Foreclosure means a loss for one person — the homeowner. But a variety of companies make a living getting the house ready to resell.
“There’s a lot of work on the front end to get (the house) ready to get on the market,” said Jennifer Newton, a Realtor who heads up Crye-Leike Realtors’ foreclosure division.
Lenders with foreclosed property often hire a third-party company to oversee efforts to get the property on the market to resell, Ms. Newton said, including real estate agents, title companies, cleaning crews and locksmiths. Realtors who specialize in foreclosures work closely with the management firms, she said.
Because of cleaning and deferred maintenance, getting a foreclosed house ready to sell can take several months, said Brandi Thompson, a Realtor with ReMax Properties North whose specialties include foreclosures.
Some foreclosed properties have a tax lien which can take several months to clear up, she said. Many foreclosed homeowners were in the middle of renovating the house and simply stopped work, Ms. Thompson said, so the work must be finished.
“I’ve seen garbage piled up, but I’ve also seen where they vacuumed the rugs and swept the kitchen.”
Staff Photo by John Rawlston -- Cari Robinson sorts through items at a house on Igou Gap Road that was lost to foreclosure. She works for Lockout Pros, a company that cleans up foreclosed real estate properties.
One of the foreclosed properties that Ms. Newton is helping get on the market is at 8826 Igou Gap Road. The East Brainerd house, which last sold in June 2005 for $117,000, is especially valuable because it has 3.8 acres, she said. The house has mostly cosmetic problems, she said, including needing a lot of painting, new carpet and light fixtures. The house has granite countertops in the kitchen, which is unusual for a dwellilng in the low $100,000 range, she said.
Lockout Pros, a locksmith company, last week rekeyed its locks.
There are enough foreclosures in the area to allow the company to work only on those types of properties, co-owner Kathy Robinson said. Lockout Pros handles between seven to 10 foreclosure accounts in Southeast Tennessee each week and 10 to 15 a month in North Georgia, Ms. Robinson said.
“Foreclosures are all we do,” she said. “It’s our livelihood.”
The company’s four workers also clean foreclosed properties, Ms. Robinson said. She and her business partner, Cari Robinson, no relation, were cleaning foreclosed homes nine years ago in Alabama when a national foreclosure management firm asked them to handle locksmith jobs, she said.
Once the house is on the market and receives an offer, it can take the bank or management company up to several months to reply, Ms. Thompson said. Banks with foreclosed properties in multiple cities may be using a manager with several hundred properties.
“The buyer doesn’t understand why it takes so long,” she said. “Yeah, it’s frustrating for the buyer because he wants to move in.”