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Tear It Down To Build It Up: Use Demolition Wisely To Fight Blight And Prosper

If you watch any of the antiques appraisal shows, you've seen the scuffed painting snagged from a demolition dumpster in 1967 that's now worth $100,000. Most will never see the same return on recycled demolition waste, but demolition done right can reduce urban blight and help you own or fix up your property.

Neglected urban properties are at risk

In many cities, blight has reached epic proportions, as homeowners abandon tax delinquent houses. Landlords are often negligent and allow rental units to become uninhabitable. When utilities are turned off and windows are broken, rot and insects take over. The yards soon become tall and tangled havens for rats of all sorts. Bulky trash piles up along curbs making the whole neighborhood look seedy and unsafe.

If you own such a property, it may be declared fit for demolition without your consent if your taxes are delinquent or the property is a risk to the neighborhood. One town has over 200 such homes ready to be torn down in the first part of this year alone, although many such designated properties will only be gutted inside with the structure left intact.

Check to make sure that any property deeded to elderly or deceased family members has not been inadvertently abandoned and declared condemned. If you claim the property, you can demolish the house and sell it or refurbish the old home for an investment property.

If you promise to break it up, it's yours

Cities are so serious about cleaning up the vacant properties in their towns that some offer low-cost programs to purchase an abandoned lot for a garden, extra garage or other purpose. This program in Dayton, Ohio is an example of how cities are selling off abandoned properties. Be aware that in the case of properties with homes, you will have to promise to renovate or demolish the home within a given time period or the city takes possession again.

Only select properties apply for this type of deed transfer in Dayton, but most property-tax collecting agencies have their own unique method of auctioning off or selling abandoned and tax-delinquent properties.

If you see an abandoned property you'd like to claim and demolish, check with the tax offices in that county or municipality to find out how you might do so. They may offer you information on similar properties that can help you achieve home ownership or business property ownership much easier.

Treasure your trash

Instead of going total annihilation with your demolition or remodeling project, take a moment to remember that your junk will be treasure to someone else. It may be satisfying to smash those ugly kitchen cabinets, but a Habitat for Humanity family might think those cabinets are great.

Share usable building materials with non-profit groups that rehab homes, or offer them for pickup on social media. Someone will know someone who is fixing up a tiny home or a vacation cabin who would love your old windows and bathtub.

Ask your demolition contractors about their policies regarding recycled demolition waste. They may already be recycling concrete rubble and pavers, and they will know how to help you set up a proper system to take the least amount of material to the landfill.

For more information, contact Morris Excavating or a similar company.