The real estate market is so awful that buyers are now scooping up homes for as little as $1,000.
There are 18 listings in Flint, Mich., for under $3,000, according to Realtor.com. There are 22 in Indianapolis, 46 in Cleveland and a whopping 709 in Detroit. All of these communities have been hit hard by foreclosures, and most of these homes are being sold by the lenders that repossessed them.
"Foreclosures have turned banks into property management companies," said Heather Fernandez, a spokeswoman for Trulia.com, the real estate Web site. "And it's often cheaper for them to give these homes away rather than try to get market value for them."
In Detroit for instance, Century 21 Villa owner Randy Eissa has a three-bedroom, one-bath bungalow of about 1,000 square feet listed at just $500. It's a nice place with lots of light, but it needs a total rehabilitation inside, which Eissa estimates will cost between $15,000 and $20,000. But that's not bad, considering that the home last sold for $72,000 in late 2007, according to Zillow.com.
With prices this low, lenders aren't looking to make any money on these deals. They just want to get these houses off their books, so they don't have to bear the cost of maintaining them and paying property taxes.
In fact, the $500, $1,000 or $3,000 that a buyer forks over often goes straight to the real estate brokers as a commission. And often the lenders have to kick in extra cash to make it worthwhile for a realtor even take the listings, according to Eissa.
"Usually these homes are bank repossessions that the lenders have already tried to sell on the market, perhaps then put up for auction without success and then re-listed," he said