Trolley Tour FAQs

Please read carefully through these frequently asked questions. Their answers include important information related to the Trolley Tour and its related incentive.

Q: What is the purpose of a Trolley Tour event?

The purpose of a Trolley Tour event is threefold:

  • To educate homebuyers and connect them with real estate professionals who are knowledgeable about Baltimore City
  • To show off Baltimore City neighborhoods and their many amenities
  • To make homebuyers eligible for a $5,000 down payment and closing cost incentive from Baltimore City’s Department of Housing and Community Development

Q: I don’t care about the $5,000 incentive. Should I still attend the event?

Yes! Events are not just for those interested in the $5,000 incentive. Attend the event if:

  • You want to learn about the homebuying process.
  • You’re looking for a lender, real estate agent, or other homebuying professional.
  • You want to learn more about Baltimore City and explore its neighborhoods.
  • You are interested in information about other city incentives, like Vacants to Value.
  • You hope to use an incentive sometime in the future.

Q: What are my chances of receiving an incentive?

Incentives are awarded by lottery. The odds of receiving an incentive vary based on the number of applications submitted following each event. Past applicants have had about a 50% chance of receiving an incentive.

Q: Do I have to earn my Homeownership Counseling Certificate before I attend a Trolley Tour event?

No. Homebuyers who have not yet received their Homeownership Counseling Certificate are welcome to attend Trolley Tour events. However, please be aware that you must earn a Homeownership Counseling Certificate from a City-approved agency in order to be eligible for the related $5,000 incentive. Because the number of these awards is limited for each event, Live Baltimore recommends that you complete counseling prior to the event date if you intend to apply for the incentive.

Q: How many incentive awards are available through each event?

Twenty homebuyers from each Trolley Tour event may receive the Buying Into Baltimore incentive. Incentive money is not awarded at events. Tickets, redeemable for an incentive application, are distributed at each event. Attendees must complete an incentive application for the $5,000.

Incentives are available on an annual basis from Baltimore City’s Office of Homeownership.

Q: When can I put a contract of sale on the home I wish to purchase, using the $5,000 incentive?

You may not enter into a contract of sale on the home you wish to purchase using the $5,000 incentive until the day of the Trolley Tour event. This means, do not make an offer on your target property until after you have attended the event. There is a 10-business-day time frame from the day of the event in which homebuyers must secure a ratified contract of sale on qualifying properties. A limited number of homebuyers who successfully complete and submit their incentive paperwork will be drawn from a pool of eligible applicants and subsequently receive the incentive.

Q: How are $5,000 incentives awarded, following an event?

Twenty Buying Into Baltimore incentives are awarded by lottery following each Trolley Tour event. To apply visit and follow the steps to submit your application.

Lottery winners will be chosen from a pool of all eligible applicants at 3 p.m. on the 10th business day following each Trolley Tour event (usually a Friday, with the exception of holidays). Winners will be notified through the contact method indicated on their incentive application immediately following the drawing.

Incentive money is distributed at settlement. Please note, your chances of winning depend on the number of eligible applicants and vary by event. Also note that one contract equals one entry; meaning two people buying a home together will not be entered into the lottery twice. To increase chances of receiving an award, Live Baltimore recommends that homebuyers complete homeownership counseling, obtain a mortgage loan pre-qualification, and meet with a real estate agent prior to the event date.

Attendees can then devote the days following the event to finding a home and obtaining a ratified contract of sale.

Reminder: Contracts of sale (on properties eligible for the incentive) may not be written until after the Trolley Tour event.

Q: How do I apply for the incentive after the Trolley Tour event?

Visit for the full details and steps on how to apply for the incentive.

Q: I have a house for sale. Can it be included on a tour?

  • Live Baltimore begins reviewing homes six to eight weeks prior to each event.
  • Real estate agents may email their MLS listings to Homes must be listed on the Metropolitan Regional Information Systems (MRIS) in order to be considered.
  • Only homes in Baltimore City will be considered.
  • Live Baltimore cannot make guarantees that homes will be included on our tours.
  • Live Baltimore visits homes to determine which properties will be selected.
  • Homes to be featured tours will not be disclosed to the public until the day of the event.

Please Note: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Fall 2021 Trolley Tour will not feature open house stops.

Q: How can I volunteer at an incentive event?

We are always looking for city-loving volunteers to assist with our events. Contact us today to be put in touch with our volunteer coordinator.

Q: Do I have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend the event?

Vaccination among participants is strongly encouraged. Proof of vaccination status is required to take a bus tour. This may be provided in two ways: an original or copy of your vaccine card OR a Maryland-certified vaccine certificate from MyIR.

Q: What is your mask policy?

Masks are required in all areas of the event, both indoors and outdoors.

Q: How can I find out more about the event?

Contact Live Baltimore at or (410) 637-3750 x112.

Q: How can I find out more about the incentive?

Read more about the incentive here or contact the Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development’s Office of Homeownership at (410) 396-3124.