Revitalization of Neighborhoods/Historic Districts/Tax Credits

Well, the whole purpose of starting this blog was to advocate for our blighted Alexandria neighborhoods.  I myself live in a blighted home on a blighted street.  I applied and received the certification to receive state tax credits to the sum of 15% after all approved projects have been completed.  It took me a year to find a general contractor who was crazy enough to take on the task of helping us rehabilitate the home.  We were also preapproved for our construction loan….I am thinking, this is going too well and too good to be true.

BINGO!  It was going too smoothly to not hit a rut somewhere.  We finally received our appraisal and after two years of searching for a contractor and six months of bank paperwork, due to: 1) Our house being in a blighted area with low site value; 2) the age of the home; 3) no homes that compare to ours being sold in the area in the past year, we received a very low appraisal and cannot even borrow enough money to fix it.  Now, on the other hand, since we have good credit and jobs, they would be more than happy to put us in a cookie cutter McMansion down the street where our house probably won’t outlive our mortgage, but at this time, they cannot finance the repairs our home really needs.

Phooey….no wonder people don’t buy older homes.  You have to have a stack of cash under your mattress to finance the materials to do the repairs yourself, or a stack of cash to hire someone to do it.  Needless to say, we are your average income Americans, and do not have a stack of cash put back to finance the magnitude of repairs that really need to be done to our house.  This is the third house we have renovated, but all of the others were under 1700 square feet.  This big mama is 4000 square feet!

It helps that we are on the edge of a historic district and are able to receive tax credits, but you have to spend the money in order to get it back.  I have preached that we need to save our old historic homes, but in light of all of the hurdles we have had to conquer in buying and insuring the house, then trying to fund repairing it, what incentives are there to take on this kind of project?  Is it really worth it? 

Obviously, that is the problem here in our blighted neighborhoods.  All of the good intentions will never get you anywhere.  The people with the cash don’t want to live in this neighborhood and, people like my husband and I (middle income family and very average) can’t convince the bank to loan us the money – no matter how good our credit score or jobs are.  This is the entire reason these homes have fallen into disrepair.  It is just not easy to do alone and when you have the realtor, loan officer, appraiser, etc., stacked against you, who wants to tackle an old home? 

I am going to have to sit back and think about what the next plan of action is going to be.  If ya see me up on the roof plugging holes to keep out the rain, beep your horn!  It’ll let me know you sympathize and maybe even care!  🙂

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