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Vacants to Value Web Site Goes Live

December 6, 2010
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A month or so back, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced a new housing initiative called Vacants to Value that’s supposed to get 1,500 of the city’s abandoned houses renovated and occupied in the next year. As I reported a few weeks ago, that’s like an order of magnitude better than her two predecessors did during the real estate bubble.

Key to the new program is a user-friendly, one-stop shop for folks looking for real estate bargains. That web site, which Rawlings-Blake spokesman Ryan O’Doherty said would be “just like if you went to RE/MAX dot com,“  is up—the Vacants to Value site—but it’s mostly still SCOPE listings—aka Selling City-Owned Property Efficiently, the partnership between the nonprofit Baltimore Efficiency and Economy Foundation and the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors—complete with the SCOPE listing agents. There are a grand total of 43 of them as of now—5 p.m. Dec. 6. Here is a typical one, chosen at random:

Address: 119 S CALHOUN ST, 21223-3118

Block Lot: 0248 028

Price: $5,000.00

Special properties are selected by the City of Baltimore and offered to REALTORS who list them in the statewide Multiple Listing Service. To purchase this SCOPE (Selling City Owned Properties Efficiently) property, please contact the listing agent, Gwendolyn Wynn, at gwynn@ywgcrealty.com. Call today at 410.732.3030

That’s Vacants to Value’s picture there too—just the outside. Google Street View would do no worse.

The links are somewhat circuitous. The “How to Buy a City Owned Property” link brings you to a rudimentary page that links in turn to the city’s Division of Land Resources, from which one returns to Vacants to Value. You can e-mail the five new Marketing and Outreach Agents from the Land Resources page, however. They are:

Charles Smith—Central and South Districts

Julie McCormick—North and Northwest Districts

Keisha Trent—North and Northeast Districts

Stanley Gordon—West and Southwest Districts

Valerie Henson Stewart—East and Southeast Districts

There’s also a link to this pdf map detailing which marketing agent handles which neighborhoods.

Meanwhile, some parts of the Vacants to Value site appear dated. “Project Finance” lands on a page listing Summer 2010 Notice of Financing Availability.

Here’s hoping this is a work in progress, with better things to come.

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