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Foreclosed Victorian-style home turns to blight, neighbors aren’t happy

Posted at 11:21 PM, Nov 19, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-19 23:21:32-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- People who live in a Grand Rapids neighborhood are upset after a Victorian-style home was foreclosed and left to turn into a blighted eyesore.

The home is located at 632 Crescent St. on the city's northeast side. Once the gem of the midtown neighborhood, it has slipped into disrepair and decay.

Kelly Otto, who's worked with the Midtown Neighborhood Association for 13 years, said what's worse is that no one is being held accountable.

"The sidewalk is crumbling, these stairs are not safe--none of these things is being addressed," Otto said. "This is the most irresponsible exhibition of home ownership by a professional entity I've ever seen."

According to Grand Rapids city records, the home is owned by Fannie Mae. When FOX 17 reached out to the lender to see why the property is being neglected, they said they didn't own it.

However, a worker with the city assessor said Fannie Mae purchased it in September 2013, adding that the home became blight property in December of the same year.

After repeated inquiries to Fanny Mae, they told us that the house is still the property of the original bank, that they're just backing them. Yet, they couldn't tell FOX 17 what bank owns it.

"We are working with the servicer to determine the facts and we will take the appropriate action," a statement from the company says.

Without anyone claiming ownership over the home, Maggie Bride, who lives in the neighborhood, said it continues to fall apart.   She says that's bad news for property values and the neighborhood as a whole.

"The home is actually beautiful. I don't want the home to decline, it's such a valuable asset to the neighborhood from a historical value," Bride said. "It's just disappointing that it's being neglected."

Otto and Bride aren't the only ones frustrated.  Samantha Searl, who has lived behind the home for 16 years, said that sadly, she's getting used to the condition of it.

"I've become desensitized to it, which is even more heartbreaking," Searl said. "It's sad that I can become desensitized to seeing something--seeing urban blight--I mean, that's what's really sad."

Fanny Mae said they will figure out who owns the home within the next couple of days.