Preem Cabey is proof it’s possible to own property and revitalize you own neighborhood at the same time.

What You Need To Know

  • The Albany Land Bank has sold over 500 recently-foreclosed properties

  • The costs of getting houses up to code and habitable can be "many multiples" of the sale price

  • Financial backing and access to credit are crucial to a successful purchase

“It does my heart so much good to buy a house right next to where I was living as a renter for six months,” Cabey said.

She’s in the process of closing on home and it was made possible through the Albany County Land Bank’s ‘Equitable Ownership Program’.

It’s a bit of a fixer upper, but she says having a place of her own is invaluable.

“It’s going to build equity within our family, as well as being an opportunity to hand something down to our kids and teach them about business and teach them how to maintain a property and make it grow in their own community” Cabey said.

More than 500 foreclosed properties like these were recently sold through the Land Bank, Adam Zaranko, the bank’s executive director, explained that owning a home is an attainable goal but doing it this way will take work.

“If you see a property for sale for $5,000 or $10,000 through our organization that means it probably needs a lot more multiples of that to bring it up to code,” Zaranko said.

Proof of financial backing that will help you complete the project is also required before you’re even given the keys.

Virginia Rawlins is a real estate agent and founder of Building Blocks, an organization that teaches prospective home owners what prepare for. She is interested in turning part of this property into a headquarters for her homebuyer 101 classes.

“Again if you have access to that kind cash that’s great but most people, like myself, don’t have $200,000 just sitting around” she said.

She says that’s why access to capital and credit becomes vital in the home or business ownership process and here’s how she’s doing it.

“My partners and I, we’re going to start an LLC  [and] we’re going to go in and basically do an investment club, if you will, to purchase this property and bring it back online,” said Rawlins.

Both women say revitalizing underserved areas in the community by the community itself brings up not just property value, but morale too.

“Let them know that it is possible to get in early and not wait for gentrification to see the value in their neighborhoods,” Rawlins said.

It will take them about six months to a year to really get each building in shape, but they say they’re more than up to the challenge.

“It’s a long process but anything you want is worth working for,’ Cabey said.