“Vacants to Values”: Investors Need Not Apply?

From what we’re hearing about the City’s new “Vacants to Values” program, property investors will not be welcome — in other words, this isn’t business as usual in Baltimore.

When Michael Guye, Director of the Office of Homeownership, was asked about the program and the involvement of investors, he offered this:

“The incentive money obtained by the purchaser under this Vacant to Value [sic] Program mandates that the borrower occupy this residence as their primary residence for at least 5 years. This program was not designed for investors and will not be utilized by investors. We understand the importance of building neighborhoods by encouraging home ownership.”

Hopefully Baltimore City will be better equipped than the State of Maryland to ferret out the program cheats — the regulation of homeownership is similar to that of the state Homestead Tax Credit, a program rife with fraud and lax enforcement.


  1. Donald

    Investors aren’t welcome in just a few of new initiatives, there will also be a revolving fund set up for small investors plus areas of the city with no market interest will be targeted with investors/developers in mind

    • slumlordwatch

      I’ll be watching to see who’s chosen to develop these properties — hopefully, since Jack Young seems to be all about “transparency” these days, we’ll get to know who’s behind those shell LLCs before they’re awarded the contracts.

  2. Stephen

    If you already live in a decent part of the city, why would you move to a worse part? If you already live outside the city why would you commit to living there 5 years if you have no experience with it?

    On the flip side, who in terrible parts of the city has the money to buy a property and fix it up? Yet the city would need to find tens of thousands of would be homeowners to even make a dent in the slums.

    I think investment is the way to go under certain stipulations. Obviously building codes would need to be enforced and they’d need to be fixed up to MORE THAN livable condition. Only problem with that is, who would rent there, especially if there’s a slum on the next street over.

    The city needs to start somewhere (downtown, in already developed neighborhoods) and build adjacent to that. Trying to clean up pockets isn’t going to work. It has to be smooth from the center out and people need to feel safe walking from one area to another, i.e. no more Stephen Pitcairn type attacks.

    • slumlordwatch

      I agree with you — there needs to be investment, on a large scale. The city has given large tax breaks to corporations to invest in neighborhoods like downtown and Harbor East, and that needs to stop. Investing in its residents is the best investment a city can make — and like you, I can’t see moving to a neighborhood that’s worse than the one I live in now, even if the city was helping me buy a house for cheap.

      • Rick

        Why should the city help, or any government entity for that matter?

        People need to boost themselves up by their own bootstraps. You can complain all you want about there being no jobs in certain areas, but once those denizens stop killing each other businesses will be able to safely conduct business and they’ll return…along with a vibrant community of prosperous residents.

        By the way, what’s your take on building new mass transit (especially metro and light rail) so that people can get around all parts of the city and suburbs without taking the bus (which does nothing because you’re still on the roads.)?

        • slumlordwatch

          Think about it — if the city invests in its residents, it will boost the tax base, and that’s something no city can afford to turn down. The long-term returns would be significantly larger than the initial cash outlay.

          Public transportation — I’m all for it. I use it every day, and while it’s not 100% reliable or convenient…since I live and work in the city, it’s a great way to get around. Expanding light rail and the subway so they go to more places — it only makes sense.

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