West Carrollton has entered the business of flipping foreclosed homes in an effort to raise property values and increase the number of owner-occupied residences in the city.
A home at 325 Applehill Dr. is the first residence obtained by the city through the Expedited Foreclosure Program to be chosen for renovation. Economic development director Tom Ross said he “didn’t see a point in bulldozing it” because, unlike homes captured in the past, this one is structurally sound and “only in need of a little TLC.”
Properties that have been tax delinquent for over a year are eligible for foreclosure by the city. Ross said the home on Applehill Drive had been in and out of the Expedited Foreclosure Program for seven years and tax delinquent for three.
Rather than demolishing the home, the city worked with the Montgomery County Land Bank to create the Community Residential Rehab Loan Program. The partnership is the first of its kind but Mike Grauwelman, the Land Bank’s executive director, said other communities — like Trotwood — are beginning to take an interest in similar pursuits.
Through the pilot program, West Carrollton acquired a $50,000 loan to put toward several interior and exterior improvements. Those improvements include a new roof, insulation repairs, carpeting, granite countertops, a Jacuzzi tub, and heated tile floors in the master bath.
The home is listed at $129,900 which is about ten percent higher than the asking price of most homeowners in the area.
Ross said selling the house at a price slightly above average will help solidify property values in the neighborhood. “Comparable sales matter,” he said, “and maybe a neighboring house that was going to go for $110,000 can now list at $120,000.”
Any money that the city makes on the home will be rolled back into the program after the city’s loan is repaid, Ross said.
The city and Montgomery County Land Bank are also hoping to bring some stability in ownership to the community, which Ross said has an inordinately high number of renters.
“By aquiring property themselves, (the city) is able control who buys it. They want owners, not investors,” said Grauwelman.
Three perspective buyers toured the home on Thursday, Aug. 14 but a sale cannot be finalized without approval by City Council.
Ross said he hopes to renovate other homes that have become a blight to the community. However, Grauwelman said future projects may have to be funded elsewhere.
“I would expect that this program is one that we will be looking at against others to make sure that it’s an appropriate and beneficial use of our funds,” Grauwelman said. “We have to determine whether we are the right orgnaization to be supporting this kind of project.”
There are, he said, other organizations capable of funding housing projects in West Carrollton.