Last year, when her bachelor uncle died, Sharon McIntire found herself the owner of one more house than she needed. The northeast Baltimore house was one she knew well, and it was full of memories. “My grandparents bought it during the Depression, and my mother and my uncle grew up in that house. My uncle was about 4 years old when they moved in and he lived there for more than 8o years. He loved that house,” she said. “I wanted someone to enjoy the house as he did.” She, however, had a house of her own. She considered the alternatives: give it to her grown children to fix up, auction it, sell to a real estate investor. None of the choices felt right. Then she hit upon another idea: Why not donate it to a nonprofit housing group? While driving one day, Sharon had seen a sign in front of a renovated home that identified St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center. She gave St. Ambrose a call to ask if they would be interested in a house. David Sann, Director of Housing Development, looked at the house and saw a win-win situation. St. Ambrose would acquire a house that it could renovate and sell, increasing its value and helping stabilize its neighborhood. The proceeds from the sale will generate income St. Ambrose can use to renovate more homes, and Sharon gets to deduct the sale price as a charitable deduction.
“We rarely accept offers of houses,” he said, “because typically people want to donate what they can’t sell. But this house was different. It needed work, but it had value.” Sharon has visited the house several times to see the renovation in progress. “My husband and I want to come by when it’s done to see how it looks.” She believes donating the house was the right way to honor her uncle’s memory. “My uncle would have liked that,” she says. “He was a very generous man, who gave to everyone who asked him for help. I think he’d be happy to know we gave it so that some other people will get to enjoy it.”