Foreclosure Cleanup Business Booms

Daily Real Estate News  |   February 19, 2008
Business is growing among small mortgage field-servicing firms that specialize in taking care of vacant properties.

These companies keep mostly foreclosed properties free from burst pipes, vandals, rot, and animals until they can be resold.

Some trade groups estimate mortgage servicing to be a $1 billion business with 8,000 to 10,000 companies in the business.

Sometimes these mortgage service companies are employed directly by lenders. Other times they work for national middlemen who handle large volumes of foreclosures and farm out the fix-up work to smaller regional firms.

Rates for the work are based on guidelines from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. For instance, $40 to secure a door with a new lock and $20 to inspect the exterior of a home for occupancy. For some tasks, rates vary by state: $180 to remove a vehicle in Alabama vs. $240 in Michigan.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Gwendolyn Bounds (02/19/08)