Rialto Makes Foreclosed Homes Great Places to Live

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Rialto, California's Redevelopment Agency preserves its neighborhoods by buying some of the city's foreclosed homes, rehabilitating them and reselling them to qualified buyers. Real estate agents and buyers can learn more about this at a Homebuyers' Education Fair Wednesday, June 1.

Real Estate agents and potential homebuyers can learn more about an opportunity to purchase affordable homes by attending a Homebuyers’ Education Fair Wednesday, June 1 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Rialto Senior Center, 1411 S. Riverside Ave.

“We will tell them about a program we have to assist buyers in the purchase of foreclosed homes in the City of Rialto,” said John Dutrey, Housing Program Manager for the Rialto Redevelopment Agency. “We will also inform them of other opportunities to purchase homes in Rialto.”

The City of Rialto Redevelopment Agency and the Neighborhood Partnership Housing Services will host the Homebuyers’ Education Fair.

The “Foreclosure Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resale” program offered by the Rialto Redevelopment Agency has turned some of the City’s most neglected foreclosed houses into homes benefiting their entire neighborhood.

This program recently won a Compass Blueprint award from Southern California Associated Government and the California Air Resources Board. The Honorable Mention award recognizes the City of Rialto’s efforts in revitalizing, stabilizing and preserving older residential neighborhoods, providing affordable housing. It recognizes that since the program began in 2008, the City of Rialto has “greater stability of neighborhoods.”

“Since 2008, we have aggressively addressed the problem of foreclosed homes,” Dutrey said. “Working with experienced property management companies, we have purchased, rehabilitated and resold 38 homes that were previously vacant and in foreclosure. We have 10 more for sale now.”

“Over the next few years, the Rialto Redevelopment Agency intends to purchase approximately 60 more vacant, foreclosed homes,” Dutrey said. “These will give qualified families an opportunity to become homeowners who might not have been able to otherwise.”

The Rialto Redevelopment Agency purchased these homes with part of a $5.4 million allocation from the United States Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Neighborhood Stabilization Program, which is designed to create affordable housing options for families and individuals.

Rialto has spent $4.3 million so far, but the proceeds of the sales and another $1.9 million allocation from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program in 2011 will allow the Redevelopment Agency to purchase and rehabilitate more homes over the coming years.

A condition of the program is that families meet maximum income qualifications developed by HUD based on family size. In Rialto, a family of four can qualify to purchase one of these homes with an annual income of $78,000 or less. A larger family can make more money and qualify, and a smaller family qualifies at a lower income.

Future homeowners must also earn enough to secure a mortgage on their home. To help with that, another component of Rialto’s “Foreclosure Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resale Program” provides qualified families with up to 10 percent of the purchase price to use as a down payment.

Another condition is the homeowners must purchase the homes as their own residence. Investors purchasing rental properties may not participate.

The homes are located in targeted older Rialto neighborhoods south of the 210 Freeway. These homes needed more improvement than most foreclosed homes in Rialto, because before their rehabilitation, they suffered from years of neglect, health and safety or code violations, and/or illegal room additions.

“This program focuses on houses with issues,” Dutrey said. “These homes would have been especially difficult to sell. The Neighborhood Stabilization program allows them to be rehabilitated so they are acceptable to homebuyers. More people owning their own homes also benefits the City of Rialto.”

“Many rental owners make only minor repairs to their homes before renting them out,” Dutrey explained. “They do not address the homes’ major issues, which become worse over time. This program allows us to prevent these homes from being purchased as rentals.”

Participants coming to the Homebuyers Education Fair from south or west of Rialto should note the City is replacing the bridge on Riverside Avenue over Interstate 10. This prevents crossing the freeway there, or exiting onto northbound Riverside Avenue from the eastbound freeway. Drivers should instead exit the freeway at Cedar Avenue and take Merrill Street to Riverside Avenue.

For more information about Rialto, go to http://www.rialtoca.gov or call (909) 879-1140.

About Rialto
Although the City of Rialto is located in the middle of one of the nation's fastest growing regions, it has retained a small town atmosphere and similar quality of life. Rialto is an ethnically diverse and progressive community, which boasts several unique community assets including its own police and fire departments, a city-owned fitness center, performing arts theater, nine beautiful parks, a community center and senior center. Rialto is within easy range of mountains, beaches, deserts and other recreational areas.

Rialto's housing mix and home costs are some of the most affordable in Southern California. First-time homebuyers find Rialto more affordable than almost any other comparable community in the region. Executives and those seeking high-end residences also find they can purchase much more home for their money in Rialto. This lower cost translates into more discretionary income for residents, thus benefiting retailers and service providers.

For more information about Rialto, go to http://www.rialtoca.gov or call (909) 879-1140.

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Carl Dameron

Ellen Porter
Dameron Communications
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