Newark, N.J., Mayor Ras Baraka
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The city of Newark, N.J., has a special treat for couples of all orientations this Valentine’s Day weekend, with a plan to sell city-owned lots as homesteads for just $1,000, according to a press release.

Mayor Ras J. Baraka, the Newark Municipal Council and Baye Adofo-Wilson, deputy mayor for economic development, announced the sale of the lots Monday. The sale will take place at Newark City Hall from 9 a.m. to midday on Valentine’s Day.

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As part of the city’s Live Newark program, buyers will be required to make a $500 down payment before paying the remaining $500 on closing. Buyers will be responsible for all closing costs and must also submit a City Planning Board-approved site plan in order to close the property. Buyers must also have a commitment letter from a financial institution or proof of cash to cover the construction of a home before closing. Another requirement is that construction must be completed within 18 months of closing, the press release notes.

Buyers don’t have to be from the city to purchase a lot, and the sale is available to any couple from anywhere, straight or members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. However, the couple must live in the property for five years after they get the certificate of occupancy, the release said.

“We are observing Valentine’s Day with creativity and a commitment to Newark’s couples, by offering them opportunities to achieve their American dream of homeownership,” Baraka said in the release.

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“At the same time, we are turning vacant lots into homes that strengthen our communities, replacing blight with development. Out-of-the-box steps like these are how we will transform Newark into a city we can all believe in. I congratulate our Department of Economic and Housing Development on this program, and extend my best wishes to all the couples who will make their new homes in our city,” he added.