The First-Time Buyer

With the market finally on the mend, we went house-hunting to come up with a list of more than 50 of the region’s best neighborhoods, from Annapolis to Roland Park to Havre de Grace, and then tracked down some of the folks buying there.

By Ken Iglehart and Johanna Anderson Favole. Illustration by Lauren Giordano. Research assistance by Barbara Vinsanto, Realtor Trish Thibeault, and O’Conor & Mooney Realtors - April 2013

Best Places To Live 2013: The First-Time Buyer

With the market finally on the mend, we went house-hunting to come up with a list of more than 50 of the region’s best neighborhoods, from Annapolis to Roland Park to Havre de Grace, and then tracked down some of the folks buying there.

By Ken Iglehart and Johanna Anderson Favole. Illustration by Lauren Giordano. Research assistance by Barbara Vinsanto, Realtor Trish Thibeault, and O’Conor & Mooney Realtors - April 2013

-Photo by David Colwell

Upper Fells Point - When Jess Parker started working in sales at Under Armour five years ago, she did what comes naturally to 22-year-olds—she ganged up with some girlfriends to rent a place in Federal Hill. But five-plus years of communal living got the Baltimore County native and Clemson University grad thinking about buying.

“I was really kind of interested in owning a house from an investment standpoint,” says Parker, who is unmarried and now works in sports marketing for Under Armour. “I love being in the city—there’s always fun things going on, so I started looking around Federal Hill and Locust Point.”

The hipness factor, though, put most of the homes out of her financial reach. “It was my Realtor at O’Conor & Mooney who convinced me to start looking instead in Upper Fells Point, where values were a little better, and where a lot of my friends had ended up anyway.” And, sure enough, she found an affordable little townhouse there that she loved, which she closed on last fall.

It’s close enough to work that she often zips home for lunch to walk her golden retriever, Izzy. And she’s enlisted a favorite former roommate to help pay the mortgage by renting a room to her.

But it wasn’t all about investing her money wisely: “I feel like I always wanted a place I could call my own, where I could do fun stuff, and decorate, and so on,” says Parker. “I got a lot more for my money in Fells versus Federal Hill, and the parking is easier, too. We used to have to hunt down spots in Federal Hill—it was the luck of the draw. It was definitely the right move.”


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