My perspective changes on Catonsville each time I visit. It is one place that I can’t really nail ‘the vibe’ but I’m constantly drawn back here. My first encounter was for a friend’s wedding in 2014, while I was still living on the West Coast. Guys, I thought it was Baltimore. I thought Maryland was only Baltimore really. It seemed so urban to me, concrete, power lines everywhere, busy streets and no Target. People took buses to work and lived above store fronts on Frederick Rd. This was labeled ‘city’. On the contrary, though, when you approach Catonsville from Baltimore proper, as I did this morning, it will overwhelm you with how lush, and green, and simply cozy it is here. I feel like a hundred years ago, this place was the oasis escape for those needing a breather from the bustling city. The people scream ‘progressive and fun’ whilst the architecture is encapsulated in a space in time passed. Learning that this is relatively true to the actual history of the city only added to it’s charm for me. Time travel with me as I tell you a little story about how Catonsville and I became acquainted.
Circa Spring 2015. ‘Life is Great in 21228!’, a bumper sticker on I-695 . A passing moment of wondering what that was about and unmoved by it I sat in the standstill that is I-695 anytime between 3-7pm. Much to my surprise -possible Déjà vu- two additional bumper stickers with the catchy slogan caught my eye. I saw one after the other. The zip code of Catonsville is 21228, but why would anyone put that on their car? It’s like a tattoo for your vehicle, a level of commitment I’ve never seen to a zip code (except 90210 of course). My conclusion: citizens of this town were marketing for their home value. G E N I U S. Of course, I googled about Catonsville community events and searched through IG by location to see what it was all about, I HAD TO KNOW!!! By advertising this exclusive code, they hoped people clearly understood that they live here and that you should want to live here too. People want exclusive and people pay for exclusive, this is brilliant. Ok CVille, you have my attention…
Circa Summer 2016. I scored my first listing as a rookie agent. Being new at anything is challenging, I was finally getting the hang of buyer’s agent responsibilities and now I found myself at square one in the 21228. Listing a property, you are charged with the immense duty of the sale of a home- not just the ‘house’, truly the home. When you represent someone buying a home, they do not have nearly the same level of emotional investment: no birthdays have been shared in the home nor baby’s first steps nor prom photos. Selling something with the fragrance of a memory can be very particular. How can you even quantify the value numerically?
Well, let me tell you, with this entire listing scenario I. struck. gold. My mentor gave me the tip to drop off the sign panel so the guys could put it on for me once the post went in the ground. He made a passing comment that it would give me an extra day of marketing by leaving the sign against the garage in plain sight. Easy peasy: ‘For Sale’ sign with my contact information laid against the door, waved to the mailman and I went on my way. Within the hour I got a nervous call from my seller that someone was at their front door trying to see it. The MRIS didn’t have it listed yet, what do we do!? This was not the sort of bump I anticipated. My people let the interested party in and I had an above asking price offer by 7pm (I’m fairly certain they wrote it in the driveway). Not only that, three additional offers above asking came in. Guys, my first listing.
Like something out of a Bond movie, Mr. Mailman had called this real estate agent in Ocean City! She had him keeping tabs on the exclusive neighborhood for one of her buyer’s who was adamant about the location in CATONSVILLE.
Catonsville is a perfect blend of all the home styles I love: a 1930’s Cape Cod mixed with row homes each boasting a brightly colored dutch door, all alongside the eight bedroom 1915 Georgian Mansion, fully restored. Nothing is basic here, life really is great in 21228. This Summer they are back to hosting Frederick Road Fridays where you can stop by my favorite Catonsville business: Atwater’s. With the warmer weather Atwater’s is buzzing as they prepare for the packed season of 11 weekly farmers markets. (click that link- you’re welcome)
TWO WORDS: Lavender Latte. OLE! There are six cafe locations for you to enjoy, but don’t let that fool you , this is as local and seasonal as you can get. I’ve never had something mediocre here, and with many vegan options I never feel mediocre leaving. Fresh and filling, plain and simple. Among the many locations you have their industrial city kitchen along with a farm located on the grounds of The Samaritan Women property, a local non-profit organization that will blow your mind with their mission. Want to talk about full circle? The wedding I went to in 2014 that I mentioned at the very beginning, was celebrated on this very plot of land.
So….you scrolled to the bottom just to get a synopsis
- Catonsville is NOT Baltimore, it is not limited to the label of city or suburb. It is one of one and ‘basic’ in no way, shape or form.
- Listing a home is a different ball game than buying it. Having an empathetic agent sell your home is beyond important!
- When buying a home, make sure you take a look at community events. Don’t just google, find someone who lives there, or knows someone who lives there. Go to their coffee shops and take in your new neighbors. Walk a mile in their shoes and see if you like the fit.
- How do you present your community to others? Are you proud of where you’re from? Do you know the beauty in your own backyard?
- Atwater’s has a locally sourced menu full of delicious seasonal treats including my favorite: lavender latte.
- The Samaritan Women is a local non-profit organization worth discovering. They are combating the issue of domestic human trafficking that is entirely too common in our local area. This organization is small, but mighty. Take a moment and lend your support.