The magical mystical Cook County Land Bank lures homebuyers

The magical mystical Cook County Land Bank lures homebuyers
You CAN become a revirginized 1st time homebuyer

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Check out my previous post on the CCLBA: "Wait, did you say you just WAIVED all the taxes?

 

The Cook County Land Bank Authority (CCLBA) site even goes so far as to suggest sources of down payment assistance for first time homebuyers.  By the way, do you know the actual definition of a “first-time homebuyer?”  It’s counter-intuitive but it is NOT limited to people who are buying a home for the first time.  The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) uniquely defines first time homebuyers as someone who hasn’t owned a home in three years.

This is one of the very few instances in life where you can become “revirginized.”  It looks like Madonna had the right idea.  So it doesn’t matter if you’re being “touched for the very first time” or, like Madonna, you’ve been touched many, MANY times—just as long as you haven’t been touched in the last three years.  Click this link to find out some other refreshing ways HUD defines a newbie.

While the choicest programs are often geared toward first-time homebuyers, CCLBA works with people who already own a home and also investors looking to expand their real estate portfolio.  They definitely give priority to owner-occupants, but they will work with investors (which is unexpected for a program like this).

Let’s look at some more benefits of this program.  There are no income restrictions for buyers, meaning you can’t make too little or too much to qualify for this unique opportunity.  CCLBA strongly encourages buyers to attend homebuyer education classes thereby giving newbies a strong start (a ton of classes are offered all over the area offered by many different organizations.  Sign up for our calendar to stay up to date).

They also offer a list of lending partners who work with CCLBA and are familiar with the application process.  These lenders specialize in purchase/rehab loans like the 203k.  Keep in mind this is the COOK COUNTY Land Bank Authority so properties are not just limited to those in Chicago.  You can go to their site to check out suburban properties as well.

What I didn’t know until the Auburn Gresham trolley tour is that CCLBA also provides what’s called a preliminary inspection report and “scope of work” for each property.  This is a report of what repairs are needed along with an estimate of what each repair should cost.  All that’s left for you to do is to find a skilled contractor to perform the work.  Angie’s List is how I have found some good contractors in the past who receive helpful ratings from previous customers.  Home Advisor is another option.

If you have spent any amount of time in real estate investor circles you will know that receiving a scope of work is tremendously helpful.  Since this is done by a third party (CCLBA), it avoids getting the estimates from a contractor who could benefit from inflating the costs.  For an inexperienced rehabber this document is golden.

Purchasing these properties does require a non-refundable $1,000 application fee which is applied as a credit at closing.  This is a more than fair requirement.  Think about it: the CCLBA wants to make sure they are dealing with serious buyers.  I’m sure they don’t have the staffing and other resources to process frivolous applications.  So this application process weeds out a bunch of curious looky-loos who might delay the process for the serious applicants wanting a home.

Keep in mind this amount actually goes toward the purchase of the home at closing.  And, in all honesty, if you are not able to come up with the $1,000 fee you have to a real conversation with yourself to find out if you need to take a little bit more time to prepare for home ownership.  It might be in the cards for you, but maybe not just yet.

So what does all this mean?  Countless people have independently trudged up the hill of weaving together all the elements of buying and rehabbing a home.  This idea has been around forever.  My take on working through CCLBA is that there is a LOT of much-needed and very welcome hand-holding that is built into this whole process.

Let me be clear: a lot of legwork and due diligence is still required for anyone who wants to buy and rehab a home.  But it is hard to measure how much easier it becomes through some of the initiatives of this program.  They find the homes, waive the taxes/liens/encumbrances, give you a list of homes that qualify, perform initial inspections, provide you with a list of lenders, verify the qualifications of the contractors you hire and work carefully to answer questions you might have throughout the process to ensure your success as well as the continued success of their program (a huge plus).  Don't forget, CCLBA SAVES YOU MONEY!!!

The last and most important thing for me to add is you can use this program to buy a multi-unit building (vs. a single family home) for you and your family to live in and fulfill your wildest dreams of becoming a revered and exalted landlord.

Is this something you think you might want to try?  Leave a note in the comments section and tell me what you think.

 

Contact CCLBA’s Elisha Davis who joined us on the Auburn Gresham tour and was very friendly and helpful with the information she provided.

Elisha Davis
Acquisitions Specialist
Cook County Land Bank Authority
Office: (312) 603-8015
elisha@cookcountylandbank.org

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