Sunday, July 6, 2008

Coming to Hopkins and looking for a place!?

Buz has learned that this is the season, and many people are coming to work and train at Johns Hopkins. Since he has dealt with a few poignant cases of people unknowingly renting in real bad areas, for them, I have some observations which might be helpful for the neophyte Baltimoron (that's what some of us modest residents call ourselves, hon.):

Johns Hopkins actually has three main campuses in Baltimore, not counting its subsidiary, the Peabody Conservatory of Music.
```there's the main undergraduate campus in North Baltimore at "Homewood", adjacent to Charles Village, Hampden, and Guilford.
```several miles away to the east, are the famous Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, including the hospital, medical school, school of nursing, school of Public Health, and the Kennedy Krieger Institute.
```several miles east of that is the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, near the southeast city line and Greektown, Brewer's Hill and not too far from Canton and Eastpoint.

Your renting or relocation options differ significantly depending on which campus you are working or learning at. And your position and working hours are big factors, too. If you are being hired as a doctor or nurse or faculty member/researcher, you might want or need different living arrangements than if you were a student, post-doc, doing an internship, or a patient.

The area around the main hospital (JHMI) is complicated for living arrangements. Basically, living due east, north, or west of the hospital complex is not recommended for professional people who are from out of town who don't know their way around. 

Some good rental choices can be found in Fells Point, Upper Fells Point, Canton, and Butcher's Hill around Patterson Park. Canton is generally too far to walk, though. If you don't feel like living in a cramped rowhouse apartment in Fells Point (and most of them are, as well as pricey for what you get), you may want to try the Thames Point Apartments, right in Fells Point, but off the beaten path by the Eastern end of Thames Street. You're close to everything, but away from the noise and bars, though they're just a short walk away, along with a good coffee house and great views of the harbor all around. This building has a straight shot up Wolfe Street to the Medical complex.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Some things to check if you're new to Baltimore

If you're coming here "cold" and are looking around for a place to rent, here's some tips to get you started in looking for a comfortable area.(this is not an all-inclusive list by any means).

  • Look for the guys and gals hanging on the corner. Never a good sign. They know who comes and goes and when. 
  • Ask your prospective landlord if they accept Section 8. If they do, be sure you're comfortable with that.
  • Look for trash in the stairwells and on the property.
  • Does your landlord or property manager live on site. Always a good sign if they do.
  • Does the property look rundown, with a lot of deferred maintenance. Not a good sign (but it probably makes it cheap).
  • In general, the more rent you pay for a property, the better quality of life and amenities and apartment you can get.
  • Take your time, pick three different areas of interest, and visit at least 2, no more than 4 properties in each. (If you pick too many in a day, they all start to run together after a while).