House Purchased For $1 Now Facing Foreclosure

With so many abandoned and unfinished properties being sold at auction, a number of home buyers have been able to pick up property at a fraction of what the previous homeowners paid. But here’s the story of an Illinois homeowner who learned that even the best of deals can sometimes have unhappy endings.

In 1989, the woman purchased a 19th century Victorian home from a neighborhood church for only one dollar. There was one huge catch: If she wanted to keep the home, she would need to move the actual structure because the church was going to demolish it to make room for building expansion.

So almost immediately, the new homeowner had to plunk down $50,000 to specialized movers, who removed the roof and carted the entire structure about a mile away from its original site.

And even after it was put back down and reassembled, the move left damage that needed to be repaired to bring the building up to code. The homeowner says this restoration work totaled in the hundreds of thousands, all of which she paid for by working extra jobs, taking out a mortgage — and subsequently refinancing — and with credit cards.

All of which was fine until she lost her job. And then the bottom really dropped out when she was diagnosed with cancer in 2009.

When medical expenses began piling up, the bank notified her she was in danger of being foreclosed on.

“It wasn’t financially possible for me to keep the house, but I wanted to try to stay here as long as I could,” she tells NBC Chicago. “I had one year left on my mortgage, and it would have been paid off.”

The homeowner is now selling the property to pay off the bank and get herself in a better financial position.

And while we’re pretty sure that most of you won’t be buying any 19th century buildings that need to be relocated, this is a lesson for people considering buying foreclosed fixer-uppers, which are generally sold as-is. Be sure that you’re factoring in what you’ll end up spending on all the repairs and upkeep when you tally the actual cost of buying that home.

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Home Bought for $1 Threatened by Foreclosure [NBC Chicago]

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