Blight a hard sell for local realtor


    Last week, four homes collapsed in Harrisburg, leaving many residents fed up with the blight in their neighborhoods.

    But how are realtors dealing with the same issue? Danielle Wise with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate says it's not easy.

    "[This] property [could] sit here another year vacant, and it causes issues if there's no repairs being done on the property," Wise explained.

    Wise has been trying to sell homes on Market Street, but the blighted neighborhood is making it difficult.

    She says the distressed homes can cause major problems for potential neighbors.

    "You now have a roof issue [next door]," Wise said. "Well if we can't find the owner, can we make that repair? It's causing damage to their property, and we've seen that trend in the city recently."

    A representative with the City of Harrisburg says their codes officers are out in these neighborhoods looking for violations.

    "We want to make sure that property values in adjacent properties do not go down, are not impacted by this, but mainly that things are safe and people are able to have some degree of comfort that the house next to them isn't going to come tumbling down," said Communications Director Joyce Davis.

    Davis says the weather is playing a key role in these home collapses.

    "The city will make sure it's taken care of," Davis said. "If we have to move in, we will, but this maintaining of the property is the responsibility of the owner of the property, and unfortunately some of these owners are absentee landlords. They are not in our area."

    Wise thinks the solution can be helping people buy homes. She says there are programs out there that do just that.

    "It will help them with closing costs and down payment assistance, so we're all trying to push owner occupant purchases in the city of Harrisburg," Wise said. "As we keep doing that, block by block, we're going to improve the area."

    All four of those homes collapsed in one day. Luckily, no one was injured.

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