Property preservation contractors maintain foreclosed properties for banks and property management companies. Contractors may start their own businesses or represent a property asset management organization. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Federal Housing Administration (FHA), and Veteran's Administration (VA) establish the guidelines for contractors. It is the job of property preservation contractors to perform repairs, secure points of entry, clean interiors and maintain exterior landscaping. The banks contract this work out so the property maintains its resale value. Contractors should have property preservation experience, insurance, a vehicle and their own tools. You must register with the banks and asset management companies to get work because they only hire from a list of registered property preservation vendors.
Formal Education and Experience
Formal education beyond a high school diploma is not necessary for property preservation contractors. Even though it's not required, several certification courses and programs in property preservation are available. These courses are helpful if you are unfamiliar with residential maintenance work and do not have experience working in property management. Even if you do have experience, a certification course can help familiarize you with current government guidelines. Many companies prefer to hire contractors who have experience in property maintenance, especially real estate owned property. You'll need experience with changing locks, boarding up windows, maintaining landscaping, removing trash and debris, and other handyman duties.
To become a property preservation contractor you will need to build expertise on government guidelines for banks that own FHA-insured homes. The Property Preservation Contractors Network and HUD can provide a comprehensive list of current guidelines, so familiarize yourself with these. The guidelines dictate how much a bank can spend on the preservation of a property. The maximum amount per property varies by state and the number of units in the building. Government regulations also stipulate that lender-owned property must be inspected regularly to deter vandalism and address weather-related damage. The inspector must produce inspection reports, photographs and documentation detailing damages.
Certification gives contractors a professional advantage over those with just experience in the field. For example, The Agent University is an online provider of a property preservation and field services certification course. The course covers inspections, foreclosures, securing a property, and routine maintenance. Students may supplement the basic course with information detailing the Fannie Mae and HUD guidelines. 1234Reo is another online source for property preservation certification. The course takes 15 hours, and you can sign up for 30 days of online access. The price is $79 as of 2014. The course covers government regulations, the foreclosure process, and how to succeed as a vendor. It is broken down into separate sections with quizzes. Students must score 80% or higher on each quiz to pass.
To succeed as a property preservation contractor you'll need to be able to self-manage. This means you must have the inner drive and focus to work on your own. Maintenance skills are essential. These include the ability to change locks, board up windows, repair damaged walls, repair plumbing and fences, trim lawns and perform inspections. You must also be comfortable taking photos of the property and have strong communication skills to write detailed descriptions of properties and explain issues to banks and other stakeholders.