Swarthmore’s Hometown Advantages
“There’s a definite trend of people returning to Swarthmore … So many people come back,” said Swarthmore native and longtime area real estate professional Perri Evanson, an Associate Broker with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach Realtors in Media.
Evanson, a 1978 graduate of Swarthmore High School, attended Denison University, and was graduated in 1982 with a degree in English. Over the next ten years she held copywriting and account management positions with various Philadelphia-area advertising agencies, eventually landing as an account executive with a firm that specialized in marketing for builders. She transitioned to a successful career in real estate, serving Swarthmore and the surrounding area, which she has pursued for the last 25 years.
“I came back to Swarthmore in 1991 after my son’s birth; then my daughter came along, and we settled here to raise a family,” said Evanson. “Both of my brothers and my parents returned as well.”
That’s not unusual in Swarthmore. In fact, Perri said, “It’s not uncommon for me to represent someone I attended high school with as their agent.”
Evanson noted that Swarthmore’s appeal is strong and fundamental, not just for former residents, but among boomers and millennials alike as they compare communities. “I am seeing a lot of younger people who have lived for years in the city when they were single, but now that they are starting to raise a family they are looking for suburban lifestyle. …walkability…a back yard…pets... There are a lot of people from Philadelphia who want to live in Swarthmore,” said Evanson. “It’s a great location, with easy commutes into Philadelphia and Wilmington.”
Evanson also cited a national trend in buyer preferences when they are choosing a home. “Many are looking for more character in a home, rather than a formulaic development approach. It used to be that everything was gray and white, with granite counter tops. Buyers today often prefer a unique older home that is updated.”
Many older adults are deferring retirement community living and opting to downsize to a walkable town that features easily available dining, entertainment and cultural amenities, Evanson explained. The borough offers such opportunities, and the presence of Swarthmore College brings ever more choices, as well as walks through the miles of natural beauty and gardens that is the Scott Arboretum of the college campus.
The July 3 issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance agrees, naming Swarthmore as one of “12 Smart Places to Retire.” Front and center in the report is the presence of “one of the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges — that opens its doors to the community for concerts, lectures, sporting events and more.” The review also cites the short train ride to the cultural opportunities of Philadelphia. For many natives and newcomers, Swarthmore represents the ideal hometown.