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Vacant Michigan Avenue Habitat for Humanity home sold

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Thousand Islands Area Habitat for Humanity officials were surprised when a recipient of a three-bedroom Cape Cod home at 333 N. Michigan Ave. gave the keys back a year ago and walked away from the property.

Since Karen Staplin and her children moved out of the house last January, it sat vacant and was put on the market. Two weeks ago, it was sold for $116,500 to Jacksonville, Fla., resident Natalie Chasin, who plans to use it as a seasonal property.

Habitat for Humanity board member Brian R. Drappo said the property was sold as a simple property transaction.

“All I know is that the person is from Florida,” he said, referring all other questions to board President Walter H. Plumley, who could not be reached for comment.

The house has a 2011 assessment of $105,200.

Ms. Staplin and her family had said that moving into the Habitat home fulfilled a dream to become a homeowner. She had lived there about two years before walking away and moving more than 100 miles away to Sauquoit, south of Utica. The organization took back possession of the house, with no money changing hands.

Citing confidentiality, local Habitat for Humanity officials wouldn’t give a reason why the house didn’t work out for Ms. Staplin, although they said it was a rare occurrence for Habitat chapters across the state. It had never happened before during 17 construction cycles by the local chapter.

Like all other applicants who are selected to receive a Habitat house, Ms. Staplin provided at least 300 hours of “sweat equity” on the house’s construction. And she had to meet income eligibility levels to qualify.

Volunteers worked many hours to construct the two-story, 1,500-square-foot house with one bath before the family moved in. It included a new dishwasher, washer and dryer.

Under the agreement with Ms. Staplin, the house had two mortgages, one she would pay for the first 10 years and a second that she would have had to start paying down after living there for 10 years. Each year after that, she would have paid 10 percent on that second, $66,000 mortgage for the next 10 years until she owned the house outright.

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