After obtaining tax certificates for seven properties from the Clay County Commissioners last month, some additional options to purchase other properties have become available through grant funding.
"We have learned the city may purchase commercial properties, those involved in Sheriff's Sales and vacant or blighted properties from private individuals," Brazil Planning Administrator Stacy Gibbens told The Brazil Times. "Since grant funding ($1,435,350) was distributed in June, a little more clarity on the rules -- regarding what the monies may be used for -- has occurred."
Gibbens added the city is taking action on the tax sale properties to prevent the future homebuyers from being blindsided with additional costs down the road.
"While going through the normal process to obtain a tax deed for the properties, we are also pursuing quiet titles on them as well," she said. "With this additional legal action, it will clean the liens off the title, which will be a huge positive for the perspective buyers of the homes."
She told The Brazil Times most title insurance companies would not insure a tax deed property for 10 years without a quiet title, so with this process, homebuyers will be able to purchase title insurance right off the bat.
"Attorney Margaret Berry is acting as legal counsel for the tax deed and title actions, and the process to obtain a quiet title is about $500 apiece, all of which was already included in the budget," Gibbens said. "One of the goals of the NSP is to help low- to moderate-income families to be able to purchase homes without additional hassles than the average homebuyer."
Gibbens told The Brazil Times the city is continuing to look for other properties in the area the NSP grant funds will be put to use, and will utilize the current process with the tax sale properties on any future properties as well. The NSP is being used in the area west of Depot Street, between United States 40 and Hendrix Street, in Brazil.
"The city has first dibs on any Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac guaranteed mortgages or Housing and Urban Development (HUD) foreclosures in that area," she said. "When it comes to purchasing a property from a private individual, if the value is more than $25,000, the property has to have two separate appraisals and the purchase would have to come within that range, but if it is less the city only has to do a market analysis."
She said the city has caught a break to this point as the obtained properties have been purchased at a price lower than anticipated, meaning more funding is available for other purchases or additional rehabilitation, demolition and construction costs.
While the process up to this point has been a little sluggish, Gibbens wanted to ensure residents things will be moving much quicker in upcoming months.
"We will probably be hiring architects who will create designs for the new homes in December," she said. "After that, we should be putting the projects up for bid, and approving contractors in March, then work should begin in mid-spring to early summer in 2010."
With construction anticipated to begin in the next 6-9 months, Gibbens is encouraging low- to moderate-income families interested in purchasing one of the homes to contact her now to express their interest.
"Some other communities are already setting families up to receive the homes and we are in need of people interested in buying a home," she said. "The two main requirements are that they must be able to be pre-approved for a mortgage and participate in an eight-hour mortgage/money management class."
Gibbens said those who qualify may also be able to pick out their own floor plan from the architects' designs as the new constructions will not be "cookie cutter" homes, and should have three or four bedrooms.
To express interest in purchasing a home through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, or for more information, contact Gibbens at 446-0050, or by e-mail at email@example.com.