What awaits Kelly Neuhaus behind a home's front door might be pleasantly surprising, mildly disturbing or downright disgusting.
As the co-owner of a property preservation company that cleans up foreclosed houses, she's walked into pristine homes showing signs of recent life, with alarm clocks set and baby photos proudly displayed.
Neuhaus, 39, also has seen her fair share of houses where refrigerators are blackened by mold.
Her Fremont, Neb., company, KDM Curb Appeal, is part of a once little-known industry that has exploded since the recession thrust millions of homeowners into foreclosure. Although no trade group maintains statistics, several owners of Omaha metro property preservation companies - sometimes called cleanup companies or "trash-out" crews - said new competition seems to pop up all the time and they're as busy as ever.
"It's one of those things that's like, 'Yay, I got a lot of work. But that means somebody lost their house,' " said Todd Robinson, owner of Robinson Enterprises in Papillion, which does home inspections, heating and cooling inspections and property preservation.