Counties have been given the option of adding a fee on the recording of deeds and mortgages, which would go toward the demolition of blighted properties.
If a county decides to implement it, the maximum they could charge is $15. Some realtors believe it could open the door to higher costs.
The property next to the historic Frankenberger Tavern in Mechanicsburg has seen better days.
“This is an example of the kind of property that we need to deal with,” Cumberland County commissioner Jim Hertzler said. “Generally speaking, we have attractive neighborhoods and communities throughout our county, but the problem is is once you have blighted property, the values of the surrounding properties then decreases, and then you have the potential for breeding of crime and other problems.”
Hertzler said the fee would generate around $200,000 annually. They haven’t made a decision yet, but many realtors are hoping it won’t pass.
“A home purchaser is already saddled with a lot of closing costs. They have to pay bank fees, loan origination fees, title insurance, which is very high, so to me adding on another fee is just piling on,” said Garrett Rothman, a realtor with RSR Realtors.
Rothman also believes it won’t stop there.
“I think we’re all used to how fees work in real life. They start out small to make it less controversial for people to accept, but then that $15 turns into $30, $50, $150, and before you know it, it’s a really significant cost,” Rothman said.
Commissioners said they’re in the preliminary stages of evaluating the need for a fee like this. They hope to eventually vote on it by the end of this year.