Brokers

Luzerne County seeking real estate broker to sell West Pittston property

Real estate brokers have until June 22 to submit proposals if they are interested in selling a Luzerne County-owned residential property in West Pittston and possibly other real estate no longer needed by the county.

Council had approved a June 10 deadline for broker responses, but Councilwoman LeeAnn McDermott said the date had to be extended because the request-for-proposals inadvertently was not posted until Tuesday.

The request seeking brokers is now available under the county purchasing department section at luzernecounty.org.

Council members had unanimously voted last month to seek broker proposals for the sale of a property at 1200 Susquehanna Ave. in West Pittston.

The county acquired the house earlier this year as part of its settlement of 2018 litigation filed by Richard and Kimberly Hazzouri, arguing they were wrongly prevented from participating in a flood buyout program.

The settlement awarded $650,000 for the property — $585,000 from the county community development office, $50,000 from the county’s insurance carrier and $15,000 from West Pittston’s insurance carrier. Since the settlement was separate from a flood buyout that would require demolition, the county is free to sell the property to recoup some of the money lost paying the settlement, officials have said.

County officials also want to sell the property so it does not have to be maintained by the county.

Submission requirements

Interested licensed real estate brokerage firms or individuals must submit their commission rate and any other related costs they may anticipate to sell the West Pittston property and other properties the county may choose to develop, lease or sell, it said.

Services that must be provided include coordination of real estate appraisals, developing a comparable properties study and other sale strategies, marketing of the property, participating in site tours, analyzing purchase offers, consulting with council and county management on potential sales and setting up purchase transaction closings.

Presentations at public county meetings also may be required.

Respondents must be state-licensed and in good standing with the state to sell real estate, it said.

“The successful firm or individual should have an excellent reputation in the real estate community and be knowledgeable in the regional real estate market,” it said.

Council is seeking a one-year contract — with two optional one-year renewals possible if council is satisfied with the firm or agent’s performance, it said.

Council members had discussed holding an auction to sell the West Pittston property but opted for a broker to ensure the real estate purchase opportunity is widely marketed and advertised to obtain the highest price.

The $650,000 purchase price of the Hazzouri property was based on an appraisal of its pre-flood value, county officials have said.

‘Move-in condition’

McDermott said she and several council colleagues have visited the property, and it is in move-in condition. Among the selling points are a “gorgeous kitchen,” hardwood floors and a historic architectural style appealing to many, she said.

Council members have said they already are aware of several prospective buyers interested in submitting offers.

Other properties that may be sold by the chosen broker eventually will be recommended by council’s real estate committee, said McDermott, the committee chair.

Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.

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