The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

February 20, 2014

City sells rehabilitated East Main house

Building was first 'Acquisition for Resale Project'

The Commercial-News

---- — DANVILLE — The city finally has sold the house on East Main Street it purchased in 2009 and rehabilitated with $120,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds.

The closing on the house near Meade Park, in the 2500 block of East Main Street, occurred Friday, Feb. 14. The home sold for $40,000 to a woman with two children. The four-bedroom house was a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development foreclosure that didn’t sell.

The city scooped it up and decided to use it as a first “Acquisition for Resale Project.” The home was converted back to a single-family home from a two-unit home.

Neighborhood Development Manager John Dreher said “it took forever to get a sale” because a potential home buyer needed to meet income qualifications — have an income at or below 80 percent of the area median income, adjusted by family size — and be “loan worthy.”

“Our income levels are so low. They can’t buy,” Dreher said, of bank loans.

City officials also didn’t want to put a buyer into a situation where he or she might fail.

Dreher said it took a while for renovations because the city used contractors who worked on the house when they could along with other projects. Lead was removed first in the 110- to 115-year-old house. The house has nine rooms, with four bedrooms and two bathrooms.

The house has a new porch, roof, windows, kitchen, plumbing, mud room entrance, entrance doors and other improvements. A second gas meter and other items were removed from the former two apartments. The city also saw drainage issues with the house. There was a water main break, frozen plumbing and the issues knocked out the furnace.

City officials are talking with Illinois Department of Transportation officials about how Main Street construction changes affected drainage to the house.

“We made good substantial improvements,” Dreher said, adding that they’re not ashamed of the rehabilitation costs. He said HUD approved the plans and city officials knew they’d lose money in the project.

The East Main Street home rehabilitation kept a house off the city’s demolition list. The vacant lot next door is due to a demolition.

“We’re just really happy about it,” Dreher said.

The city helped a family get into a nice, clean and decent house. However, Dreher doesn’t foresee the city taking on another purchase and rehab project again in the near future.

“It was a different kind of real estate market,” Dreher said of the process starting in 2008-2009. More changes came in the depressed market and with employment and income.

“I think it’s a sound principle to pursue,” he added.

Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said the biggest obstacle with the house was a family’s ability to get financing.

Ward 7 Alderman Bill Black said Habitat for Humanity of Danville helps put people in homes without going through financing.

The proceeds from the house sale will replenish the city’s housing loan fund.

“We make a loan at no interest for desperately needed home repairs,” Dreher said. A furnace could go out and the livability of a house is threatened, he said of a loan example.