Fixing up damaged and foreclosed homes - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Fanna Haile-Selassie

Fixing up damaged and foreclosed homes

ROCHESTER, MN (FOX 47) -- It's a common scene in today's economy, home after home falling into foreclosure. But what happens when that home happens to be your neighbor?

It's pretty rough as a neighbor to see a foreclosed home on your block just sit there and grow weeds. Not only is it a sore sight, but it hurts your property value. While there's not much a neighbor can do, there are businesses that might want to scoop up that vacant house.

"Tear up the walls, write graffiti, put holes in there."

All things which can be commonly found in a foreclosed home, making it harder to sell.

"I mean, they're upset, it's understandable," explains Gillmore C.P., a real estate investor with South Minnesota House Buyers. "You know, you're going through a process where you're about to lose your home. You know, the American dream, to have your home is being taken away from you. It's understandable that they're upset."

Not many people want to buy a falling down home with overgrown weeds. At the same time, many pass up a nice-looking home if there's a bad-looking foreclosed home on the block, and for good reason.

"The maintenance of the property is not there, and if it looks run-down, it's going to take away the appeal of the neighborhood," says real estate appraiser Ross Henderson.

Which means lower property value. There are some though that like fixing up older homes, and selling them for a better price. They're called "flippers."

"We do make some money, you know, it's a living. But we're also looking at the neighborhood, we're looking out for these neighbors. Trying to get them so that one day they can sell their house," answers Gillmore.

Whether these flippers make a nice profit or not, many neighbors on the block were happy to see someone buy the house with the plan to fix it up, because it just didn't fit their block's image.

For those neighbors with an abandoned home that doesn't seem to sell, there are a few tips to keeping the area looking nice.

"I believe there are city ordinances for long grass. You can get the city out to mow it," Henderson responds.

Also, report any vandalism to the police department for them to handle. Other than that, several appraisers say there's not much more that can be done.

Gillmore says they mainly buy houses through word of mouth. Of course, it is a business for them, so they have to look at the numbers versus time and material costs.

When asked about his sales in a down economy, Gillmore said the houses he's worked on have sold for more than his asking price.

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