City sells 24 foreclosed properties to outside firm

By: April Lehmbeck | Advertiser Times | Published August 26, 2015

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HARPER WOODS — Global Realty LLC is once again buying a group of tax-foreclosed properties from the city to fix them up and put them back on the market.

The City Council approved the sale during the Aug. 10 council meeting.

The city’s decision not to allow the homes to go up for auction and instead claim them and sell them to a single buyer has been beneficial to the community, City Manager Randolph Skotarczyk said.

“When the properties went to auction, many of them would sell to out-of-country buyers,” he said.

“Selling to one local company has had a positive effect on reducing vacant homes, significantly upgrading tax-foreclosed homes and increasing the overall appeal of our community,” he said. “The practice also helps return lost tax revenues to the city in an efficient manner.”

The company purchased the 24 properties for more than $312,000. The city will recoup about $188,000 that it lost between 2012 and 2014 from unpaid taxes, according to city information.

“They have also advised that they will pay any current outstanding water or assessments on these properties as due at the time of sale and that they will pay the 2015 taxes forward on the properties,” Skotarczyk said of the company.

Every year, cities have an option to claim tax-foreclosed properties. This year, there were 29 residential properties on the list, but the council decided against taking them all. There was one vacant lot, and some were in need of extensive repair and had a price that would make resale prohibitive.

“This is a considerable improvement from previous years and, hopefully, a sign of continued stabilization of our community,” Skotarczyk said. 

While both the city and the company would prefer that the homes are sold to owner-occupants and the company reported that a large percentage of the homes are sold to homeowners, there are some that end up as rentals, which did raise some questions at the council meeting.

“We all agree that we’d love to see more home ownership rather than rentals,” Mayor Pro Tem Vivian Sawicki said.

Skotarczyk said that when the homes don’t sell, the company manages the properties. The company also works with anyone still living in the home.

“They work with the people as much as they can to soften the hardship,” he said.

Donny Orlando, of Global Realty, said that the company is a licensed brokerage and property management company.

“We have the resources and ability … to bring the houses back to an outstanding state of quality,” he said.

Councilwoman Cheryl Costantino said her dealings with the company have been positive.

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