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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Writing Your Bids

First and foremost, you should really make sure you are familiarized with the inner and outer workings of a home.  I realize you might just be there to trash the place out and clean it up, but you most likely are going to need to provide estimates for damages, even if they are just eyeball estimates. Here is an illustrated reference book that I used when I run into something that I'm not quite sure about:


I also use the illustrations in this book to train my employees.  It has some good examples of different wet heating systems.

Now that you've identified the problems in the house, you'll need to write the bid.  If you don't want the prices on your bid slashed by your client, be sure to include some detail on them.  Here is a good site to get verbage on different preservation related jobs:


Just remember to write out all of the steps necessary to complete the job your bidding.  For example, if you are bidding to replace the water heater; make sure you are adding to reconnect the venting, gas line, and the supply lines to justify your price.

I could write an entire book on bidding, but I thought I'd share a couple of resources here.

Sunday, April 7, 2013


So you can find one or two horror stories of pre-foreclosure securing going wrong and now the whole industry is fraudulent?  Give me a break Huffington Post.  Without foreclosure contractors, there would be millions of homes left completely abandoned throughout the United States.  Who do you think secures these properties against squatters and copper thieves?  Who do you think mows the lawn?  Who is going to winterize properties when the homeowner up and leaves the house with the heat off?  See my previous post.



I found this gem near the shores of Lake Minnetonka. I don't know how the bank missed getting this one winterized in time, it's been sitting vacant for some time.  That's going to be an expensive oversight.  I think it might be the first one that I've run into that actually has a fully frozen bath tub. Anyways, pretty cool.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

New Property Preservation Forums

Both of these sites kind of popped up at the same time because of some issues at another forum.  Quite a bit of activity on both of them, and a great place for you to get answers from established contractors.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Dealing With Winter

Winter brings the worst out of houses.  This is what we've been dealing with every day.  Yes, those are adult diapers.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Relevant News

Sorry for no updates in the last week.  All of my clients decided we could do twice as much work as the typical load.  Winter is here in Wisconsin so now the rush is on to get these winterizations done.   Here are some interesting articles from the last couple of days.  I've had some people email me on the future of this industry, and I think these might give some insight as to where it's all headed.

Foreclosures on the Rise Again

Ten Million Homes (19%) Face Foreclosure; 50% of Mortgages Underwater

Got PrimeX Short?: Half The Country's Mortgages Are Underwater

Foreclosure Activity Increases for Third Straight Month

Fannie Mae Says It Needs $7.8 Billion More U.S. Aid

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What Is Conveyance Condition?

Conveyance Condition is the condition that a foreclosed FHA insured property needs to be in before the bank can give it to HUD.  There are a many things that need to happen for a property to be in CC that are beyond the scope of P&P, like a clear title.  The following is what we are concerned with.  This is from Exhibit A, Section 2 "Acceptable Conveyance Condition," from HUD's Mortgagee Letter 2010-18.

---   At the time of conveyance to HUD, a property must be undamaged by fire, flood, earthquake, hurricane, tornado, or mortgagee neglect, as set forth in and required by 24 CFR §203.378. For condominiums that were secured by mortgages insured under §234 of the National Housing Act, the property must also be undamaged by boiler explosion, as required by 24 CFR § 234.270. In addition, the property must be secured, the lawn maintained, winterized (as applicable), and interior and exterior debris must be removed with the propertys interior maintained in broom-swept condition. This includes the removal of any vehicles and removal of any personal property in accordance with local and state requirements. Mortgagees are responsible for the damage to, or destruction of, properties due to their failure to take reasonable action to secure, inspect, preserve and protect such properties.

If a property is damaged due to mold resulting from the mortgagee's failure to protect and preserve, the mortgagee must remediate the cause of the mold and complete any other required P&P actions to minimize further mold and/or water damage prior to conveyance of the property.   ---

Securing includes all doors, windows, other openings, fence gates when pool/spa is present, and the pool.

Maintaining the lawn means the lawn has to be cut within the last 2 weeks and shrubs trimmed once in a growing season.

Winterization should take place during the wint season which is October 1st through March 31st.

So essentially you are on the hook to provide bids for all damages, debris, and personal property.  Just don't miss a roof, mold, or anything else that would be expensive for you to repair at your own cost.  Don't think they won't make you reroof a house that you didn't tell them had a leak.  It's happened to me before.  If you have employees make sure they know how important it is to take pictures of the roof everytime they are at the property and of all the ceilings when they are inside the property.  So if any of your clients ask if a property is in conveyance, try to always find something so you can say no.  Don't be the one on the hook for it.


It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
- Theodore Roosevelt,  4/23/1910

Thursday, October 27, 2011

How to Document a Lockbox Install

Installing a lockbox is not a tough task.  You also don't get paid jack for them considering the cheapest you'll find them is in the $11 - $12 range.  I've even heard of some nationals paying just for the cost of the lockbox because installing them takes about 30 seconds.  I'd never do it for that much, but I know there are suckers out there that will.  So to guarantee that you make a little money on these, make sure you properly document the code and keys that you'll be putting in there.  That way some guy at a desk half way across the country can't tell you to go and redo it because somebody couldn't figure out how to open the darn thing, or the last person that went there took the keys with them.  Protip:  Don't forget to put the key in there for a padlock if you used one on a shed or something.  Too many of these come back to me with my guys forgetting it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


You've asked for more pictures, so here they are.  I posted the first pictures just over a week ago, and since then the bank has finally approved some work at this property.  (We sent the original bid in February)  We'll be removing anything coated with mold from this house.  So probably about 90% of the drywall and flooring.  I've got my mold guy in there today doing a pre-demolition mold kill, so we will hopefully be able to get in there by the end of the week to start tearing everything out.  I'll keep you updated!