Making Homeownership Dreams Come True

The dream of homeownership has become a bit harder to achieve in these tough economic times. Now there's a nonprofit organization that's hoping to change that for those families where owning a home is always a far-fetched goal.

Family Services, Inc.,
a nonprofit organization based in North Charleston, S.C., is helping both the economy and those families by buying and then flipping distressed foreclosed homes and making their hopes a reality.

The program was implemented when FSI saw a need to reinvest in neighborhoods and properties that were foreclosed on the market and were in need of rehabbing. It was the perfect fit for an organization whose mission is to empower families and individuals to become and remain functionally independent. By reinvesting in neighborhoods struck by foreclosures where values have deteriorated and offering a renovated home fit for sale they can assist that neighborhood in regaining its strength and value.

"It is well-noted that strong neighborhoods have reduced crime, strong schools, higher property values and the municipality receives more funding for the infrastructure," FSI executive director David Geer told AOL Real Estate. "This is needed in our community and we believe that we have the resources and management structure to accomplish this task."

Although they've yet to sell the first home in the program, a West Ashley house bought for $38,500, then gave the three-bedroom property a rehab and makeover. The ranch home is now back on the market for $115,000. FSI purchased the home from the Neighborhood Revitalization LLC. The listing real estate company will be CARES real estate sales. The home is open for purchase to any interested parties and will be marketed like any other listed home.

"If a family which has been educated through our first time homebuyer program happens to be

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interested in the home then that family will have all the tools necessary to understand the responsibilities of home ownership. If the family is not educated by FSI then the family will be like any other buyer," Geer said.

In the latter case, FSI will offer post purchase counseling if the family is in agreement but it is not a condition of sale. As with all families who come through the first time homebuyer program the organization will walk hand in hand through the purchase with the buyers and answer any question that the family might have.

Although this is the pilot stage Geer projects that if the program is successful they will purchase additional homes. "It will allow FSI to continue assisting in the reinvestment in neighborhoods but not to the extent that it will impede the financial strength of the agency. We believe that homeownership in a community can be built one home at a time."

An article about this program in the Post and Courier posed the question of a possible conflict of interest which FSI defends noting that it is a common practice for non-profit developers to purchase homes from banks and then rehabilitate the home and place the home for sale.

"Any potential buyer can purchase the home and use any real estate agent they might choose and any lender they might choose," says Geer. "There are no restrictions on anyone and thus no conflict of interest."

More on AOL Real Estate:
Find out how to calculate mortgage payments.
Find homes for sale in your area.
Find foreclosures in your area.
Get property tax help from our experts.

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