As the housing sector continues on the arduous journey towards recovery, buyers are finding it increasingly difficult to find the deals they had become accustomed to during the latest recession. Improving housing prices and restricted inventory levels across the country have persisted to lower profit margins on subject properties. However, savvy buyers remain optimistic that deals will continue to present themselves in any market.
Buyers in Gary, Indiana recently received an opportunity to purchase delinquent properties for $1.00, further acknowledging that deals will always remain available. Accordingly, the city is in the process of conducting a real estate fire sale, selling a dozen homes for $1.00 each to eligible buyers.
The angle: “They need work,” said Gary’s mayor, Karen Freeman-Wilson. “It’s up to the homeowners to provide the sweat equity.” The city is looking for individuals who intend to refurbish each house, further stabilizing neighborhood improvement efforts. To qualify for this incredible deal, buyers must meet the following criteria:
- Must have lived in Gary for at least six months.
- Have $1,000 in savings.
- Earn at least 80 percent of the median annual income ($35,250).
- Demonstrate the financial ability to rehab the subject property.
In order to reduce the number of applicants, the city imposed further criteria that must be met. It is open only to those who do not currently own a home, and they must occupy the house for five years before they assume full ownership. Subsequently, those who leave before the established time may forfeit everything.
In September, 12 winners will be selected from a pool of 25 finalists, each of whom will receive a property for $1.00.
While the appropriately dubbed “fire sale” is a great opportunity for those who win, it may further facilitate the improvement of local neighborhoods. Mayor Freeman-Wilson has made it clear that if these efforts are successful in restoring distressed neighborhoods, similar deals may be made available in the future. If the program works well, Freeman-Wilson would like to sell 50 homes a year.