Once Bill decided to invest in Michigan real estate, his next step was to find an easy way to get his hands on the best deals. A quick internet search brought him to the Genesee County Land Bank Authority (GCLBA) where there seemed to be plenty of opportunities to buy investment property in Flint cheaply. Originally from the area and wanting to take on a larger role in the revitalization of his hometown, the discovery that Land Bank houses in Flint are for sale had him excited. His dream of turning around distressed, decrepit, even dangerous properties and making a living doing it was looking more and more like it might come true.

Luckily, before he even tried to buy his first property from the GCLBA, he called me up for advice on how to do it. As a long-time Flint investor, I’ve tried just about every avenue there is for finding the best deals—including the Land Bank. So, Bill knew I’d be able to give him the inside scoop. And, because we’ve been friends for years, he also knew I wouldn’t mince my words doing it.

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The Process of Buying Flint Land Bank Houses for Sale

The overarching goal of the GCLBA is right in line with the goals of real estate investors like Bill and me. That’s why, in some ways, it can seem like a match made in heaven. The GCLBA acquires vacant and abandoned properties in Flint and its surrounding communities for the purpose of returning the land, if not the structure itself, to good use.

Any properties that are not tagged for demolition are sold to individuals and organizations with the resources to rehab the houses and put them back on the market to be sold to new owners. This results in less neighborhood blight, higher property values, and more homes on the tax rolls. If you thrive on renovating potentially big fixers as well as making a social impact by investing in real estate, this can result in a good bit of green in your pocket, too.

Since the GCLBA currently owns more than 4,500 properties, many for which the cost to purchase is negotiable, the number of potentially good deals seems endless. The minimum asking prices listed on the Land Bank’s website tend to be low because most of the homes absorbed into the program are tax delinquent properties that have been foreclosed on. As long as back taxes are brought current and the Land Bank is reimbursed for its costs to acquire, list, and sell these homes, the GCLBA is happy to let them go to qualified buyers. Provided your offer on one of their properties is the highest and you’re willing to complete the rehab according to the Land Bank’s specifications and timeline, that qualified buyer could be you.

You could run into a few snags with the process, however, that might complicate whether you’re able to buy, rehab, and sell a house from the band bank. Consider the following:

  • The application process. You’ll need to submit an application that details your intentions for the home, including how you plan to renovate it, and shows that you have both the financial resources and the skill set to follow through with your plans. But, if your funding isn’t solid and you can’t show that you can close in 21 days or less, your application will not get approved.
  • The wait. You’ll have to wait up to 90 days to hear back on whether or not your application has been approved. In the meantime, local government entities and nonprofit organizations get priority approval. And, you won’t know you’re competing against them while you’re waiting—or before you even apply.
  • The risk. You’ll want to attend a viewing of the property—if one is scheduled—because no other access, including for a home inspection, is allowed. Without an inspection, the chances of you financing the deal, even with a hard money loan, are slim to none.
  • The potential money pit. You’ll have to purchase the property as-is. And, if the property turns out to be a money pit, that’s just too bad. It’s still your responsibility to return the property to good use—even if it consumes all of your funds and eats into your returns.

Personally, I don’t think the process of buying Flint Land Bank houses for sale makes the investment worth it. The potential rewards are minimal compared to the amount of time and money you may actually spend to realize them. And, the risk of losing your expected returns altogether is just too great. To be sure, it’s always risky to invest in residential property. But, there are easier ways to get better deals that are less risky than buying them through the Genesee County Land Bank. And, I should know. I’ve been doing it in Flint for years.

An Easier Way to Get the Best Flint Deals

Bill and I are similar in that we both want to do our part to breathe life back into some of Flint’s most distressed homes. But, what I’ve learned since becoming an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee is that one of the best ways to do that is to connect with financially burdened homeowners before they lose their property.

By providing these distressed homeowners with financial “solutions for ugly situations®” that they wouldn’t otherwise have, I get to purchase a home before its condition goes from bad to worse. They get to walk away with some dignity and, perhaps, even a little built-up equity. It’s an exchange from which we both can benefit. And, I’m able to find these homeowners easily thanks to the proprietary marketing tools and resources that are available to every HomeVestors® franchisee. In fact, because I’m a local HomeVestors® franchisee, they actually come to me.

Get better deals directly from the distressed homeowners who need to sell before their house goes to the Land Bank. Call HomeVestors® today to find out how!


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