Like many excited first-time homebuyers, Woodie Brian Townsend is getting a little help moving into his new home from family. But he is also receiving help of another kind with the house.
Townsend is the first homeowner to buy a renovated house under the Neighborhood Stabilization Program in Rockdale County.
The program, which began in Rockdale last March with about $2.7 million in federal stimulus funds, purchases and fixes up foreclosed homes in neighborhoods and sells them to screened and qualified homeowners. Most of the homes will go to middle and upper middle income families while about one fourth of the homes will be sold to low income families.
Tonwnsend, 40, first heard about the program through his mother, who works in the county Court Clerk's office. County employees had received an email about the program.
The longtime Rockdale resident and RCHS alum had rented homes in the area before this home. Most recently, he was living in the Irwin Bridge-Main Street area, a neighborhood he described as "just short of a demilitarized zone" and he said he was glad to get out of it.
"I've been toying with buying a house for a while," said Townsend, who works in the IT industry. "But the NSP program, that's what made it possible."
The asking price on the 3.5 bedroom, 2.5 bath, 1270 square foot house with the spacious back yard was $93,000, said Townsend, but the NSP program gave him $14,500 towards that price and also helped with closing costs.
Tanesha Lanier, the county's NSP coordinator, said about $30,000 worth of work had been put into the home at 2426 Windridge Drive, which was handled by asset management company Jewel of the South.
"It was a complete rehab," said Lanier. The home had been damaged from neglect and wear and tear, she said.
The program currently has 13 properties, with nine under contract with asset managers, and 70 eligible homebuyers. Two other NSP properties are also in the Windridge subdivision. One aim of the program is to purchase as many of the foreclosed homes in the same neighborhood, to provide a "stabilizing" effect to the area.
Though other NPS properties had come onto the market earlier, this property suited Townsend's needs and he placed the bid after it had been on the market for only a few days.
Though he closed on the house on Monday, by Thursday, Townsend had moved in most of his belongings and was working on unpacking items. "Don't think any of those books are in order," he said, pointing to a wall of filled bookshelves. "Right now, it's get them out of the boxes and out of the way."
For more information, go to www.rockdalecounty.org or call (770) 278-7551. Applications can be found at the information desk at the Rockdale County Administration and Services Building, 958 Milstead Avenue Conyers, Ga. 30012.
The ribbon cutting ceremony originally scheduled for Friday has been postponed to a date to be determined due to inclement weather.