ANDERSON — Through his company Picket Fence, local businessman Tim Perry is improving a near westside neighborhood one house at a time.
Since moving to Anderson from Plainfield in 2011, Perry has purchased more than 400 houses that will be rehabbed and then rented.
He started purchasing vacant houses in Anderson in 2012 through the Madison County Certificate Sale.
“Some were purchased for nonprofits and some to be torn down,” Perry said while standing inside a house being remodeled at Ninth and John streets. “We have returned more than 300 houses to the tax rolls.”
He explained some were remodeled and sold for cash flow and some have been purchased for people around the country that fix them up and then rent them.
“The intent is not to ‘flip’ them,” Perry said of the recent trend of people buying a house, remodeling it and then selling the property.
Greg Winkler, executive director of the Anderson Economic Development Department, said Perry is doing a great job of rebuilding intercity neighborhoods one house at a time.
He said the quality of the work is outstanding by Picket Fence.
“This was the worst corner, I think, on the near west side,” Perry said of the three houses that have been remodeled at the location. “I buy from First to 10th streets and from Jackson (Street) to Madison (Avenue). Those are my rentals.
“This was the most empty neighborhood when I moved here in 2011,” Perry said. “It had more boarded-up houses. I could buy these older houses and remodel them at a cost of $25,000.”
One house sat vacant for close to two decades. Perry is having new plumbing, electrical and heating installed.
“Every house has a 12-week work schedule,” he explained. “I bought this house from a private person who saw us doing work next door. I’ve never had three houses touching each other.”
Perry said the tenant will move in on Jan. 1 and the rent will be $700 per month.
“We took the most empty neighborhood,” he said. “We do a little undermarket rent to get people to move in. We shovel the driveways and try to attract millennials.”
Perry said he has never evicted a single tenant.
He said there are no properties available in 2020 and that another four houses will be completed over the next 13 months.
“I was going through a divorce and wanted to be within one hour of my office in Indianapolis,” Perry said. He has since relocated to a former fire station at 830 W. Third St. “I went to all the cities around Indianapolis.
“When I came to Anderson, I knew that was where I was supposed to be,” he said. “I fell in love with it on day one. We just love this town.”
Picket Fence Property Co. has eight full-time employees; the number grows to 40 during the summer construction season.
“The first year I bought 10 houses for $1,200,” he said.
Keri Roby moved into one of the remodeled houses about three months ago.
“Tim and I have been friends for many years and it coincided with my moving back from Virginia,” she said. “I saw pictures of it. I said yes without ever seeing the house. I knew Tim did great work.”
Roby said the house met her expectations and likes living in the quiet residential neighborhood.