Northeast Tarrant

North Richland Hills offers rebates for home renovations

Residents and investors who renovate homes in neighborhoods south of Northeast Loop 820 can get rebates of up to $10,000 under a city program.

City officials said homes in that section of North Richland Hills are on average 15 percent smaller, at about 1,700 square feet, than the typical city home, but lot sizes average 35 percent larger at about 10,000 square feet, or close to a quarter-acre.

The area is bounded by Northeast Loop 820 to the north and east, Glenview Drive to the south and Rufe Snow Drive to the west. The goal is to preserve or increase property values, city officials said. The average home was built in 1961.

The area is ripe for homeowners or investors, often called “flippers,” who buy houses and then renovate them for a profit, said Craig Hulse, city economic development director. Many of the houses are one-story ranch homes with mature shade trees and are in neighborhoods with highly rated schools and near major highways and businesses. The large lots should also be a major selling point, he said.

“We in the city have a lot of homes that get flipped,” Hulse said.

To qualify, the homes must be single-family houses, and the renovations must raise the house’s value by at least 40 percent to more than $120,000. The homeowners also must agree that they will not rent their houses during and after participating in the program. In return, homeowners will receive a rebate of 20 percent of the house’s increased value up to $10,000.

The rebate program coincides with a city-created brochure produced a few years ago to promote the area, touting its central location, schools, wide housing options and parks.

The rebate-promotion efforts along with the location of the new City Hall under construction represent tangible efforts for what city officials and council members have been promising for more than 15 years: the revitalization of the city south of Northeast Loop 820.

During the past decade, the new city library, new recreation center, dog park and several trails have all gone to parts of the city north of Loop 820. Business growth is quickly gobbling up whatever available land is left at Boulevard 26 at Precinct Line Road, Davis Boulevard at Precinct Line Road and Rufe Snow Drive north of Loop 820.

Meanwhile, the North Hills Mall site remained vacant south of Loop 820 after the shopping center closed in 2004. The new, 180,000-square-foot City Hall is expected to attract shops, restaurants, a hotel, entertainment venues and up to 300 apartments when it opens late this year.

The area could further develop if residents and investors start renovating homes. And with about 85 percent of North Richland Hills now developed, the program promotes another city goal — upgrading existing homes throughout the city.