“Buying Into Baltimore” Tour Offers $5,000 Incentives to Home Buyers

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Buying Into Baltimore
Buying into Baltimore, fall 2015.
A 90-minute Trolley Tour could be worth $5,000 to prospective homebuyers, under the Buying Into Baltimore incentive program, which has its final event of 2016 this Saturday.

Up to 30 potential homebuyers could become eligible for $5,000 grants toward the purchase of a home in the city, if they take a guided bus tour of “hidden gem” neighborhoods and fulfill other requirements.

The annual program is sponsored by Live Baltimore, a private, non-profit organization that promotes homeownership in the city, and Baltimore’s housing department.

It takes on added significance this year after another popular incentive program, the Vacants to Value Booster Program, stopped accepting applications because it reached its funding limit for  2016-2017.  That program offered $10,000 incentives to 30 potential homebuyers, but the money for the entire fiscal year was used up in less than two months.

“Neighborhoods and their real estate markets are constantly evolving. Just as foodies ask natives, ‘what is the best restaurant that only locals know about,’ people attend our event to learn about the strongest communities in Baltimore directly from the experts,” says Steve Gondol, executive director of Live Baltimore.

The $5,000 grants are provided by the city housing department and can be used for down payment and closing cost assistance for the purchase of a home in Baltimore City.

Not everyone who rides the trolley will receive $5,000, and the program’s sponsors are clear about that from the beginning. The potential grant recipients are chosen by lottery from the list of people who take a Live Baltimore trolley tour. There will be three trolley tours on Saturday, and candidates must take one of them to be eligible for the lottery.

This month the tours will feature neighborhoods in northwest Baltimore, including Medfield, Woodberry, Ashburton, Callaway-Garrison and Mount Washington.  The tours will begin at the Radisson Hotel at Cross Keys, 5100 Falls Road.

Live Baltimore will also have a housing fair at the hotel in conjunction with the tours, including 12 workshops related to buying and owning a home in the city. Some of the subjects are “Homebuying Myths, Facts, Do’s and Don’ts,” “Baltimore City Incentive Programs,” and “Preparing Your Credit for Homeownership.”

Experts will be available to tell homebuyers how to make the most of incentive programs such as the Maryland Mortgage Program, Healthy Neighborhoods, and historic tax credits. The event runs from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Although the September 10 tours will feature neighborhoods in northwest Baltimore, the Buying Into Baltimore incentive funds can be used for the purchase of a home anywhere in the city, and the home can be new or a resale.

Admission to Buying into Baltimore costs $10 online at LiveBaltimore.com and $15 at the door. More information about Saturday’s event and how to become eligible for the $5,000 incentive is available at livebaltimore.com.

Ed Gunts

Ed Gunts

Ed Gunts is a local freelance writer and the former architecture critic for The Baltimore Sun.
Ed Gunts


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