If you’re a property preservation, real estate services, plumbing or foreclosure cleanup company, winterization is a hot service to offer to banks and other lenders who have foreclosed homes. This is especially true right now.

Winterizing More Than a Hundred Homes

According to the October 2008 KAALTV article, Winterizing Foreclosed Homes, in Austin, MN a local plumbing company winterized more than 100 homes, and expected things to get busier as foreclosures continue to escalate.

Why Banks Like for Foreclosed Homes to be Winterized

When a home is foreclosed on, it can sit vacant for months – even over a year in this economy. When a home sits vacant, especially during the winter season, pipes can burst causing water to flood.

Even if the water is turned off, the water that sits in the pipes can cause floods or damaging leaks. And, what follows floods and/or water damage? Mold.

Now imagine this sitting for weeks or months with no one being aware of it.

This is why lenders pay plumbing companies, property preservation companies, real estate services enterprises and/or foreclosure cleanup companies to winterize properties. In the long run, it costs them less money.

If you’re a foreclosure clean up company, winterization is an easy service to offer. And, it can be quite lucrative because it is one of those services that banks don’t hesitate to pay for, unlike some other services.

So, you may be wondering, exactly . . .

What Is Winterization?

Basically, winterization is protecting a home while it is unoccupied for long periods of times. A lot of this has to do with preventing water from entering a home and pipes from bursting. Another equally important component is dealing with the heating and cooling system.

Following are some things that should be done to a home during the winterization process.

Shut Off Water: This should be done at the main valve or at the inlet to the meter. Once the water is shut off, the meter should be capped – preferably by a professional – so that it can’t be turned back on.

Drain Water Heater: Remember, even if the water is turned off, if something happens, water left in pipes or a water heater can still cause flooding.

Drain Pipes: For the same reason as above, this should be done.

Open Faucets: This allows them to drain completely.

Drain Toilets: Be sure to get rid of any excess water left in the tanks; wipe them dry.

Turn Off Heating System: If you have an electric system, make sure it’s turned off at the circuit breaker. This prevents the burning up of heating elements.

Turn Off Gas & Electric: Call your local electric company to make sure this is done.

Check for Faulty Faucets and Broken Pipes: If damage is found, make sure it’s repaired so that when water is turned back on, there are no leaks.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it gives you an idea of what goes into winterizing a home.

HUD Payment Guidelines: Home Much Do Banks Pay for Winterizing a Foreclosed Home

If you’re a foreclosure cleaning company and want to offer this service, what you will be paid depends a lot on what HUD pricing guidelines are in many cases. This is because many bank-owned properties fall under HUD.

For example, in the state of Georgia, HUD will pay anywhere from $100 to $460 for winterizing a foreclosed home, depending on the type of heat it has (ie, dry heat, steam heat, wet/radiant heat).

As you can see, this can be a very lucrative service for any foreclosure cleaning company to offer – and it shouldn’t take more than a few hours (or less) for a skilled professional to do.