MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, MI – Anyone with $10,000 in cash can own a home in Muskegon or Muskegon Heights.
But what kind of a home does that buy? Is it a habitable building?
A home at 3241 Mona St. in Muskegon Heights was recently listed by BellaBay Realty for $5,670. BellaBay Realtor Sandy Sirianni said last week that an offer had been made on the house and it would likely soon be sold.
The two-story, bungalow-design home, built in 1940, has two bedrooms and one bath. In addition to a 1,100-square-foot floor plan above ground, the building has a finished basement. On an 81-by-117-foot lot, there’s a shed, with a ramp for wheelchair accessibility in front.
The building needs lots of work, but it’s completely legal for someone to move in.
“You’ve got to expect a $5,000 home to need a lot of work,” Sirianni said.
A few of the windows are broken and have been boarded up. A kitchen cabinet door dangles open on its hinges. A few tiles from the kitchen floor have worked their way loose. The ceilings in the shower, basement and second floor are uncomfortably low for someone more than 6 feet tall.
Who is in the market for homes like this?
“Usually, it’s going to be an investor who’s not going to be afraid of all the broken windows, the dirtiness,” Sirianni said. “It all depends on the price.”
The house has been on the market for about 100 days, she said. It started on the market listed at $7,000 and has twice had its price reduced, first to $6,300, and to $5,670 Sept. 20.
The house is being sold by HUD, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“A HUD house is simply a foreclosure that had an FHA (Federal Housing Administration) mortgage,” Sirianni said. For their first 10 days on the market, HUD houses are offered exclusively to owner-occupants in a blind auction – then, the sale is opened up to investors.
At just over $5,500, a potential occupant just might be able to pay cash.
To get some perspective of the cost, that’s cheaper than most cars on a dealer’s used car lot. Robin Bouchard, used car manager of Betten Chevrolet-Cadillac-GMC in Muskegon, said that about 35 percent of the used cars on the lot are sold for $5,500 or less. He hopes to sell a 2005 Chevy Impala with 96,000 miles for $6,100. A 2005 Pontiac G6 has a $4,900 sticker price.
Sirianni said that once retail properties are listed at the right price, they’ll sell quickly.
As a buyer’s agent, Sirianni said there’s often competition for new homes entering the market. There’s competition for new homes on the market.
“Lots of houses are going for full price,” she said. “If I write an offer, even if it’s full price, I have about a 50 percent chance of getting it.”