>Finding It: The Hamilton County Landbank, managed by our Port Authority, aims to fill tax-foreclosed vacant homes, and they can help hook you up with one of these (fair warning: long-distressed) properties. “If you’re a community partner, we transfer it to you, really just for the transfer costs, and you don’t have to compete at the annual forfeited land sale,” says Paula Boggs Muething, VP of community revitalization. “We love owner-occupants. For us, that’s the best kind of transfer,” since the idea is to revitalize these properties. The Port keeps a running list of forfeited properties at hamiltoncountylandbank.org.
>Financing It: Cincinnati Development Fund lends in areas that have experienced population loss and blight (meaning areas where you can find great homes begging for rehab, but most banks don’t want to touch). They’re not a consumer lender, but that’s easily fixed: Just set up an LLC, and they’ll lend to that entity. After construction, you can refinance with a regular mortgage. Across the river, the Bellevue Rental Conversion Grant Program incentivizes restoring subdivided homes to single-family configuration—to the tune of $5,000 per unit removed.
>Finishing It: The NKY Restoration Weekend “offers more than 20 classes for homeowners and professionals, covering pretty much anything you can think of, from restoring wood windows to dating and finding the original layout of the home,” says Beth Johnson, City of Covington preservation and planning specialist (and event organizer). Don’t worry if you missed the March event. “All the vendors and those who taught are on our website, and the Cincinnati Preservation Association hosts a series of in-depth classes throughout the year,” Johnson says.