Basic Foreclosure Clean Out StepsGenerally, homeowners facing foreclosure will either gather all their possessions and leave the property voluntarily, in relatively good condition. Others will stay until the judgement is granted to the plaintiffs. Still others will stay much longer, and, face eviction. In the latter two instances, it’s quite common for the property to fall into a state of disrepair over the many months it takes for the lawsuit to work its way through the system.
When a bank forecloses on a mortgage, often the homeowners have little time to remove their belongings before padlocks are placed on the entrances. Other homeowners simply skip town, taking some essentials with them, leaving fully furnished homes in their wake. Regardless of the circumstances, the result is the same — a bank-owned home full of stuff that needs to be removed. —Houston ChronicleBecause the buyer has already defaulted and usually has little money, broken items go unrepaired. In addition, the borrower might not have the time or resources to vacate the property with all his or her personal belongings. When this happens, it’s necessary to know how to clean out a foreclosure home or property:
- Document the entire property. Take a camera with you to document the entire property. Be sure to exercise caution when entering the home because their might be a pest infestation and/or tripping hazards. If you’re buying the property from the bank or investor, you should know precisely what condition the home is in before you commit to the purchase.
- Assess the condition of the home, inside and out. Carefully walk through the interior, noting the conditions inside. You might encounter water stains, mildew, mold, or just general decay and filth. If you spot any of these, call-in a professional service.
- Remove all the junk left behind. Now, it’s time to do the dirty work and rid the interior and exterior of everything. Leave absolutely nothing behind. It’s best to wear eye protection, a dust mask, long shirt and pants, and heavy leather gloves. Be sure to check every nook and corner and storage space in all rooms.
- Test all the major systems in the home. If there is power and water, this is a good time to check the electrical system, plumbing, and major appliances. Should the home be without power and water, these ought to be turned-on for testing.
- Deep clean the interior and cleanup the exterior. Depending on the condition, you can disinfect countertops and surfaces and use commercial grade floor cleaners. If fixtures and floors are beyond salvaging, these will all have to be ripped-out and replaced.