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Buy Vacant Properties From The City For One Dollar
NOTE: This policy has been clarified via the Redevelopment Authority as of February, 2015.
The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority finally started putting its holdings up for sale publicly last May. What does that mean for you? If you're looking for a place to build a new house, rehab a crumbling vacant property, or if you just want a yard next door, you're in luck. Though the process is a little convoluted, there are great properties for very low prices available, and if you're willing to go through the extra hassle, buying from the city is a great option.
How to Search: The PRA does offer some of its holdings through brokers, via its "Featured Properties" program, but most of its holdings are simply put down on a list. If you have a specific lot in mind, you can search at the PRA website. However, if you're just browsing, the process is a little more difficult. The PRA does have a map of all its available holdings, but the only information available is the street address, which means you can either plug it into Google Maps and check out a street view, or scout the old fashioned way and visit the property yourself. All the properties are sold as-is, and there's no chance you're getting a tour of any structures on the property, so you'll have to evaluate any buildings from the outside.
How to Buy: If you're buying one of the PRA Featured Properties, you might go through a broker, or, if the property is particularly high profile, you might have to submit a response to a Request for Proposals detailing how you would execute the city's vision for the property. However, most PRA properties are bought directly from the PRA, so there's some extra paperwork involved for the buyer. The first step is to submit an online "Expression of Interest" by clicking on a property's listing. You will be asked to submit basic information about yourself, as well as a general outline of your plans for the property and how you expect to finance them. Then, you will need to fill out a Tax Status & Disclosure Form, so that the city can ensure you don't have any liens on any of your current properties, and that you've never been involved in a crime-related foreclosure. The City Council representative for the district the property falls in will need to approve the sale, and you can petition for their support if you want. At some point, the city will call you up, and ask for additional information if they need it, and review. If they approve your request, they will send an agreement to be signed, which you will need to send back with a "good faith deposit."
How to Buy for $1: The city offers homeowners with vacant lots adjacent to their property the opportunity to turn those lots into sideyards that they own. If the property is valued at less than $15,000, shares a border with your property, and is less than 3,000 sq ft, you may be able to buy it for a dollar. It should be noted, however, that total costs will probably run you about $1000, once all the fees for the transaction are added up.
Article found at: http://philly.curbed.com/archives/2013/04/22/heres-how-to-buy-vacant-property-from-the-citys-redevelopment-authority-for-as-low-as-1.php
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