Q: I am interested in the real estate business, but I have no experience in that field. I want to buy and rehabilitate vacant houses in Baltimore for resale. How should I start and what basic knowledge do I need to have?
–Priscilla J., Via the Internet
A: In recent years, there have been a growing number of initiatives among community advocates, private developers, government agencies, and not-for-profit organizations that view property rehabilitation as a way of providing affordable housing to countless middle-class families.
There are local and national resources that can provide the specific real estate information you need. One place you can start is the Neighborhood Design Center, a Baltimore-based organization that supports grassroots initiatives to improve the quality of life in local neighborhoods (www.ndc- md.org, 410-233-9686). Among other functions, the organization serves as a resource for people seeking information on purchasing and rehabilitating vacant houses and lots.
Smart Growth America, the International City/County Management Association, Virginia Tech University, and the Local Initiatives Support Corp. are all heading a national campaign to prevent property abandonment, redevelop vacant properties, and revitalize existing communities. You can find information at www.vacantproperties.org.
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