Navigating Difficult Home Sales

Can You Sell a Condemned House?

When you hear the words “condemned house,” you might conjure up images that closely resemble the set of a scary movie. Boarded up windows. Extensive fire or water damage. Black mold growing on the exterior or interior walls. Termite tenting.

Written by: Kristin Lesko
Posted: 10/25/2021

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When you hear the words “condemned house,” you might conjure up images that closely resemble the set of a scary movie. Boarded up windows. Extensive fire or water damage. Black mold growing on the exterior or interior walls. Termite tenting.

Read more: Can You Sell a Condemned House?

However, not all houses are condemned because they are uninhabitable. In fact, that is only one of several reasons. A condemned house is a property taken over by a public authority, like the government, from a private owner. The reasons can vary greatly from a safety hazard, such as a gas leak, to the home simply being located in an area designated for public use (like a future baseball stadium).  

If a property you own has been condemned, read on to understand the potential reasons, process for potentially lifting the declaration and your options for keeping or selling it.  

What Causes a House to Be ‘Condemned’?

Some of the main reasons why properties get condemned include:

  • Extended vacancy
  • Continuously disconnected utilities
  • Hazards make the living conditions unsafe
  • Unpaid taxes
  • Property is in a location designated for public use or future construction plans

Many people are surprised to learn that the government can seize property through the law of eminent domain. It refers to the power of the government to take private property and convert it into public use, such as a highway, park or airport. In this instance, there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with the property, it’s just — unfortunately — in a location that the government needs for public use.

When this occurs, however, the government is required to pay just compensation (typically fair market value) to the owner for the property, which is covered in the Fifth Amendment’s Just Compensation Clause.

How Does the Process Work for Condemned Houses?

Once a private property or building is condemned, the owner is typically served a notice of condemnation. This is simply a notification in writing that the house is condemned and anyone occupying the property will be required to vacate. If your property is condemned, it’s important to respond to any complaints in a timely manner and seek legal counsel to determine your next best steps.

To keep people out of your condemned property, a sign will likely be affixed to the outside of the house or building that says it’s not fit for habilitation. However, that doesn’t always mean that unwelcome visitors will stay out. Condemned properties sometimes attract squatters or trespassers. Any damage they do during that time could further devalue your property. As such, it’s important to decide quickly what you plan to do with the condemned house.    

You may also be required to appear in a court hearing to address the cited issues and fight to keep possession of your home. To lift the condemnation and keep the house, you may need to fix issues or make changes that put the property back in compliance with city codes. During this process, you may still need to pay your property taxes, homeowner’s insurance and possibly even mortgage payments (if you don’t own the property outright).

In other situations (like in the instance the government needs the land for public use), there may be nothing to fix. If the government seeks to take over the house for public use, the owner should receive a written offer based on the property’s fair market value. As the owner, you have the ability to hire a lawyer, who can help you weigh your options and negotiate the offer.  

Selling a Condemned House

There are a few pathways to consider for those selling a condemned house. The options available to you may differ from the below, depending on your unique circumstance.

Option 1: Make the Repairs and Keep the Home

Once they receive notice, the homeowner typically has the ability to make the repairs required to resolve the code violations. This could require major plumbing, electric, foundation, or roof work. If the property has been vacant for some time, the homeowner may also have to foot the bill for an exterminator, who can take care of unwanted insects and pests. The house must then pass an inspection to prove the property is now in compliance with codes.    

Option 2: Make the Repairs and Sell the Property

Homeowners typically also have the option to make the repairs and sell the home. However, it’s one thing to make the house livable to avoid condemnation and another to make the house desirable in the marketplace. To sell the house for a decent list price on the market, you’d have to do both. That includes fixing code violations and making costly upgrades to improve the home’s aesthetics. This option is often the least affordable for homeowners whose houses have already been condemned, sometimes due to the inability to financially cover repairs in the first place.  

Option 3: Sell the House “As Is”

The option that requires the least amount of work and financial investment is selling the house “as is.” Generally without making repairs, however, homeowners may not be able to sell the house as a structure. They may have the option to sell the lot the home is on, which would allow homebuyers to potentially demolish the property and rebuild the home of their dreams.  

There’s also an even faster, easier way to sell a condemned house “as is” — without placing it on the market. A home investment company, Meridian Trust pays cash for properties “as is” in Florida, Georgia and Texas. For more than 15 years, we’ve purchased tens of thousands of homes, townhomes, condos, apartments, and multi-family units.

When you call us, we can conduct a free property value analysis in a matter of minutes. If we’re able to make you a no-obligation cash offer, you can then decide if you’d like to proceed with selling your condemned house to us. Additionally, there are no hidden fees, such as real estate commissions or surprise closing costs. The price you’re told is the price you’ll receive upon closing.  

Meridian Trust also has an in-house title agency, which helps to expedite closings and get our customers paid sooner. After receiving your signed contract, you will typically receive payment in 10 to 14 days. In special circumstances, we can often fast track payment and get you paid as quickly as five days from receiving the signed contract.

Skip the hassle of dealing with a condemned house. Give us a call for a free, no obligation cash offer: (954) 807-9087.

Note: This guide is for informational purposes only. Meridian Trust does not make any guarantees about the sufficiency of the content in or linked to from this blog post or that it is compliant with current law. The content within this blog post is not a substitute for legal advice or legal services. You should not rely on this information for any purpose without consulting a licensed lawyer in your area.

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