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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.
Mail your small business questions to Savvy Solutions, BLACK ENTERPRISE130 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10011or send an e-mail to email@example.com.