© 2024 Ideastream Public Media

1375 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44115
(216) 916-6100 | (877) 399-3307

WKSU is a public media service licensed to Kent State University and operated by Ideastream Public Media.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Cleveland council member puts a sweet bounty on 'We Buy Houses' signs

we buy houses cleveland.jpg
we buy houses cleveland.jpg

If you want free Honey Hut ice cream, all you have to do is tear down signs offering cash for houses in Cleveland.

It's Councilmember Kris Harsh's new tactic to rid his and other Cleveland neighborhoods of the "predatory" signs illegally posted on city property.

"It's a scam," Harsh said. "I think what they're doing is looking for cash offers that they can make for under market values and flip immediately, usually to an out-of-state investor. And I think that that's just taking advantage of our neighborhood. And I also think it's just an ugly look for the community."

The signs pop up in his Old Brooklyn neighborhood every spring, Harsh said, adding he's constantly taking them down.

This year he's outsourcing for more help.

Earlier this week, he posted a video on social media asking followers to send him photos of the piles of signs they've removed throughout April. The winner, he said, will receive free ice cream from Honey Hut on him.

"It's springtime; ice cream shops are open again. Let's combine two things and get these signs off the street and buy someone some ice cream," Harsh said.

Harsh represents Ward 13, which includes Old Brooklyn and parts of the Stockyard neighborhoods on Cleveland's south side.

The signs are nothing new and not specific to Cleveland. They pop up across the country every year as a way for real estate investors to solicit business from homeowners who lack financial means or the desire to undertake large maintenance projects on their house, but they've become more popular as housing prices are on the rise.

"You don't see these signs in wealthy neighborhoods," Harsh said. "You're not going to go out to Westlake or Solon and see these signs posted on poles. They put these signs in neighborhoods where they think people are struggling and might be in need of selling their house very quickly, people who feel like they don't have really good options available to them."

The contest will run the rest of April. Harsh said Clevelanders can send him photos of the signs they've picked up via social media (Facebook or X, formerly known as Twitter) or email.

Attempts to reach the numbers listed on several house buying signs were unsuccessful.

Abbey Marshall covers Cleveland-area government and politics for Ideastream Public Media.