Mow to Own Program

The Mow to Own Program’s (PDF) purpose is to improve Xenia neighborhoods and return vacant, abandoned and underutilized properties to community assets. The Mow to Own Program strengthens existing community investments by transferring ownership of vacant and abandoned parcels acquired by the City of Xenia to adjacent property owners and non-profit neighborhood stakeholders.

Adjacent homeowners may purchase an adjacent lot to expand the homeowner’s existing property by earning all or part of the purchase price with maintenance and/or improvements on the vacant lot. Ownership of vacant lots may also be earned by an individual who owns and occupies a property within the same block, across the alley, or within 400 feet of an undeveloped property, or a nonprofit organization with 501(c)(3) status that is an existing stakeholder within the same neighborhood or area as the City owned property to be acquired. Property may also be acquired by a company or an individual who wants to build on the lot. Priority will be given to adjacent property owners.

An application is required to participate in the program. Once the application is approved, the City and buyer will enter into an agreement that specifies the purchase price, proposed improvements, and maintenance plan. The property is transferred to the buyer once enough credits are earned toward the purchase price, either by completing and paying for the agreed upon improvements or in conjunction with cash payments. Additionally, the deeds for the vacant lots acquired through the Mow to Own Program will contain deed restrictions, including, but not limited to a restriction that the acquired vacant lot may not be resold without written approval from the City of Xenia for a period of five years from the closing date.

Potential purchasers, in preferential order, must meet the following qualifications:

Adjacent Homeowner
  • Own and occupy the property adjacent to the vacant lot to be acquired
  • No delinquent real estate or personal property taxes in Greene County
  • No history of property maintenance, nuisance, building, and/or zoning code violations
  • No delinquent utility accounts for the previous 12 months
Neighboring Homeowner
  • Own and occupy the property within the same block, across the alley, or within 400 feet of an undeveloped parcel
  • No delinquent real estate or personal property taxes in Greene County
  • No history of property maintenance, nuisance, building, and/or zoning code violations
  • No delinquent utility accounts for the previous 12 months
Adjacent Nonprofit Neighborhood Organization
  • Own and occupy the property adjacent to the vacant lot to be acquired
  • Have, at the time of application, and maintain 501(c)(3) status
  • No delinquent real estate or personal property taxes in Greene County
  • No history of property maintenance, nuisance, building, and/or zoning code violations
  • No delinquent utility accounts for the previous 12 months
Non-adjacent Nonprofit Neighborhood Organization
  • Have, at the time of application, and maintain 501(c)(3) status
  • Successfully maintain a vacant lot within the City of Xenia a minimum of one year
  • Be an existing stakeholder within the same neighborhood or area boundaries as the vacant lot to be acquired
  • No delinquent real estate or personal property taxes in Greene County
  • No history of property maintenance, nuisance, building, and/or zoning code violations
  • No delinquent utility accounts for the previous 12 months
Company or Individual Who Wants to Build On the Lot
  • No delinquent real estate or personal property taxes in Greene County
  • No history of property maintenance, nuisance, building, and/or zoning code violations
  • No delinquent utility accounts for the previous 12 months
Responsibilities of All Purchasers
Responsibilities of all purchasers of vacant lots through the Mow to Own Program:
  • Submit the required application with a proposal attached detailing the maintenance and/or improvements to be completed on the vacant lot
  • Pay a nonrefundable administrative fee of $15
  • Complete all proposed maintenance and/or improvements on the vacant lot to be acquired, including required maintenance sufficient to satisfy the asking price as set by the City
  • Option agreement is good for two years
  • Pay the deed recording fees and transfer fees
Process
  • Price - The vacant lots must sell for $5 per foot frontage of a lot. For example, if a lot is 50-foot by 165-foot, the lot has a frontage of 50-foot. At $5 per foot, the cost of the lot is $250.
  • Credit - Purchasers will receive a $25 credit for each mowing occurrence, up to a maximum of 15 times per year. Additionally, potential purchasers may submit a proposal to earn additional credit toward the purchase price by completing further maintenance or improvements on the vacant lot, such as gardening or landscaping. Purchasers will be required to submit receipts for any proposed additional improvements. Potential purchasers always have the option to pay all or part of the purchase price for the vacant lot.
  • Administrative Approval Process - Purchaser must submit a completed application and nonrefundable administrative fee of $15. Along with the application, a potential purchaser will have the option to submit a proposal to earn all or any portion of the final purchase price by maintenance and/or improvements on the vacant lot. Maintenance shall include, but not limited to, mowing, removal of trash and debris, gardening or landscaping on the vacant lot.
    The application and submitted proposal will be reviewed by City Staff. Staff may request additional information from the applicant including the maintenance and improvements proposal cost and timeline.
    Applicant will receive a notification letter if the application has been approved or not.
    If approved, the applicant must sign an option agreement to purchase the vacant lot. The option agreement will require that the vacant lot revert to the City of Xenia if the potential purchaser fails to adequately perform the proposed maintenance and/or improvements to the vacant lot.
  • Closing - After the purchase price of the vacant lot has been earned or paid in accordance with an executed option agreement between the purchaser and the City, Staff will prepare the necessary communication and legislation for City Council approval. Once approved by Council, Staff will also prepare documents and schedule the closing to affect the transfer of the vacant lot.
    All deeds will contain deed restrictions, including, but not limited to a restriction that a vacant lot acquired through the Mow to Own Program may not be resold without written approval from the City of Xenia for a period of five years from the closing date.
    Staff will compute the necessary closing costs, including the cost of recording the deed and property transfer fees. The purchaser shall be responsible for all closing costs. The City will not provide title insurance to the purchaser. The purchaser may independently purchase title insurance through a title company.