NACA opening in Richmond, continuing help for home buyers

Published: Apr. 8, 2014 at 10:53 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 18, 2014 at 10:53 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A national non-profit that helps home buyers and current homeowners is now opening shop in Richmond. One of its goals will be helping home buyers fix up blighted properties.

Neighbors in Churchill say far too often abandoned properties strip the sense of pride in their community. It's one of the issues a national non-profit is tackling to get blighted properties under renovation.

The natural charm of Churchill drew Sharon Larkins-Pederson here 18 years ago.

"I have always loved historic neighborhoods," she said.

But you don't have to look far to find blight.

"There are some wonderful houses that people have done some work on and then there's some that's leaning to the right or leaning to the left or ready to fall in," she said.

Richmond leaders say in many cases, the owners have left town or are delinquent in paying taxes.

"If that's the case, why not let somebody have it and let them rehab it?" Larkins-Pederson asked.

That's where Detria Austin Russell comes in.

"We're excited about coming to Richmond," she said.

Russell is with the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, or NACA. The national non-profit wants to help home buyers who see potential in blighted properties.

"Sometimes those properties need some renovations and it's very tough to find renovation financing," she said.

NACA works with lenders to get affordable loans that can include re-habbing.

"Sealing the code and safety issues that are required to be fixed and also those nice to haves. Let's say you want hard wood flooring in some of your rooms…things of that nature that make that home give it the taste that you want and make it yours...You still get that no down payment, no closing costs, the low market fixed rate and you'll be able to buy a home and fix it up at the same time," Russell said.

City officials say there are more than 2,300 potential sites that could benefit. That's something Larkins-Pederson readily supports.

"Not only for the beauty of the neighborhood, but especially when you're re-habbing houses, preserving the sense of history that's in this place," she said.

NACA leaders say the company is hoping to open its doors for good right in Richmond by the summer. The group also helps those who want to purchase brand new homes and current homeowners who need their mortgages lowered. It will hold a free event at the Richmond Convention Center starting Thursday, May 15. It will last for five days. There will be counselors and lenders on hand.

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