Drawing winners can buy renovated house

2 foreclosure properties in N. Laurel to be sold to limited-income buyers

March 28, 2010|By Larry Carson | larry.carson@baltsun.com

People of limited income who want to buy a house in Howard County have until April 7 to qualify for two foreclosure properties reclaimed and renovated by the county's Housing Commission.

Both houses are in North Laurel. One is a two-bedroom brick townhouse priced at $151,000. The other is a detached 1934 bungalow with garage that the commission is expanding and renovating with geothermal heating and cooling, solar hot water and new interior features. It will sell for $199,900.

The units are for buyers who have not owned a home in the past three years.

Both units will be awarded to qualified buyers at the county's fourth annual free Come Home to Howard County Housing Fair at Columbia's Long Reach High School, 6101 Old Dobbin Lane, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 10, said Kelly Cimino, the county Housing Department's Moderate Income Housing Unit program coordinator.

"It's just a public service," Cimino said of the fair. "You can come to one location and get a lot of information all at one time."

The awarding of the two rehabbed homes is intended to help draw people to the event, which brings mortgage lenders, real estate agents, public officials, consumer advisers and potential homebuyers to one location for a variety of displays and small classes to teach people about the requirements and opportunities involved in buying a home. There will be activities for children and giveaways throughout the fair.

"We're starting to get a lot of calls" about the fair and the houses being offered, Cimino said. "We're getting a lot of interest now."

Both houses were purchased last fall with the help of federal funding to eradicate the blight of foreclosed, vacant homes. Both are to be renovated and ready for occupancy by May 1, Cimino said. Buyers can also receive up to $10,000 to help with closing and down payment costs through existing programs.

The two-bedroom brick townhouse at 9110 H Tumbleweed Run can be bought by a single person with an income between $41,000 and $57,422, Cimino said. It presents an unusual opportunity, because the commission usually requires that homes in the separate MIHU program be bought by at least two people.

The townhouse has a partly finished basement and two levels above ground. It will have renovated bathrooms, new paint, flooring, a new hot-water heater and heat pump, new washer and dryer, lighting fixtures and interior doors and shelving, plus a rain barrel.

The small white detached house on a quarter-acre lot at 10163 High Ridge Road is getting a $100,000 makeover, Cimino said, including a third-bedroom addition, a new roof, gutters, a new kitchen with Energy Star appliances and new flooring throughout. Every element of the renovation will use environmentally friendly materials to save energy and water and reduce costs.

To qualify for that purchase, a buyer must have an income of at least $55,000 a year, up to $65,626 for two people, or up to $82,032 for a family of four.

People already on the county's list of qualified buyers for the MIHU program are eligible if they apply for this drawing, Cimino said. New applicants not on the existing list can also qualify if they apply by April 7. The drawing is scheduled for 1:40 p.m., and entrants must be present to win.

For more information, call 410-313-6318 or go to hocohousing.com.

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