Did you know Maryland offers an income tax credit for low-income/elderly renters?  It follows the premise that renters pay property taxes as part of their rent, and therefore should be allowed an opportunity to recoup some of that money.  The deadline for filing each year is September 1.

The past few years have seen an uptick in violent crimes against realtors.  The most horrific of these crimes occurred in 2010 against a realtor named Vivian Martin in Youngstown, OH —  she was found murdered in the kitchen of a burning vacant home. Another reason why municipalities need to combat the growing problem of vacants as a venue for crime.

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announced last Friday the distribution of $42 million in grants to housing counseling agencies, calling the programs “indispensible”.

People ask me all the time why I “hate Baltimore”.  I don’t hate Baltimore.  Seriously, would YOU spend almost all of your free time in the neighborhoods I walk around, documenting blighted vacants, taking risks with your personal safety (albeit small risks) for a city you hate?  Of course not.  You’d simply move away, as so many of my friends and neighbors have done.  What I do despise, however, is the phony head-in-the-sand mentality I come up against — a combination of newer residents who are merely echoing the nonsense they were told by their realtor, city officials who have a vested interest in looking the other way, or long-time community association folks who don’t want to admit their 20-year Plan A hasn’t worked….in 20 years.  Phony boosterism sucks — and here’s why.  The last paragraph says it all, so you can skip ahead if you don’t want to read the whole thing.

Nerd Alert:  I love data.  Especially crime data.  I’ll bet I’m not alone…

Appraisers, lenders, and investors seem to be routinely inflating home values prior to foreclosure, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

One Brookings economist estimates the number of unemployed workers in the US to be around 10 million — how to fix the problem?  He suggests the government should subsidize new hires. 

Baltimore’s Housing Director Paul Graziano continues to duck and dodge when it comes to the health and well-being of city children who live in public housing.  How long are we going to tolerate this, Baltimore?

Two Ohio lawmakers have introduced the Restore Our Neighborhoods Act of 2012, which would result in billions of dollars that municipalities could use to demolish blighted neighborhoods.  Will be interesting to see if Maryland representatives will vote for or against.

Chicago’s answer to Baltimore’s Stanley Rochkind?

Want a vacant home in Buffalo, NY?  Move it, and it’s yours.