April 1, 2011

For Hopkins employees, a way to find homes that come with $17k

The Johns Hopkins institutions offer a pretty big incentive to get full-time employees to buy homes near work: up to $17,000 towards the down payment and closing costs. (No fooling.)

But not just anywhere in the general vicinity. The university and hospital, which are collectively the state's largest private employer, have specific boundaries inside which you must stay if you want the maximum -- and other boundaries for lesser grants ranging from $10,000 to $2,500.

Now a new search tool put together by the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors and Metropolitan Regional Information Systems lets employees see exactly what homes are for sale in each area. Scroll to the links for the "tiers" -- i.e. Tier A1 (Harwood, Barclay, and Greenmount West) -- for each interactive map.

You can have the system email you an alert when the sort of home you're looking for comes on the market. You can also find out how close certain homes are to restaurants, daycare options, police stations, places of worship and a number of other niceties. (Click on "points of interest" to choose which of those things you want to see. Then mouse over each icon for name, address and phone number.)

"I think it'll make it a lot easier for people," said Joseph T. "Jody" Landers III with the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors -- even if they're just looking for a daycare center, not a house.

If you don't work for Hopkins, you might still qualify for other live-near-your-work incentives.  Maryland's Department of Housing and Community Development has Smart Keys 4 Employees, an add-on to its House Keys 4 Employees down payment and closing-cost help. Baltimore City has its own Live Near Your Work program.

Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 6:00 AM | | Comments (15)
Categories: Home buying grants

May 4, 2010

Two opportunities for home buyers to snag $3,000

It's not $8,000, but it is a government incentive: You could get $3,000 from Baltimore if you attend an event this Saturday or Monday and buy in the western half of the city. The money can be put toward your closing costs and down payment.

The first 50 people who close on a home purchase within 90 days of Live Baltimore's Buying Into Baltimore event this Saturday (and meet several other qualifications) are eligible for the city money, which starts out as a loan and converts into a grant after you've lived in your home for five years.

Comprehensive Housing Assistance Inc. says participants in its own Buying Into Baltimore event on Monday are also eligible.

Both events will have tours of homes for sale and home-buying information.

Live Baltimore's is 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, 1400 W. Cold Spring Lane. CHAI's event is Monday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center, 5700 Park Heights Ave.

You might check with your employer to see if it participates in the city's Live Near Your Work program or the state's similarly named effort. That's another way to get a closing-cost and down-payment grant. (Johns Hopkins employees can get up to $17,000 in certain neighborhoods.)

Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 7:00 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Home buying grants
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About Jamie Smith Hopkins
Jamie Smith Hopkins, a Baltimore Sun reporter since 1999, writes about the regional economy. Her reporting on the housing market has won national and local awards. Hopkins is a Columbia native and has lived in Maryland all her life, save for 10 months spent covering schools in Ames, Iowa.
She trained to become a wonk by spending large chunks of time as a geek and an insufferable know-it-all.
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