This St. Louisan Sees Beauty In Vacant Houses — And Wants To Help You Buy One

By on April 12, 2019

From St. Louis Public Radio:  Eltoreon Hawkins has made it his mission to help St. Louisans buy vacant, city-owned houses.

The 25-year-old contractor bought his first home from the city’s Land Reutilization Authority when he was a student at Harris-Stowe State University.

Hawkins now helps select LRA homes that need a minimal amount of work — known as the “Finest 15” — and records popular Facebook Live videos of each property. He spoke with St. Louis Public Radio’s Shahla Farzan about his passion for showcasing vacant homes.

On his Facebook Live tours

Because I do this pro bono — weekend after weekend, looking at the same house — what I do is I go on Facebook and go live while I’m giving a tour to one person. If that person don’t decide to buy it or don’t like it for some reason, you’ve got thousands on Facebook that probably will see it.

I give tours on Facebook because everybody can’t make it out of the house. Everybody can’t set up appointments. Everybody don’t have the opportunity to leave work. I’m trying to bring it to them, instead of them coming to us.

On what he looks for in “Finest 15” houses

You want to look at it structurally. Is all four walls there? Check. Then we decide if the roof has jeopardized the integrity of the structure. If it’s a two-story, everything that’s coming from that roof has gone down to the second floor, down to the first floor and down to the basement. Sometimes you can have a complete cave-in. Sometimes [the floor] can still be there, but it’s so damaged that if you walk on it, it’s gonna all cave in. Once we go inside and realize that the integrity is good, that’s basically it. That’s a win-win situation.

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