Home & Living

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.

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

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.”