Finding city-owned property in Baltimore to buy
Looking for an abandoned property to call your own? Baltimore housing officials launched a site last week listing some of the city-owned properties for sale -- a very small number of them, though they say that will change.
The site, part of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's "Vacants to Value" effort to move more properties into the hands of private owners, "will get more interactive as time goes on," housing department spokeswoman Cheron Porter said.
"We decided to offer a limited amount in order to make sure the mechanics of the website were solid before we increased the volume," she said in an email, adding: "Visitors will see more listings in the coming weeks."
Wonk reader JuanitaBeasley, who visited the site last week, was disappointed to find only a small percentage of the roughly 4,000 total vacant buildings the city owns. (I counted 27 over the weekend, though Porter quoted a higher figure on Friday.)
JuanitaBeasley was also struck by the prices. This SCOPE home in Broadway, for instance, is listed for $25,000, which would just be the start of the costs a buyer would need to cover.
"Renovation etc is going to be costly," she wrote, referring in general to the vacant properties.
Prices vary, though. This one in Upton is listed at $7,000.
Porter said prices are based on such factors as comparables, square footage, condition and neighborhood. "Our staff tries to set a fair price based on these criteria," she wrote in her email.
But the set up is supposed to be just like any other for-sale listing: If you're interested but think the price is too high, suggest another figure.
"Reasonable offers will be considered," Porter said.