Removing Hazardous Materials
from Homes in Foreclosure

What kinds of hazardous materials does a property preservation specialist need to remove? Normally we are not talking about stuff you need to call in a HazMat team to handle. We're talking about raw foods, raw garbage, tires, refrigerators, used auto oil, gasoline, oil-based paint, pesticides, and other typical household chemicals.

Why Remove These Substances?

Why does the mortgage company want these health hazards removed from vacant homes? There is a potential liability, if any chemicals are spilled or ingested by someone who comes on the property. There is the possibility of fire from flammable solutions. And, of course, raw foods and raw garbage can result in mold and pest infestations.

Common sense tells us that removing these potential safety and health hazards will protect the banks' investments. For the property preservation REO contractor these are very important things to be aware of, since understanding the reasons for your clients' concerns will help you to know what to look out for and what to bid on.

Disposing of Hazardous Household Materials

Apart from the time involved, getting rid of these things is normally not a problem. Most communities have drop off points for these kinds of household substances. The food and garbage, of course, will go to the dump, and the hazardous materials disposal sites are usually conveniently located at or near the dump (transfer station).

Some Ideas for Special Items or Circumstances

  • Tires - We've found some tire dealers who will take these for $1-2 each, and some transfer stations that will take them with the garbage in limited, or unlimited, amounts. Other dumps charge $4-5 each
  • Refrigerators/Freezers - We usually give them to scrap metal dealers for no charge.
  • Oil-based Paint - As long as you notify the facility in advance, they will usually accept larger amounts.
  • Water-based Paint - Latex/Acrylic paints are technically not hazardous, but most transfer stations will not take them in large quantities unless you first dry them out with kitty litter, or some similar substance. This is a bothersome process, but if you have space, get a good price on kitty litter, and don't let the paint accumulate, you can keep up with it and dispose of it without too much problem.

In order to provide bids for removing hazardous materials, or any other debris, you must be able to take good photos.