County seeking to sell low income houses by July deadline

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Indian River County is facing a July deadline to sell 16 houses it has refurbished as part of a neighborhood stabilization effort before the state-administered program ends next fall.

Community Development Director Robert Keating told commissioners Tuesday his agency’s effort to attract interested buyers has been unsuccessful and wanted permission to use a Realtor to help market the properties for a 3 percent commission. The commissioners were against selecting a single broker to handle the county business and instead want to ask the Realtors Association of Indian River County to list the properties to expand the marketing reach.

The commission for the sales would then be applied to the association as a whole rather than an individual Realtor.

Keating told commissioners that thus far the county has only received 10 applications to purchase the homes and of those only five remain active.

Keating was also seeking to increase some of the caps for assistance to help broaden the pool of potential applicants.

He asked to increase the portion of assistance for closing costs from 6 percent of the purchase price to 10 percent. Keating said there were fixed closing costs necessary for the type of housing they were purchasing that they underestimated when the program was first being designed.

He also asked to increase the portion for gap financing from 30 percent of the purchase price to 35 percent.

“We think this will give us a little bit more flexibility in finding more qualifying applicants,” Keating said.

The Commissioners voted 5-0 to approve those changes.

The Neighborhood Stabilization Program is a federal program that is being administered for Indian River County by the state. It was designed to help neighborhoods hit by the increase in foreclosures when the real estate market crashed.

If the county does not have the homes sold by July to meet the September deadline for the end of the program, the unused money will be have to be returned.

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