The effort of many persons is now beginning to pay off as the first of five housing projects spearheaded by the McCulloch County Industrial Foundation is finished and ready for an open house. In a cooperative effort of the McCulloch County Industrial Foundation (MCIF), the City of Brady and MurrayCo of Brownwood, the group has now completed a new ‘spec’ home that will serve as a model for what the group hopes will be several new homes built within the county. The new home, which was sold to Gilberto Duque for $75,900 is located at 800 S. Cypress St. in Brady. Open house for the new home will be held on Saturday, Feb. 9, starting at 10 a.m. The home was built with the main goal of being affordable, and is about 1,100 square feet. It contains three bedrooms, two bathrooms and has a two-car carport. It features a privacy-fenced back yard, central heat and air, vinyl and carpet floors and a basic interior finish. ‘We will have a representative from SWBC Mortgage and also of Bill Myers from Mansfield. ‘Myers provided the mortgage for the house recently completed and for the one we are starting to build at Ninth and Hackberry,’ said Casey Williams, marketing point man for the project. In an effort to keep the price of the new home as low as possible, the MCIF procured the lot on which the new home is located and donated it to the cause. In conjunction with that, the City of Brady agreed to waive permit fees. ‘This is an effort to meet a perceived need this community has for moderately-priced housing,’ said MCIF vice-president and housing committee member Gary Schroeder. ‘Our goal is to sell a home to a prospective buyer and then begin working on building the next home before expanding the project to meet whatever demand we can generate.’ ‘This program helps get empty lots back on the county’s tax role,’ said local realtor and housing committee member James Long. ‘ The single biggest deterrent for people moving into McCulloch County is housing. We (Brady) have the lowest inventory of houses for sale in 20 years since I moved back here that many years ago. “The housing task force determined that there was a definite need for newer, moderately-priced homes within the $50,000-$100,000 range. We (MCIF) are trying to get medium-range priced houses for people to buy. This enables the prospective buyers to get into a house without having to put up a lot of money up front. Also, we like to build houses in the older parts of Brady.’ According to Schroeder there are three more houses to build, two lots to build houses on and a person that has qualified for a loan, but does not yet have a lot to build on. ‘We have a third person who is buying a house, but the house is not built yet. We have some people who have qualified (a home loan application) for a house, but are waiting on a lot to become available,” said Schroeder. “If anyone has a vacant lot to sell, they should contact Wendy Ellis at the Brady/McCulloch County Chamber of Commerce (325-597-3491).’ Months and months of research and preparation have gone into developing and implementing plans for affordable housing in the City of Brady. An idea deemed most viable to the parties involved came from the hard work of affordable housing committee members Long and Schroeder. MurrayCo of Brownwood is the developer that is leading the project, and the new home was built by Hutchins Construction of Brownwood. Williams, also of Brownwood, is the general sales manager for MurrayCo. He is the point of contact for details and inquires and can also help with everything from financing to planning the details, if that is what prospective buyers need. MurrayCo is a custom home builder that has experience building homes that range in size and value from manufactured and modular housing to complete custom homes of significant value. There are several steps involved in the process of procuring a house through the MCIF. The first step that Williams is involved in is customer interface, that is, he puts the home buyer in touch with a lender. The lender helps the home buyer in the loan application and determines what amount for which the home owner will qualify. When that is agreed upon or approved, then Williams will help select a floor plan that will fit what the lender has approved in the dollar amount. Once the floor plan is approved by the home buyer, the title process is completed and then the lot is gifted to the buyers from MCIF. The next step is to start the building process with what the customer has selected in a floor plan. ‘The buyer will be receiving a ‘gift of equity’ for the lot,” said Williams. “That gets the buyer in with the cost to himself of $500. MCIF is gifting the lot. MCIF is truly a non-profit organization, and that means that a qualified buyer is eligible for a no- down payment loan, because the buyer gets credit for the value of the lot. “The City of Brady is waiving the building permit fee, and the water and sewage tap (installation) fees. We are using as many local people as we can to build these homes. We have used Young Ready Mix, who provides the concrete, and Bobby Campbell, who provides the foundation work.” Another benefit to this development project is the entire plan is not exclusively to Brady. Residents of McCulloch County interested in building a home can build anywhere in the county whether it be Lohn, Melvin, Voca or Rochelle. According to Williams, the project is open to all builders. The lots that will be made available are ones that are already located within the city limits and ready for development. ‘We are presently looking for a lot to acquire so we can continue the momentum we have thus far,’ said Williams. ‘We are very excited to see this plan come to a conclusion.’ To find out more details about building another home, contact James Long Real Estate at 325-597-1581, or for financial planning, contact Williams at 325-784-5135 or 325-642-3340.