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I'll talk to a Pole, a Greek or an Irishman

Real Estate Agent with CBRB/zippy

I'm so out-going that I'll talk to a Pole. If your eyes are blinking, I'll start a conversation. It's easy to suggest that buyers canvas a neighborhood on their own to check it out, go in the evening, go on the weekend, and wander around, so there are no surprises, good or bad, after they move in. Sounds easy, yet hardly anyone does it.

As a Referral Agent, I'm on the alert for potential buyers because I want to do what I love and am good at: behind the scenes tours of Baltimore, and still get referral fees.  Last week Judith,who lives in Baltimore, asked me to take her friends, Chris & David, visiting from San Francisco, on a Baltimore tour.  Their interests: great architecture, exciting interiors and row houses of note. That's an easy tour to do, I just called some friends and asked for a favor. It was music to my ears to hear Chris & David discussing how their furniture would look in one of the houses I took them to.

I write little essays after my tours and send them out as come-ons to people who are thinking about doing a tour. As I wrote this one, I realized how helpful it is for buyers to learn about Baltimore history on one of my tours, learn about neighborhoods before buying a house or condo, and learn how to canvas an area.  Let's see if you agree with me. 

 Chris, David & Judith had an absolutely terrific time on my tour today. I
took them into 3 private homes, to see gorgeous collections, marvelous
interior design, great stories of renovation of old row houses of Federal
and Victorian era. It really was an eye-opening day for them. They were
impressed by Baltimore brick, stone foundations, tin ceilings, gardens,
marble steps, superb architectural details, gargoyles, and much much more.  I must tell you that I had pre-arranged to go into 2 homes.  The third home  came up just by accident, a case of Ser-en-ZIP-ity.  I was examining someone's white marble steps and the door to the house opened. Rather than do what is expected and apologize, I began a zippy chat with the home owner  and in less than a minute he said: "Would you like to see my house?" Caveat: we had to take off our shoes as all the carpets were just shampooed. Well, from the glass elevator --that I rode in-- to the miniature train tracks on the roof!!! My oh My oh My, what a house!! I have simply run out of words........

Chris, David & Judith can't figure out how do private individuals open their homes to me!  After all, these are not tourist attractions.  The Visitor Center does not send people here. How come I know all these local people? How come they thank me for coming?  I've heard this so many times in the last 24 years.. I don't know where the magic comes from.  I tell people this is WHAT I DO!!

I explained Baltimore's role in the Civil War, and showed them Beast
Butler's house.
I taught the history and origin of the row house.
And explained WHO were the people responsible for the inner harbor's
I took them for a genuine malt at the oldest soda fountain still intact in
the USA.

Judith lives in the city, and could not believe what she heard and saw today.  Chris & David are here for the first time, and said: their
friends in San Francisco believe there is nothing to see or do in Baltimore.
Boy, oh Boy, did I change their minds. Now there will be calls from San Francisco......   Zip  
Zippy Larson
Winner, Best tours of Baltimore 2005, CITY PAPER
Member, Advisory Council, Baltimore City Historical Society
Member, Advisory Council, Garrett-Jacobs Mansion
Winner, Best tour guide 1989, BALTIMORE Magazine
410 - 522 - 7334
410 - 446 - 8074
Nobody knows Baltimore like I do. If you are a Buyer
looking to buy in Baltimore, I'll take you on a
no-pressure search to see the city. You'll learn what
realtors don't discuss and find out the history that most
people who live here don't know. And you'll have fun!
What a unique service!



Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Zippy,It is so good to see you blogging here on Active Rain. You are amazing with your tremendous knowledge of Baltimore. It shows by the comments you get from the people who take your tours. I think you were in the house that Michael Phelps bought and  we would love to hear your description.

Keep up the zip, Zippy!

Aug 26, 2008 10:18 AM
Zippy Larson
CBRB/zippy - Baltimore, MD

Hi Margaret. Yes, I was inside the house here in Phelps Point, Baltimore, Maryland.  A week ago, my neighborhood was called Fell's Point, and now.......it's famous for a new and well-known resident.  It was the foot of Broadway when I was growing up, and even as late as the 1980's, Polish people and merchant seamen walked the cobblestone streets near piers where the tug boats docked. I even recall the old ship chandlery on the Broadway pier and a tin shack called Connolly's with no atmosphere at all where you could get a seafood meal and hob nob with tug boat mates over a beer. 

When the city proposed a highway that would obliterate every house, bar, pier and warehouse, it took decades to defeat the plan, and during that time, the area soured as a place to live. Property values plummeted! Banks red-lined the area all the way down to the waterfront. Who would buy a house that was going to be taken for a highway? Nowhere to go but up. And up it went. I paid $125,000 for my little house in 1998. Michael Phelps paid $1,700,000 for his, but on my! what a house he got. It's the corner of a group of ten houses that were built a few years ago, supposedly for empty nesters but at over 4000 feet, the developer didn't realize that down-sizing meant less house, not more.  So they sat, unloved.

I've tracked just about every development on the Baltimore waterfront, and have been on more hard hat tours than I can count.  I have 2 hard hats in my car. I've signed releases, including one I signed that said I was aware I might die, but I went in anyway. Research is very important to a historian! And I like to see soap factories, can companies and tobacco warehouses BEFORE they are turned into condos.  I like to walk the earth near old piers before they are paved for parking.

It wasn't until about 2 months ago that I went into one of the ten that turned out to be Michael's house, and boy oh boy was I a believer. It's 4 stories tall with a deck, and designed so that most all the rooms have a view.  I found myself deciding where to put my office.  I wanted the kitchen counters lowered because I'm barely 5 feet tall. I did not want to leave that house. At supper with 2 friends who came with me that day, we talked about which of the luxury condos we liked and I voted for Michael's.

I'm still in my little 1840's house but walk most days past Michael's knowing he probably had those counters and kitchen cabinets custom-designed for HIS height.  Oh well!  Michael and I don't have to cook. With 65 beer wine and liquor licenses in the neighborhood, and more restaurants than you can shake a stick at, we can find food and friends just around the corner. 




Aug 26, 2008 12:58 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Zippy, I love this and think it would make a really good blog .... not just a comment. More people would like to read this!

Aug 26, 2008 01:27 PM
Zippy Larson
CBRB/zippy - Baltimore, MD


I don't know the difference between a blog and a comment. If you want to tell me how to put the Michael Phelps story on a blog, I will try to do it.  If you would do it for me, that would be terrific.

I'd also like to know how to get this typing to be larger. 


Aug 26, 2008 01:45 PM
Lorraine Rovig

You wrote: "Research is very important to a historian! And I like to see soap factories, can companies and tobacco warehouses BEFORE they are turned into condos.  I like to walk the earth near old piers before they are paved for parking."

Dear Zippy,

Come back sometime and I'll show you a storeroom here that still has in view the original iron "pillers holding up the room since the Victorians built our place as a the first umbrella factory in the United States back in 1906 or so.  If we can get John Cheadle of our staff to find time to talk, he has the most amazing knowledge of this place--history and structural elements.  Also we have an amazing floor "core" sample that shows so well "they don't build them like they used to."

Lorraine Rovig, National Federation of the Blind (You were just here with Jerry.) 10-10-2010



Oct 08, 2010 08:16 AM