash out".

You might consider working for a trash-out company for a while to learn the ropes and see if you even like doing it. Maybe check out someone like JJO Enterprises in Andover.

Starting a new business is a big risk. Please check with the Minnesota Secretary of State office to find out more about hazmat disposal and handling, trash hauling, and trash disposal licenses and fees.
4 votes
Flag Sat Apr 22, 2017
Hopelinda, Home Buyer, Fremont, CA
Tue Aug 18, 2015
While we do have local agents as clients you may want to try and get approval from a company called
"Field Asset Services"" They contract with the bank and sub to you for foreclosure cleanup work. "
Check out the link below for more details -
5 votes
Cassandra Bl…, , Atlanta, GA
Tue Aug 14, 2012
Hi, we just added a post to the Truia blog that can help you. See the link below. Cassandra, Foreclosure Cleaning Business Consultant. Much success to you! :)
2 votes
victoriashac…, Home Owner, Pardeeville, WI
Sat Jul 7, 2012
HI, Im vikki. from Wisconsin. I have my own cleaning service. Im looking to clean Foreclosures. Could you Please let me know who to contact to do this. Thank you. VIkki
1 vote
Hi Victoria, check ou How to Quickly Get New Foreclosure Cleanup Business on Trulia. It may give you some insight. Good luck in your new business. Cassandra Black, Foreclosure Cleaning Business Consultant,
Flag Tue Aug 14, 2012
Alston Sikel…, , Minneapolis, MN
Sun Apr 15, 2012
New foreclosed homes cleaning business..
Seeking info-help on how to grow in this business..Also in need of more jobs/ new clients in the metro and surrounding areas..

We do the following check out the link below for more details!!
Thanks for your time..

Site still under construction..
1 vote
Terry, , South Abbott, Buffalo, NY
Tue May 3, 2011
We found alot of this information here when we started our business cleaning foreclosures
1 vote
Gerard Carney, Agent, Spring Hill, FL
Thu Feb 10, 2011
Dan I have a cleaning Service that Is closely involved with my Real Estate Business as well as that of other Realtors, about 200 of them in all.

Dan, first never listen to a Realtor about how good or bad a home is that they need cleaned, tell all Realtors that you must see the property and then you will make a written free estimate as to what the cost will be,
Secondly, have good Cards made up, Vista Print makes a reasonable Gloss Finished card and has several Cleaning Service Templates to choose from. It goes like this you need to go to Realty offices and you need to hand out your cards. There are two ways this is done, one gets your card thrown in the trash not long after you hand it out the other will get some consideration but mat yet get thrown away but there is a chance on the second way that you will get some calls.
Way one is to walk in and ask the receptionist as to how many Realtors are there in the office, then hand her cards for all the Realtors and ask nicely if she would put your cards in their mail boxes. Fliers can also be submitted this way. This is not the best way to get our attention.
Second way is to get little treat bags and put you card and several bite size pieces of candy or chocolat in them and tie them up one for each realtor, and a bag for the receptionist. These will be welcome treats in our mailboxes and you can be sure that more than a few of us will be kicking our fett up on our desk as we lean back and enjoy your treat as we look at you card, hum, you made an effort, I'll keep you in my roladex. The trick is to do this once a month for at least three months, if you get no business from that office stop, if you are getting business keep doing it!
Good Luck Dan and as the market gets better you will expand.
1 vote
Great Idea I will do this!!
Flag Wed Mar 23, 2016
Cassandra Bl…, , Atlanta, GA
Wed Oct 13, 2010
Hi Dan,

Ton of FREE info and advice specifically for foreclosure cleanup start-up businesses at the link below. Everything from licensing and insurance, where to get clients, starting your business on a budget, etc., is discussed.

Good luck to you with your new foreclosure cleanup business. Remember, it's not a fast buck and you need to be in it for the long haul.

Cassandra Black, Consultant & CEO, Foreclosure Cleanup, LLC
1 vote
Donna Forrest…, Agent, Charlotte, NC
Wed Apr 14, 2010
I would search for foreclosures and reo properties and find out what listing agents have the properties. Call, email, snail mail them to get their attention and give them a FREE trial. We all like FREE!! Most do not want to deal with this necessary step and will gladly send you the business. When we are out showing properties, it is embarrassing to go into a property that is not cleaned up a bit. I think this could be a great business.
Web Reference:
1 vote
Steele V. Pr…, , Minneapolis, MN
Fri Mar 12, 2010
Don't pay for these lists. They are available for free. Here is one of the biggest:

We have some questionable colleages here directing people to pay sites. But if you check out their profiles it is strangely missing any information beyond "real estate pro". Seem to be just shills for Dream Street site.

And they keep sending the same messages over and over again. Sometimes going back years.

Most banks do not hire cleaners direct. Either their local agents do the hiring or it is one of a couple major national companies. The latter you can find for free. The former you can find on your own.

Good luck.
1 vote
Elizabeth Fu…, Agent, Wayzata, MN
Thu Mar 19, 2009
Patti's advice is good and right on! It is a good idea to be bonded for anything like this and to have a good business plan is essential. I have quite a few short sale listings. Sometimes these need to be cleaned out. A recent example was a large and lovely home that looked like hoboes and cannibals and other hombres had been residing there. I did some checking to see if a dumpster, a cleaning crew, some other helpers could be mustered to get the place a little more appealing. That, would, of course been at the sellers' expense. This was not a "garbage house" but needed cleaning at least and clearing out and tidying. I gathered some estimates and the sellers were shocked to find out that a minimum cost would be in the $3500 range up to $5000, depending on the dumpster and what could be put in it, the scrubbing and cleaning and whether or not the windows were washed. I got the sellers to muster their friends and family and do some major trips to the recycling and other places goods could be taken. Otherwise, I, the agent, would have had to front the job and not knowing what was going to happen, it did not make sense. Sometimes I have helped clients - usually this involves staging and cleaning and some minor repairs. I have been willing at times to supply elbow grease and some cosmetics for my sellers, just because it really makes a difference. An example of this would be a home where a different door had been put on a room in a home I subsequently sold for $850,000. The home got lots of showing almost immediately - well priced, good area, good general repaid, but this missing strip made people suspicious. "Did something happen here? What is going on? Is the floor bad? What's wrong? When asking the seller to put a door sill in place where none existed, fell on deaf ears, and customer comment continued, I waited until they were away for the weekend, went to Lowes and paid $42 for the piece cut to size and went over and put it in place. That was a worth-while expense! I might also add to Patti's comments that these foreclosed or short sale properties usually require and "as is" amendment and the institutions who are selling them have in most cases never seen the property, are not concerned about its marketing in the details. I do think clean-up, fix up and clear out - this usually happens after Sheriff's sale when the "new" owner realizes they can't leave everything to rot in refrigerators, etc if people walk away. It also means you just about need the Haz-Mat suit to go in and clean! Liz Fuller - 612-986-4105.
1 vote
A_liriano, Home Buyer, Inver Grove Heights, MN
Mon Feb 6, 2017
You can google to ask these questions and they will be answered.
0 votes
Ashleysanche…, Renter, Houston, TX
Sat Oct 15, 2016
Check out definitely helped me , and since I started with them from the beginning they have helped me in so many ways, I started as a contractor now I'm side by side blending with the company, ive worked for a lot of property preservation/management company but they are definitely the best especially considering they are fairly new in the biz, rapid growth always paid on time, Flexi Pay program, company truck for contract managers, I have no complaints
0 votes
Sarah Jeffer…, Renter, Marietta, GA
Mon Sep 19, 2016
My name is Sarah i have my own cleaning service. i wanted to see if anybody can tell my how i can go by cleaning foreclosure homes.
0 votes
romartin0220, Renter, New York, NY
Tue Jun 14, 2016
looking to clean forecloser homes in kansas city mo how do i get started
0 votes
Jonathan Lah…, Agent, Rockville, MD
Thu May 5, 2016
Hello Dan,

I have found this link, it explains well how you can start cleaning the foreclose properties . Good Luck!…
0 votes
Timothy Euge…, Home Buyer, Elm City, NC
Wed May 4, 2016
how can I get started foreclosure clean out.
0 votes
Aspenbowen323, Home Buyer, Provo, UT
Mon Nov 9, 2015
You would be surprised at all of the garbage that can come out of it. Personally, I would rent a dumpster for it all to help the cleanup process be easier. That way you won't have to go to the dump or fill up your normal garbage can in less than an hour.
0 votes
theresa.mart…, Renter, Oakland, CA
Wed Mar 25, 2015
0 votes
John Allen, Other Pro, Dallas, TX
Thu Nov 6, 2014 That is where I started and I am glad I did.
0 votes
jenessagarri…, , Inver Grove Heights, MN
Sun Oct 12, 2014
if u bid with the right company , yes repairs count. you dont get compensatied for cost of material but most clean out comanys have a list of what u can and can not b paid for. some pay by the job some pay by the cubic yard... for instance i did some last year that allowed $25 just for putting in new light bulbs and covering up some tac holes in the dry wall.....
make sure to do any and every pollible little thing it almost always pays
0 votes
Gabbyrobinson, Home Buyer, Inver Grove Heights, MN
Sat Apr 5, 2014
0 votes
C S, , Florida
Wed Oct 2, 2013
Step 1. Get good at getting in front of customers.
Step 2. Put in your trashout bid.
Step 3. Perform and get paid.

It's really not that hard once you're setup.

You should read www. trashoutstartup. com
0 votes
Errolbryan75, Home Buyer, New York, NY
Wed Aug 14, 2013
I would like to no the process on how to get started clearing foreclosure home for the process on how to get started clearing foreclosure home for the bank
0 votes
Errolbryan75, Home Buyer, New York, NY
Wed Aug 14, 2013
I live in nj and I would like to no the process on how to get started clearing foreclosure home for the bank
0 votes
Erica Thomps…, Home Buyer, Stone Mountain, GA
Sat May 18, 2013
how do i get stared cleaning out foreclosed homes in georgia
0 votes
belindalockl…, Home Buyer, Inver Grove Heights, MN
Mon Apr 1, 2013
I already clean foreclosures. I dispose of all the materials in a trash out. I am a sub-contractor for this company that does trash outs for foreclosed homes. I would like to begin this on my own. How do I get started.
0 votes
belindalockl…, Home Buyer, Inver Grove Heights, MN
Mon Apr 1, 2013
I clean foreclosures for a company now. I would like to start cleaning for myself. How do I get started?
0 votes
keith12963, Renter, Inver Grove Heights, MN
Tue Feb 26, 2013
How can i get started fixing foreclosed home? Do i need to ne bonded or licences.
0 votes
mushkaj, , Brooklyn, NY
Mon Jan 14, 2013
You need to have some money invested but if you are committed then there is a opportunity to make alot of money here.
The best Idea would be to google and search for different national property preservation companies. You apply to be vendors for them and get jobs through them.
You do not have to have any sort of license. The homes can be pretty bad though and alot of the national companies do not pay enough for trash outs. You might want to consider taking on other property preservation work with trash outs so that you can offer more services, making yourself more appealing to national companies.
There are certain supplies you are going to need and I would not recommend using regular stores like Home Depot. There are website that specialize in these kind of items for example,
There you can get all the supplies you need for a great price.
PP Materials carries trashout equipment, such as garbage bags, face masks, grafitti removal etc.
Good luck.
0 votes
desert2005ch, Home Buyer, Inver Grove Heights, MN
Mon Dec 3, 2012
we are licensed and/or bonder insurance for clean up homes, I.m looking for how can find customers for reo/foreclosure/clean homes somebody know about can I. find a Banks with houses availables for clean in Tucson, Az.
0 votes
preachermanr…, Home Owner, Inver Grove Heights, MN
Thu Nov 8, 2012
im looking for cleaning jobs
0 votes
kerryparker7…, Home Owner, Inver Grove Heights, MN
Thu Oct 4, 2012
foreclosure trash outs clean up
0 votes
kerryparker7…, Home Owner, Inver Grove Heights, MN
Thu Oct 4, 2012
licensed and bonded and who do i talk to about this
0 votes
Kennethgraha…, Home Buyer, Inver Grove Heights, MN
Fri Aug 31, 2012
0 votes
I am in NC also and would like info on this
Flag Sat Jun 21, 2014
Trevor, , Georgia
Mon Aug 13, 2012
you can get contracts through a bank in your area
0 votes
Sidney.j, , Milwaukee County, WI
Tue May 29, 2012
I live in Milwaukee and i recently purchased a truck and now i wanted to know what it would take for me to get started getting contracts through the bank too clean foreclosed homes.
0 votes
Michael Dwane…, , Modesto, CA
Wed Mar 14, 2012
How can i get started in my area ?
0 votes
Happy Camper, , Charlotte, NC
Thu Nov 10, 2011
0 votes
Daylight, , Inver Grove Heights, MN
Fri Jul 8, 2011
want to clean foreclosed homes in farmington mn some one i no all ready has her own cleaning busniess and shes licened and insured and bonded so how would that be if i worked under her.
0 votes
Christi, , Topeka, KS
Tue May 17, 2011
My name is christi, I just started my own cleaning service. I am looking for information about cleaning foreclosure homes. I have been cleaning vacant homes for over 15 yrs how can I get information that will be useful. Do I need to be licensed or bonded? Please send me a email at the link below.
Web Reference:
0 votes
Jeffrey, Home Buyer, New Jersey
Thu Apr 28, 2011
You can find tons of listing in Craigslist in the "Real Estate Services" for home cleaning.
0 votes
Heather Paul, Agent, Santa Monica, CA
Mon Jan 17, 2011
I have worked directly with plenty of these type of cleaning businesses, research the industry before getting started, set up a business plan, get your business license and general liability, it's a must in this business. For the most part, I have never seen anyone needing to be bonded, only licensed, go down to your local city hall or court house and apply for a business license. They are usually less than $100. Try the foreclosure cleanup network for some free information, also there are a lot of reo agents to solicit your services to.

Getting work is the name of the game to becoming successful in this business. Make sure to get your company signed up with all the asset management companies, try using social networking websites like facebook and twitter to contact the reo agents, also-drop off flyers regularly to the local real estate offices.
0 votes
Matthew Dean, , Portsmouth, VA
Fri Sep 24, 2010
Hey there this is my first post, i am 26 and trying to start a business that can suceed in the economic state that our country is in. Foreclosure!!! It is everywhere and cannot be stopped. The only question now is how does someone with limited start up and cash flow do this. I discovered "trash out". i do not wish to be like the people who helped topple america through greed, but just wish to be financially stable. my question is directed towards Kathy Weber regarding bonding. She had stated that you should get licensed then bonded when starting a trash out business, After doing a little research i found that there are many different types and didnt know if anyone had any information regarding the proper one to choose. Any and all information would be greatly appreciated regarding this matter and any additional information thank you.
0 votes
Baby12, Renter, Gaastra, MI
Sat Sep 11, 2010
i am wanting info about getting started on foreclosed homes in ga i do not have a lot of money to get started so please help
0 votes
Vicki, , Las Cruces, NM
Wed Aug 18, 2010
is this still working for you cleaning foreclosed homes. please email back. thank you.
0 votes
Dan Meyer, , Boca Raton, FL
Thu Apr 22, 2010
Should be a great business to start. We do inspections on bank owned properties and have seen an increase in foreclosure inventory hitting the market this quarter. Almost every property needs major clean up and some rehab.
0 votes
Broker RMS R…, Agent, Port St Lucie, FL
Sat Apr 17, 2010
I just needed to add that when you get your start, make sure you are doing an excellent job cleaning. Too many times i walk into foreslosed homes and can't believe they are on the market in the condition they are in.
0 votes
Steele V. Pr…, , Minneapolis, MN
Mon Mar 29, 2010
Thanks for the comment, Mike. They are gaming on a question regarding REOs and contact lists as well.

Always the same basic BS message. Always leads to the same BS pay site.

It appears that the schills for this company aren't even real people. Probably just one scammer using a number of different names.

Sad that Trulia doesn't do anything about it. Most sites would have these guys gone in a second. They don't care about the handful of extra hits, they want their sites known as good solid information. Not a place for scammers and spammers.

0 votes
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