A Property Transformed: 3102 Seward Street

A Property Transformed: 3102 Seward Street


For this project, it started off personal
being a property that I was purchasing for my mom who had suffered strokes. It
became something else in the process of that but that’s kind of who I am and what
got started. A realtor and introduced me to the Omaha Land Bank. I wasn’t
familiar with it. I wasn’t familiar with the process and it definitely was
different. It definitely changed the routes I would normally go about doing a
rebuild. The process with Land Bank, it guided me through the steps to do it the
right way. It wasn’t always the easiest way but I learned how to do it the right way
so it was definitely worth it. I chose this house because this is a
neighborhood I grew up in. What I like most about the Prospect Village area
neighborhood is I’ve been able to witness the transformation of the
neighborhood. I’ve been in Omaha my entire life so I’ve seen the changes. I know the
neighborhood is coming together just trying to doing a lot of changes. There’s
only two bad apples on the block and I actually got one of them. I was able to
do what I wanted to do with that property in this neighborhood. I grew up just like Andre. Like he said, we were a longtime family friend, you know. He cared
enough to come into the community and try and make that difference and I’m
glad to be a part of that because I love having community ties. What motivated me
to do this project is I wanted to learn the process of rebuilding a home. That
was very important to me. The condition, it was scary. I had doubts about
it. This was definitely my biggest rebuild so I was nervous about
it. I knew coming into this property it would be a complete rebuild: new plumbing,
the windows were in poor condition, the ceiling, the flooring, you name it, it
needed it, hot-water heater, furnace, A.C., pretty much everything you could think of. Jill: I think that patience is key when you’re buying a Land Bank home but that is why
it’s also important for your Realtor to have knowledge of the Land Bank process
because if you’re upfront about what is going to happen moving forward then I
find that the patience is there. There were a few things that caught me
off-guard that needed to be dealt with. I didn’t understand the process, you know. I
didn’t understand that electrical permits had to be pulled prior to putting
drywall up and things like that. I had to learn the process as I was going through
it. A great part of that was the Land Bank, a great part of that was the City of
Omaha and the Inspection Department. They worked with me. Holy Name
Housing transforms abandoned property into homes to be used by families. In
Prospect Village, Holy Name Housing built over 30 homes in this area spending
nearly eight million dollars. They were all new homes, on vacant property and
while those families are using those homes we teach them on how to own homes,
how to take care of homes, transforming both the neighborhoods and people’s
lives. Andre’s project is right adjacent to
four other ranch homes we built. It’s tagging on to the efforts we did two or
three years ago. This transformational neighborhood needs a lot of
communication between the city and the Land Bank and neighbors to know what’s
going on in a neighborhood, to know who has the interest in their neighborhood
to revitalize the particular neighborhood or block. Andre now can rent
this house to people who need housing. Andre: Taking this project on I knew it was
gonna be a big job. I knew I was gonna need somebody that knew exactly what it
is I was gonna have to be done and someone that I can trust. Ruben is
somebody that I’ve done business with. I knew once I purchased the house he was
exactly who I wanted to do the house. Look at the project, its so simple but
when you work, you find out a hard part. You know, it’s why you have to talk with
your partner to see and get better ideas to fix it up because really North Omaha
has old houses and it costs a lot of money to tear out the whole thing. The biggest things that were changed in
this property, to me, would be there was actually a wall behind me that kind of
boxed the house in. I wanted to open it up and give it more of a modern feel, modern look. So we transformed what used to be a small porch, pantry area. We
extended the kitchen out, tore down a couple of walls and just kind of gave it
a wide-open look for a small house. The restroom was definitely the first thing
I noticed that we were gonna have to change because entrance to the rest room
was through the second bedroom in the house. We were able to create a separate
door entrance and that had to happen but I’m glad we did it like that. It turned
out nice. I didn’t plan on replacing the plumbing in this house. The plumbing was
fine. That’s probably the one thing that was able to be salvaged and a couple of
weeks into the rebuild the copper was ripped out of here so that’s one of the
things that was definitely a surprise. My name is Mariah and I help choose the
paint colors for the walls. I’ve never worked on a home innovation before. This was my first
time. We went to Nebraska Furniture Mart to pick out the appliances and I just
told him what paint color to get. I chose gray because the lighter colors like
gray or white it makes the place look more open and it’s a neutral color. If my
dad has any more projects in the future, I want to help him pick out paint colors
and more designs for the projects. Andre: It means the world to me to have my
daughter be a part of, you know, different business ventures and see all the
different things that I do to see why I do it so she can understand who I am as
a person and why I do everything I do. I think she’s getting a good, you know, good
lesson every time we do something. Jill: It’s a privilege to be a part of bringing up
the area of prospect because North Omaha always gets the worst stigmatism, where
he started off with a project with the $12,000 house, you know. Right now, without
me looking at any comps, I know he could sell this house
for ninety thousand, even though it wasn’t for profit for him. He still
wanted to get something that was affordable. There’s plenty of needed
for affordable house. We have a waiting list of over 200 people. It’ll be two
years before we get to the end of that waiting list. This project, and others
like it, satisfy the need by providing affordable housing in neighborhoods
where people want to live. I love Prospect Village because it’s a
direct reflection of who I am. I was born in this area. I was raised in this area.
I’m a product of Section 8. I’m a product of OPS. I found a lot of value with
working directly with Omaha Land Bank. I am going to do another project like this
again. It means so much to me to be able to make some type of change, a positive
change, in my very own neighborhood

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