Have you been waiting for your opportunity to own a home but with a limited budget? It may be possible (sort of) because the city of Baltimore may be selling houses for just $1.
Because Maryland has been on a mission to try to revive struggling neighborhoods, council members and local community advocates are proposing that the best way to get vacant houses sold and redeveloped faster is by restoring the 1973 “Dollar House” program, which sold rundown, city-owned houses for $1.
The stipulation? Buyers would have to promise to refurbish and live in the properties for a certain period of time.
According to a bill adopted by the Baltimore City Council last month, the program would revitalize “marginal neighborhoods by matching construction ability at the grass roots of Baltimore to production of affordable housing for workers’ families and neighbors.”
While the proposal seems ideal, it is still under review and, according to The Baltimore Sun, the housing commissioner argues that the program is outdated and that there is not enough government funding to address the estimated 16,000 to 46,000 vacant homes in Baltimore.
“It has been proven that when home ownership increased among residents in neighborhoods like Harlem and Detroit, which were once plagued by urban blight and flight, crime declined and the communities became more beautiful as owners took pride in their neighborhoods and took better care of them,” real estate agent and affordable housing specialist Mable Ivory said in an email via Black Enterprise. “Baltimore seeks to mirror the success that has been experienced in Harlem and Detroit by creating a similar, discount homeownership program.”
Think it's going to be easy work? Think again. Be ready to get your coins up, because some of these houses need a lot of work.
“If possible, before bidding on the properties, homeowners should do a property inspection with licensed professionals, such as contractors, architects, and engineers, to have a clear and full understanding of all the repairs needed to make the home inhabitable; the cost of the repairs; as well as the time it will take to complete the entire renovation. The good news is that there are mortgage loan programs available like the FHA 203(k) mortgage loan program, which provide financing for the total renovation of a home,” Ivory said.
(Photo: Patrick Semansky/AP/REX/Shutterstock)
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