Multiple promising properties were highlighted, but the most popular property discussed Thursday at a Highland County Land Reutilization Corporation meeting was one at 256 E. Walnut St. in Hillsboro.
Multiple contractors saw the property and commented that it had a lot of potential, according to reports at the meeting.
The former owner of the house passed away in September of 2019 and has no known relatives. The first half of 2019’s taxes were paid, but the second half’s have not been paid. The tax due is $1,039, with the land valued at $20,000 and the total value, which is the land and the house, at $77,900.
Other properties were talked about. One at 6830 Heather Moor Trail closed late in November, and was split, with both neighbors paying.
Another property that Mark Current, housing director of Highland County Community Action, said was practically done is at 750 Carford Place in Greenfield. The tax due on the property, which is two Fannie Mae Parcels, was $17,255 and $3,865, respectively. Both Parcels were valued at $4,300.
Current said, “We started out, you know, picking what we called ‘the low-hanging fruit,’ and that went quickly. Now, we’re kinda in deep mud here.”
In other matters, multiple properties were talked about pertaining to foreclosure and/or demolition. One at 235 Willow St. is currently being foreclosed, said Karen Bridges, a land bank board member. The city currently mows the property, and the tax due on it is $6,224, with the land valued at $16,200.
Two other properties the land bank is looking at are 6774 Heathermoor Trail and 11410 Cathys Court. Both of the properties have mortgages. The Heathermoor property has a mortgage of $33,497 from American General Financial Services while the Cathys Court one has a $166,500 mortgage from Deutsche Bank National Trust Company. That doesn’t include the taxes on them, which are $13,793 and $27,746, respectively.
“I’ll have to contact these two institutions, American Financial and Deutsche Bank National Trust, to see if they will release those two properties,” Current said. “Because there, once again, the properties are kind of stuck. It is no advantage to them to hold onto them and leave them as they are.”
Current said they need to do a title search on each property they look at, because if there’s a mortgage on it, the land bank technically can’t take it. The land bank committee said they would table the discussion on some of the properties until they learned more from the title searches. The land bank also cannot get rid of state income tax, only property tax, which has complicated some of the possible property acquisitions. The committee said it would look into talking to other land banks and see how they have gone about those situations.
Land bank board member Charlie Guarino said, “I’ve been on here since the inception and it seems like all these properties are almost like a, thinking like a remodel, where you think some of these things are a great thing but when you get into them, whether it’s an issue with a bank or issue with the property itself and other factors, sometimes it’s not a great investment.”
Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.