I always enjoy taking Baltimore buyers to Canton, Fells Point, and Federal Hill to see the newly rehabbed CHAP credit houses. I like to show my clients how different each row home can look in the inside. In many cases, buyers go thru the listings looking at the exterior picture and deciding if they want to see it or not. These fully renovated row homes can be quite the surprise once you open the front door. As an agent and investor, I like to see each builder’s creative layouts, trendy finishes, and space-saving ideas. It’s good to see these with buyers too so you can see what things are immediately liked and how one layout mistake can ruin an entire sale.
I am working on 261 S Ann Street in the Fells Point / Butchers Hill area. Here is what it looked when I bought it:
I bought it because of the great location. The owner of this home will be able to leave their car parked all weekend because of how close the area’s attractions are to their front door. The home itself is wide and deep. As we were planning out the rehab for this, we were excited to be able to keep the historical rounded staircase. Much to our surprise the wood floors throughout are completely salvageable!
Systems are going in. Kitchen cabinets have been ordered. Soon drywall will be hanging and the fun starts. Selecting tile, lights, handles, faucets, paint colors, etc. is when you can really start to see the house come together.
I’ll post an update once that starts. You can see more pictures of the progress on my CrabbyHomes FB page. Click “albums” too see all the before and construction photos. I am an active agent in the popular city of Baltimore with a tigh grip on the developement in the area. Let me help you get a CHAP credit rehab BEFORE it hits the market! Learn more about me and how to contact me here.
The hot tickets in Canton, Fells Point, Locust Point and Federal Hill are the newly renovated homes with CHAP credits. But most home buyers would be shocked at what some of these homes look like before the rehab. Below are some new CHAP houses coming to the market for sale. See what they looked like before and during the rehab.
519 S Curley Street – 21224 – CANTON: BEFORE & DURING
261 S Ann Street – 21231 – FELLS POINT: BEFORE & DURING
Here is a list of some up coming CHAP homes in the most popular areas of Baltimore City:
1. 519 S Curley Street – 21224 – 3 bedroom, 3 full bath, 3 finished levels, easy parking, roof deck
2. 261 S Ann Street – 21231 – 3 bedroom, 3 full bath, 3 finished levels, roof deck, end of group
3. 614 S Kenwood – 21224 – 3 bedroom, 3 full bath, 3 finished levels, easy parking, roof deck
4. 3213 Foster Ave – 21224 – 3 bedroom, 3 full bath, 3 finished levels, easy parking, roof deck
5. 3200 Fleet Street – 21224 – 4 bedroom, 3.5 full bath, 3 finished levels, roof deck, garage parking, end of group
- Has your Baltimore Realtor asked if you been approved? I know, it sounds slimy. BUT have you? And let’s just say you have been approved for $450k….do you know what those monthly payments are? We ask because it gives us the best idea of what homes to show you. We don’t ask to be rude.
**It’s best to have your lender work your numbers backwards as sometimes you qualify for more than you are comfortable spending. This time tell your lender that you don’t want to be more than X amount a month. Let them tell you want to target.
- Do you have to sell your Baltimore house in order to buy another? Yes? So list it now! No sense in looking at homes until you have a contract on your current house. Chances are that by the time your house goes under contract, the homes you look at won’t be available.
- Showings: We have to schedule showings directly with the listing agent, a showing service, or an office admin. Not all listings are easy to schedule. Some sellers have pets. Some have sick kids at home. Some have renters that NEVER want to allow people in.
** It’s best to give your agent at least a day’s notice so we have time to set them up. Oh…and if you can limit them to 5 or less a day, that’s great.
- You get a lowball offer on your listed house. It’s ridiculous that someone even offered it. COUNTER! Don’t be a jerk and try to prove a point and just reject it.
**Some people need to see hear NO from the seller(s). Counter to show interest.
- Once under contract you can’t keep asking permission to go back inside, vacant or not.
**Best time to measure is at your long home inspection!
- Buyers guess what….you may never be able to buy your Baltimore dream house. So focus on getting the best you can afford now.
- You bought your house 8 years ago and you never upgraded a thing. Why would you think it’s worth 100k more than you what you bought it for?
**Much like the iPhone, your home needs upgrades as well to keep value.
- DON’T decline showings. For real…you should make it easy for agents to show. In many cases once an agent gets declined to show, they don’t think to reschedule. Make it work.
- DON’T stay home while a Baltimore agent and a potential buyer is looking at your house. It makes it awkward for everyone.
- And the top 10th thing that your agent want’s to say to you but doesn’t know how….when looking at homes, and the minute to walk in, you hate it…..LEAVE! Don’t waste time complaining about the payout of a house you will never make an offer on!
Part of being a good Realtor is having the right resources for your clients. As a Realtor you are typically the first person buyers and sellers call when something needs to be fixed or upgraded within their home. As my calls increased for an assortment of home improvement specialist so did the calls for several other business types. Over the years I have made a conscious effort to keep a running list of as many home improvement contacts as I can. Like-wise I have other businesses that refer constantly.
What is important in a home improvement contractor?
So many people get turned off when a contractor doesn’t take your call immediately. But think about that for a moment…most actually work the field. They are under decks, lifting HVACs , climbing on roofs, hanging drywall, etc. I most cases, expect to call a contractor a few times and be sure to LEAVE A VOICEMAIL. A good contractor for any service is hard to find, so kill them with kindness.
The #1 characteristic that I value the most is weather the contractor is familiar with the area and type of house.
There are contractors that do very well in new constructed homes.
ex. Some painters do better when they can use sprayers. If floors aren’t installed, which is usually a newly constructed home or a home with major renovations; they can use sprayers to paint. It allows them to cover a lot of wall square footage in a quick timeframe and very cost affective.
There are some contractors that truly understand the quarks of a 100 year old row home.
ex. The plumbing on Baltimore City row homes have certain characteristics that townhouses build in the 1990’s just don’t. Finding contractors that don’t need to research older homes is key. When a plumber can already tell me the problem before I finish explaining, it’s music to my ears. When they can tell me where the house ties into the city lines, it always reassures me.
There are some contractors that specialize in certain areas.
ex. Anne Arundel County is known for having Polybutylene Pipes, that failed dramatically. If you are buying a home in Anne Arundel County and you hire a home inspector that doesn’t know about this type of pipe, how are you supposed to get an accurate report?
Some contractors have such good expert knowledge in their field, I feel comfortable referring them anywhere.
ex. the master electrician I refer clients to no matter if they have an old city row home, a detached home in the county, or a condo. He has been doing this for so long that I trust his expertise in any sort of home or age of the home.
Here are the contractors and other businesses that I refer the most:
- Flooring: Wood Floors Plus – Steve Cratch – 410-636-9663 http://www.woodfloorsplus.com/
- Electrician: Magothy Electric – 410-439-0088 http://www.magothyelectric.com/
- Painter: Seneca Painting – 443-992-1245
- Decks: Tom McCleary – 410-236-9274
- HVAC: Air Source, Inc – 443-605-5100 http://www.airsourceinc-hvac.com/
- Pest Control: Defend Pest – 410-633-9100 http://www.marylandpest.com/index.html
- Home Inspection: Home Sweet Home Inspections – Ryan Siegler – 301-390-HOME
- Pool / Spas: NOVA Builders – Mark (builder) & Tom (inspector) 410-766-1770
- General Repairs: American Home & Property Services – Lisa Heisey – 443-613-6973 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pier & Bulkhead Build/Repair: Chesapeake Pile Driving, Inc – Todd “Gator” Scott – 443-604-8451
- Windows/Siding/Roofing: Horizon Construction Co. Inc – Steve – 410-256-6561
***Contact me for others***
LEGAL & FINIACIAL:
- Lending/Refi: Coastal Lending Group – Jon Vitak – 410-276-3404 http://www.clgroup.biz/
- RE Attorney (Short Sales, Estates, Landlord/Tenant, etc): Heise & Heise LLP – 410-276-1983 http://www.heiselegal.com/
- Home & Auto Insurance: Jim Himes – 443-837-2071
- Title Attorney: Capitol Title – Chris Sadler – 410-465-2437
- Commercial Lending: Susquehanna Bank – Sidney Minor – 410-539-0636 email@example.com
OTHER…(cause I always get these questions)
- Auto Mechanic: Hamilton Goodyear – 410-426-2220 http://www.hamiltongoodyear.com/
- Social Media/Advertising: Savin Media Consulting – 443-742-5012 www.savinconsulting.com
- Personal Trainer: Nick Strong (at Merritt Athletic Clubs) – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Hair Stylist: West End Studio: Victoria Kidd – 443-682-7631
- Tax Accountant: Marty Peltzer – 410-526-0327
- Business Accounting Advisor: BLK Accounting & Consulting LLC – Kelly Black – 443-310-1106 email@example.com
- Financial Planner: Celestial Weath Management – Colin Exelby – 443-438-7211
- Financial Planner: Northwestern Mutual – Jason Bell – 410-659-6055
- Event / Wedding Planner: Lemon and Lime Event Design – Katey Clark – 330-730-8407 Katey@lemonandlimeevent.com
- Movers: Perry Movers – Sam Perry – 443-472-1565
How to hire a contractor checklist:
o Do you need someone with an MHIC (Maryland Home Improvement Commission) license?
o Is your quote/estimate free?
o Can the company itemize your quote?
o Is the quote an estimate or is it a final total?
o Has the contractor done anything similar in the area?
o Is the person that came out to do the quote the same person who will be on site during construction?
o Will they be hiring sub-contractors in order to complete your project?
o Will they guaranty a completion date?
o Is there a deposit due before they start?
o Does the company warranty their work for a year?
Hope you have found this helpful! Don’t hestitate to contact me with questions or contractors that you would like to recommend!
If you are looking to purchase real estate in Baltimore City, chances are your Realtor has talked to you about CHAP credit properties. But do you really understand how CHAP credits work and how big the savings can be?
What is the Baltimore City CHAP Tax Credit?
It’s the most generous available tax credit in Baltimore City. The CHAP (Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation) credit gives a 10-year credit to properties that have stayed within specific guidelines put in place by the city’s Historic Preservation. Guidelines include both exterior and interior parameters with the purpose to preserve the historic elements of a Baltimore City row house. The homeowner/investor has to re-invest a minimum of 25% of the full cash value on the property. In most cases the percentage of additional investment costs are closer to 75-100% more. Part of the approval process includes submitting photos of the property, a scope of work and a floor plan to the review panel BEFORE any construction starts. Once the improvements are complete and approved by the city, the credit is transferable from owner to owner through the life of the 10-year credit. The CHAP credit has not only been a contributing factor to the revitalization of the historic city neighborhoods but also made city living more affordable.
How does the CHAP tax credit protect Baltimore City historic districts?
Historic buildings in Baltimore were originally built using materials and techniques that today are more costly to use than more basic alternatives. By providing the tax break to only people who renovate properties using the more expensive, historically correct approaches, the CHAP credit is able to protect some of Baltimore’s most treasured buildings.
In addition to several commercial buildings, currently the designated Historical Neighborhoods are (subject to mapped limits): Arcadia/Beverly Hills, Auchentoroly Terrace, Baltimore East/South Clifton Park, Bancroft Park, Barclay/Greenmount, Barre Circle, Bellona-Gittings, Better Waverly, Bolton Hill, Brick Hill, Business & Government Center, Butcher’s Hill, Canton, Cathedral Hill, Cedarcroft, Charles Village/Abell, Dickeyville, Druid Hill Park, Dundalk, East Monument, Ednor Gardens, Eutaw Place/Madison Park, Federal Hill, Federal Hill South, Fells Point, Franklin Square, Franklintown, Gay Street, Greenmount Cemetery, Guilford, Hampden, Hochschild Kohn Belvedere & Hess Shoes, Hollins-Roundhouse, Homeland, Hunting Ridge, Jonestown, Lake Evesham, Lauraville, Little Montgomery Street, Locust Point, Loft, Madison Park, Market Center, Mayfield, Mill Hill- Deck of Cards (Wilkens Ave), Montebello State Hospital, Mount Royal Terrace, Mount Vernon, Mount Washington, North Central, Oakenshawe, Old Goucher, Old West Baltimore, Original Northwood, Otterbein, Park Circle, Patterson Park/Highlandtown, Perlman Place, Radnor-Winston, Railroad, Reser, Reservoir Hill, Ridgely’s Delight, Riverside, Roland Park, Saint Paul Street, Seton Hill, South Central Avenue, Stirling Street, Stone Hill, Ten Hills, Tuscanny- Canterbury, Union Square, Upper Fells Point, Upton’s Marble Hill, Washington Hill, Waverly, Windsor Hills, Woodberry, and Wyndhurst.
How to apply for Baltimore CHAP credits (get a Baltimore City Plan Review)
When investors purchase “shells”, homes that are in need of total renovation, the property has an assessed value. Typically this assessment is very low. A good investor will petition the assessed value if it seems higher then what it should.
For example if a shell is SOLD for 50k and the assessment at the time of purchase is 90k, the buyer has the opportunity to file for an assessment appeal. A successful assessment appeal would result in a value of 50k or lower.
Before the investor/builder is able to start demo and construction, he/she must apply through the city agency for a pre-approval of the CHAP credit. This involves a form, a new layout drawing, an explanation of redesign, and pictures of the current historical home and its features. Some important new design features are wood windows in the front, removal of form stone, rounded down spouts and gutters, and the cornice preserved or replaced to mimic the historical character. Once the home has finished construction, it’s usually sold and reassessed.
How can help assist in the CHAP credit process on my behalf?
There are several attorneys that can assist many different ways. A good contact is Todd Heise, Esq. with Heise & Heise, LLP. Local to the Baltimore City area, with an office at 3218 Eastern Ave, Heise has hands on experience with aiding homeowners/investors in the document submission and appealing for accurate assessments. He can also help the new purchaser maximize their credit.
How much money can be saved with the CHAP credit program?
Using the example above let’s say the new value is 200k.
Are you paying attention? Here’s the savings:
1. Shell was assessed at 50k (city portion of taxes is 50k x 2.268% = 1134.00)
*2.268% is per $100.00 of value
2. The finished home is reassessed at 200k (city portion of taxes is 200k x 2.268% =4536.00)
3. The “frozen” savings is $150,000. (150k x 2.268% = 3402.00)
4. Year 1 taxes would be 4536 – 3402 = 1134.00
5. IF the property’s assessment changes to (for example) 250k, your taxes would be (250k x 2.286) – 3402 = 2268.00
44 Heath Street in Federal Hill is a good example of this credit. See the link for more details on this ACTIVE property. The progress of this home can be seen on my CrabbyHomes FB page. Below are some before and after photos. .