As foreclosures rise, demand soars for "board up" men

boarded up house
boarded up house

I always find it interesting to see which occupations and markets survive and prosper when the economy gets tough. My interest is likely linked to my fascination with the way certain creatures adapt to weather changes in climates and environments. Along those lines, I was fascinated when MSNBC ran an interesting story about "board up" men, a group of contractors who specialize in taking care of foreclosed properties.

Many of the individuals making the transition from high-end kitchen and bath installers to board up men are still making good money, pulling in between $1,500 and $5,000 per job and working 5-10 jobs a week. Banks who don't keep their properties in good condition face fines from local communities as part of an effort to shore up neighboring home prices and keep out squatters. The costs associated with keeping a foreclosure from becoming a public nuisance are high enough that it might be money better spent on providing potential buyers with more detailed information on the quality of a foreclosed property in order to move the home quicker.

I'm surprised at how quickly this need was filled by resourceful contractors. Then again, I guess the construction business has been a little slow lately. With an estimated 35% of real estate listings made up of foreclosures and bank-owned homes, I'm about ready to quit my day job and pick up a new career involving wood, screws and plywood. Well, that or I could use my last week of vacation boarding up a few local properties!