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Archive for Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tenants to Homebuyers asks county for help in creating a resource for first-time purchasers for years to come

A local nonprofit organization is working to get some first-time homeowners into a newly-renovated house. The group is selling the house cheap on the condition that when the owners leave they also sell the place at an affordable price.

January 19, 2010

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A Lawrence nonprofit organization wants a recently rehabilitated East Lawrence property to become a staple for first-time homebuyers for years to come.

Tenants to Homeowners Inc. on Wednesday will ask the Douglas County Commission to convey or transfer the county-owned property at 1120 Rhode Island to the organization.

“It’s not really conveying it to us and then we sell it to a homebuyer and we make a bunch of money off of it,” said Rebecca Buford, executive director of Tenants to Homeowners Inc. “We sell it at a low price to a homebuyer, but then when they are ready to resell it, they have to resell it at an affordable price.”

Two years ago the county offered a rent-free lease on the property to the organization, which partnered with the Lawrence Preservation Alliance to rehabilitate the house. The county purchased the lot in 1990, but the house on the property had fallen into disrepair.

The organization has an interested buyer who would qualify for the Housing Trust Program. It allows low- to moderate-income families to become first-time homeowners. When they move, the home is resold at an affordable price to another first-time homeowner.

Buford said Tenants to Homeowners won’t be able to use the property for this purpose unless the commission conveys it to the organization. The nonprofit also wanted to benefit first-time homeowners, which follows its mission, instead of renting it.

The rehabilitation cost more than $150,000, but the house will be sold for about $100,000 to $110,000, she said.

The meeting is at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts.

Commissioners will also reconsider a lease among the county, city and Lawrence Douglas County Bioscience Authority on the former Oread Labs building in west Lawrence. The city commission recently changed one part of the deal and removed a clause that would have allowed the local bioscience authority to potentially purchase the building for less than its fair-market value.

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