Southside homes getting snapped up cheap online by out-of-town buyers, companies

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — David Hill resides in Peoria’s Southside on West Lincoln Avenue.

During the pandemic, houses abandoned on his street for more than 15 years suddenly started getting bought up by out-of-state buyers via online auctions for less than $5,000.

“A guy they said, is scamming people, putting them on the internet and selling them for thousands of dollars,” he claimed.

Joe Dulin, Peoria’s assistant director of community development, said it’s not a scam, but also not good for the community. He said these properties don’t belong to the city. But that LLCs and corporations are buying the homes cheaply and selling them to make a quick buck.

“What we saw in this process is an out-of-town LLC purchased these properties. They essentially tried to just quickly flip them to another LLC, who then quickly flipped them to other individual buyers. So at the end of the process, people were purchasing properties for $3-4,000 when they were originally purchased three months before for $800,” Dulin said.

Seven houses on West Lincoln Avenue were purchased that way. Dulin said these companies don’t have the best interest of the community in mind.

“They’re just trying to look at a situation, take advantage of it, and it really costs the residents who have been in the area,” he said.

Hill said he loves his community. So much so, he bought the properties on each side of his home hoping to bring up the value of the neighborhood. He said he is discouraged by what’s happening across the street.

“I think that they should knock them down and build better houses around here,” he said. He said he would like a grocery store put in its place.

Dulin said if they could, they would. A single demolition costs $10-15,000.

“The reality is if you’re purchasing a property for $800, its passed the point where it could be fixed up, and should be demolished,” he said.

Dulin warned out-of-state buyers to realize what they are getting themselves into.

“People watch HGTV, think they can flip and make a quick buck anywhere. The reality is, the market doesn’t exist here for it to happen… You’re responsible to make sure it’s code-compliant, you’re responsible if it’s not code-compliant. When we pursue a demo case, you’re going to be responsible for the demo price,” he said.

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