Terms spelled out for $1 houses

ted-andersonIn two weeks since the program was announced, 3,000 people have inquired about buying a dangerous building for $1.

Today Ted Anderson, director of the Land Bank of Kansas City, provided details to the neighborhood and public safety committee of the city council.

People must have access to $8,500 to get the deal, he said, which is estimated to be about 25 percent of the cost of rehabbing the crumbling houses.

“These house are bad,” he said, in need of new roofs and heating and cooling and much more.

The land bank now has 135 houses up for sale and may add 70 more, he said.

They are among about 800 dangerous buildings that are to be demolished or repaired with $10 million in the proposed new city budget.

All applications for $1 homes will be on hold until May, after the new budget is approved.

Then the land bank board will consider sales, taking into account many things, such as scope of work to be done, how long the land bank has been stuck with the properties, whether the buyer is someone who lives on the block or is a buyer buying several houses for investment.

“They also like to know if he is a prior buyer, how did they do with the previous properties they bought,” Anderson said.

Currently drug dealers with convictions for incidents less than five years ago are not eligible to buy, nor are sex offenders. Other criminals are.

“The neighborhoods don’t want sex offenders out amongst them,” Anderson said, but they are reconsidering whether to allow people who have prostitution convictions.

The outside of the houses are to be brought up to code in 120 days and to be fully renovated in a year, he said, but extensions are often granted.

When the work is done and the home has an owner-occupant in it, he said, the city will reimburse $8,500 for the renovation, which would have been the cost of demolishing the house.

If people want to buy a dollar house and pay to demolish it themselves, they can also do that.

Getting clear title on some of the houses can be a problem, he said, although no one has ever sought to take back a house bought from the land bank.

Houses the bank has held for a decade have clear title, Anderson said, and others can generally get clear title with little trouble.

People can drive by the houses but cannot go into them on their own.

“It’s dangerous,” Anderson said. “One of our people needs to let them in, usually with a screw gun.”

To show the properties, he said, the land bank will also have open house gatherings like realtors do for houses on the same block or in the same areas.

If more than one person wants to buy a house, which has rarely happened in the past, consideration will be given to who was the first to apply, Anderson said.

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