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Habitat home up for sale on Union Street

The former Habitat for Humanity house at 523 Union Street has been refurbished and is up for sale.

The only stipulation is that it be owner-occupied — whoever buys it must plan on living in it, not renting it out.

An open house is set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 1.

Prospective buyers are welcome, as is anyone who just wants to see what a Habitat house looks like, or who might be interested in obtaining a new house through the Habitat program, said chapter president Steven Hanson.

The five-bedroom, two-bathroom house is only six years old, but its previous occupants walked away from it, and it reverted to the ownership of Habitat of the Detroit Lakes Area, Hanson said.

Habitat volunteers cleaned up the house and it has been refurbished.

“We’ve got the house all repaired, all fixed,” Hanson said. “New appliances, new flooring, it’s pretty much new from one end to the other.”

The group is not yet working with a realtor and has not set a price, though it would like the house to sell in the $140,000 range, he said.

“We’ll use the money towards the next Habitat house,” he said, because the group wants to provide a new home to its next habitat family, and because the program requires 250 hours of active labor participation, or “sweat equity,” from each adult in the family.

That’s obviously not possible with a house that’s already built, repaired and ready to live in, he said.

“It’s only six years old, but we don’t want a habitat family to come in and have to start replacing things before their 30-year mortgage is up — so we decided to sell it and use the money towards another habitat home.”

Habitat volunteers help build the home, and the organization provides a 30-year, interest-free loan to the family.

“There’s a misconception out there that the home is given to the family,” he said. What they actually receive is help building it and a zero-interest mortgage.

The group is accepting applications for a new family. Applications are available online at

“We’ll take a look at all the applicants when we’re ready to build a house, in a year or two,” Hanson said. Not everyone qualifies.

“They can’t make too much money, but they need enough to pay off the mortgage,” he said.

The group is now wrapping up its latest project, a home in Frazee.

The house on Union Street is for sale to anyone who wants to buy it, as long as they plan to live there, Hanson said.

“It’s not so much income based … Habitat’s goal is to put a family into a house,” he said. “We’ll sell it as-is, but everything will have been gone through to make sure it’s working right.”

The house is on a 150-foot by 100-foot corner lot on Roosevelt Avenue and Union Street, across the street from Roosevelt Elementary School.

The open house on Sept. 1 is also an option for anyone who wants to see what a Habitat house looks like, Hanson said.

“This will be an opportunity for people to walk through a Habitat home. This is what we do, this is what we offer, this is what we do for a Habitat family.”

The house on Union Street reverted to Habitat in early May, after the family went separate ways and decided not to keep the house.

The family had never missed a house payment, always paid on time and always paid the correct amount, as required by escrow adjustments, Hanson said.

The two adults put in a combined 500 hours of work into the house as it was being built, as required, and met all other requirements of the program, he said.

Habitat families are allowed to the sell the house, pay off the mortgage and pocket any extra money if they so desire.

“They just decided to walk away,” Hanson said in an earlier interview.