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The Walters Art Museum is part of Free Fall Baltimore Event

September 30, 2009 by  
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The Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum, located in Baltimore, Maryland’s Mount Vernon neighborhood, is a public art museum founded in 1934. The museum’s collection was amassed substantially by two men, William Thompson Walters (1819-1894), who began serious collecting when he moved to Paris at the outbreak of the American Civil War, and Henry Walters (1848–1931), who refined the collection and rehoused it in a palazzo building on Charles Street which opened in 1909. Upon his death, Henry Walters bequeathed the collection of over 22,000 works and the original Charles Street palazzo building to the city of Baltimore, “for the benefit of the public.” The collection touches masterworks of ancient Egypt, Greek sculpture and Roman sarcophagi, medieval ivories, illuminated manuscripts, Renaissance bronzes, Old Master and 19th-century paintings, Chinese ceramics and bronzes, and Art Deco jewelry.

Source: Wikipedia

The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts has created the Free Fall Baltimore Event. Throughout the month of October the following Museums and Arts venues are offering specific performances, events, workshops, and exhibits for free:

  • AMERICAN VISIONARY ART MUSEUM/BASHI ROSE
  • BALTIMORE & OHIO RAILROAD MUSEUM
  • BALTIMORE MUSEUM OF ART
  • BALTIMORE MUSEUM OF INDUSTRY
  • CONTEMPORARY MUSEUM
  • HOMEWOOD MUSEUM
  • MARYLAND INSTITUTE COLLEGE OF ART
  • REGINALD F. LEWIS MUSEUM OF MARYLAND AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY & CULTURE
  • SCHOOL 33 ART CENTER
  • THE WALTERS ART MUSEUM

Space is limited for some of these events. Advanced registration may be needed.

Today I’ll highlight a little more about what is happening at The Walters Art Museum.

The Walters Art Museum is located at 600 North Charles Street in Baltimore City. Since 2006, the permanent collection has been free admission. The featured exhibitions require admission, or a museum membership. During this event the following is free as well:

Lectures, Concerts, Exhibits, Family Festivals and Mysterious Evenings
Lunch and Learn–Tiny Treasures with Great Power
Bring your lunch to the Graham Auditorium & hear Ben. C. Tilghman, Zanvyl Krieger Curatorial Fellow, Manuscripts & Rare Books, discuss “miniature art” in conjunction with The Walters exhibition: Shrunken Treasures: Miniaturization in Books and Art.
Thur Oct 1 12:15pm-1:15pm
Pre-registration recommended

The Red Cedar Trio
Award-winning Iowa-based chamber ensemble performs a program of new music inspired by Roman artworks
Sun Oct 4 2pm
Pre-registration recommended

Ignite Baltimore
Only 16 People can speak for five minutes on any topic using 20 slides. Come join the fun! To be selected, visit www.ignitebaltimore.com
Thur Oct 22 7pm-11pm

Opening Day Talk – Heroes: Mortals and Myths in Ancient Greece
Introduction by Sabine Albersmeier, Associate Curator of Ancient Art, The Walters Art Museum
Sun Oct 11 2pm
Pre-registration recommended

First Fridays at The Walters
Every First Friday from 5:30pm-8:30pm
Visit www.thewalters.org for specific details

Master of the Macabre: A Night at the Museum with Edgar Allan Poe
A mysterious evening of gothic music, Poe readings, and explorations of the Walters’ Chamber of Wonders.
Fri Oct 2 5:30pm-8:30pm

October Drop-In Art Activities: Bump in the Night
Bring the family in for a month of celebrating Edgar Allen Poe through art. Create illustrated Poe stories, nighttime creature sculptures, moonlit silhouette shadow boxes and some of the critters you might find in the Walters’ collection.
Every Sat & Sun in Oct 10am – 3pm

Free Family Festival of Champions
Discover your inner superheroes and explore famous characters from ancient Greece to modern times. Celebrate local Baltimore heroes and create artwork honoring champions. Enjoy imaginary journeys with storytellers, musicians and theater groups.
Sat, Oct 24 10am-4pm

Heroes Weekend Walk-in Tours
Sun Oct 25 2pm


Photo Credit: Vox Efx.

How do you buy a house that needs repairs before a bank will lend money?

September 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured

Home Repairs Needed

Most people can’t pay cash for a home, even if it is a discounted foreclosure property. That means you need a loan. But, banks don’t want to lend on a home that is not livable. So does that mean you can’t buy distressed properties? Are the deals off limits?

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has a loan program just for this situation. It is called a 203(k) loan. These loans are designed to help improve homes and neighborhoods. However the process is quite involved. You need many expensive professionals to help you through the process. You will need plans approved. The money is released as the work progresses and you meet project milestones. It is a process designed for large projects.

For many the red tape is daunting. FHA later realized there was a need for a simpler process. They developed the Streamlined 203(k) program. It won’t work for all projects. There are loan limits, and the scope of the work is limited. It is the 203(k) but simpler. You are limited to $35,000 in repairs. But for many of the homes out there that is enough money to complete the project. The biggest issue is the repairs can’t be structural or involve termite damage and stay within the Streamlined program. For that you will need the full 203(k) loan and process.

Here is what FHA says about the Streamlined 203(k) loan program:

What improvements are eligible under the new Streamlined (k) program?

The Streamlined (k) program is intended to facilitate uncomplicated rehabilitation and/or improvements to a home for which plans, consultants, engineers and/or architects are not required. The Streamlined (k) program includes the discretionary improvements and/or repairs shown below:

  • Repair/Replacement of roofs, gutters and downspouts
  • Repair/Replacement/upgrade of existing HVAC systems
  • Repair/Replacement/upgrade of plumbing and electrical systems
  • Repair/Replacement of flooring
  • Minor remodeling, such as kitchens, which does not involve structural repairs
  • Painting, both exterior and interior
  • Weatherization, including storm windows and doors, insulation, weather stripping, etc.
  • Purchase and installation of appliances, including free-standing ranges, refrigerators, washers/dryers, dishwashers and microwave ovens
  • Accessibility improvements for persons with disabilities
  • Lead-based paint stabilization or abatement of lead-based paint hazards
  • Repair/replace/add exterior decks, patios, porches
  • Basement finishing and remodeling, which does not involve structural repairs
  • Basement waterproofing
  • Window and door replacements and exterior wall re-siding
  • Septic system and/or well repair or replacement

What are the minimum and maximum amounts for repair costs under this program?

Given the need for homeowners to make minor repairs without exhausting personal savings, and in consideration of the increasing cost of materials, the minimum repair cost of $5,000 is eliminated and the ceiling is now raised to $35,000. This revised maximum repair/rehabilitation amount recognizes the cost of making older homes more energy efficient. Note that as described below, when the repairs exceed $15,000, the mortgagee must perform or obtain an inspection to determine that all listed repairs were completed.

If you are interested in homes that will require repairs, then keep this program in mind.

The likely process for streamlined is

  1. Get loan pre-approval with a lender that does 203(k) loans
  2. Search for bank owned homes with our free and easy online search engine
  3. We go together to see in person the homes that interest you
  4. Once you have narrowed your search to a house you might pursue you need to figure out how many dollars of repairs it will take
  5. Make an offer with FHA disclosures and 203(k) indicated
  6. Offer accepted
  7. Contractor quote
  8. Appraisal
  9. Loan process
  10. Home purchase closing
  11. Contractor begins work
  12. First payment to contractor made
  13. Repairs completed
  14. Final inspection
  15. Final payment to contractor made

Take the next step. Contact us for lenders that do 203(k) loans and get pre-approved.

Here is the full document from FHA that documents the program:

Ask for help setting up an automatic home search

September 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Quick

Robot Pillows

A great feature of this website is the automatic home search. You can set this up yourself, or ask us for help. Here is a sample of what I will ask you to get started. This is based on a real email I’ve sent, with the details changed to protect my visitors privacy.

Hello,

I received your request today for help setting up the search robot. I
would be glad to help.

I will need some information to make this useful. We can start off
general, and make the search more specific as we learn more about what
you are looking for in a house.

The home you mention is in Reisterstown. Do you want to limit to
Reisterstown, or cover a larger area? We can center around a location,
like your place of work. We can center on Reisterstown, but zoom out
for a larger area. So first question: What area to search?

The home you were looking at started at $425,000 and has dropped to
$395,000. So question number two: What price range are you looking in?

This home is a detached home. Condos and townhomes are other choices.
So third question: Limit to detached homes?

This home is 3 bedrooms with 2 and a half baths. Is this the minimum
to search for? Fourth question: How many bedrooms and baths?

This home is on a quarter acre of ground. We don’t have to limit this,
but if you like we can find only homes with a certain amount of
ground. Do you want a lawn, or less grounds to care for?

That is good for a start. I will take your answers and setup an
automatic search. Every time a home that meets your criteria comes on
the market, you will get an email. It is a great way to keep a low key
home search on simmer. When something catches your eye, or if you are
ready to look in earnest, we can show you the homes. We arrange
private tours of the homes you choose. Some homes look much better
than their pictures. Seeing the homes in person is one of the exciting
parts of home shopping.

Thanks for stopping by my site at www.HelpShop.com. I hope my
questions put you on the right track for your home search.

In the meantime, I realize you are currently in the information
gathering stage, and may not be ready to “open up” about who you are,
or what your needs are at this time. Be assured this is perfectly
okay, and that Maggie and I will completely respect your online
privacy.

Also, keep in mind that my ability to help you is dependent upon
understanding your particular needs and wants with respect to finding
a home. So when you are ready to explore your real estate needs
further, I will be happy to assist you.

Have a great day, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Peter

Peter Baumbach, Realtor
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.
Graduate Realtor Institute
peter@helpshop.com
www.HelpShop.com
410-317-7662 (Direct)
410-795-9600 (General Office Line)

Take the next step and send me an email.

Photo credit, Jelene Morris.

Water found on the Moon.

September 25, 2009 by  
Filed under Quick

Water On Moon

NASA – Water Detected at High Latitudes on the Moon

NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper, an instrument on the Indian Space Research Organization’s Chandrayaan-1 mission, took this image of Earth’s moon. It is a three-color composite of reflected near-infrared radiation from the sun, and illustrates the extent to which different materials are mapped across the side of the moon that faces Earth.

Small amounts of water were detected on the surface of the moon at various locations. This image illustrates their distribution at high latitudes toward the poles.

Blue shows the signature of water, green shows the brightness of the surface as measured by reflected infrared radiation from the sun and red shows an iron-bearing mineral called pyroxene.

“Buy land—they’re not making any more of it” might not strictly be true anymore. We just added beach front on the Moon as an option.

Image Credit: ISRO/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Brown Univ./USGS

Baltimore Humane Society has a dog walk hike event every Wednesday

September 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Quick

I'm Emily. Adopt me at the Baltimore Humane Society.

I'm Emily. Adopt me at the Baltimore Humane Society.

Every Wednesday, the Baltimore Humane Society hosts a hike. The animal shelter is fortunate to have a beautiful property with many acres in Baltimore County off of Nicodemus Road. The hike is longer during the summer months, but you do get a nice tour of the grounds. The clever part, is on the hike you are provided with a dog for a walk. If you have your own dog, you can bring him instead. Maggie and I went today. We were given dogs that know each other, so we could walk together. Otherwise, you are asked to keep five feet or so away from other dogs. I ended up practicing my calm assertive energy that I learned about on the Dog Whisperer TV show, and walked Suzanne. Suzanne is a cute adult Jack Russell Terrier. I think she enjoyed the walk.

Before you start, there is a registration form for first timers. While waiting for everyone to sign up, and the event to begin, Maggie and I visited the cat shelter. The cats aren’t taken on walks, and miss out on this great advertising. Many dogs end up getting adopted from these walks. The event itself is not that large. I make it sound huge, but there was about 20 people. Our former vet is now the Humane Society vet, and she was telling us that the dogs are quickly adopted. The cats however are at capacity. Maggie and I can tell you that we saw many cute kitties we would like to take home. We do however already have six of our own. Giles is our alpha cat, and we would have to get his permission first.

Whether you prefer dogs, cats, or both, there is something great about sharing a home with pets. Unfortunately renters are faced with the extra difficulty of finding a home that accepts pets. Many pets end up in the shelters because someone wasn’t allowed to keep them in their home. As Realtors, a common request is to help someone find a suitable rental that will accept a dog. Certain breeds make it extra difficult to get approved. We will gladly try and find you a place. However, when you own your own home, you get to decide who is family. It is one of the great empowering parts of the American Dream. Your own home with your loving family that includes pets. We will gladly help you with that too.

Find out about the hike at https://www.baltimorehumane.org/hike-rsvp.

Find out the story of the stray cats and dogs, with pictures, at https://www.baltimorehumane.org/adopt-a-cat/available-cats and https://www.baltimorehumane.org/adopt-a-dog/available-dogs.

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