City sells first Neighborhood Stabilization program home
By Mike Danahey firstname.lastname@example.org January 17, 2012 8:40PM
Elizabeth Femal stands proudly outside her home in Elgin on Saturday. The home is the first of the houses rehabbed and sold by the city as part of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. | Andrew A. Nelles~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 19, 2012 8:06AM
ELGIN — Elizabeth Femal recently became a first-time home buyer, and the first person to purchase one of the properties the city of Elgin bought and rehabbed with federal Department of Housing and Urban Development Neighborhood Stabilization Program money.
In a process that began more than three years ago, the city received $2.16 million in federal NSP funds to buy, renovate and sell properties in the distressed housing market. Any money made on such sales is required to be put back into the program until that money runs dry.
Elgin took a “worst of the worst” approach and worked with neighborhood groups, with a special focus on a dilapidated places that had been converted into multiple-unit dwellings the city wanted to see become single-family homes again.
Four properties were turned over to Habitat For Humanity of the Northern Fox Valley. Through Habitat last summer, 511 Washburn St. became a home for a single person, while a husband and wife and their four children moved into 485 E. Chicago St.
In December, a family of five got the keys to 108-110 S. Channing St., while an owner has been lined up for the house at 355 Moseley St., which should be finished by March, Habitat development director Bill Klaves said.
With the federal money, Elgin also bought and demolished the home at 209 Franklin St. And it still owns homes at 315 Jewett St. and 218 Franklin St., which won’t be rehabbed until money comes in from the sale of the all four fixer-uppers the city renovated. Those addresses are 457 and 463 E. Chicago St., 318 South St. and 162 Summit St.
Femal moved into the home at 162 Summit St. on Dec. 29. She had been living in Arlington Heights and is a human resources generalist for the Housing Authority of the County of Cook in Chicago.
Femal said she had been looking for houses online. She typed in “ ‘vintage homes in Elgin, Illinois’ and — poof! — the house appeared.”
“I was thrilled that the house was a historical house. It was beautifully restored, with special care being taken to make sure its charming features were preserved. Additionally, the house was in the Northeast Neighborhood, close to the wonderful library, cultural activities in the downtown and the train,” Femal said.
“Securing financing wasn’t too difficult. However, I had been planning and preparing to move for the past two years,” she said.
The program has income requirements. A single person can’t make more than $63,000 a year — and a couple no more than $72,000 per year — to qualify to buy one of the homes.
As such, taking free classes in home ownership through the Neighborhood Housing Services of the Fox Valley was a condition of the purchase. Femal said the sessions taught her “how to manage my money so that I can be prepared for all the expenses that go along with owning a home.”
Femal bought the home for $110,000 through Tom Kresbach of Vintage Home Realty. The city bought that home for $64,00, put $178,925 in renovations into it, and in January 2011 it was appraised a $125,000.
In June, the city awarded Kresbach’s firm the listings for the South and Summit Street properties, while Mike Simpson at Realty World Fox Valley is listing the two homes on Chicago Street. Both Realtors are working for a 5 percent commission on the final sale price.
Kresbach noted that the housing market “is still slow, with the majority of sales being short sales and foreclosures. However, the number of homes for sale in December ’11 was the lowest in many months. And sales are gradually increasing. Hopefully, that continues.”
Kresbach said the selling points of the NSP homes are “that everything has been updated including electric, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, roof, kitchen, baths and alarm systems. but they still get charm of a vintage home at a great price.”
Elgin Senior Planner Sarosh Saher is overseeing the city’s side of the project. He assumed those duties last fall after historical preservation planner Jennifer Fritz-Williams and management analyst RuthAnne Hall resigned their posts with the city. Saher agreed with Kresbach, noting that “the housing market is not conducive to the quick sale of homes at this time. The city hopes that more qualified buyers interested in purchasing the homes show interest so that the homes are sold rather than standing vacant.”
“I do like the neighborhood,” Femal said. “I’ve met a few of my neighbors. I went to the Northeast Neighborhood Association holiday house walk before I closed on my house, and everyone was so warm and welcoming that I felt this is the right neighborhood for me.”
318 South St.: www.tomsvintage homes.com/ MyHomeDtl.asp? lstPages=1& HomeID=1233290
457 E. Chicago St.: www.rwfv.com /listnow/listings.html?p=81fee8a0 -22e4-47da-b9d6- ed386211d294
463 E. Chicago St.: www.rwfv.com/ listnow/listings.html? p=5a8c8ab1-1758-4e01-a2c1-16272d 8c1cf4