CHANGING DEMOGRAPHICS AND THE RISING cost of land have combined to make cities a red-hot place to live these days, which means the notion of infill is gaining ground among builders. And where there is talk of infill there is, naturally, talk of teardowns. Here's a look at two resources for niche builders interested in infill.
HomeVestors of America might not be a familiar name, but its bright yellow “We Buy Ugly Houses” and “Ugly's OK” billboards are known wherever the company does business. And with more than 200 franchises in 20 states, that means a lot of people have heard about CEO Ken D'Angelo's Dallas-based company, which trains and supports franchisees to buy properties in need of repair. What D'Angelo calls “scatter lots” are especially popular with builders. “The most common scenario would be a home that was beyond repair, but the lot has value,” says D'Angelo. “Typically, a franchisee will call a builder that he has a relationship with and give him a shot at the lot.”
HUD is experimenting with a new online auction format for disposing of foreclosed properties. In the past, HUD ran one-day auctions in which the highest bids were only disclosed at the end of the process. In February, an online sale was held over a two-week period, and participants were able to raise their bids competitively. “We're still in the evaluation period, but we were very pleased that we got over 22,000 bids on 3,250 properties,” says Lemar Wooley, a HUD spokesman.