New homes for Iola on the market

By BOB JOHNSON
Register City Editor

Register/Bob Johnson
City crews began clearing a second Homes for Iola, Inc., building site at 1201 N. Sycamore St. today. The second project will start as soon as a house at 216 S. Colborn St., nearing completion, is sold.

Even during holiday markdown sales, you expect some markup of prices.
So it’s of special note that a new house in downtown Iola is being sold at cost.
That’s the promise of Homes for Iola, Inc., which through area contractors has its first home for sale at 216 S. Colborn St. The house is on schedule to be completed in early 2010.
An early buyer would have the advantage of determining the house’s color scheme, said Georgia Abbott, a member of the Homes for Iola executive board.

IT’S A GOOD time to buy a house, said Ken Gilpin, Iola banker and president of the Homes for Iola executive board. “Interest rates are low and the federal government is offering incentives to encourage buyers.”
Federal tax credits range up to $8,000 for first-time home buyers. Also, Rural Development has assistance programs for individuals who find it difficult to arrange conventional financing. Information about the tax credits is available online at www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com/faq1.php. Information about United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development programs is available at the Farm Service Center, 202 W. Miller Rd., or by calling 365-2901.
Conventional home loans are in the upper 4-percent to low 5-percent range, Gilpin said.
The Colborn Street house is expected to sell for $110,000 or less, he said. The exact price won’t be known until all bills are paid.
“We just want to recover out-of-pocket expenses,” Gilpin said.
The house will contain more than 1,700 square feet of floor space, including a two-car attached garage, three bedrooms, two baths, living room, dining area, kitchen and utility room.
A definite plus, Gilpin and Abbott stressed, is the location in an established and well-kept neighborhood within easy walking or biking distance of elementary and secondary schools. Downtown businesses also are little more than a stone’s throw away.
Anyone interested in exploring early purchase of the house may contact Gilpin, Abbott, David Toland, Nic Lohman, Glenn Buchholz, Jeff Johnson or Jim Gilpin, all members of the Homes for Iola executive board.

KEIM & SONS Construction, Garnett, is building the house with much of the specialty work being done by Iola tradesmen.
“The weather has put us a little bit behind schedule,” Abbott said. “Rain delayed pouring the foundation and the siding was supposed to be put on Monday,” but cold weather altered the schedule.
“What we have right now is a shell and as soon as the heating is far enough along — some of that has been installed — the interior work can be done regardless of the weather,” Abbott said. Keim workers had taken advantage of recent good weather, including shingling the house’s roof Saturday, she said.
The house will be all-electric.

HOMES FOR IOLA was formed early this year primarily to do in-fill projects to help with Iola’s housing stock and to enhance housing opportunities in the city’s core.
“We have 33 investors who have put up a total of $26,500,” Gilpin said, in seed money to get projects started.
“We would love to have more,” people pay into the effort, he said. “We’re investing in the future of Iola,” noting that Iola’s housing stock has been neglected over the years. “We’re trying to meet needs that haven’t been fully met.”
Gilpin noted that several developers had built houses in recent years, others had upgraded existing homes and what Homes of Iola envisioned was adding to, not competing with, that stock. The building initiative is “all about Iola,” Gilpin said.
The group’s next project will be at 1201 N. Sycamore St.
A dilapidated house there was purchased last summer and will be razed by the city under its in-fill policy. Structures are removed with the provision that a new house will be built. All but $150 of a deposit is returned if a house is started within a year, and fees for a building permit and utility connections are waived.
“We’ll begin construction of the second house as soon as the Colborn property is sold,” Gilpin said.
“We’re excited about the Colborn house,” he added. “It’s turning out better than we anticipated and fits into the neighborhood very well.”