• Last modified 735 days ago (Oct. 1, 2020)


Homes for $1 apiece pricey to new owners

Staff writer

Marion resident Jason Schafers is one of eight buyers who scored 12 houses for as little as $1 each.

The catch is that the homes, sold at tax auction, are in need of major — and costly — renovation.

Properties sold at prices ranging from $1 to $350 earlier this year. Seven sold for $1 each.

Schafers bought a house in Florence and three in Peabody. The four houses together were $11,081.52 in arrears.

“All of them are going to need a bunch of work,” Schafers said.

His intention when he went to the tax auction in May was to buy a Marion house he was interested in having, but that one didn’t come up for auction.

“I bought four houses for $1 apiece,” he said. “I had to pay for the paper transfer at the courthouse.”

He already sold one to his son, whose first project will be to fix its leaking roof.

“He’s going to live in it,” Schafers said. “I’ve already worked on another one.”

The yard at that property was so bad the city was unhappy.

“I plan on selling all of the properties eventually,” he said.

Newton resident Gary McCleod bought a Hillsboro house for $300, the second-highest price paid. The property was $6,010.79 in arrears, the second highest among the properties sold.

Hillsboro code enforcement officer Ben Steketee said the house at 109 S. Birch sat empty about three years before it was auctioned. The property’s unkempt yard drew many complaints those three years, he said.

The city would notify the former property owner, mow the yard, and send a bill, he said.

When the mowing bill went unpaid, it was assessed against the former owner’s property taxes.

He’s glad to see McCleod has been keeping the yard mown since the sale, Steketee said.

Hillsboro resident Gary McCleod, Jr, whose father bought the property, said the house will be torn down because it served as a haven for drug users and also drew nuisance animals such as raccoons and skunks.

McCleod lives two doors down from the unsightly house and is glad to be getting something done about it.

The elder McCleod owns two other houses in Hillsboro, both of which the son repaired for use as rental property.

Last modified Oct. 1, 2020