New Digs: Taking the Plunge in Point Breeze



In 2017, Andrew and Michelle felt like they were growing out of their Queen Village apartment, but didn’t want to find another place to rent. When weighing their many options, including purchasing a first home, Andrew said, “If we’re going to live in Philly, let’s just do it.” The impulse to find a more permanent home combined with a good buyers market convinced them that it was the right time to look for a house.


Both landscape architects, Andrew and Michelle agreed on what home design and style would work best for them. Even so, the first-time home buying process involves a lot of work and decision-making. For Andrew and Michelle, the process included getting loan pre-approval and narrowing down their neighborhood.


5 Brick Philadelphia Rowhomes
Point Breeze Rowhomes

Picking Point Breeze


Andrew and Michelle worked with Solo’s Alex Franqui to narrow down their geographic area and price range. They started finding listings in the Point Breeze neighborhood of South Philly: a neighborhood defined as south of Washington Ave. and west of Broad St. Alex drove them to viewings, making sure to park a few blocks away from each house so they could get a feel for the area on foot. The house on Sears St was the last of 8 houses they viewed one weekend.


It was pretty much love-at-first-sight for Michelle. “I loved this house. We didn’t even go upstairs and I’d already knew I liked this house,” she says.


Newly Renovated Rowhome interior in Point Breeze, Philadelphia


They loved the scale and neighborhood feel of the smaller street. The newly renovated 2-bedroom had been used as an AirBnB prior to listing, and neighbors expressed their hope that owner occupants would purchase it.  Andrew and Michelle felt drawn both to the home and the surrounding neighbors.


“Some of the other places we looked at, it felt like a house in a sea of houses. Here, it felt a little bit more like there was a community vibe going on. When we moved in, and started introducing ourselves to the neighbors, everyone was super friendly. Here, you know that people have been living in this neighborhood for generations,” says Andrew.


Moving into a First Home

Now, a year after getting settled into their new home, the couple is glad they chose a home that didn’t need too much fixing up to be livable. Being able to simply start living in a house was a priority the couple, and a helpful focus during the homebuying process. They’ve set up a room for their two adorable kittens, and Andrew is turning the basement into a studio.


Michelle says the biggest shift between being a renter and homeowner is feeling more invested in the neighborhood. There’s a desire to make friends with their neighbors, and to have more permanent relationships with people on their block. “When I start seeing a change in the neighborhood, now I have an opinion about that in a different way,” says Andrew. “There’s something about owning something, you start looking forward to the future differently.”




White Kitchen Cabinets with Marble Countertop and Tile Backsplash


Blocks We Love: 1600 South Broad Street

Ornate yet functional, busy yet often-overlooked, Broad Street is an avenue like no other in our city. One block in South Philadelphia, on the cusp of redevelopment, is a particularly fine example of how the street’s complex past is key to its promising future.


To be sure, the 1600 Block of South Broad Street is neither green nor genteel. Located between Morris and Tasker streets, the rumbling of the Broad Street Line during the day and the throbbing bass of the Dolphin Tavern at night give this street a distinctly urban feel.


But that energy is its strength too – bustling street traffic, easy subway access and the bright daylight that Broad Street’s width offers are notable distinctions in a tightly-packed city with uneven public transit access like ours.


The 1600 block’s best asset though is the street’s beautiful and diverse architecture. Handsome 19th century metal-covered turrets and art deco signage cap a block of chocolate brown townhome, many with intricate leaded windows and other original details. This eclectic mix reflects not only Broad Street’s century-long role as a major commercial corridor (and former well-to-do residential area), but also the incredible designs just waiting to be discovered in this rapidly developing part of South Philadelphia.


Pink homes and retro fonts are some of the little gems of the busy-if-unpolished 1600 block of South Broad.


Does that make the 1600 Block of South Broad a diamond in the rough? Well at just steps away from the thriving eating and shopping scene of Passyunk Avenue, with bigger homes/apartments and lower prices to boot, its no wonder that this stretch of Broad is being reclaimed as a vibrant urban community. In fact, the block evenly straddles the 19145 and 19148 zip codes, two of the hottest in Philadelphia real estate.


As Philadelphians, we’re trained to recognize that a space’s current state may not reflect its historic strength or successful future. The 1600 block then is not only a uniquely handsome part of South Philadelphia’s section of Broad Street, but brims with potential too.