Banks Speed Up Efforts to Winterize Foreclosed Assets

With foreclosures on the rise, it's more important than ever before to take the proper steps to winterize and secure properties in order to protect and preserve the bank's asset. From October to the end of March, properties are often winterized for protection from multiple damages, the biggest problem being freeze damage, which results in water and then mold.

Korrie Goodspead, preservation manager, National Field Representatives Inc., Claremont, N.H., recently received 1,000 winterization orders within one week. Winterizing needs to take place anywhere it gets cold enough where freezing temps could hurt plumbing. "You have to be proactive and have the property winterized sooner than later," said Ms. Goodspead. "We've been slammed with orders within the last week as 560 winterization field orders went out before I went home on Friday afternoon."

For properties with common lines like condos with adjoining units, it can be smart to leave the utilities on even in the winter. "You could freeze the common lines in the wall and the occupant might not have water. It helps protect the walls from freeze damage." National Field Reps actually places orders to local field reps and local independent contractors. "We create work orders for local reps who go out to the properties, sometimes on Saturdays. This saves them time from not getting the order until Monday or Tuesday."

If a property is vacant and the insurance carrier knows it, that could be seen as mortgagee neglect and cause insurance rates to increase, she said. "We have to go in there and protect them. It's $150 to a couple of hundred dollars depending on the type of the system. Dry heat compared to radiant is the most drastic difference. The majority of the systems are dry heat. That is the most popular." Radiant systems have tubing that runs water through the floor. If you don't winterize it, there's a chance you will have to replace all of the tubing. (c) 2007 Mortgage Servicing News and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved. http://www.mortgageservicingnews.com http://www.sourcemedia.com