guerilla / realty passes $50 million milestone
BALTIMORE — With 239 properties sold and climbing, guerilla realty has cleared $50 million in sales. This is a major milestone passed just three months shy of our 5 year anniversary.
With sales ranging from starter homes, to architecturally significant luxury residences, to live/work spaces for artists, guerilla is an independent agency that has reached this benchmark mainly through local transactions – which isn’t just good news for us, but also for Baltimore. In a city seeking revitalization, the success of small businesses is crucial. And when those businesses are directly involved in encouraging homeownership, the positive implications of success are two-fold.
“For me this means we’ve proven ourselves as a new brokerage or to say it another way, we’re no longer a start-up,” says founder and broker Rachel Rabinowitz. “We are becoming a Baltimore tradition.”
While guerilla / realty has listed homes in excess of $6 million and has expertise on unconventional mixed-use and commercial properties, a significant portion of our business is based on serving first-time homebuyers. For these clients, guerilla agents have sought to demystify the process and make it transparent and accessible through one-on-one information sessions and group seminars.
“We work to do unto others as we’d have done unto ourselves,” Rabinowitz said, noting that being able to establish a company culture in keeping with these values is part of why she decided to start her own independent practice. “We are local, unique, and not part of a franchise. We’ve never billed our agents or clients with extra fees. We’ve never sold our client list to anyone, and we always vet the lenders we recommend for their work ethic and integrity.”
In addition to offering education and transparency to clients, the company also has agents expert on securing the many grants and incentives available in the area. In one instance, guerilla realty agent Tomeka Givens was able to secure an astounding $68,000 in grants and incentives for a buyer. Though this isn’t a typical experience, Givens says that there is more money available to help with homeownership than many people realize.
“With the exception of the B-HIP (Baltimore Homeownership Incentive Program), most are income based. The less money you make the more you qualify for,” says Givens, who was appointed the 2019 Vice Chair of the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors Equal Opportunities Committee. “These programs have gotten a lot of people into homes that otherwise wouldn’t be able to.”
Going beyond residential, guerilla / realty has helped many artists and creative professionals secure not just homes – but entire buildings. To this end, guerilla has run seminars aimed at artists and creative professionals looking for live/work spaces in the city. At the last “I Want to Buy a Building” talk, Rabinowitz said the turnout was surprisingly large – with over 300 attendees, necessitating people be turned away at the door.
Mixed-use buildings, art-deco houses, one-of-a-kind structures – guerilla has represented it all!
“We hit a nerve with that event and discovered that there is an appetite for unconventional buildings,” she said, noting that it even inspired a former employee, Amelia Spziech, to purchase a building that houses the well-known Springsteen Gallery that she co-founded and directs.
“Unconventional properties tend to have less competition, as the buyer pool is smaller, and may have options for owner financing, as the same families may have owned many of the properties for decades,” said agent David Tomasko, who was one of guerilla’s founding agents alongside Rabinowitz.
Yet another way guerilla realty works to empower buyers to get into more exciting and interesting properties than they otherwise could, is by working with lenders experienced at facilitating renovation loans such as an FHA 203(K) loan that allows homebuyers to wrap their renovation costs into their mortgage.
Have a home with distinctive design elements or architectural significance? guerilla / realty has the know-how and network to find buyers that appreciate the details.
For guerilla clients looking to turn a storefront, old church, or other unconventional building into a home or mixed-use space, this combination of loan and grant expertise can make the difference between an idea staying an idea and allowing a dream to become a reality.
In addition to helping clients navigate the financial and transactional aspects of such renovations, guerilla also is uniquely positioned with hands on experience in evaluating a building’s potential — as guerilla’s offices are also home to their sister companies guerilla construction and guerilla development.
Having successfully developed The Courtyard at 3400 Roland Avenue, a nine-unit apartment building with a large central courtyard in Hampden, guerilla development is now looking to the future with a six story mixed use building planned for a nearby Falls Road site. Additionally, under the banner “guerilla homes”, we are also working to develop architect designed residences that will offer clients something well beyond the cookie cutter experience of most new construction – one design already under development with local architects East Wing is mid-century inspired with large open spaces and floor to ceiling windows.
Meanwhile, guerilla construction is at work all across Baltimore doing some of the most interesting residential renovation projects and full-gut rehabs in the city – one of the most recent being a complete transformation of the ground floor space at 106 E Preston, which boasts the towering mural of “Hairspray” star Divine on its outer wall.
Put together, the variety of expertise at guerilla realty and its sister companies mean more opportunities for clients – and therefore more opportunities for Baltimore to continue its efforts in reinvigorating neighborhoods and sustaining positive change for all residents.
Guerilla Realty has represented properties in Baltimore County, Anne Arundel, Howard, Prince George’s, Charles, Montgomery and Calvert Counties. They were voted #2 “Best Real Estate Company” in the 2017 Baltimore City Paper readers poll. Guerilla Realty and half its agents were also nominated in the 2018 Style Magazine Readers Choice Awards. Guerilla properties have been featured in Baltimore Magazine, Washingtonian, Baltimore Style, The Baltimore Sun, WBAL TV, The Washington Post, and a number of design blogs.
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