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Don’t have tons of cash? Renting? You CAN buy and build wealth!

posted by: Teddi Segal in Uncategorized

So I recently worked with a new client to purchase an awesome home on Auchentoroly Terrace in Reservoir Hill – right along Druid Hill Park.  Amazing location! It’s a cool story…my client’s parents owned a home on Auchentoroly Terrace many, many moons ago that they renovated with their own hands. Their son, now a father himself, decided to follow in their footsteps and invest in his future there.

My client introduced me to a new lender and mortgage broker, Mark Cohen at BB&T.  Mark already had his financing all worked out through the CHIP program.  (Community Homeowership Incentive Program) After our closing, Mark contacted me and invited me to learn more about it… and I am so glad I did.

Here’s it is in a nutshell: First off – you have to look at properties under $424,100.  There is NO Private Mortgage Insurance.  You d0n’t have to be a first-time homebuyer. You can borrow funds for your 3% down (you can literally come to the table with just $500 if it’s orchestrated properly.)  And you can combine and layer this with other grants and incentives. I’m just giving the highlights… but I would say that if you are currently renting in Baltimore you should DEFINITELY look into this. Call me and I can tell you more about it.


posted by: Teddi Segal in Uncategorized

Loans, Grants, and Tax Incentives
What you need to know.

Maryland Mortgage Program Loans

The home must be the homebuyer’s primary residence.
Mortgage loan cannot exceed $525,901.
Conventional, FHA, VA, Refinance, REO, and RHS loans are available through the Maryland Mortgage Program (MMP).
Loans are below market-rate, 30-year fixed, and fully amortizing.
The maximum eligible income for a household of 1 or 2 persons is $107,400.
The maximum eligible income for a household of 3 or more persons is $125,300.
Loans can be used to buy Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) owned homes, also known as Real Estate Owned (REO) homes.
MMP loans, except the Refinance loan, may also be used with one or more downpayment and closing costs assistance programs:
• $5,000 from Downpayment Assistance (DPA, formerly DSELP);
• $2,500 from the Community Partners Incentive Program (CPIP);
Homebuyer must earn their Homeownership Counseling Certificate from a City-approved counseling agency before writing a sales contract.
Homebuyer may not own any other properties, including investment properties, at time of settlement.
This incentive may be used in addition to other incentives.
Homebuyer must use an approved lender.

Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development
(800) 756-0119 ext. 3

Department of Housing and Urban Development 203k Loan

The home must be the homebuyer’s primary residence.
The home may have up to 4 zoned residential units.
The mortgage amount is based on the projected value of the property with the work completed, taking into account the cost of the work.
Homes that have been demolished, or will be razed as part of the rehabilitation work, are eligible provided some of the existing foundation system remains in place.
Luxury items and improvements are not eligible.
All health, safety and energy conservation items must be addressed prior to completing general home improvements.
This incentive may be used in addition to other incentives.
Homebuyer must use an approved lender.

Healthy Neighborhoods Purchase & Rehabilitation Loan

The home must be the homebuyer’s primary residence.
The home may have up to 4 zoned residential units.
Homebuyers can use this loan to purchase and rehab a home or refinance a home on a target block in a designated healthy neighborhood. The loan carries a fixed interest rate that’s always 1% to 4% below the 60-day Fannie Mae rate.
Homebuyers must contribute 3% of the purchase price from their own funds and may borrow the balance of funds needed to buy and renovate the home, up to 110% of the after-rehabilitation appraisal.
No private mortgage insurance is required.
Design assistance from an architectural firm is available at no cost to help buyers plan improvement and review contractor proposals.
Homebuyers interested a Healthy Neighborhoods loan product must fill out a pre-application form. This form will determine what type of loan you would like and the amount you would like to borrow.
A homeowner looking to refinance a home must have occupied it for a minimum of 3 years.
This incentive may be used in addition to other incentives.
Homebuyer must use an approved lender.
Homebuyer must use program-approved contractor for all work.

Healthy Neighborhoods, Inc.
(410) 332-0387

Johns Hopkins Live Near Your Work

If you are an employee at Hopkins, you may be eligible for downpayment and closing cost assistance up to $17,000. The following Healthy Neighborhoods qualify:  Remington, Better Waverly, Waverly, Bayview, Highlandtown, Patterson Park, Ednor Gardens, Charles North, Mount Vernon and Greenmount West.

Baltimore City Employee Homeownership Incentive

Employees of City agencies and quasi-city agencies, who are employed and paid by the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore City, may receive up to a $5,000 toward buying a home.
Homebuyer must be employed and paid by the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore City for minimum of six months.
The home must be the homebuyer’s primary residence.
Homebuyer must invest a minimum of $1,000 from personal resources.
Incentive may be used toward downpayment and closing costs.
Only one City employee per household may receive assistance.
The mortgage loan may not exceed $417,000.
Homebuyer must earn their Homeownership Counseling Certificate from a City-approved counseling agency before writing a sales contract.
Incentive is a five-year forgivable loan (Your balance is forgiven by 20% each year, at the end of five years you no longer have a balance).
This incentive may be used in addition to other incentives.
Incentive appears as a second lien on property until the balance is forgiven or repaid.

Baltimore City Housing
Tanika Owens
(410) 396-4606

Maryland Rehabilitation Tax Credits

The home must be the homebuyer’s primary residence.
Provides a Maryland income tax credit equal to 20% of the qualified capital costs expended in the rehabilitation of certified historic structures.
Homeowners may receive a 5-year tax credit on the additional assessed value of their home due to recent improvements. The credit is 100% of the home improvement assessed value the first year and decreases by 20% for 5 years.
Home improvement tax credits wil not apply to improvements over $100,000.
The home must be owner-occupied at least 6 months a year.
Homeowner must experience an increased value in the assessed value of the property due to the improvements made to the property and provide the necessary proof.
Home must remain in compliance with the Housing Code.
The property tax credit will transfer with ownership.

Homestead Property Tax Credit

This tax credit protects homeowners, regardless of age, income, or property value, from annually spiking tax bills on the home they live in. The home must be the homebuyer’s primary residence.
Check the online State of Maryland Real Property Database, pull up your property, then scroll to the “Homestead Application Information” section at the bottom of the page to check your application status.
You may request your application by emailing hcredit@dat.state.md.us or calling 410.767.2165.
The Homestead Credit caps the increase in taxable assessments each year to a fixed percentage (4% is Baltimore City’s cap) from one year to the next. The homeowner pays no property tax on the market value increase above the 4% cap.

State Department of Assessments and Taxation
(410) 767-2165

Vacant Dwelling Property Tax Credit

The Vacant Dwelling Property Tax Credit was designed to encourage the renovation and reuse of residential vacant properties.
This credit provides 100% relief from city property tax increases in the first taxable year with the credit declining by 20 percentage points each year thereafter.
The property must be occupied by the owner as their principal residence after the rehabilitation.
The home must be the homebuyer’s primary residence.
The home must be residential with no more than four dwelling units.
The credit is applied only to the increased value of the dwelling due to the improvements.
The property must be cited as vacant and abandoned on a housing or building code violation notice for one year; or, have been owned by the Mayor and the City Council for more than one year.
The home needs to have been substantially rehabilitated by the owner, bringing it into compliance with all codes and laws applying to the dwelling.

Baltimore City Bureau of Revenue Collections
(410) 396-3971

Choosing Your Neighborhood – 3 Steps to Success

posted by: Teddi Segal in Uncategorized

We’re all looking for the perfect neighborhood to live in. Take note of these three suggestions to help you dial down to creating a location strategy.  (or what is really important to you.)

  1. Always check out the school zone!
    When checking out a neighborhood, pay attention to what school zone your potential home is in. Doesn’t matter whether or not you have kids…school zones can play a huge factor in the resale value of your home later on. If the school zone isn’t sought after, it can lead to issues when you when you’re ready to sell. Click here for the Baltimore City School Zone locator!
  2. Examine the tax records.
    As a broker, I always give my clients a copy of the tax record and review it with them.  It gives tons of information that can be very helpful in creating an offer strategy. You’ll verify taxes, ground rent, prior sales price, size of the lot, zoning… tons of great data! You will feel prepared and in the know! Click here to search Baltimore City Property Tax records.
  3. Search crime statistics.
    While nearly every city has crime, it’s good to be aware of what’s happening in your neighborhood. Most neighborhoods have community meetings and/or websites and it’s a great idea to attend those too.  Click here to find the district, as a start!

Finally, make a list of what the deal breakers are, and what the negotiable items are.  Then you will really know where you will feel most comfortable investing and living in.


Some Advice for First Time Homebuyers

posted by: Teddi Segal in Uncategorized

The home buying process is exciting and overwhelming all at the same time. As a first-time homebuyer, you probably have the perfect home pictured in your mind and you’re ready to go out and find it. Before you do, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Get pre-approved for your loan before you go out and look at homes. Getting pre-approved will allow you to know how much home you can buy and what you really can afford. That leads to the next tip which is, do not buy more home than you can afford. Just because you may have been approved for a $200,000 home does not mean that you can afford the monthly payments later. Be realistic.

Also, prepare yourself for your offers to be rejected. There are sometimes that your offer will not be accepted right away, and you should mentally prepare yourself for that possibility. Once your offer has been accepted, be sure to not open any new lines of credit or make any major purchases as this can change your ability to get the home.

Urban Farming and Funk

posted by: Teddi Segal in Uncategorized

Literally two of my favorite things.  This, what you see above, is going to take place at Whitelock Community Farm in Reservoir Hill/Baltimore – my new hood – next Sunday October 8th. Not only will Simply Black (sampled above) be in attendance, BUT, there is a Greens and Kugel Cook-Off.  I have entered the Greens Cook-off, so if you’re local, or local-ish, you should pop by. Whitelock Community Farm is a great example of why I decided to relocate to Baltimore. The Farm is at the center of the community and I can’t think of any way better to change the world.

Recycling Dos and Don’ts

posted by: admin in Uncategorized

Reduce, reuse, and recycle. The City of Alexandria started offering a curbside recycling program in 2010. The city offers various bin sizes, different services for homes and condos, and drop-off centers. Various places and cities accept different things, and all the rules make things a bit confusing. Let’s look at a quick rundown of what the Alexandria program accepts before we get into the details. All plastic and glass bottles, jugs, jars, pails, and buckets are accepted. Yes, you can recycle your old mop bucket. But note that this does not include window glass or drinking glasses. The city just asks that you rinse all items out before recycling and leave caps on.

All plastic and glass bottles, jugs, jars, pails, and buckets are accepted. Yes, you can recycle your old mop bucket. But note that this does not include window glass or drinking glasses. The city just asks that you rinse all items out before recycling and leave caps on. Now let’s get to the good stuff. Have you ever seen those random numbers in the middle of the recycling symbols on bottle? Let’s do a quick rundown of what these numbers really mean because it turns out that many cities do not allow various items (such as plastic grocery bags and trash bags).

So… What do those numbers really mean?

Symbol 1: This stands for polyethylene terephthalate (PET). So what does this symbol mean for your blue bins outside? Throw these items in! These items include water bottles, soda bottles, and beer bottles. They also include household items mouthwash bottles, jam and peanut butter jars, bottles of salad dressing, and most plastic oil containers. Does the City of Alexandria accept these items? Yes.

Symbol 2: This symbol stands for high-density polyethylene (HDPE). These items are a little thicker. They include things like juice and milk jugs and shampoo and conditioner bottles. Yogurt and butter containers are also included in this category.

Symbol 3: This symbol stands for PVC/vinyl and includes thicker plastic bottles, like detergent bottles and cooking oil bottles. This also includes food packaging and house siding. The only thing out of here are those bottles, but be sure to rinse them out!

Symbol 4: This symbol represents low-density polyethylene (LDPE), which includes squeezable bottles, shopping bags, dry cleaning bags, and tote bags. The city of Alexandria does not accept plastic bags of any kind, but the plastic bottles are accepted.

Symbol 5: This symbol represents polypropylene (PP). To make it easy, all these items are good to go. PP containers include but are not limited to bottle caps, ketchup containers, some yogurt containers, and straws.

Symbol 6: This symbol represents another kind of plastic (who knew there were so many different types of plastic?). #6 plastics are a no-go for the curbside program.

Symbol 7: This symbol stands for miscellaneous items. This means everything else. Those blue water jugs you saved change in as a kid are #7 plastics. These are not accepted in curbside programs, but you can most likely return them to the company you received them from. They can normally recycle them or at least offer a pick-up service for them.

The City of Alexandria  covers all of the bases.

The city also offers programs for those who aren’t physically capable of bringing their bins to the curb. Anyone who can’t do so can fill out a form here and return it to the address below:   Resource Recovery Division
RE: Walk-Out Service Request
2900B Business Center Drive
Alexandria, VA 22314

Are you and your family recycling fanatics? Do you just need more space? No problem! Call the Solid Waste Division at (703) 746-4410 and request an exchange for your current bin or request an additional one.

Are you new to the area and unsure of when your pick-up day is? Check out this map.

Is now the time to for you buy Alexandria real estate? Schedule a free strategy session with Honey House Homes today.

Where to Shop Now: Top Boutiques in Old Town Alexandria

posted by: admin in Uncategorized


Shopping in Old Town Alexandria is pure joy. Walking down the brick-paved streets, you’ll see neighborhood boutiques ranging from antique to sleek—and always unique. These independently owned shops are the pride of Old Town, giving it a vibe that honors quality and celebrates originality. Wherever you live in Alexandria, make Old Town a frequent stop for finding and expressing your signature style. We promise, you will be dazzled!

Fashion finds from exclusive designs to high-end labels.

Exclusive labels, unique finds, and unparalleled quality—Old Town Alexandria’s apparel boutiques offer all this and more. Take TSALT, for example, where founder and CEO Tamara Saltonstall makes private-label styles which she sells alongside other sophisticated brands that embody her fashion vision. TSALT embraces each unique shopper, offering free alterations and perfectly tailoring the shopping experience to the customer.

Vintage everything head to toe and floor to ceiling.

When talking about vintage hot spots in Alexandria, you have to mention Elinor Coleman’s Vintage Mirage. This boutique is for those who believe that they belong to the glamorous eras of old. Elinor Coleman’s Vintage Mirage carries handcrafted clothing and accessories that reflect beloved styles from the turn of the 20th century to modern times.

If you love antique and estate jewelry (the way we do!) then stop by The Antique Guild, which carries authentic pieces that date back to the Victorian period. Vintage finds in Old Town are not just restricted to clothing, however. At Acme Mid-Century + Modern you will find a delightful and constantly renewed array of vintage and modern furniture to dress your house in unique charm. 

Artisinal foods for every taste.

Get a taste of the full spectrum of fine olive oils and balsamic vinegar at the Olio Tasting Room, which was designed to give each customer a robust tasting experience. Once a favorite is chosen, the patrons will bottle and cork your favorite oil or vinegar in front of you. For the home chef, The Spice & Tea Exchange of Alexandria carries a plethora of hard-to-find spices and teas that will make your next dish bold, flavorful, and aromatic.

Home decor that delivers a statement.

One of the many home decor stops in Alexandria is Red Barn Mercantile, located in the heart of Old Town. This boutique offers almost everything a home needs to look absolutely fabulous like accent pillows, bookends, and Turkish cotton throws. When St. George Gallery opened in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 1991, it was the first art gallery in the city. Proof positive of the unique nature of Old Town’s boutiques? St. George Gallery brought their second location to Old Town. This place is a must for sourcing Ethiopian furniture, textiles, antiques, and accessories.

Is now the time to for you buy Alexandria real estate? Schedule a free strategy session with Honey House Homes today.

Photo by Metro Max is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Honey House Hotspot: Rosemont and Del Ray

posted by: admin in Uncategorized


For homebuyers looking for a residential location in Alexandria within walking distance to the Metro and Old Town, Rosemont and Del Ray are two of the hottest neighborhoods in town. Here’s the Honey House “Need to Know” about living in Rosemont and Del Ray.

It’s all about the location.

First, let’s get oriented with a quick geography lesson.  Get an overview and a map with our Rosemont profile here and our Del Ray profile here. You’ll see that Rosemont …

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