Housing, community events for the Baltimore-area crowd

March 21, 2012|Jamie Smith Hopkins

It's definitely spring. You can tell by the flurry of homebuying events.

Here are three I've heard about -- feel free to leave others in the comments thread -- plus a community spring-cleaning event for good measure:

Howard County's housing department is throwing its annual Come Home to Howard County Housing Fair on April 14 -- a Saturday -- from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The free event, at Long Reach High School, 6101 Old Dobbin Lane in Columbia, will include educational sessions and community bus tours plus a chance to buy a new or renovated townhome at a "significantly reduced price."

One was built by Ryan Homes in the Howard Square development in Elkridge -- the reduced price is $209,813 -- and the other, with a $140,000 price tag, was renovated in Laurel.

Winners for the two homes will be picked by lottery and must pre-register before the event -- you have to be income-qualified. The deadline to register is April 11. Application forms (and more event details) are on the housing agency's website.

Live Baltimore's annual Buying Into Baltimore event is May 12, also a Saturday, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. It costs $10 a person in advance or $15 at the door. The incentive, beyond workshops and bus tours, is a chance at $4,000 toward your down payment or closing costs.

The money, a no-interest loan you won't have to pay back if you stay in your home for at least five years, is handed out to the first 50 people who get a home under contract after the event -- and meet other guidelines, such as completing housing counseling. There's a FAQ here.

Live Baltimore is also doing "Neighborhood Pop Up" events in April as an appetizer of sorts, connecting prospective buyers with people who already live in the neighborhoods they're considering.

The city, meanwhile, is holding a "Learn How to Purchase City-Owned Property" workshop on April 18, a Wednesday, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Druid Heights Community Development Corp., 2140 McCulloh Street in Baltimore. The event is free, but you must pre-register by calling the Baltimore Housing Office of Land Resources at 410-396-4111 or emailing V2V@baltimorecity.gov.

UPDATE: I missed one -- here's information about a Healthy Neighborhoods homebuying event this Saturday.

And on the non-buying front, Baltimore neighborhoods can enter the city's "Clean Community Competition" for a chance at winning prizes of $1,000 or $5,000. You've got to apply by April 9, either by calling 311 or downloading the application here. The contest itself begins later that month and runs through October.

Neighborhoods get points for the amount they recycle, the share of households using trash cans with lids, vacant lots adopted, etc.

"Baltimore is getting back to basics and asking communities to join us in tackling their sanitation challenges block by block," the Baltimore Department of Public Works says on the contest webpage. "It is time to promote positive behaviors and set a new standard of clean for our City."

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