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Harper Woods

August 27, 2013

Harper Woods sells foreclosed properties to company for resale

By April Lehmbeck
C & G Staff Writer

HARPER WOODS — After claiming tax-foreclosed properties last year so that an outside firm could take them, fix them and get them back on the market, the city is doing it again this year.

At its Aug. 12 meeting, the City Council unanimously approved acquiring more than 30 properties at a cost of less than $396,000, which amounts to the unpaid bills on those properties. Like last year, an outside company, Harper Woods Capital LLC, is purchasing those properties from the city for the same price so it can repair and sell them. The city has the opportunity to buy the properties before any other entities.

“I have personally visited all of the subject properties and have found many of these homes are in need of substantial upkeep and repairs,” City Manager Randolph Skotarczyk said. “I believe that this sale will continue with our successful program to eliminate vacant homes in our community and increase the overall appeal of Harper Woods as a prime location for home ownership.”

The city cannot make a profit off the homes, so selling them on their own to individual buyers would not benefit the city, monetarily.

Council member Charles Flanagan said it could actually cost the city money if they were to try to bid the properties out individually instead of doing it in a collective fashion to a company.

He called it an excellent program.

“This project and sales like these also ensure us a full collection of all the back property taxes,” he said. “Here, we’re guaranteed every dime of back property taxes on these homes by purchasing them and selling them to a development company.”

Harper Woods Capital LLC is working with other communities like Eastpointe.

“They are very pleased with how they worked out there,” Skotarczyk said, adding that he knows of the work they’ve done in other communities. “They do complete renovations. They invest quite a bit of money.

“I think these programs show a lot of promise, at least for last year and this year,” he said. “Many of these homes are really in bad shape. They need facelifts bad, and they’re not bringing up the values of our neighborhoods today.”

You can reach C & G Staff Writer April Lehmbeck at alehmbeck@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1043.