See how nonprofit organizations across America have given dilapidated houses a second chance through rehabilitation.
Blighted, run-down homes are an eyesore for communities. They bring down property values, contribute to crime and affect the cohesiveness of a neighborhood. In some cities, those homes are being torn down by the thousands.
But demolition isn’t the only option. Nonprofit organizations across the country are saving homes, some of which may look hopeless to the untrained eye. Through rehabilitation, these homes are given a second life, and many of them are part of efforts to provide affordable housing for low-income residents. Here’s a look at properties across the country that were saved by these organizations.
1. Before: Pocatello, Idaho
This 1940 home in Pocatello was rehabilitated through Pocatello Neighborhood Housing Services’ owner-occupied home improvement program. The homeowners are a young couple with two small children.
“They came to us originally because they discovered a crack in the foundation shortly after they moved in, and water was leaking into their basement,” said Mark Dahlquist, executive director of the nonprofit organization.
Dahlquist said the couple had good credit but couldn’t get a traditional bank loan because of their low income, which was 49% of the median income in the area. The PNHS got the couple a loan for $22,000 for renovations, but with monthly payments of only $73.
The organization tailors loans to the borrower’s income, with interest rates as low as 1% and partial loan deferral for those in the lowest income brackets. The deferred portions of the loan don’t have to be paid back until the home is sold or the mortgage is refinanced.
“We don’t want to put people in a situation where they are over their heads,” Dahlquist said. “It’s just something that the private bank cannot do. We really embrace the homeowners that are ‘not bankable.’ We’re here to fill in that gap.”
“What makes it a bit different is that when a homeowner gets one of our loans, unlike a bank that turns you loose, we really walk the homeowner through the process from start to finish,” Dahlquist said.
A rehabilitation specialist determines what needs to be done, then goes to a loan committee to get the loan approved. “When they approve and we start getting under way, we line up the contractors, which is really a big thing,” Dahlquist said.
For this home, what started as a foundation repair resulted in a much more comprehensive home makeover. “Not only were we able to repair the foundation, we installed egress windows in two of the basement bedrooms, installed new siding, and several windows were replaced with new energy-efficient windows,” Dahlquist said. “We put a new roof and rain gutters on the home, as well.
“Not only have the upgrades helped the family, the improved aesthetics of the home have helped lift up the neighborhood,” Dahlquist said.
2. Before: Syracuse, N.Y.
This 1870 home is in the Lincoln Hill neighborhood of Syracuse, N.Y., and was rehabilitated by Home HeadQuarters.
“This home came to our attention by a Lincoln Hill Neighborhood Association member who was concerned that the property had been sitting vacant so long,” said Karen Schroeder, resource-development and government-relations manager for Home HeadQuarters. “He was particularly concerned that it would fall into the hands of an out-of-state investor who would make minimal repairs and then rent it to tenants who would not take care of the property. We rehabbed the property and then sold it to a first-time homebuyer.”
Here’s the Lincoln Hill property after the rehab.
Kerry Quaglia, executive director of Home HeadQuarters, said the rehabilitation process generally takes about six months. The organization has an in-house realty and sells the properties itself.
“In an ideal case, we would be marketing a property so that just at the time it is completed, hopefully we have a buyer ready to purchase with financing in order,” he said.
3. Before: Syracuse, N.Y.
This home in the Eastwood neighborhood of Syracuse was donated to Home HeadQuarters, which also purchased the foreclosure next door. The home next door was filled with black mold and had to be torn down. Home HeadQuarters built a new single-family home on that lot while rehabilitating this one.
Here’s the fixed-up Eastwood home, which was built in 1936.
4. Before: Orange, N.J.
This home on Elm Street in Orange was rehabilitated by Hands Inc. The street has a mix of historic homes dating from the 1860s through the 1910s. Hands has been working to stabilize the block since 1987.
According to Hands, there were four vacant, deteriorating houses on the street at one point in the 1990s. The organization cleared title to the vacant houses, rehabilitated them and sold them to first-time homebuyers who had graduated from the Hands HomeBuyers Club, a six-month training program covering budgeting, credit counseling, homebuyer education and mortgage counseling. With time, a ripple of investment spread as other homeowners decided to stay on Elm Street, plant a garden and upgrade their homes.
But this particular house was now vacant. Hands learned that the property was part of a group of mortgages associated with real-estate fraud and subsequent bankruptcy. After months of additional research and negotiating, the organization purchased a group of 47 mortgage loans from one lender, negotiated with the owners, cleared title to all the properties and formulated and implemented a development strategy for each.
Hands rehabilitated this 1870s house by restoring the exterior and upgrading the interior with modern amenities. Jessica Mathelier, a communication and administrative assistant for Hands, said her organization will ensure that this home will continue to provide affordable housing for future residents.
5. Before: Columbus, Ohio
This home was rehabilitated in 2007 by Homeport in partnership with the city. The project combined historic preservation with “green” rehab, said Abigail Mack, the organization’s director of home ownership.
“We chose this property as a pilot program to demonstrate that you could rehab structurally sound buildings and increase their efficiency, and within the boundaries of publicly funded programs,” Mack said.
Mack said the historic-preservation officer would not let the organization change out the siding. “We had to wrap it in a bubble and scrape out the lead,” she said. “We painted it historic colors and took it apart from the inside and insulated it.”
While preserving the historic nature of the home, the organization made energy-efficient upgrades such as installing new windows.
6. Before: Columbus, Ohio
Homeport generally focuses on providing affordable housing but stepped outside that focus when the organization purchased this Columbus home in 2007.
“Normally, we wouldn’t have gone after that because we knew it wouldn’t be affordable,” Mack said. “We had watched it flip four times. It was an eyesore, and we thought it would be better to control it.”
The organization stabilized the home’s shell and then gutted the inside. “Five years later, we now have funding for construction,” she said. “It’s being converted to a very modern, open floor plan as we speak.”
Homeport took out the original floor plan with the exception of mandatory structural beams.
“We blew out the walls of the former, poorly done addition and created a covered rear patio,” Mack said. “We closed up a door and created room in the kitchen for a full wraparound cabinet.”
Renovations are expected to be complete this summer, and the home is listed for sale.
7. Before: Baltimore
This was one home in a line of classic row houses in Baltimore that were in terrible condition. AHC purchased a number of the homes from the city and has worked to restore them.
AHC President and CEO Walter Webdale said the organization goes in and tears out most of what’s there, leaving just three walls, then rebuilds them to look as they once did.
“We hope to acquire all of them or hope that other investors or families will develop them,” Webdale said last summer, after the organization had completed several rehabilitations. “We’re rebuilding enough of the block so that when the appraiser comes in, he sees that the family is not just buying one nice building on a row of dilapidated structures.”
After an extensive rehabilitation, the home has new heating and air conditioning, updated plumbing and electrical systems and new windows and doors. AHC works to restore historical features such as moldings and staircases whenever possible.
“The first one we did, we followed the old floor plan,” Webdale said, “but then we modernized it, so it was more open and more desirable.”
AHC works with neighborhood organizations to identify qualified first-time homebuyers and provides loan assistance on top of funds that are available from the city and state.
8. Before: Syracuse, N.Y.
This home in the Northside neighborhood of Syracuse was built in 1970. Home HeadQuarters partnered with the hospital in the neighborhood, the city and other housing organizations and nonprofits to revitalize this neighborhood as the hospital expanded its campus. Schroeder, of the housing nonprofit, said the organization tore down several houses, built a new home and rehabbed at least two on this street alone.
Schroeder said this home’s rehabilitation was comprehensive. “We pretty much gutted the whole house,” she said.
She said the home is now “super energy-efficient,” with foam insulation, a tankless water heater and a high-efficiency furnace.
9. Before: Columbus, Ohio
Homeport is about to start work on two properties on the same street, one of which is shown here. Both are already in contract before any renovation has been done, which Mack said shows the demand for high-quality, renovated homes. The organization had to tear down another home on the street because it had a tree growing through it.
These two are the first to be renovated on the street. Mack said about 50% of the homes are in disrepair and a third of them are vacant. Homeport is also constructing eight homes in the immediate block.
“There is a lot of new construction on this end, and it is important for the character and vitality of the neighborhood that these little beauties be saved,” she said.
A work in progress: The future
Here’s a rendering of what the home will look like after rehabilitation.
“We decided that since our new-construction homes have three to four bedrooms, we could modernize these floor plans and make them attractive to a different demographic,” Mack said. “We modernized the first-floor plans on both [homes] so that they have an open kitchen and a foyer upon entry.”
10. Before: Durham, N.C.
These 1920s duplexes had been boarded up for years and were scheduled to be torn down by the local land bank. Builders of Hopestepped in and rehabilitated them using the organization’s “extreme green” standards. They are now housing for active adults ages 55 and older.
Builders of Hope used recycled denim and soy-based spray foam as insulation. The units were upgraded to be more open, with cathedral ceilings in the family rooms and removal of connecting walls to the kitchens.
“We salvaged the existing hardwood floors, and they are beautifully refinished,” Builders of Hope founder Nancy Welsh said. “The units were heated with coal, and we left the exposed brick from the chimney down into the coal burner for a retro-modern look.”
The green and efficient upgrades keep the heating and air-conditioning bills at $25 or less per month, Welsh said.
This article was originally published by Leah C Culler on MSN Real Estate. To see the original article, click here.