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Partnership pushes sale of rehabilitated housing

By LeAnne Rogers
Observer staff writer
February 3, 2011

Blighted and foreclosed homes have been acquired by municipalities and rehabilitated using federal funds, now the push is on to sell the houses.

A home at 1457 Gloria in Westland was one of two homes highlighted as a new partnership of communities, Realtors, lenders and nonprofit groups to sell at least 100 renovated foreclosed homes and newly built homes in 15 Metro Detroit communities kicked off.

The home on Gloria is for sale after being renovated using Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds. Along with funding the repairs, the program requires the home be sold for the renovation costs or the assessed valued, whichever is less, and down payment assistance is available.

“I absolutely see the importance of it (NSP). It helps the whole neighborhood — for those who get into a home but also for those living nearby,” said Michigan Association of Realtors President Claire Williams, a Canton resident and partner at Remerica Hometown in Plymouth.

Aside from the Norwayne area, Westland Mayor William Wild said homes the city acquired and had renovated through NSP are scattered around the city.

“I think the program has been an incredible success for Westland neighborhoods. I think it has had a stabilizing effect. There is a negative effect, if there are vacant homes in the neighborhood,” said Wild.

Shirley and George Lawson turned out for the kickoff at the home on Gloria but they don't have a professional connection — they have purchased a different Westland home acquired and renovated through NSP.

“We started looking in Canton but it was pricey and we're on a budget. We looked in Westland, Livonia and Redford,” said Shirley Lawson, who has lived for three years in a rented Canton townhouse. “It's really nice in Westland. We have family members here. We were prequalified — they gave us a lot of homes to check out.”

The Lawsons were a bit taken aback when they started looking at the NSP homes — they were gutted and were a couple of months from work being completed.

“We had been looking for a house. With the economy, we wanted to make sure we can afford it,” said Lawson, a retail manager whose husband is retired. “It's a very good program. They are just about done with the house. We're so excited. We are first-time buyers.”

Having lenders participating in this partnership is important. As Westland Community Development Director Joanne Inglis commented, one of the biggest challenges facing would-be homebuyers is getting a mortgage.

Two firms hired by Westland to renovate and sell homes through NSP, Home Renewal Systems and Guy Construction, currently have 13 homes available for sale.

“I'm here to demonstrate the importance of the program and what it means to this community. All of our communities that have been hit by foreclosures,” said state Sen. Glenn Anderson, D- Westland. “It's the lack of occupants, the loss of taxes and lower property values. Unoccupied homes don't help anyone. A home is the biggest single investment most people make.”

To qualify for an NSP home purchase, a one-person household can make up to $58,700 with some homes designated for people earning less than $24,450. A four-person household can make up to $83,900.

For more information, contact Home Renewal Systems at (866) 996-9754 or Guy Construction, working with National Faith Homebuyers at (313) 255-9500 or (800) 267-6559.

lrogers@hometownlife.com | (313) 222-5428

For a full article and photos, please visit the Observer & Eccentric website.