Landbank program offers foreclosure buybacks for $1K

- They revive some of Detroit's blighted properties, hoping to get homeowners to want to move in.

Many of those homes already have tenants. Now the Detroit Land Bank Authority is launching a new program aimed at keeping them there.

Angel Walton thought she was buying her dream home. She had an arrangement with the man she thought owned the home and worked hard to keep her end of the deal.

"Our original deal was for $15,000," she said. "So once I made repairs and gave him money then he would give me the deed."

But she says after spending more than $15,000, the Detroit Land Bank Authority informed her that it owned her house.

"Once they explained, I knew I had been scammed," she said.

But the Detroit Landbank is working to keep people like Walton in their homes through its program called Occupied Buyback Program.

The pilot program was approved this week by the Authority's board of Directors.

"If you are the former owner of the property and you lost your house to foreclosure, we find a way to sell you back the house," said Craig Fahle of the Detroit Landbank Authority.

Officials say thousands of residents in the city are eligible for the program and participation won't break their bank.

"What we do is charge $1,000 and when you give us money enrolled in plan, then you give $100 a month into an escrow account to pay taxes," Fahle said. "And if you pay the water bill, we will give you the deed."

The Landbank Authority says not only is the program good business for residents, it's also good business for the city.

"It keeps homes from becoming blighted and that's good for the neighborhood," Fahle said.

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