A foreclosed home can be a great investment, whether you’re a bank looking to sell a repossessed home or a flipper hoping to make a profit. However, depending on how long the house has been vacant, there can be issues that you need to fix and surprises around every corner. Whatever shape the foreclosed property is in, though, you’ll always need to clean it out before it’s market-ready. Our guide will walk you through everything you need to know to handle a foreclosure cleanout.
Prep for a Foreclosure Cleanout
Steps to Clean Out a Foreclosed Home
Steps to Clean Up a Foreclosed Property Exterior
Congratulations. The property is now yours. However, that was the easy part. Now it’s time to get to work and make your foreclosure purchase ready to live in. Whether the property was freshly vacated or sat empty for months, our guide will help you through the cleanout process, from removing junk out of the inside to ensuring the exterior is clean and presentable.
Before you get to work, you’ll want to make sure you have everything you need to complete the property cleanout and get a scope of the project at hand.
Now’s the time to pull together everything you need to complete the property cleanup. Keep in mind that each cleanout is unique. The chart below gives a list of what you’ll need to get the job done. Keep in mind that some of the tools could be needed both inside and outside of the home.
Foreclosure Cleanout Supplies
Consider this a preliminary step to help you better understand the scope of the job. The key to this step isn’t so much to know if the home’s structure is in good shape, but to see how much junk has been left behind and note if there’s anything that may require special attention. Any physical work you do at this point will minimal.
Now that you have an idea of the scope of the job, it’s time to decide how to get rid of the bulk of the waste.
Hire a specialist to take care of any hazardous waste, animal issues or pest infestations you found during your inspection. They’ll let you know if it’s safe to start cleaning other areas of the home before they arrive or if you should wait until they complete their job.
Call a few days in advance to ensure the dumpster will arrive on your scheduled cleanout date. Then, once the container is in the driveway, just walk heavy items through the dumpster door and throw lighter debris over the walls. You might also consider hiring a junk removal company, but keep in mind that some will not work on foreclosed properties.
The good news is that cleaning out the inside of a foreclosed home is not too different from cleaning out a home you’ve owned for years in terms of physical work. The even better news is that there’s no emotional attachment to the items, which tends to make the process go faster.
The bad news? You aren’t familiar with the home, so you may come across some surprises in the crawlspace or attic or find some unwanted guests behind the drywall.
Don’t let that deter you from getting the job done. The steps below will help you know what to expect inside the home to minimize any surprises. Keep in mind, if the task becomes too overwhelming for you or you aren’t sure if you should handle a particular step, you can always hire someone to take care of the project for you.
There are plenty of ways to handle a home cleanout — top to bottom, most cluttered room to least, largest space to smallest, etc. However, for a foreclosed home, it’s sometimes easiest to plan by waste type.
Bulky waste disposal can take up a large chunk of time and energy, whether it’s a heavy sleeper sofa or a tube TV with curbside restrictions.
That’s why it’s often a great place to start your cleanout. We recommend loading bulky and heavy items into a dumpster first to help with even waste placement. Plus, it will help to remove large obstacles within the home as you work.
Now’s the time to get all of the miscellaneous trash out of the home, from boxes of household junk to items hidden in the basement or attic. You can take it out to the dumpster item-by-item, load up garbage bags or even use a trash chute from an upper floor to let gravity do the work. Whatever option works best for you is the route to go.
Now that the house is empty, the space is clear to complete minor repairs or get rid of damaged fixtures. What you chose to take care of really depends on your remodeling plan. Projects commonly taken care of in this step include:
Your repair and home improvement work is bound to create a bit of dust. Now it’s time to do a final cleaning.
Clean every room on one floor, then move to the next level until every room has been cleaned. In each room, you’ll need to do a combination of these tasks:
With the inside taken care of, it’s time to head out of the house and make the property presentable. The effort needed for this step will vary widely. Some foreclosed homes are in great shape with well-kept yards. In other cases, there may be missing siding or roof shingles scattered throughout an overgrown yard.
Start by getting rid of anything in the lawn that doesn’t belong there. This could be anything from grocery bags trapped in tall grass to an old playhouse that needs to be removed. Make sure to rent a residential dumpster with enough capacity for larger outdoor debris, or contact us to arrange an empty-and-return if needed.
Keep in mind that some of the debris could be useful in repairs. If there’s a panel of fencing or some wood from a deck, evaluate if it can be salvaged before you toss it.
Now that the yard is clear of obstructions, the next step is to make sure the lawn and landscaping are clear of weeds and overgrowth. This is a simple project that requires just a few steps:
Next, make sure any structures on the property are clean and functional. Common things to repair include:
Now that the yard and structures are looking great, it’s time to tidy up the home’s exterior. Use a power washer to completely clean the house and get rid of dirt and grime. You can also use it on the driveway and cement surfaces to spruce them up. Be sure to wipe down any windows as well. The goal is to increase the home’s curb appeal, either to your tastes or to make it more appealing for potential buyers.
You’ve taken the time and put in the effort to get your foreclosure home into great shape. Whether you plan to move in or sell the home, know that your hard work has taken something that was once inhospitable and made it into a place someone would be proud to call home.