The city of Plano rolled out its new housing reinvestment program in April in an attempt to spruce up some of the cities aging neighborhoods.
So far 49 projects have been approved, 25 of which are completed. The city has given out $98,446 in rebates, with $101,745 set aside for the 24 projects still under construction. The program is open to any home built that is at least 35 years old and has an appraised total value that is less than or equal to 70 percent of the Federal Housing Authority’s single-family mortgage limit for Collin County for the current year. Renovation or repair work must cost at least 10 percent of the overall value of the house.
Homeowners who wish to participate in the rebate program must get approval before any work is done. The city works to make sure homeowners know whether they’re approved no later than nine days after submitting an application, which is reviewed by city staff.
Plano’s rebate program is one of several throughout the Dallas area.
Richardson began a similar program in 2007. Farmers Branch has its own demolition-and-rebuild program.
Plano’s rebate program differs from Richardson and other area programs because homeowners don’t have to wait for an appraisal to show their house increased in value to get a rebate; they get a rebate within 30 days.
And unlike Farmers Branch or Richardson, Plano’s rebate program does not support tearing down houses. A separate HUD program for tearing down and rebuilding old homes is available for low-income residents who qualify.
The program should not only improve the look of properties, but could also result in an increase in property values, said Christina Day, planning director.
“We are really looking to improve the neighborhood’s health overall, so exterior improvements will be prioritized in order to make the neighborhood change more significant,” Day said.
The change in the program to prioritize exterior rebates was met with unanimous approval by the council, with Mayor Harry LaRosiliere saying improving the curb appeal of properties is one of his priorities.
“Putting the emphasis on the exterior is important,” he said. “One of the [real estate agents] said that, ‘Once we get them in the home, they will be inclined to want to buy. The problem sometimes is that they keep driving because they don’t like the exterior or how it looks.’ We want to be able to make it appealing for them to step inside.”