Several men wordlessly carry out furniture, broken computers and boxes of garbage from a large blue house on a quiet upstate street on a brisk autumn morning. Rusting bikes and an old grill lay discarded in the overgrown backyard which is spotted with empty beer cans and crushed milk cartons. The mood is oddly serene as the men unload the remnants of what was one someone’s home.
Todd Drake, manager of Empire Real Estate Management in Latham, is overseeing yet another eviction. The home’s former owner has long gone, leaving just debris and an old phone number in his stead. After a county sheriff’s deputy checks to make sure no one is inside, crews head in to change the locks and clean out the refuse – also known as a “trashout.” Drake is stoic as he watches his crew.
“We’ve been butt-kicking busy,” said Linda Hall of All REO Preservation. “I work in the field as much as I work in the office.”
So busy that Hall’s even working on putting together a nationwide plan to give work to other contractors, and currently has crews and subcontractors in several other states. Her business also offers its own training program for startups.
Photo by Associated Press.