Struggling to sell, desperate property owner slashes price to $1

The elderly homeowner sold the Georgia property to county commissioners in Ohio to access Medicaid in 2004, leaving the county to sell the undesirable house

Exasperated county commissioners in Ohio, tasked with selling the Georgia home of its elderly former owner, have slashed the price of the property to $1 after four years of failing to find an interested buyer.

Through a bizarre quirk in Ohio’s law books, the elderly woman’s two-bedroom property in Hawkinsville, Georgia, was purchased by Butler County commissioners in Ohio for $18,000 in 2004 in a bid to help her qualify for medicaid shortly after abandoning the home and moving to Butler County, Ohio, to be closer to her daughters. Shortly after relocating, she moved into a nursing home and promptly ran up a $50,000 bill.

As first reported by the Journal-News, the unidentified woman could not access medicaid as long as she was listed as the owner of the property. As a result, Butler County’s care facility director Chuck Demidovich agreed to purchase the property for $18,000 back in 2004. The sale helped cover $40,000 of the woman’s nursing home bills.

Ohio law requires nursing homes to take people’s property when they enter a facility.

“It’s a strange thing,” Demidovich told the Journal-News. “The thing is the law says I’m supposed to collect these people’s property. I really don’t want to do that, and this is an exact example why. If I get somebody’s house that nobody wants, I might as well become a land bank.”

Ohio county commissioners tasked with selling the home, first listed the 1,050-square-foot property for $8,000 in 2015.

Even though it is valued at $15,320, the property did not sell even after being listed at auction in 2015. It is located at 235 Dooley St. in a fairly neglected condition.

“I just have a wild idea, what if we put a quarter-page ad in the newspaper and it just said something like property for sale, $1,” Commissioner Cindy Carpenter told the Journal-News. “Do you have any ideas on how to get rid of that property, since it’s not selling at auction.”

As the county continued to incur $200 yearly tax bills, it tried to sell the property through auction and saw at least one offer of $1,000 fall through. It also failed to sell it at a sheriff’s sale after it was foreclosed.

The Hawkinsville City Council, meanwhile, wouldn’t even accept Butler County’s attempt to give the house to them for free.

“If we advertise for a dollar, this could change the dynamic,” Carpenter said.

Email Veronika Bondarenko

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