When you’re a bank stuck with an REO property on your records, you’re in a quandary. You generally don’t have a lineup of reliable contractors on staff; after all, your business is to loan money, not to upkeep, manage and repair properties. Still, when you are forced to foreclose on a property or otherwise take possession of an abandoned one, you will be responsible for keeping the property in good repair, dealing with any tenants there, and presumably, getting it ready for sale.
Spending tons of time searching for and vetting contractors can not only be a hassle, it can be a serious drain on your finances and funding. After all, the time you spend vetting contractors is time that could be spent being more productive elsewhere. That’s why many lenders turn to qualified and experienced REO services companies.
With all the different options on the market today, it’s important to find a company that really stands out and that can make a difference in your property management needs. Let’s take a look at the First Freedom difference, what sets First Freedom Preservation apart as REO service experts and why we can remove the stress of managing your properties, while also saving you money.
REO Property Experts
With mortgage rates sliding, many lenders are concerned about another housing crisis in the future. As this threat looms, they are looking for reliable REO services experts to help deal with the properties they want to get off the market quickly. They want services that can get the job done fast and efficiently, while staying in budget and delivering outstanding quality workmanship at all levels. That’s where our services come in, and that’s what sets us apart from other services.
At First Freedom, we are REO Property experts that offer REO services not only to remove the stress from your property management, but to actually make your overall portfolio more profitable. We can help you keep your properties maintained, stay in compliance with local ordinances, make necessary improvements and deal with tenants and squatters, while delivering ultimate transparency and the highest quality work from contractors who genuinely care about the craftsmanship they put forth.
We offer a full range of property maintenance, management and preservation services that cover all aspects of getting your REO property ready to get on the market and get sold at a high dollar value, fast. Our REO property experts are also tied to our company. We don’t use a gigantic network of random contractors. Our contractors are either direct employees, or are closely associated with our company so we closely vet them for their expertise and monitor every job, every step of the way. Everyone you work with in our company will be an expert in what they do.
A Background in Property Management and Upgrades
When a bank is forced to take possession of a property due to foreclosure or abandonment, they have a right and a responsibility to protect that property. They have to protect their collateral, which means not only securing the property, but keeping it in good repair. This can include everything from cutting grass to protecting pipes, ensuring there are no environmental hazards, engaging in roof maintenance and repair, keeping debris like fallen trees to a minimum and more.
First Freedom takes care of this problem for the bank. When FFP takes over management of a property, they do everything necessary to make it ready for resale. This background in property management and renovations truly sets us apart from other companies and establishes us as experts in our field. First Freedom Preservation began in 2008, but our expertise in property management, construction, renovations and management go back much further.
FFP owners Noah and Al enjoyed long careers in commercial construction, property management, residential construction and the management of rental properties before they came together to begin First Freedom. This extensive background and experience gives them a unique perspective on the problems faced by banks and lenders forced to foreclose on properties. It also helps First Freedom Preservation to offer a uniquely complete range of products and services to cover all aspects of your property management and upgrades.
When you work with First Freedom for your REO property services, you’ll never get a faceless lineup of random contractors. You’ll have a direct point of contact, a product manager who is seasoned and knowledgeable in the factors that go into property management and restoration, a point of contact who keeps in touch the whole time and who offers a complete photo record of every step of the process. You’ll get all these benefits, combined with unparalleled experience and a cohesive organization to provide quality control and craftsmanship you won’t see anywhere else.
Construction and Sales Readiness
When the real estate bubble burst in 2008, banks found themselves with record numbers of abandoned or foreclosed properties. For the first few years, they would sell off these properties to flippers and investors, often taking a loss so they wouldn’t have the properties on their roll. Quickly, however, lenders realized that they could actually handle the upgrade and resale process themselves, potentially making a profit in the process.
By 2012, First Freedom entered the construction end of the game. By handling upgrades and repairs themselves, banks can recoup more of their losses. Naturally, doing this means hiring renovation and construction companies like First Freedom Preservation. First Freedom is a leader in property restoration and construction with contractors in five different states, with more states coming.
Renovation of a property can consist of anything from a quick re-carpeting and paint job to a full-gut rehabilitation. Anything that’s needed at a property, First Freedom is capable of handling. One thing that places this company ahead of the pack is that we are truly a one-stop shop, capable of dealing with any issues that might be needed. The tremendous advantage of working with FFP is that there’s no need to hire twenty different contracting companies to handle multiple jobs.
The First Freedom process means not just getting a property off the roll, but profiting from the property as well. We are here to turn your REO property into an investment that will actually generate income for your company. While on average, you can expect to spend anywhere from $50,000 to $200,000 on a rehab through our company, the results we deliver can make you a great deal more in profit. That’s because of the First Freedom difference. An investment in our services is an investment in your property and your profit.
Our REO property experts will work within your specific budget and ensure that all the necessary repairs and upgrades are made to deliver you first-class service and quality results you won’t believe. Our only goal at First Freedom is to deliver you construction and rehab services that get your property ready for sale, get it off the market fast and turn your unexpected expense in REO management into a genuine profit.
Another advantage offered by First Freedom are established, proven processes. Many property rehab companies dealt with by major banks are nothing more than middlemen. A bank will hire them, and they’ll simply farm out the work using any of thousands of different contractors who are little more than names and numbers in a spreadsheet. While there may not be a complete lack of quality control, certainly there’s less ability to keep an eye on the quality of work delivered when a sizable company deals with so many other companies.
At First Freedom, we do the work ourselves. We have a small network of very specific contractors with whom we work exclusively, and our people are always directly on site, directly involved with every job. The project managers we use are our staff.
Our contractors use the highest quality sources for equipment and materials and deliver the highest level of quality control and craftsmanship. They don’t just run down to the nearest big box store for discount fixtures. They give you true value for your money.
What are two notable differences that set First Freedom apart? We control every step of the process, and we live by the motto, “Quality, Collaboration, On Time.”
Trust and Transparency
We achieve our motto through absolute trust and transparency. Every step of a job is photo documented, so you’ll be able to see all the work as it progresses. Even if it’s just changing a lightbulb, there’s a photo of the process. We work hand-in-hand with our clients to ensure that we’re delivering exactly the work they want and to see the project through to the end. We will work closely with your broker to ensure any issues are resolved to your satisfaction.
We understand that timeliness is crucial to the success of your endeavors. To that end, our project managers will go to great lengths to ensure that your job always remains on schedule, while also delivering the quality of work you expect and deserve.
When you work with First Freedom as your REO services experts, there will be no up-front costs, and you won’t be hit with constant surprise charges. We don’t believe in unpleasant surprises while working on a property. If something does arise, you can be assured we’ll work with you every step of the way to mitigate the issue while still staying on budget and delivering top quality results.
Core Values to Improve Communities
While we don’t work with homeowners, instead focusing on helping banks get REO properties in shape for sale, we are committed to supporting first-time homeowners. The repairs and upgrades we make are designed to offer first-time home buyers a house that is move-in ready and will provide long-term comfort and quality.
For example, we have our own in-house kitchen designer. First Freedom doesn’t buy cheap materials and cabinetry to save a buck. Rather, our designer will take detailed measurements of every aspect of a kitchen and create a customized layout to deliver first time-homeowners the kitchen of their dreams, right out of the gate. The end result will be smart, efficient, practical, usable and beautiful.
We also work to improve communities and to elevate the quality of life by supporting small businesses and helping our contractors to succeed. We advise them on best practices in the industry and even act as a back end office for them. We’ll handle their shopping, order their supplies and help them to build their business. We set these companies and their employees up for success.
Rather than simply farming out work to thousands of other contractors, we work hand-in-hand with both our clients and our contractors to create first-time homeowner friendly homes that will deliver profit for banks and high-quality living for home buyers. In the process, we help to grow small businesses to support the economy of the areas we serve.
A Hands-On Approach
We talk a great deal about the pride we take in our hands-on approach to service. We don’t use a network of thousands of contractors that we can’t possibly vet or assure the quality of their work. Rather, everyone we work with is either a direct employee or an exclusive contractor with whom we have a close and long-term relationship. Our project managers work closely with our contractors every step of the way to ensure that they stick to timelines, while still delivering quality work. When our contractors are on site, so are our direct employees, overseeing every level of every job.
We maintain complete control over every job, every step of the way, and we keep in constant contact with you, our clients, to be sure that you’re satisfied. We make sure that problems are corrected as they arise instead of covering them up like some contractors do, or instead of moving past them with the thought that they can be taken care of later. We take pride in making things right the first time around on every job, and we offer a complete record of the work done for your additional peace of mind.
We have a trusted network of repeat commercial clients with whom we work on a regular basis. Our success is defined by the number of lenders who come back to us time and again for more work. We build relationships with our clients that last for years over many different projects. We accomplish this through our attention to detail right from the start.
While we work on the project, you’ll get detailed communications with reports issued once per week that go over everything we’ve done, where the project is in the timeline and what has yet to be completed. We can also offer access to our cloud-based online portal so that you can log in for 24/7 access to all aspects of the job.
First Freedom Preservation uses dedicated asset repair coordinators, or ARCs, to work with you the whole way. They are available during work hours five days per week, and we even offer after-hours emergency lines should the unexpected arise. Our goal is to give you not only a great quality restoration, but absolute peace of mind.
Our Bid Process: Based on Thorough Inspection
When a bank looks for REO property experts to work on a property, multiple companies will bid. In fact, most lenders are required to accept several bids before deciding on a contractor. With First Freedom, our bid process is apples and oranges to that of other REO services companies.
FFP offers a level of complete honesty, thoroughness and transparency in bidding that isn’t seen elsewhere. There will never be a lowball bid followed by surprise increases after the job starts. Instead of by-the-numbers bids, our people will visit the property in advance to conduct a thorough inspection and will deliver complete, itemized information with each bid. We value transparency above all else.
For example, a bank may ask for a bid based on ten elements. We will deliver those ten elements, but we will also itemize other aspects of the property that should be updated, upgraded or repaired, and we’ll explain why. We will perform a thorough inspection, paying special attention to the specific items you request, but pointing out things like broken locks or cracked windows that you may have missed.
Other companies will look at the requested items and issue bids based on comps in the area; they may never even visit the site before work begins. They’ll simply look at what their network of subcontractors generally charge, or potentially ask a subcontractor to deliver an estimate, clean it up to make it look professional and deliver it as a blind bid.
A bid from FFP, on the other hand, is only made when our people have seen and inspected the property. We measure everything, look at the details of doors, locks, windows, insulation, roofing, landscaping and more to make a record of all the work that might need to be done. That way, we can deliver real information based on an actual assessment of needs.
This level of detail can be helpful moving forward as well. If a client calls back with additional questions after the initial bid, the information is readily available because we’ve gone to the property and inspected it thoroughly. We can provide detailed answers right away, down to the roof measurements. We can also easily add additional services to your contract if you request them, based on our initial inspection. We are willing to spend money that we won’t recover on the bid process so that we give you the most honest, up-front and useful information possible.
While other REO services companies will give you the equivalent of a beat-up, old used car for a bid, we are the REO service experts that will deliver a brand new luxury car option. We don’t hide charges behind low initial bids. When you work with us, you get honesty, transparency and our best efforts, from our initial bid through the final walkthrough and beyond.
Making Your Budget Shine
We also understand that everyone works within a budget. To that end, instead of pushing you to spend more money, we will work side by side as a partner to make your budget shine. Different clients have different specs and requirements, and we will always work within those guidelines. We can provide spec sheets if you’re not sure what you’ll need to spend. These sheets will break down the entire process and show you everything you’ll get from the upgrades. You’ll never have any questions about what the final product will include.
A Growing Business
Just like the contractors with whom we work, FFP is a growing business. Our success has allowed us to become licensed to work in five states, with more on the way! Currently we are certified to work in Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia. We expect to complete our licensure in Virginia very soon, so keep checking back!
A Range of Complete REO Property Management Services
While the First Freedom difference is noticeable in the repairs and upgrades we offer, we are also notable for offering complete REO services in terms of managing and maintaining properties as well. Our job for you doesn’t end when we finish the repairs. We also help to keep your property in shape so you can get it sold fast and at a great price.
We will offer complete services to make sure that you’re in compliance with all local ordinances to avoid blight. Many lenders are shocked to discover that they can be subject to tens of thousands of dollars in fines simply by not maintaining the exterior of a property. We’ll take care of cutting the grass, trimming the hedges, handling the landscaping and removing debris like fallen trees and excess materials.
We will also help to deal with issues like squatters — we can make the property look lived in to be a deterrent to illegal tenants moving in. We can provide a level of security, and we can even work with local authorities to help remove these illegal tenants before they do more harm to the home. We handle legal tenant services as well as eviction services.
We even offer an ongoing blog full of informational and educational articles to help you stay on top of the game. The information we provide will keep you competitive and help you make the right calls to get your property sold fast.
The First Freedom Difference
At First Freedom Preservation, we have only one goal, and that’s to be your complete, one-stop shop solution for all your REO services needs. We are the REO property experts that can get the job done, from maintenance and beautification to essential repairs and upgrades. We’ll get your property ready for sale and off the market. That’s the First Freedom Difference — no matter what the job, we live by the motto, “Quality, collaboration, on time.”
For more information about what we can do for you or to get a bid on your property, reach out to us today!