ROCKPORT — Three weeks after selectmen voted to lower the price of the town's so-called Gift House at 30 Pleasant St., applications are finally available for those who want to buy the property.
The town last week secured permission from the state Department of Housing and Community Development on Thursday to begin advertising the house at the new price of $190,000 — down from the $220,000 for which it was originally listed.
"(The property) has to be remarketed at the new price," said Selectman Frances Fleming.
Several people came into the Town Hall to ask about applying for the house before the town had been given permission to advertise, and therefore still did not have applications ready.
"They are being finished within the hour," Town Administrator Linda Sanders said late Friday. Sanders said that everyone who came in to ask about the house had provided his or her information so that he or she could be contacted when the applications are ready.
Applications can be found at Town Hall, the library and the Housing Authority, as well as at www.pleasantstreetlottery.com, though technically the applications only become available on Tuesday.
The applications are due in on April 20, 30 days from the official opening of the applications on March 20. If more than one person applies for the house and is qualified, a lottery will be held on April 30 to determine who the buyer will be.
There will also be an open house and an informational session at the house on Sunday, April 1, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
The schedule for finding a new owner for the house is more compressed this time than it was the last round, with the town getting permission to reduce the time for applications from 60 days to 30, and to hold the open house and informational session at the same time.
"We've held this piece of property for far too long," said Fleming.
The house, donated to the town in 2001 and relocated to its current site, has cost the town $541,801.04 in repairing, cleaning and maintenance, so the selectmen originally priced the building at $220,000, the maximum allowable for an affordable housing property.
The problem came when applicants tried to qualify for mortgages. Since affordable housing rules set maximum income limits, and banks are skittish about lending to anyone without perfect credit, applicants did not have enough money to qualify for mortgages that could cover the cost of loans needed to buy the house.
Local banks asked if the town would be willing to act as guarantors in case the applicants defaulted, but the selectmen chose to lower the price on the four-bedroom house instead.
"It's a very nice house," said Fleming. "It just kills me that it's sitting there because of this situation."
Stephanie Bergman can contacted at 978-283-7000 x3451 or email@example.com