DETROIT (WWJ) – A campaign to sell 100 previously foreclosed or abandoned homes that have been renovated and sold at bargain prices during 2011 in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties is being recognized by housing experts as a national success story to help rebuild neighborhoods hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis.

A coalition coordinated by the Michigan Association of Realtors, Western Wayne Oakland County Association of Realtors, Metropolitan Consolidated Association of Realtors and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, announced sales are pending or have closed on 94 of the 100 home inventory since the initiative began Feb. 1, 2011 in 15 Metro Detroit communities.

“Municipalities across the country can learn from our Realtors’ success in Southeastern Michigan,” National Association of Realtors President Ronald Phipps said in a release. “When public and private leaders come together, we can overcome the stereotypes of abandoned and foreclosed properties, sell houses that have been beautifully restored and help stabilize communities.”

The 15 Metro Detroit municipalities participating in the coalition include Eastpointe, Ecorse, Ferndale, Hazel Park, Holly, Inkster, Keego Harbor, Lake Orion, Oak Park, Ortonville, Pontiac, Redford, River Rouge, Royal Oak Township and Westland. The communities contracted with Farmington Hills-based
Home Renewal Systems to refurbish, market and partner with local real estate agents to sell the homes.

“I am thrilled this program is months ahead of schedule and has already sold all its inventory properties in Oakland County,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said in a release. “These home improvements and sales are reducing blight and helping rebuild neighborhoods hard-hit by foreclosure and vacancy.”

The 100 houses restored by Home Renewal Systems are “real estate owned,” which is a class of property owned by a lender after an unsuccessful sale at a foreclosure auction. Non-rehabilitated real estate owned properties spend an average of 222 days on the market, but when communities put in the work to upgrade these homes, they sell approximately five months sooner. The properties are valued from $50,000 to $150,000.

“These are houses that can have hardwood floors, state-of-the-art energy-saving appliances and other amenities that defy the perception of foreclosed or abandoned homes,” Michigan Association of Realtors President Claire Williams said in a release. “Buyers can now purchase their own homes for less than the cost of renting.”

To purchase a house, the income of a one-person household must be below $58,700, and a percentage of the homes are being designated for buyers earning less than $24,450. The income threshold for a four-person household would be $83,900. As part of the coalition effort, MAR is teaming with non-profits and Home Renewal Systems to offer education seminars, at no cost to homebuyers. The classes guide buyers through the process and responsibilities of owning a home.

Buyers of these foreclosed properties typically have a minimum income limit of at least $1,200 per month (minimum income limits can include employment income, social security, alimony and child support). Qualified buyers can receive down payment assistance, from as little as $5,000 up to as much as 50 percent of the purchase price of the home, to cover closing costs and make mortgages affordable.

“We only need to sell six more homes in Wayne County to reach our goal of 100 by the end of the year,” Home Renewal Systems Vice President Shannon Morgan said in a release. “With Detroit’s urban renaissance underway, we’re extremely optimistic that we’ll be able to match those six homes with excited buyers soon.”


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