The number of homes taken over by banks each month topped 200,000 for the first time since the “mortgage meltdown” began over three years ago, according to RealtyTrac. In 2005, before the housing crisis, banks foreclosed on just 100,000 in an entire year! Now, the yearly total is over one million foreclosed homes, or one in every 139 homes.
Make no mistake about it, losing your home has got to be one of the most traumatic experiences anyone can go through. At the same time, the huge increase in home foreclosures created an opportunity for others who “service” the foreclosed homes. When a home is foreclosed, the property needs to be inspected regularly to prevent further loss of value.
A federal law, passed after the savings & loan meltdown of the 80s, requires lenders, such as banks and mortgage companies, to check on the condition of their foreclosed properties as often as once a month. Most lenders prefer to subcontract these property checks to field inspection companies around the country. There are over 60 nationwide field inspection companies that cover most states, as well as hundreds of smaller firms that cover a region, such as one state, or even just one city.
Because it would be very expensive for the national inspection companies to have full-time field inspectors everywhere, they depend on independent field inspectors to do local property inspections. Local inspectors usually take a few digital snapshots of a property, such as a foreclosed home, then complete a short form or checklist. The information is then e-mailed to the national field inspection firm. Depending on the type of inspection and the information needed, each report pays between $15 and $50.
Many property inspections can be completed in less than 15 minutes, often without leaving the car. That’s why they are sometimes called “drive-by inspections.” It’s ideal work for part-timers like college students, retirees or stay-at-home moms.
The current explosion in the number of foreclosed homes has dramatically increased the need for local independent field inspectors. To get started doing field inspection jobs, simply register online with one of the national field inspection companies. Then they will send e-mail notifications of new local inspection jobs. Because most inspections have to be done promptly, it’s very important to pay attention to the deadline posted with each job. If it fits your schedule, and you can meet the deadline, accept the job. If not, don’t accept the assignment.
If you’re looking for a way to get paid for driving around and taking snapshots, becoming a full-time or part-time property inspector could be the perfect opportunity for you. The schedule is flexible, the pay is good, and the demand for independent field inspectors has never been greater. To learn more, read Drive By Profits.