Tuesday, October 5, 2010

renting in Baltimore

Well, we have gotten great tenants: a Ph.D. student in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Hopkins-with an emphasis on biomedical engineering; a recent Hopkins grad, who's going to Yoga School, and an Opera Singer, who's going to be working on her Master's at Peabody.

And our house in Hampden is centrally located for each of them.

Again, the smart Hopkins students choose Hampden, and find good roommates/housemates to live together in a house for a fraction of the rent they'd pay in an apartment.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The kids Teaching for America are coming!

Buz and his darling wife are losing our tenant of 2 years at our lovely house on w. 34th Street in Hampden, hon. She and her daughters have been great and we'll miss having them there, alas, especially the garden and the piano.

So, we put our house on Craigslist and got two wonderful young ladies to look at it. We learned that they are in the Teach for America program, and are moving to Baltimore to teach for two years in inner city schools. However, they chose another Hampden house over ours. We also learned that 200 of them are coming to Baltimore once they finish their student teaching/training this summer at Philadelphia, Houston and other places.

Wow! 200!

We sincerely wish these highly educated, highly motivated young people well.

And since they'll be needing a nice and reasonable, centrally located place to live, we thought we'd put in a shameless plug for our house on 34th Street in Hampden--just down the street from Rocket to Venus (not that any of these teachers ever drink, but...), and the "Miracle on 34th Street" (some, even atheists, can enjoy the lights and good cheer of the season). It is also just a couple of blocks from the main drag, the Avenue, the neighborhood's funky, charming, and quirky business district.

Hampden and Medfield are centrally located so a TFA person can be assured the drive to more than 95% of the city's public schools is not an arduous ordeal. And it is close to TFAs Baltimore headquarters at Miller's Court in Charles Village. Besides, being centrally located, Hampden is relatively low in street crime, walkable, has all services nearby, and is close to the Hopkins Homewood campus for those interested in grad school options. It has now a bit of the feel of Brooklyn, New York--a mix of hipsters, working folks, retirees, young professionals, students, and yes, even a few yuppies and college profs. Come give us a look!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

places near Hopkins Homewood

Buz just the other day ran into a young man who is moving to Baltimore, taking a research scientist position at Hopkins on the Homewood campus--and will be working at the Space Telescope Science Institute. We gave him some free relocation consulting advice as he searches for a place for himself, wife and one-year-old: look north and west of the campus, not south and east. Sorry, folks who live elsewhere: I wish it was different, but that's how it is.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Buz just got a report on Hopkins House!

Just spoke to one of my long-time readers of my other blog, buzoncrime.blogspot.com. He told me that after several years of living in crime-ridden, always-look-over-your-shoulder Charles Village, he decided to leave his greedy, inept, and deferred-maintenance landlord (like many are there), and rent in Hopkins House. (I know, that's a run-on sentence). It's right across the street from the Broadview next to Wyman Park and basically across the street from Hopkins Homewood campus.
Though I've been in there several times with clients, none have actually rented there, and I thought it was perhaps 95% students.
My informant tells me that it's only maybe 60% students, and many of those are graduate students, who have their noses in their demanding school work. He says that he got a good deal in the 2+ years he lived there with his wife and their newborn baby. He had no problems with the place, and they spent a lot of time sitting out on their balcony. Though the walls are thin, his neighbors on the 9th floor were very quiet and respectful. When he had some maintenance problems, the staff often were there in less than an hour. He said the desk and the staff can be kinda gruff, but some of these young people think they were living in a 4-star hotel, with all the entitlements due their soon-to-be rich station in life. He said he didn't really have a problem: he spoke politely, simply stated the problem, and did not demand now.
Anyway, that's good to hear. The place is certainly situated in a good location and has many stunning views from its apartments. The rent is reasonable, but parking your car in the garage is pricey: Buz would park nearby along University in Roland Park or in Wyman Park and walk, but then I'm a cheapskate. Thanks, Jaimetab, for the info on your experience, and welcome to Hampden!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Broadview is kinda nice!

Buz has taken a couple of clients relocating to Baltimore around, who were interested in North Baltimore, and had occasion to look at apartments in the Broadview, one of several high-rise buildings near the Hopkins Homewood campus on the border of Roland Park and Tuscany-Canterbury. And though I had been by the place many times, I'd never actually been in it before.
I was really surprised how nice and neat and well-laid out the apartments were, and how quiet the hallways were, even on a Saturday afternoon--two Saturdays in a row. But the two apartments we were shown, both under a $1000 a month, really had good views, one with a 3rd floor right angle window so you have a view on your side out a window as well as straight ahead.
And they had a nice little fitness room, and a really nice resident lounge, along with a easy connection to a restaurant/bar. In the lounge an Asian gal was playing the piano, a guy was watching a football game, and another guy was shooting some pool. There were books for free borrowing, board games, and lots of nice easy chairs and reading lamps. Truly, one would never get to be lonely in the Broadview. And they have someone on the door 24/7 also--a rarity in these days of cutting costs. We stopped an older guy, and, as I am often in the habit on my rental finding tours, asked him an open-ended question: how do you like living here? He said: "I love it! I've lived here for 20 years, left town for 3 years, came back, and have been here the last couple years. Love it!" Well, sir, nuff said.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

relocation tidbits

Buz has had a pretty busy August and September with relocation jobs, and has found a lot of interesting places along with his clients who are moving to Baltimore---
  • We've been really impressed by the newly renovated Falls Road Apartments, in a little court just off the 4200 block of Falls Road in the neighborhood of Medfield, just north of 41st street border with Hampden. (A lot of people think this is Hampden). Wow! What a deal. Now, nothing special, but you can get a nice, clean, never-lived-in-since-renovated apartment, all new appliances and systems, bright, freshly-painted, and airy; in a relatively low crime area of the city, centrally located; for one bedroom at $795/month. People moving to Baltimore are voting with their feet: you see cars from many states in the parking lot. No amenities: no gym, no pool, no biz center/concierge BS. But you get free parking on their lot, and access to their small laundry room ( 3 sets of washer/driers). You want all the exercise stuff you can pay for it yourself: Meadowbrook is up the street a bit, along with Whole Foods. And a city police officer lives here too. To top it all off, the leasing agent is moving here next week.
  • I am really depressed, on the other hand, at how poorly privately-owned properties show, when compared to professionally-managed. Like, can't you, if you're a landlord make the place look nice and presentable and livable before you put an ad on Craigslist? Most can't. The places in Charles Village show especially poorly; but I guess the landlords there are so used to sucking from the Johns Hopkins trough, and charging high rents for their deferred maintenance, they have little incentive to worry about making the place they're renting look nice.
  • The smart Hopkins kids moving off campus look for a decent place in Hampden.
  • A recent Goucher grad just moved into a whole house, shared with several girl friends in Hampden; she told me that she doesn't worry about the Charles Village crime anymore.
  • Many apartments are now adding fees on to the rent, so watch your bottom line, if it's important to you: they're charging for water, sewer, trash removal, amenities, public areas, and making you share the gas and electric bill with others. Makes me uneasy.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Can a black gal move to Hampden without singing the blues?

Buz recently had as a client for relocation a pretty African-American professional woman who was moving to Baltimore in order to be a program person for Teach for America. We spent seven-and-a-half hours looking at apartments in her price range, that were in the city. She would be working in city schools, and though there were some nice apartments in Owings Mills, she really wanted to live in the city.

But Buz was left with a conundrum: several areas/price range, and availability were in Hampden, with the kind of housing she was looking for. But I didn't really want to show her apartments where, if living there, she would feel uncomfortable, or worse case: where she may feel unsafe.

We know Hampden is changing, and for most young professionals, race is irrelevant. But Hampden has had a long history, shall we say, of being unwelcome for black people.

So, we ended up looking a one place there, a kinda neat, funky, "loft". And then we looked at a rowhouse apartment, but it wasn't ready. But I ventured into the area with her with a certain amount of trepidation.