To those who have been eagerly awaiting word on how they could buy Schenectady’s foreclosed homes, the wait is finally over.
Starting next week, Building Inspector Eric Shilling will inspect houses on “the hot list” — houses that have multiple offers or a particularly good offer. The inspection is the last step necessary before the city can sell a house.
There are about a dozen houses on the hot list, he said. They all need work, and Shilling needs to know precisely how much work would be required to get those houses up to code.
Prospective owners would be required to repair their new house — but they may not know how much work is needed.
“I’ll find out what they’re getting into,” he said.
Then he’ll call each of them and explain: they need to commit to spending the repair money, as well as buying the house. If they still want it, the city is ready to sell.
Shilling is hoping to get houses into private hands quickly. But he emphasized that city officials get to decide which prospective buyer gets each house — they don’t have to simply pick the person willing to pay the most.
Mayor Gary McCarthy wants only owner-occupants, not landlords. Shilling said they will also have to sign a contract agreeing to make code repairs within a certain period of time.
“There’s dozens that have shown interest,” Shilling said. “It’s up to us to decide.”
City officials are also taking offers from tenants who want to buy their rental home. In that case, city officials are taking names and will call tenants when inspectors have finished their report on the house in question.
Tenants must be able to get a mortgage, afford the repairs and be willing to continue living in the home.
Those who want to get on the list of potential buyers should call 382-5061. An automated message asks them to leave their name and phone number, as well as the address of the house they are interested in buying.
Shilling said many buyers read through the list of foreclosures posted on the city’s website, www.cityofschenectady.com, and made offers on houses they liked. But many more are available — and Shilling cautioned that out of the dozens of offers he’s received, many may prove to be untenable. There’s no way to know whether callers actually have the money to buy a house, he said.
“These aren’t formal offers. They aren’t written down,” he said.
But, in about a dozen cases, he believes the city has genuine offers.
“We are going to aggressively follow up with what we believe to be the qualified interests,” he said.