While home ownership is a big part of the American Dream, it’s also often just that: a dream. Or at least it can feel that way when there are lofty things like loans, pre-approvals, and interest rates to think about before even considering putting an offer down. And with home ownership rates decreasing in certain American towns and cities, there are also more and more abandoned or unoccupied houses popping up.
That’s why the town of Gary, Indiana, just 25 miles away from Downtown Chicago, has an initiative called the Dollar House Program. Instead of a traditional mortgage payment, each single family home is sold for just $1. Obviously, this makes home ownership a lot more accessible to a lot more people. But it isn’t totally random—there are a few requirements potential home owners must meet (and, right now, the application is closed).
Some of the requirements include having a minimum annual income of $35,000, a commitment to living in the home for at least five years, and rehabilitating the home within the first year of occupation. Homeowners are selected through a lottery system when they apply. Rehabilitation refers to things like fixing code violations and bringing the home back up to standards, which in turn, increases the property value. “This would allow the person to get a property for a dollar, put their own sweat equity into the home by doing the necessary rehab work to bring the property up to code and live in the property for five years, before they can do anything as far as rent or sell the property,” Manley tells CNBC.
As you can probably guess, these homes are total fixer uppers, but other than that, there's really no catch.
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