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County selling houses for $100

By Staff | Oct 19, 2009

The county is selling this Blue Earth house for $100.

Looking for a cheap house? Faribault County might have one for you.

The county Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday, Oct. 6, to offer more than a dozen tax forfeited properties for sale. And the good news is, they also voted to lower the price on most of them.

County Aud-itor/Treasurer John Thompson presented the annual list to the board, and also proposed a change in the sale price on several of the properties.

Although most were listed at $100, some were appraised at $1,000 or $3,000. Thompson’s proposal was to make all of them the same – $100.

“Most of these are bare lots,” he told the board. “There are a few houses on the list, but they are in pretty tough shape. I think we just need to lower the price to make sure we get rid of them.”

There were a few exceptions to the $100 price tag. A very narrow lot in Wells was left at $50. And three properties in Elmore, which compose the former grain elevator complex, were left at $2,500 each.

Residents may have to wait before they get a crack at the cheap houses and lots. Thompson says the county has to first offer them to the cities where they are located, and they have 60 days to approve a purchase. He adds that in many cases the city will buy the property and tear down the structure on it, if there is one.

The properties, by law, also have to be offered to the Department of Natural Resources, Thompson says, although they rarely purchase land inside city limits.

After that, the lots will be sold to the public. Thompson says a notice will be published and a date set for the sale. He adds he expects it to be in December sometime.

“Whoever buys property with a house on it will have to spend some money to fix it up or tear it down,” Thompson says. “We don’t really want to have these through the winter.”

Thompson says in the past there have been cases where the county gets the property back a second time, when the taxes are again not paid. But there are success stories as well.

“There was a building on a lot right by the railroad tracks in Wells one time,” Thompson recalls. “It was sold for $5,000 and was remodeled and operates as a business today.”

The current list includes 18 properties around Faribault County. There is at least one parcel in Blue Earth, Bricelyn, Easton, Elmore, Frost, Kiester, Minnesota Lake, Wells and Winnebago.