AHP Partners With A Familiar Face To Find A New Homeowner

Published on September 9th, 2014 by AHP Administrator

Vacant Milwaukee home AHP put back into service

Achieving success requires a strong resolve, persistence, and a willingness to roll up your sleeves and get a little dirty. Putting abandoned homes back into service is indeed hard work, but it is essential to making communities safer and reversing the plummeting homeownership rate. When tasked with these difficult jobs, comfort can be found in working with somebody you know and trust. In restoring vacant properties in Milwaukee, AHP is lucky to have a familiar face working alongside us to achieve our goal.

Three years ago, Brad found himself in a situation where he needed help keeping his home. Brad sought the assistance of AHP, who was able to purchase his Milwaukee home at short sale and lease it back to him. This allowed Brad, his wife and their three children to remain in the home they still live in today. As a real estate agent with more than eight years of experience, Brad is now helping AHP to take care of abandoned properties and match them with new homeowners.

AHP foreclosed on a home this past January and the journey to find a new homeowner began. AHP contacted Brad to list the home, but first he had to verify the property was vacant. AHP and Brad had made several attempts to contact the original borrower, but received no response. On a cold, snowy February day, Brad decided to visit the property to find that somebody did in fact live in the property.

When he approached the property, Brad encountered a woman who said she was not the owner of the property, but had been a tenant there for ten years. Brad said she seemed unaware that the property had been foreclosed on and surprised it was being listed for sale. Brad explained she could purchase the home at current market value, or AHP would provide her $500 in a cash for keys exchange. After agreeing to the cash for keys deal, the tenant abandoned the property without receiving the $500 and never responded again.

Once Brad got inside the property, he realized he and AHP had their work cut out for them. “The condition of the property at the time was just brutal; it was horrible,” Brad said. “When they left it, they left it just beat up and battered, we had to hire somebody to clean out the garbage and personal belongings.”

With the property cleaned out, the next concern was keeping the property maintained until a new buyer took it over. Squatters are a threat to the safety of neighborhoods and the properties themselves. On the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, Brad received a call from the neighbors who said the door on the property had been kicked in. “You could tell when I was putting the boards up that it was clear that this wasn’t the first time this door had been kicked in,” said Brad. “The frame around the door had been pretty well beat up… Whoever did it did a good job.”

Brad said there are pockets of vacant properties in Milwaukee, and break-ins by squatters and vandals are common. “They’ll take the copper and the piping out and whatever material they can take for scrap and get that money, and it doesn’t necessarily matter where the location is,” Brad said. “There was a $370,000 house in the Northwest corner of Milwaukee and it didn’t matter to them. They kicked it in and took the copper and piping out of that house just the same as if it were a $20,000 house.”

In addition to securing the door, Brad was also instrumental in preserving this property by offering his services to maintain the exterior appearance. Tall grass and dumping are common problems of vacant properties, and Brad recognized the importance of addressing these issues.

“A house that’s maintained, it’s got grass that’s cut and bushes that are trimmed– it looks less vacant,” said Brad. “So I suggested that I handle mowing the property so that it looks better and we can have some curb appeal and so that people see that it’s being maintained, at least from an outside perspective, you can’t necessarily tell if anybody’s in or out of it.”

It appeared in July that the home would be sold as a buyer had shown great interest in the property and had even gotten as far as reaching the closing. However, as the closing drew near, the buyer became unresponsive and eventually walked away from the deal.

“He had made some excuses as to why he needed to postpone the closing,” said Brad. “He looked at the neighborhood and the environment– they were going to buy it as an investment property, and he basically walked away because of the area.”

With the house listed for under $30,000, it proved challenging to find the right buyer for this property. Brad had spent the past six months maintaining the property and finding a new buyer, only to have what looked like a done deal fall apart at the last second.  It appeared to be back to square one.

Yet in teaming Brad’s hard work and experience with AHP’s commitment to its mission, the right buyer eventually came along. In August, Brad closed a deal for a new buyer who had difficulty speaking English, but was able to translate through his high school aged son. After months of persistence, AHP and Brad were able to find a solution that will make this neighborhood a little bit safer and bump the homeownership rate in the right direction.

Brad is not sure whether the family will use it as an investment property or make it their home, but it is clear that the home will be cared for by somebody who is happy to have it.“The day of closing I told the buyer I would meet them there. They were there before me, it was a large family, they were already doing yard work and taking bushes down,” Brad said. “They thanked me and told me they really appreciated what we were able to do for them.”

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