Fulton’s Home Rehab Experiment Makes Its First Sales, Turns A Profit

The city of Fulton’s first efforts at entering the real estate market have turned a profit.

The city this week approved the sale of homes at 470 S. 6th St. and 414 Park Ave. to new owners. The city seized the homes for having unpaid property taxes. Normally, local governments sell the homes at auctions, usually for the amount of taxes owed. But Mayor Ron Woodward had an idea: What if the city rehabbed the homes and sold them at market rates, just like any other homeowner?

The first results are in, and Woodward says the results are positive.

470 S. 6th St.
470 S. 6th St.

470 S. 6th St. sold for $83,700 to Clifford Niver, Jr. and 414 Park Ave. sold for $71,500 to Ryan Maxam. The city brought in $35,000 more than the assessed value of the homes. Neither man is listed in the county’s property database as owning any other property in the county.

“We made our money back and exceeded the assessed value,” Woodward said.

Woodward said the money earned from the two sales will pay contractors who helped rehab the homes and add to the fund to fix up more tax-foreclosed homes. The county’s property database lists 116 properties owned by the city. Some of those are city facilities, but many are homes seized for failure to pay taxes.

Under the city’s program, which has drawn interest from city of Oswego lawmakers, seized homes are repaired and brought up to city codes. City employees do some of the work, depending on their work schedules. Contractors do the rest.

Seized homes that are multi-family are turned back into single family homes.

“We haven’t had good luck in selling them (for the back taxes) in the last 40 years and having the owner put improvements into the homes,” Woodward explained.

Woodward took Oswego County Today on a tour of city-owned homes several months ago (an article that was lost to our server crash, though the photo gallery survives). At that time, city employees were finishing up work on the S. 6th St. home in order to turn it over to contractors, while the Park Ave. home was nearly done — a painting crew was working inside.

The Mayor said he has heard from neighbors where work is underway how happy they are that homes are being fixed up and being sold to families.

Next on the city’s list — three homes, at 872 W. 1st St., 508 State St. and 421 Rochester St.

“It’s gonna help the neighborhoods,” he said. “I wish we’d started this years ago.”