Those “$1 houses” popping up for sale in Kansas City aren’t just fixer-uppers.
As a video tour showed Tuesday, these structures have problems inside and outside, with plumbing and with electricity, with front and back porches, and with sagging roofs and leaking basements. The yards often aren’t so great, either.
I looked at two houses. One was at 2423 Montgall Avenue and the other at 3038 Charlotte St., with the help of Land Bank inspector Shawn Kirwood.
Put bluntly, Mayor Sly James had good reasons to put dangerous houses the city owns — plus many more privately owned — on the demolition block.
But the mayor and City Hall properly decided to give all the people who think it’s possible to renovate more than 100 of the city-owned structures a chance to do just that. The $1 selling price is a hook they hope gets the word out about the program.
The interest has been strong. However, the reality of what getting a house essentially rebuilt from the ground up will be tough to overcome.
If any buildings are rescued from the bulldozer, it will be a mini-miracle.
Buyers will have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to fix the roofs, electrical and plumbing systems, rotting floors and other deficiencies in a house. Extensive rules are in place for bringing the building up to code and then living in it for at least three years.
Some good news: The city is offering $8,500 to a homeowner who rehabilitates such a structure — the average cost of tearing down a dangerous structure.
The reality is that many of these structures need to be torn down; they’re too far gone to serve as someone’s home ever again.
Yes, that will leave a vacant lot, but that’s preferable to many people to having a badly blighting building in their block.