Welcome to Fishtown

A crazy thing happened on Dec. 2. I closed on my first home, quite an end to a decade of transition from childhood to adulthood. Something worthy enough to update a bit on.

I’m in the heart of the Fishtown neighborhood of the riverward section of Philadelphia, once a place exclusively for working-class (white) families that has the hipster and artistic communities now that often lead to gentrifying. It’s two El stops, a 15-minute bicycle ride or a 40-minute walk from Old City, full of Dietz and Watson delis, modest rowhomes and pickup trucks with ladders. Now I’m there, too.

Continue reading Welcome to Fishtown

Leaving Frankford

Frankford Terminal, taken in 1918, before the construction of the Frankford El. Obtained from the Philadelphia City Archives. Courtesy of Wikipedia.
Frankford Terminal, taken in 1918, before the construction of the Frankford El. Obtained from the Philadelphia City Archives. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Updated h/t

He was an ogre of man, slimy, rat-toothed and overbearing, with day old five o’clock shadow and a crunch of black hair falling out of a sun-weathered red trucker hat.

This man, maybe 45, was propped up on the aged bar of Quinn’s Irish Pub II, a neighborhood drinking establishment with so colorful a stable of regulars that they made this second one just up Frankford Avenue here in Philadelphia from the first. It was passed closing time, the lights were low and the rumble of the adjacently-running elevated train dutifully making its way back home to the Frankford terminal ended hours ago.

The bar maid, fair-skinned, with light-brown hair in a pony tail and a stain or two on a white t-shirt, had taken a seat and served another round on the house. She, the man, two other patrons, a buddy and I had fallen into a conversation of seeming interest to all those involved.

What do you do with Frankford?

Continue reading Leaving Frankford

I'm buying a house and looking for help


Update August 31 @ 2:24 p.m.: I was pre-approved but for far less than expected, just $100,000, though I do have some savings that I could put to a larger down-payment. That said, some of my priorities have to be changed. Broadly speaking, I’m looking for a home that is selling at or not far beyond $100,000, is livable but could use real work. Some of my specific interests, though, are below.

Sometime next week, I’m told, I’ll be pre-approved for an FHA-backed mortgage through PNC Bank.

I hope to write about the process here a bit, particularly from the take of a self-employed young person, so it has relevance.

But to start,I’m beginning a more serious hunt for real estate in Philadelphia — a likely, but not certain decision to buy my first home in the 215.

I don’t have an agent. On the advice of a friend who plans to take the real estate exam next month, I’m starting by sharing what I want in that purchase and looking a bit on my own using powerful Web searches.

If I pick a neighborhood on which I am certain and come across an agent I trust who has some experience in that ‘hood, perhaps that’s someone who could represent me.

I’m a young, pre-approved first-time home buyer who is currently renting month-to-month and serious about for what I’m looking. I’m told I’m someone an agent might like to work with. While my pre-approval limit hasn’t yet been fed my way, it will likely be below $200,000, though I’ll be bargain hunting for something well below that.

Below, I share just what it is I want and will take any help or advice I can get.

Continue reading I'm buying a house and looking for help