Baltimore real estate for creative professionals is a topic near and dear to me, for when I am not selling real estate I spend my time in the art world. This means my network is filled with artists, curators, critics, gallerists, collectors, professors, film makers, architects, and designers.
Creative professionals make excellent homeowners.
Beyond the old standard of artists gentrifying a neighborhood, creative professionals of my generation are in search of live / work spaces. This new urbanism is directly tied to our post-recession economy and the connectivity of an online world.
Jack Pierson "Paradise Lights" 1996, Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami
The process of acquiring Baltimore City real estate can be daunting. We have three designated arts and entertainment districts all of which operate under a separate authority. As an artist, purchasing property in these districts affords opportunities for substantial tax savings on both real estate and on income derived from the sale of art work made in these districts.
The Station North Arts and Entertainment District is located in midtown
Ha! Highlandtown Arts District is located on the eastside
Bromo Tower Arts and Entertainment District is located on the westside
Copy Cat building in Baltimore's Station North Arts District, photo by Paul Burk
For most creative professionals, the best financial position for obtaining a live / work space in Baltimore City is seeking a space that will allow owner occupied residential financing. Interest rates on residential loans are significantly lower than commercial loans.
But lets say you are looking for a property that allows flex space. Perhaps even space that you can lease out for income purposes? The rule of thumb is that you'll be seeking a mixed use residential property that has a maximum of four units or less - and you'll want to occupy one of the units as your primary residence.
My clients do not want to merely look at residential housing options. Baltimore is filled with old buildings that flourish in a live / work scenario including; office buildings, funeral homes, churches, and corner bodegas. In most cases you could not build the property for the price you are paying so it makes sense to see what's available to be re-purposed. Pursuing these properties requires a sense of adventure. Bring a flashlight. Be prepared to engage the office of city planning as well as the zoning office.
Before you fall head over heels in love with a dilapidated building, it may make sense to start small. If you are paying over $1200 rent per month in Baltimore City, you can purchase a home in many up-and-coming neighborhoods that will allow you to sign up for mortgage payments that are significantly less than rent. It may not be your dream home, but it is a great start. As a creative professional you'll be able to renovate and upgrade that house into a property that you can trade up for your next purchase - all while enjoying the benefits of being a homeowner.
In the game of Monopoly you need to first buy little green houses before you can obtain red hotels. The same principal applies here.
Let's talk money. There are a number of grants and incentives available to creative professionals who wish to purchase real estate in Baltimore City. My favorites include; Healthy Neighborhoods, live-near-your-work (LNYW), and Vacants to Value. To purchase real estate you'll need a minimum of $1,000 available for a down payment - but maybe not too much more than that. Most of these incentives require you to take a counseling class. This class can be taken online or in person at an approved city agency. You must complete the class prior to submitting a contract.
In the last year I've had several clients work with me who were uncertain if they'd be able to qualify for financing. Beyond that they were uncertain whether or not they'd find a home that they'd love within their price range. I'm here to tell you that you should 100% give it a shot. Don't let the fear of the unknown keep you from taking this step. Work with an agent who supports your vision.
The best aspect of working with creative professionals is their aesthetic sensibility. No matter what neighborhood we're sourcing, my clients are in search of a space that will lend itself to a cohesive design.
An ordinary afternoon of Baltimore City property previews for a creative professional could include a wide variety of real estate. We may be considering using renovation loans on foreclosure properties, owner financing on office buildings, FHA loans on turn-key properties, and conventional loans on new construction. From ruin porn, to historic properties, to factory lofts, my creative clients don't just shop by bedroom + bathroom count.
In addition to my Baltimore based client base, I've been working with micro developers and creative professionals from New York and Washington DC that are considering the benefits of purchasing Baltimore real estate. The State of Maryland working with the City of Baltimore has taken the steps to create arts districts. The next step is for private individuals and businesses to harness the benefits by locating their homes and their operations within the city.
Baltimore Real Estate for Creative Professionals
Broker / Owner Guerilla Realty and
Vice President Tranzon Fox Auctions
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