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Baltimore Sells Abandoned Houses at Rock Bottom Prices


The scarcity of affordable homeownership is a major problem in most urban areas in the United States.  The problem does not always come down to lack of space, though.  Even though many counties, including some in the DMV, have affordable homeownership programs where they reserve certain newly built properties for first time homebuyers who would not otherwise be able to afford them, this is not the only way to do it.  Baltimore has just approved a program that gives residents the opportunity to buy a fixer upper for virtually nothing and then renovate it and live in it.  People who already own at least one house with a paid off mortgage do this for fun and then rent the newly renovated houses out, but this does not make housing or home ownership more affordable; it is the real estate investors who profit financially.  An irresistible sticker price on a house is only part of the picture.  Buying a house without breaking the bank requires a lot of planning and perhaps the advice of a Washington, D.C. real estate lawyer.

Does Your Real Estate Empire Begin With Buying an Abandoned House Dirt Cheap?

Baltimore has long had a reputation of being a scary wasteland, but just how bad is it?  There are more than 15,000 abandoned real estate properties in the city, and the city government has just launched an initiative to turn 200 of these properties into owner-occupied homes.  For the next 90 days, residents can buy these properties from the city, which currently owns them, for $1 each.  To be eligible for this irresistible deal, you must currently live in Baltimore and you must agree to reside in the house after you buy it.  The city is offering buyers $50,000 construction loans to use toward renovations.

Of course, home ownership is always less affordable than it sounds, and being on the hook for a $50,000 loan is daunting in an era where families with a $100,000 annual income live paycheck to paycheck.  Therefore, it is likely that after the 90 days have finished, some of the 200 abandoned properties will still be available; only a fraction of them will be under renovation by their new owners.  After the 90-day period, the city will make the remaining unsold properties available to real estate developers.  The developers will have to pay $3,000 per property.  They will also be responsible for paying for renovations; the city will not give them a low-cost loan, like it is doing for residents.

Baltimore implemented a similar program in the 1970s, and it was a success.  Some of the people who bought houses at rock bottom prices are still living in them, and some of the houses are now inhabited by descendants of the original buyers.

Contact Tobin O’Connor Ewing About Real Estate Opportunities

A Washington, D.C. real estate attorney can help you think realistically about opportunities to buy real estate properties at unusually low prices.  Contact Tobin, O’Connor, and Ewing in Washington, D.C. or call 202-362-5900.



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