City offers bigger incentive to renovate homes

St. Petersburg, Florida -- St. Petersburg is giving a larger incentive to homeowners to renovate their homes in Midtown and Childs parks.

The Rebate for Residential Rehabs, RRR, started in April 2013 with a 20 percent rebate for those homeowners who spent at least $10,000 on heavy duty renovations.

Karl Nurse is the St. Petersburg city council member who kickstarted the idea.

"We wanted to clean up and rebuild these neighborhoods," said Nurse.

He said to reach that $10,000 a homeowner could purchase new air conditioning and a new roof.

"It's the roof and the air conditioning, the electric and plumbing that these old homes need. Some of these homes were built in the 20s and 40s. The danger coming out of this recession with all these foreclosures is people will buy houses and they will do what we call 'spray paint renovations.' So what we want is the heavy lifting," Nurse said.

Nurse renovated two homes in the neighborhood. One of them is off Melrose Avenue South, and within the last two years another four right across the street have been renovated and two more down the street.

He said that his goal is to influence his neighbors and create a "repeat effect."

"My wife has asked me to stop doing this and I said as soon as I can convince other people to do I'll be happy to stop," laughed Nurse.

Nurse said it is mostly non-profit groups like Builders of Hope, and local churches who have started to renovate homes. Builders of Hope has already bought 68 homes in Midtown. It will cost them $3 million and Karl said, in total, he has 150 approved applications.

"This is an attempt to jump start it," explained Nurse. "Hopefully if we can get it rolling, the market will take over."

On one home Builders of Hope just renovated off Melrose Avenue South, Nurse said it will sell for about $60,000 and the mortgage will be $250 a month.

"Yes the rebate goes back to the builder but look at that number, $250 a month to the new owner because the new roof means the home is cheaper to insure and cheaper to manage."

To find out if you qualify for the RRR program go to:

Application checklist:


Background info:

Map of the area you must live in to qualify:



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