Landlords are a great source of business for real estate and foreclosure cleanup business owners. Why? Because tenants are always moving in and moving out, which means they need the types of services foreclosure cleaning businesses provide (eg, removing left behind furniture and other items; making minor repairs, repainting, changing locks, etc.).
According to the National Multi Housing Council, a national association representing the interest of apartment firms, the index measuring vacancies and rent levels rose in the fourth quarter of 2009. But vacancy rates in apartments recently hit 8%, the highest it’s been in 30 years. So what gives?
Any Rental Activity is Good Activity for Foreclosure Cleaning Businesses
The bottom line is, no matter what the state of the rental market is, activity in this market means income for real estate services and foreclosure cleaning businesses.
The Difference between Real Estate Cleanup and Foreclosure Cleanup
Right here we want to take the time to point out that there is absolutely no practical difference between a real estate services company and a foreclosure cleaning company. The only difference is in how you market the business.
Knowing this is extremely important because when the foreclosure crisis no longer tops the news, just know that you will still have a very viable, lucrative small business – if you market it right. Remember, as long as real estate is bought, sold and rented, there will be a need for it to be cleared out, cleaned up, repaired and maintained. In short, all of the services that your foreclosure cleaning company provides.
Now that you know why it’s a good idea to target landlords, let’s examine the services your foreclosure cleaning firm can offer them.
Foreclosure Clean Up Business Owners: Services You Should Offer Landlords
Following are the most needed services your company can offer to landlords. If you’re just starting out, you can build on these as you grow.
Cleaning: Cleaning after tenants move in and move out, eg, cleaning bathrooms, kitchen and all major appliances; floor care (replacing vinyl tiles, cleaning/repairing wood floors, shampoo and vacuuming carpet, etc.).
Trashout and/or debris removal and hauling: Disposing of any furniture, clothing and other items left behind.
Locksmithing: Changing locks on all doors after old tenant moves out.
Minor Repairs: Eg, repairing broken windows, cabinets and doors.
Lawn Maintenance: Cutting grass, trimming shrubs and overgrown trees, etc.
Foreclosure Cleaning Business Owners: How to Locate Landlords in Your Area
Using the internet, it’s relatively easy to find landlords – no matter where you are. Because most real estate transactions are public records, all it takes is a little digging. Following are a few ways to locate landlords in your area.
Landlord Forums and Chatrooms
There are tons of landlord forums and chatrooms online that cater to this niche. This is because most landlords are small real estate investors, eg, they may own three, four or five properties. To find them, go to your favorite search engine, eg, Google/Yahoo! and type in phrases like “your city, landlords”, eg:
Phoenix, AZ landlords
Phoenix, AZ real estate investors
Phoenix, AZ landlord groups
Phoenix, AZ real estate investment meetings
Phoenix, AZ real estate investment groups
Once the listings start popping up, start doing some reading. Many of these boards are very active. Did through them and find your geographic area. Once there, network by answering questions when you can, always being sure to leave the name and contact information of your foreclosure cleaning company.
Note: Most of these forums and chat rooms won’t allow you to blatantly advertise on the site. So you won’t be able to just pop in and leave an advertisement and move on. That’s why you should answer any questions you can (or ask some). This allows you to put your contact information there legitimately.
Many forums and chatrooms will ban you if you just blatantly use the space to advertise, so don’t do it. It’s an excellent source to get business for your foreclosure cleanup company; don’t ruin it by running afoul of site guidelines.
How to Find and Market to Property Management Companies
Landlords who have many properties usually contract with property management companies to handle their properties. Property management companies do everything from running credit on prospective tenants to property repairs and maintenance to collecting rent to handling evictions to exterior care and security.
Think handle every possible facet of rental properties, which make them an excellent prospect to market to if you’re a foreclosure cleaning business. Why? Because the subcontract a lot of the work out. So contact those in your area to offer your foreclosure and real estate cleaning services.
Find them the same method outlined above for finding landlords. In fact, in your search for landlords, you’re probably going to run across some property management/property preservation companies – and vice versa.
Foreclosure Cleanup & Evictions: How to Partner with Landlords in This Scenario
Landlords need the services of foreclosure cleanup/real estate cleanup, particularly when it comes to evictions because items left behind have to be hauled away, repairs need to be made, etc. You can position your foreclosure cleanup company to work with landlords in the case of evictions in a couple of ways:
1) The Sheriff’s Office: 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) Post Eviction Cleanup: 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 completely over.
Why You Should Proceed with Caution When Working Eviction Situations
Whether you decide to work evictions through the Sheriff’s office, or through a landlord, be sure that the eviction process is over and that the landlord has a legal right to remove stuff from the premises. Why? Because you could find yourself part of a lawsuit if you’re not careful.
Sure, the landlord owns the property, but tenants have rights and if they are violated, not only can the tenant sue the landlord they can sue you and/or your company too if you “assisted” the landlord in any way in violating their rights – even if you were an innocent participant in the process.
If you’re not sure about an eviction situation, or your gut is just telling you that something’s not right, ask the landlord for proof of the eviction. In fact, this should be your company policy in these situations to protect the viability of your, your employees and your company.
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. Why? Because the tenants are moving, right?
They have to go somewhere and they have to have their belongings moved. Who better than you?
According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, many owners of apartment complexes are actively marketing to previous homeowners who lost their home to foreclosure, or were affected by foreclosure in some way. 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 property management companies. Hence, don’t be surprised if you’re 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 good shape. What does this mean for you? That they the “moving cash” they need to pay companies like yours.
Working with Landlords Can Be Evergreen!
Establishing a relationship with even a few landlords can keep your foreclosure cleaning company very busy. Mainly because if they like and trust your work, they’ll call on you over and over again. They’ll also recommend you to others. Finally, you can market directly to the tenants yourself.
As one Atlanta real estate investor (and landlord) said, “Reliability in this industry is key. Once you find any type of contractor in the real estate services industry you can count on, trust me, you keep their number handy because so many of them are unreliable.”
So, make that your marketing slogan, eg, “We show up on time, every time. You never have to worry!” And do it. Your phone will be ringing off the hook.
The bottom line is that landlords – whether they own just a few properties, or are large ones who have their properties handled by property management and preservation companies – can be a lucrative source of evergreen business for your foreclosure cleaning company. So, make yourself known to them.
P.S.: Read how one foreclosure cleaning business owner makes up to $40,000/wk.
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Copyright © 2010 Yuwanda Black for Foreclosure Business News. Article may not be reprinted or reproduced in any manner without the express, written consent of the author.