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Bank owned homes

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by tropical breeze, Oct 3, 2009.

  1. tropical breeze

    tropical breeze LawnSite Member
    Posts: 55

    How do I get contact info on bank owned homes ? I live in SW Fl and there are tons of them and the yards are a mess. I am just starting the business and I think this would be a great place to get a few accounts. Any ideas
  2. jhawk60

    jhawk60 LawnSite Member
    from VA
    Posts: 241

    Make sure you have a $1,000,000.00 general liability policy, a digital camera, and don't mind waiting for your money. Then go to the banks and talk to whoever is in charge of the REOs.
  3. david shumaker

    david shumaker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 721

    I would concentrate on getting quality full service accounts. I've found that rental properties, real estate forclosesures, house flippers, etc. are a pain and I try to stay away from them. My experiance has been that they want to pay for "just having the grass cut" when the property needs a complete cleanup.
  4. shane mapes

    shane mapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 537

    I two would like this type of work to fill in on open days. I work with one Realtor right now & the best way I have found is get in with one Realtor & get to were you are doing all their stuff & then ask them to give your cards out around the office & go as soon as they call for bids & let them know when you can start & if the time frame changes keep them in the loop. I started doing this a few months ago. Pretty good so far. Just know that it is only temp work. good luck...
  5. SangerLawn

    SangerLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from indiana
    Posts: 736

    I recommend not getting into something like this when starting out. the lawns are in horrible condition so it is hell on your mowers, crap laying everywhere to tear up a mower, the pay sucks, it takes forever to get your money, and above all……you will never be able to make the lawns look good so you will have horrible advertising.
  6. couillion

    couillion LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    I chased that rabbit for many years, doing up to 200 - 250 houses a year, now I only do a few a year for local investors. The yards are a mess because they only want to stay zoning legal, not sellable or presentable. Be prepared to do more than "just cut the grass". Most companies that own these properties want ONE crew to do everything. Change locks, clean out and haul off debris, board windows, janitorial, winterizing, tarp roofs, yard clean up and then grass cutting. All of this work must be done on their schedule, which never makes sense and isn't convenient to you. Be ready to carry an inventory of new locksets, plywood, 2x4's, carriage bolts, trash cans/trash bags, air compressor, generator, power tools, etc. On top of all of that, be prepared to work cheap, wait for your money, take pictures of everything you do and complete lots of paperwork. The business was good until a few years ago when the government backed mortgage companies let the local realtors farm out the work to their own contractors. Now most mortgage companies sub the work out to large national REO/Property Preservation service companies that want to take as much as 30% (or more) to send you out to do all of the dirty work, and they set the rates. So unless you are big enough to service the entire state, maybe build your business on something stable, and include this service after you understand the business. Look for the crews that are doing the work in your area and see where they come from, most cover a huge territory, and that is all they do. Otherwise, stick with doing what you can for the local realtors. If you still want into that game, do a search on property preservation services.
  7. dodgegrass

    dodgegrass LawnSite Member
    Posts: 32

    I do it and have been doing it for years, but it is only a small percent of our business. We have around 250 homes that we mow every ten days from April 15 till October 30th. I say that to say that I would not recommend this for a new person just getting started in mowing. We have seperate machines for the foreclosure work, it will kill your equipment when you get new properties. The ones that you have on a schedule are not bad mow trim and split. You will have to wait to get paid. We are 30 to 45 days. We do get checks once a week after you get into the season. Some require pictures but we get another 10 a yard to send the pictures in. Local realtors are ok, but there is a lot that are just getting into it and do not have a clue. I know of a new company that has not been paid by the realtor all year and they are repo his equipment and looking for his truck. Regional companies are good but you have to saw no to work that you do not want from the begginning or they will run all over you. It is ok not to want to mow a lawn that is 50 miles away. Get some maintenance contracts for teh next 3-5years and then do some reos
  8. tropical breeze

    tropical breeze LawnSite Member
    Posts: 55

    Thanks Guys for the info. I will look in to regular homes first. Didnt think of wear and tear of machines great feedback this site is great for new people like me. Talked to 3 people today and got 3 accounts they will be my first ones. Thinking of doing a neighborhood special next to my house.
  9. 4.3mudder

    4.3mudder LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,227

    Hmm, I do around 50 now, I'm suprised that most of you had problems with first cuts. All I do are recuts, which sometimes the edging maybe a little overgrown, but other than that, someone does the intial cut before I do so it makes my job easier. Other than that, doin them keeps me busy. Average for me is about 20-25 minutes per yard including loading unloading, and taking pictures. WHich most of the homes are small to medium sized.
  10. doitforjohnny

    doitforjohnny LawnSite Member
    Posts: 70


    Just find a used mower that you can use for the reo's. I lucked out and found a commercial honda hrc215 for $100 and decided to use that for mowing reo's. It's still going strong!
    95% of them will be dry and it will be nasty to mow. Wear masks!
    I made an extra 60,000 last year from REO's. I charge about 100-150 a yard for Bi-weekly service. Most of the properties need what they call an initial service prior to regular service because they are overgrown. My minimum 1 hour rate for an initial is 150 and it can go up to higher amounts. I did one the other day for $850.00

    My company advertises as a landscape company that specializes in REO's. I don't do the trash outs and other services. You will find agents who are smart enough to hire a specialist to take care of their lawns.
    My first call to an agent landed me 42 properties at one time. That gave me around $4,300 extra income a month. Who wouldn't take that?
    Most people have given you the negatives but there are some positives.

    1.Some of these properties do not have irrigation installed and the banks/agents will not install them. This means that once you go out there initially it is pretty easy after that to maintain it since no grass grows there. There may be some weeds in the winter time but you will mostly drive by these and maybe pick up some trash. They still want you to maintain them. We call these "drive-by's" Good profits on these ones.
    I do a lot of properties that have nothing but dirt in the front yard.

    2.No one is home! lol

    3.There is a lot of irrigation repair work on these too which leads me to another positive....

    4.Pricing! :) It's really good!

    5. We are going to see massive amounts of foreclosures hit the market very soon! There is a lot of money to be made here. Just stick to the landscaping or you will go nuts trying to do it all.

    Make sure you use REO's as gravy income. My company does commercial maintenance and we do these on the side.

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