February 1, 2019 - Event Recap
Winter Trolley Tour started off on a cold Saturday morning that warmed up as cheerful guests streamed in through the doors of Henderson-Hopkins School in East Baltimore.
More than 450 people attended the Trolley Tour on Saturday, Jan. 26 to learn about buying a Baltimore City home, meet with exhibitors in the City Living Fair and tour Baltimore neighborhoods. While some people showed up to begin their homebuying journey, others were there to apply for one of 30 Buying Into Baltimore $5,000 incentives that are awarded upon completing the event.
Nickole Scroggins volunteered as a tour guide for the first time to share her love of Baltimore City. Her bus stopped at open houses in the Patterson Park neighborhood and Oldham Crossing in Greektown. “It was fun and the attendees on my bus were really engaged,” Scroggins said. “We had a lot of questions and a lot of jokes.”
Tours began from the media center at Henderson-Hopkins School where guests eagerly awaited to board buses where drivers, narrators and real estate experts were ready to show off the city. Once on the bus, it was time to set off to tour neighborhoods in East and Southeast Baltimore and see a few open houses with facts and trivia thrown in along the way.
With 278 neighborhoods to explore, Trolley Tours are a chance for Live Baltimore to showcase a sliver of the city that homebuyers may not be familiar with. This time the tour highlighted Eager Park, Milton-Montford, Patterson Park, Butcher's Hill, Highlandtown, Washington Hill, Greektown and Brewer's Hill.
SPREADING THE WORD
Henderson-Hopkins Operations Manager JD Merrill said he had many conversations with grandparents and parents about the offerings at the school. Merrill staffed a table within the event’s City Living Fair. The fair gave potential buyers the opportunity to connect with real estate agents, lenders, new neighbors, community groups and other homebuying resources, including learning more about Henderson-Hopkins.
“Families love the building,” Merrill said. “They’re telling us this is the quality of building every kid should have access to, and we’re having a lot of good conversations about getting them into our tuition-free public school.”
Cross Street Partners Marketing Director Jo Stallings said the event was steadily busy and a great chance for the real estate company to talk to people about one of their newest projects, Henderson Crossing.
The company, which specializes in adaptive reuse, is part of a team developing a residential project across from the Henderson-Hopkins School. Fifty-one vacant houses and 10 vacant lots between Ashland Avenue, North Collington Street, North Patterson Park Avenue and East Madison Street will be fully renovated with parking pads and options for finished basements or rooftop decks.
“I’m enthused by all the excitement and how people are so interested in our product and what everyone else has to offer,” Stallings said.
WORKING IT OUT
Darren Thacker, who attended the Trolley Tour while staying with family in Pennsylvania, said he was impressed by the turnout of homebuyers who were looking to live in the city. Thacker, 30, said he was particularly interested in the workshops that were offered.
“When you’re trying to go for the incentive you’ve done a lot of stuff that’s being covered so we went to the workshops that will help us in the future — Home Maintenance and Home Inspections.”
Thacker and his wife, Sydney, are originally from Tennessee and settled on Baltimore City because of its affordability, vibe and the possibility of maintaining a one-car lifestyle.
“In Glenham-Belhar we can get the yard for our two dogs or future kids, but it’s also walkable to the store, restaurants and bars,” said Thacker, who plans to take a bus to his office in Downtown Baltimore.
“There are a couple of parks nearby. The neighborhood is eclectic and diverse along incomes and ethnically.”
Attendees come to the Trolley Tour at all stages of their homebuying journey, from just getting started to being ready to put an offer in on a home the same day. Workshops are beneficial for all guests who want to learn all about the various topics related to homeownership.
Jasmine Salters and Gary Doyle heard about the event through the Baltimore City Police Department and plan to purchase a home in Oldham Crossing, which was one of the stops on the Trolley Tour. As they headed into a workshop on homebuying incentives, the two said they enjoyed getting to know the area around their future neighborhood a little more but were hoping the workshop might let them in on some additional incentives they have not yet uncovered.
Meanwhile, Donnell McNair also said he enjoyed the home maintenance workshop the most. Though he’s familiar with fixing the small things, he said it will be helpful to know what to expect when he moves into the home he hopes to purchase in Waverly.
“It’s good to know about that stuff,” he said. “So when you run into issues you know exactly what to do.”
The next Trolley Tour is scheduled for May 11 at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.