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Mixed results for city in selling HUD homes

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Christiane Walker (middle) places a bid to purchase the home at 704 N. Forest Ave., Brazil, while husband Jesse Walker looks on and Butts-Pell & Associates CAI Chris Pell continues to request higher bids Wednesday. The Walker's purchased the home, which was being sold by the City of Brazil through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Dollar Homes program, for the minimum amount allowable of $12,600. Jason Jacobs Photo. [Order this photo]
With the housing market being a fickle one, it can be difficult to sell a home.

On Wednesday, the City of Brazil attempted to sell two homes it purchased for $1 apiece through the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development's Dollar Homes initiative in January.

According to City Attorney Bob Pell and City Planning Administrator Stacy Gibbens, the homes have to be sold for at least 90 percent of their respective appraised values.

"We had a joint appraisal done by Helmer Appraisal in Greencastle on both of the homes," Gibbens told The Brazil Times about the properties located at 104 N. Alabama St., and 704 N. Forest Ave.

After the appraisals were completed, the minimum purchase prices were $33,300 for the lot on Alabama Street, and $12,600 for the one on Forest Avenue.

Although both properties were being sold at less than half of the respective assessed values, only the Forest Avenue property sold during the auctions Wednesday, which were conducted by Butts-Pell & Associates Auction/Realty, Brazil.

Jesse and Christiane Walker purchased the home by providing the lone bid for the minimum amount allowable.

According to the terms of the auction, the property was sold in "as-is condition," with the buyer assuming the Fall 2010 taxes, which are due and payable in November 2011.

While the home on Alabama Street did not sell this time, the city has options to sell it in the future.

"With the attempt to sell the home for at least 90 percent of the appraised value falling through, we have the ability to sell the home to the highest and best bidder at a future auction," Pell told The Brazil Times.

Pell added he planned to create a resolution for the consideration of the Common Council of the City of Brazil to allow authorization to take that route to sell the property. The council approved the resolution during Wednesday night's meeting, and the next attempt to sell the property may come in the next 2-3 weeks

Gibbens said the funding generated by the sale of the homes would go straight to the city's Unsafe Building Fund, which is mainly used for the demolition of dilapidated properties.

"The cost to tear down a house is slowly rising," she said. "Right now, it typically ranges from $7,000-$10,000, but we have one right now that has other factors creating an estimate of $30,000 to tear it down."

Although there appeared to be a lack of interest in the homes this time around, Gibbens said if more homes became available through the HUD Dollar Homes initiative, the city would probably purchase them.

"We will take advantage of the opportunities presented through this program as much as possible," she said about the homes, which are acquired by the Federal Housing Administration following foreclosures. "It gets the properties back in the hands of responsible homeowners while returning them back onto the tax roll, and it is also another way for the city to generate funding."

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