Since its initial announcement, the “Free Land” builders’ incentive program through the City of Osceola and Clarke County Development Corporation (CCDC) has gained a lot of attention. Much of the local conversations centered around land values vs. tax abatements as well as the impact on other programs committed to by developers. But outside the the Osceola city limits, from Des Moines and Central Iowa as well as surrounding states and as far as Texas and California, the prospect of “Free Land” for developers has started a discussion welcome in Clarke County and Southern Iowa – the discussion of developing affordable family homes for those that live and work in the area.
Don Brill, of Homes by Brill, a custom home builder located in Urbandale, Iowa, was one of the first builders to reach out to Bill Trickey, Executive Director of the CCDC, for more information on the program. With decades of home-building experience, Brill immediately saw the impact the incentive program would have on buyers as well as the local economy.
“This is the first program I’ve seen in 38 years in the business where advantages are available to buyers at all levels.” Brill stated, “Whether you’re currently renting or have plans for growth into a new home, this program allows you to walk into a custom-built home with zero down and have instant equity of $18,000 or more.”
After clarifying the details of the program, Brill chose a number of his own custom floor plans – from ranches to multi-level homes – and began contacting area employers to discuss presenting home-buying options to their local workforce. By educating those interested in home ownership or custom-built homes, Brill expects to see an influx of buyers ready to take advantage of the program.
“Depending on income levels and if assistance programs would be involved,” Brill explained, “The monthly exposure for many buyers could be comparable to rent rates they’re currently paying.”
As an added value to those that weren’t able to meet with Brill through the local business presentations, starting March 21st, there will be weekly educational seminars focused on home buying opportunities and how to take advantage of the “Free Land” program. Some of the details to be covered through the seminars will include rent-to-mortgage comparisons, budgeting, and planning as well as the steps necessary to start the process of buying a new home.
“With the cost of the land being offered in place of a tax abatement, this program is a win-win for all participants,” stated Bill Trickey of the CCDC.
When asked how the land is acquired and given to the builders through the program, Trickey said,
“Partnering with the City, the CCDC purchases the land from the current owners and offers that to the builders. Once the homeowners start paying annual taxes, the cost of the land is reimbursed to the CCDC.”
As builders continue to make inquiries into the “Free Land” program, the CCDC carries on conversations with local land owners as well as developers and financing institutions on the opportunities to educate buyers on financing options and the possibilities available through this program.
For more information on the housing seminars provided by Homes by Brill, or for more information on the “Free Land” program, contact Bill Trickey, Executive Director of CCDC 15 E Washington St, Osceola, IA 50213, Phone: (641) 342-2944, email: [email protected]