If you want to live in Howard County, one of Maryland's fastest-growing jurisdictions, where it's competitive — and can be pricey — to buy a home, consider attending the 7th Annual Come Home to Howard County Housing Fair.
The fair is expected to have more than 1,000 attendees and dozens of real estate professionals on hand for group and individual education sessions about buying and renting. The free event, sponsored by the Howard County government, is scheduled for Saturday, April 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Long Reach High School in Columbia.
Last year, education sessions ranged from the basics of working with a real estate agent to using a Federal Housing Administration loan to purchase and renovate a property. This year's sessions will be announced on the Howard County Housing department's website at howardcountyhousing.com.
In addition to seminars, credit counselors will be on hand to offer free credit reports and mortgage guidance. Plus, there will be bus tours of new home communities in Howard, with properties both for lease and purchase.
The fair's most exciting event is a lottery where two pre-qualified attendees will be selected for the chance to buy a new home in the county at a reduced price.
Lisa Barcase, the 2011 lottery winner told The Howard County Times at last year's fair, where she drew the names of the 2012 winners, that winning the lottery was "definitely a life-changer." Barcase was able to buy a four-bedroom, 3.5-bath Columbia townhouse through the lottery.
One of this year's lottery properties is a three-bedroom, two-bath ranch-style home in the Deep Run Park community of Elkridge. It will be constructed soon, according to Howard County Housing, and will be available to the lottery winner for $125,000.
The second lottery home is a three-bedroom, 2.5-bath new townhouse in Ryan Home's Ellicott Crossing community in Ellicott City. The sale price to the lottery winner will be $221,000.
Each home requires a separate application. Lottery applications can be found on Howard County Housing's website and must be submitted to the agency by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 10.
"The Come Home to Howard County Housing Fair is an ideal place for individuals and families who want to make their home in Howard County," said Tom Carbo, Howard County housing director. "There's no other event where you can get everything you need to know about finding a home in Howard County in one location. Combined with the Housing Lottery, it's always an exciting, educational and inspiring day."