How to Start a Residential Property Preservation Business

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According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, one out of every 200 homes in the U.S. will be foreclosed upon, and every three months more than 250,000 homes are foreclosed upon. The financial hardship that leads to foreclosures can sometimes cause homeowners to become angry and cause damage to the property when vacating it. They may also remove securely installed items such as bathroom suites and kitchen cabinets, significant damaging the property. With such damage, properties cannot be expected to fetch their market value, so lenders are increasingly turning to property preservation companies to renovate these properties.

Undertake appropriate training to ensure that you are capable of handling the many types of service that property preservation companies provide. You will need to be proficient in areas such as: home inspection, estimations and pricing, general contracting, landscaping, plumbing, electrical wiring, replacing locks, painting, flooring, tiling, glass and window repairs, roofing, dry walling, cabinetry, woodwork, pool maintenance, hazardous material and waste removal, and cleaning. If you intend to subcontract these services out, you must ensure that your subcontractors are proficient in their trades and are appropriately licensed.

Apply for a state license to carry out construction work. Most states require construction contractors to be appropriately licensed. This usually requires demonstrating experience and passing exams. If you expect mortgage lenders to hire you, it is important to have a valid license and demonstrate experience and professionalism.

Register your business with the state. Having decided which business best suits your needs (sole proprietorship, limited liability company, or corporation) you must register your business with the state where you will be working. You must also register your business with the Internal Revenue Service and your state tax agency.

Contact mortgage lenders, banks, and real estate agents to promote your property preservation services. Try to set up meetings with the people responsible for hiring contractors. This will give you the opportunity to show them references that you may have, together with a portfolio of before-and-after photographs of projects you have worked on.

Keep up-to-date copies of lender property-preservation price schedules. Though some lenders may ask you to submit estimates of the cost of the work required on a property, some lenders, such as Fannie Mae, have set prices for each aspect of work. Regardless of the cost, they will only reimburse you per their schedule.

Purchase a camera and video camera. Prior to paying you for the services you have provided, lenders often require photographic evidence of the state of the property prior to and after your work.

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About the Author

Helen Harvey began her writing career in 1990 and has worked in journalism, writing, copy-editing and as a consultant. She has worked for world-class news sources including Reuters and the "Daily Express." She holds a Master of Arts in mass media communications from Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.

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