I can't even put the word dollar in the title because if I do my phone will ring off the hook. For months people have been calling because they want to buy a house for a dollar. Some are responding to homes that are listed in the MLS for a dollar. Those homes are usually sold at auction and there is no set price on them but the MLS requires a price so they just list them for a dollar. The auctions are almost always minimum bid auctions and the bidding always starts off for much more than a dollar and the home is not always sold to the highest bidder, if the bids are too low it doesn't get sold at all.
Think about it. It may be possible to buy a house for a dollar. There is a program through the city right now, called the fourth street preservation project, and it is a good program. The problem is that the homes cost much more than a dollar and it is plainly stated on the city web site that the homes need repairs and that the buyer must qualify for a fix up loan of between $150,000 and $190,000. The cities advertising of the homes is a bit misleading. "A Vacant Home for $1.00 Means a New Beginning for an Historic Saint Paul Neighborhood" For arguments sake lets say that the home is acquired for a dollar, and then $150,000 is needed to fix it up. That means that a total of $151,000 will be spent. Looking over the list on the city web site I only see two homes that are actually listed for $1.00, again this seems to be a bit misleading. I hope their phones are ringing as often as mine is.
The program will work best for buyers who really care about historic preservation and who plan on living in the homes for a very long time. Buyers should make sure that the home will be worth as much money as they put into it after re-hab, in case they have to sell after a couple of years.
In the interest of transparency the city should also disclose that registered vacant properties are held to a higher standard than comparable homes in St. Paul that are of the same age and that those standards cost extra. No other previously owned home in St. Paul has to be brought up to code before it can change hands. Since codes change yearly they won't always be up to code.
Yes there are people out there who just see the one dollar and want to buy now. It is hard to believe that so many people do believe that they can buy a house for a dollar. Maybe they also think they can buy a car for a nickle and that there is such a thing as a free lunch.
A home that can be lived in and has indoor plumbing, a roof and a working furnace can not be had for $1.00. Please read the fine print, and don't be mislead by the catchy headlines. I could say that all of my listings are available for $1.00 + anywhere between 218K and 364K depending upon the value of the home, but I wouldn't because ti would be misleading.
To get more information about the eleven homes that the city is selling please see their web site: Fourth Street Preservation Project.