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January 2017
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January 16, 2017

Crap I know about Real Estate  in Center City-Insider Tips and Clues

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:25 pm
I am generalizing here but you’ll get my drift…
1) When a couple get into my car- the quiet one in the backseat is usually the one making the decisions. The one in the front seat just thinks he or she is doing so.
2) I like to look for listings that say “corporate addendum” attached. This usually means the condo is owned by a non-emotional third party who is generally more motivated to sell.
3) Some of the best deals are the condos that have been on the market for a long time with continual price drops. Might signal a fatigued seller.
4) When a buyer says to me “I have to see the condo today” or “I have to buy a condo by tomorrow” – usually these are non buyers and rarely ever turn out to be a real buyer.
5) If you think that getting a mortgage from a bank where you hold a savings or checking account is a bonus- it isn’t. Ever.
6) Wall art does not magically levitate on a wall. Yes there will be nail holes in the wall when you move in. It’s just logical to assume.
7) Within a specific building, condo fees are based on the square footage. But that same square footage in any other building will result in different condo fees.
8) Most sellers don’t need to be at settlement. Most buyers do.
9) You almost always have to pay 2 months into the condo pot when you buy. You don’t get that back when you sell.
10) The old real estate saying “buyers are liars” is usually not the case. More often they just don’t know their options in terms of what is available to buy.
11) I like to look for listings that are with specific agents in town- the ones who primarily work with foreclosures and Relo properties.
12) I put up with a lot of sh*t in my job. You being late for an appointment is not one of them 🙂
All is well that ends well. The middle part of the transaction may suck but the end result is the goal. In a month from now, you will forget what a pain in the ass this transaction has been for you. I promise.

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January 9, 2017

10 Misconceptions About Our Center City Condo Market

Some buyers know it all. Good for them. For the rest of you…here is what you may not know:
1) Two bedroom units are a better investment than a one bedroom-
Unless you live at the beach and plan on having guests every weekend. Otherwise, I don’t see that argument holding much water.
2) That unit comes with deeded parking-
Not always. Usually a parking license that gives you the right to park, but you don’t have a separate tax bill.
3) Those are hard wood floors-
Or maybe they are laminate, or a composite, or a soft wood like pine. Though it may make no difference to anyone, many floors are called hardwood but actually are not.
4) I can rent my unit out anytime I choose-
Not unless the condo docs say otherwise. Read your docs.
5) A higher floor always means a higher value-
In older buildings, I think the guiding light of value is not floor height, rather interior condition. Though a high floor has never hurt value.
6) A friend told me to stay away from that building-
It is hard to turn a deaf ear to a friend. But sometimes doing your own homework and asking questions can be an equally good idea.
7) I will walk everywhere when I move into town-
That’s great. But few will walk from say Naval Sq. to The Ritz movies in Old City. Of course you will walk more. Walk everywhere? Doubt it…Get the Uber app on your cell phone and be done with it.
8) I need three full bedrooms-
 Most buyers can do with two beds and a den. Think about that as the number of three bedroom condos under say $1m is exceedingly limited.
9) I am going to find a condo where I don’t have to pay condo fees-
Good luck with that. Elevators don’t run on magic fairy dust and doormen do not work for free. Fees are a reflection of what the building offers and how much it costs to operate.
10) I need to have gas cooking-
I sold a condo to a sous chef from Le Bec Fin back in the day. He bought a condo with an electric stove. He said it didn’t matter…rather a huge misconception with the part time home chefs. Sorry.

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January 5, 2017

Center City One Condominiums at 1326 Spruce St. – Some updated info!

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 12:40 pm

A Great Value! With 182 individual condominium units, and 86 deeded parking spots, Center City One Condominiums have a great reputation for being a solid Philadelphia real estate buy. A mix of studio, one, and two bedroom units, Center City One condos near the center of Philadelphia, at Broad and Spruce Streets, have great views – either offering wonderful city views, or wonderfully bright, sun-drenched southern views. These Washington Square West condos are located in the 19107 zip code, and all units at Center City One are flats- no loft condo units at 1326 Spruce exist. We find many Philly real estate buyers delighted with what they can buy for their money at Center City One.

As a veteran Philly real estate agent who specializes in condo sales, I hear a lot of feedback that the building has a strong on-site management team, an active condo association, and of course liberal pet policies.  Parking, and the building’s close proximity to Avenue of the Arts really allow this building to “fire on all cylinders”.  All condos at 1326 Spruce have their own HVAC systems.

Center City One condos hold some of the best values in town, and the two bed/two bath 1209 sq ft units have the BEST floor plan in town for city living. The owners association updated all hallways, the lobby, and elevators in 2013…and did a great job. In 2016, the exterior of the building was pointed and power washed. The balconies were painted and the wood rails were stained. Also, many of the owners have purchased upgraded windows and balcony doors. Exterior lighting in the garage and under the portico was replaced with LED fixtures, making the building more energy efficient.

When units become available for sale, prices can fluctuate and are generally contingent upon views and interior condition. You may find some original condition condos at great prices, but expect to pay a premium for some of the stunningly upgraded condos in the building- though I think either are a strong value. If I had millions of dollars, I would probably spend most of them inside this building if I wanted to make money. The location and floor plan are tough to beat.

Mark Wade
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors

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January 3, 2017

BPS- Big Purchase Syndrome

When normal everyday people board 
the crazy train…
    Listen- I get it. Buying a condo can easily cause BPS (big purchase syndrome). Normal everyday people can go a little nuts over small bumps in the road or small wrinkles that inevitably come down the pike when buying a home. And catching BPS crosses all lines- whether you are buying a small little one bedroom condo or a large penthouse. Happens to many buyers of all ages and sizes regardless of the price range or experience of the buyer.
   I don’t judge people when they board the crazy train in a real estate transaction. Sh*t happens and BPS is more common than one might think. And it happens to me every time I buy or sell a condo. It just does.
So don’t feel bad if you call me out on some silly detail or freak out over a little bump in the road. I understand that buying a condo has much more to do with emotions and feelings than actually owning a condo in Center City.
Almost all of my favorite buyers go bat-sh*t crazy at least once during a deal. It is part and parcel. The true crazies here are the folks who can and do take everything in stride 🙂

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December 5, 2016

Is An Energy Audit Right For Your Condo Association?

student_visa_checklistThe strength of any condo association in town is usually a reflection of how much money they have in the kitty and it is the responsibility of EVERY condo association to cut costs wherever waste is identified. There is a company in town who has been doing audits for some larger buildings around town and helping them assess their energy needs and areas for efficiency improvements.
  No Capital outlay
  Lower operating costs; now and in the future
  Make long term energy efficient building improvements
  Lower maintenance cost by replacing aging equipment
  Improve resident and guest experience
  Utility company Cash Incentives available in many states
Tony Lepre may be able to help your condo association save money:
email Tony Lepre at

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November 8, 2016

Additional Crap I know about Real Estate in Center City That You Probably Don’t :-)

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:35 am

1) The Philadelphian at 2401 Pennsylvania Ave. is the largest condo building in the state of PA. Over 700 units. Very cool mid-century feel to the place.


2) Buyers AND Sellers often nit-pick themselves right out of a deal. They focus on minute details and the other party gets fatigued and the deal falls apart.  Most deals fall apart over the SMALLEST details and usually based upon emotion and not $$.

3) Buyers usually don’t buy the bricks and mortar. They buy feelings and emotions. (See #2 above).

4) I encourage buyers to bring family members on a tour of condos. But not friends. Family members support and encourage. Friends are the ultimate deal killer who bad mouth EVERY condo we see- almost always.

5) I do not believe that expiring tax abatements on any given condo building equates to lower future values. I have watched many buildings with expired abatements and I haven’t seen a correlation.

6) Like automobiles, popular condo units (when first offered/built) have a tendency to remain popular units throughout their life span. Like all the “01” units at The Murano or the “G” units at Society Hill Towers.

7) Condo fees are like a person’s age. They go up nominally almost every year. It is a fact of life…it just is.

8) Waterfront Sq. at 901 N. Penn just got their Energy Star Rating- To earn the ENERGY STAR, the apartments in a new multifamily building must be built to meet strict guidelines for energy efficiency set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. An apartment unit that has earned the ENERGY STAR label has undergone a rigorous process of third-party testing and verification to ensure it delivers better quality, comfort, and value.

9) When I settle on a property, that buyer or seller is out of my life for the foreseeable future. This often is a letdown as I have grown to know my clients and I won’t get to continue to interact with them.

10) Sloppy offers usually garner sloppy responses. If you want your offer to be presented in the best light, then dot your i’s and cross your t’s. And that often means getting a pre-qual from the lender that the LISTING AGENT knows best. This can easily remove doubt as to your qualification for a mortgage.

11) No, you can’t bring your dog on our tour of condos. I love dogs. I love my dog too, but you won’t see her on our tour. Leave your dog at home. Seriously.

12) Every home inspector says you need a pan under your washer/dryer. If there is not one there now, then you most likely aren’t getting one. This is the #1 thing on any inspection report that I cannot successfully negotiate for you. (If there is not drain, then a pan will do you no good and very few buildings have drains under their W/D units).

13) Mortgage companies torture everyone equally. You will not be able to circumvent this fact EVEN if you are super-duper rich or if you have an existing account with your lender. Trust me. I know.

14) More and more high rise buildings are not renewing their FHA approvals. Not sure why- but the Reef building at Waterfront Sq. just did so.

Mark Wade
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors ~ 215.521.1523

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November 3, 2016

Ten Pitfalls to Avoid when buying a Center City Condominium…

Filed under: For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:24 am


Being a veteran Center City Realtor (26 years), I often see buyers making some repeated mistakes.  At least in my opinion, I use the word mistakes.

Here are some common pitfalls:

1) Paying Points on a short term hold.
Many buyers know they will only own their condo for 3 to 5 years. Paying Points may not be advantageous- Talk to your lender. Do your homework here.

2) Saying “No” to a “Betterments and Improvements ” rider on your home owners policy. This covers items like floor, appliances, cabinetry, doorknobs, etc etc. Might be worth considering.

3) Glossing Over Building Issues – You are given 5 days to read your condo docs. If you don’t want to do so, then hire a lawyer. A Real Estate Lawyer.

4) Using a Mortgage Lender because you have a Savings Account at that bank, and have had for 23 years. That doesn’t mean crap, in my experience. Nada. Nil. Zip.

5) Using a relative to be your Realtor, Mortgage person, or otherwise to play a huge role in your buying process. These arrangements can go up in flames quickly. Not always…but…

6) Not Vetting Your Philadelphia Realtor – “When in Rome” is pretty good advice.. Interview him/her to decide if you two make a good team.

7) Over-buying : Do you really need a three bedroom and den unit? Or will a two bedroom and den suffice? Same story with one vs two bedroom units- If you don’t need the space, why pay for the space?

8) Not Reading Your Sales Contract – 99% of the questions you may have about a transaction here in PA can be answered by reading your Agreement of Sale (The Contract). Read It. I beg you.

9) Expecting Perfection: Yes, the seller is going to vacate your new condo in a dirty and somewhat used condition, with holes in the walls where their art once hung. IF that is the biggest bump in the road during our journey, then we should all g o sing and dance in the middle of the street with joy and glee :-). Nothing in life is perfect so a hint of forgiveness along the road can be helpful.

10) Relying on the Square Foot calculations on Condo Flyer. Or even relying on info provided by some sources. Best to do your own measuring/ fact checking.

Just Ask Me.
Let’s find the answers together to help you make the best decisions possible.

Mark Wade
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors

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October 6, 2016

901 N. Penn St. ~ Peninsula Building now FHA approved!

Filed under: For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 11:04 am

Waterfront Square

Great news! We just received word that The Peninsula Building at Waterfront Square has been approved for FHA Financing!


As you can see, the Reef Building has also been approved. This is great news for Waterfront Square! The approval is valid for 2 years.
FHA insures condominium single unit loans for up to 30-year terms to purchase or refinance a unit in an FHA-approved condominium project.

For more information about FHA condos, click here!

Mark Wade
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. #260
Philadelphia, PA 19106

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September 27, 2016

Rising home prices, quick sales – Philly’s in a sellers’ market (Mark’s Two Cents on

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:54 am

Alan J. Heavens,’s Real estate writer says, “The city of Philadelphia is officially a sellers’ real estate market, as a continued shortage of inventory has pushed up prices for properties listed for sale.”

Economist Kevin Gillen, senior research fellow at Drexel University’s Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation, said the second quarter of 2016, which ended June 30, saw median prices 13 percent higher than April-through-June 2015.

…Gillen isn’t exactly sure why homeowners aren’t rushing to list their houses, but Mark Wade, an agent with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach Realtors, cites several factors.

Mostly, it is “because many buyers in town over the last few decades have been empty nesters who believe they have made their final move and don’t need to downsize or adjust their living quarters to match their future needs,” Wade said.

The “flip side of rising house prices is decreased housing affordability,” Gillen said.

“Prices are now rising faster than household incomes, which implies that home buyers must now sacrifice a greater portion of their wealth to buy a home than they would otherwise, or else must defer the purchase of a home altogether,” he said.

Click here to read the full article on

Mark Wade
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors ~ 215.521.1523

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September 21, 2016

Top Ten Philly Condos

Filed under: For Buyers,General Real Estate,Real Estate: Condominiums,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:41 am

In terms of value retention, resale ability and livability…Here are my latest top ten picks:

Waterfront Square

1) 1706 Rittenhouse at 1706 Rittenhouse St. – – There can be little doubt that the building shines in terms of value growth and demand. The highest of high end here in Center City. Buyers line up for these units- Who wouldn’t want to live at 1706 ??

2) Kahn Park Place at 1119-25 Pine St.– Parking, roof decks and nice interior space…at prices that I think are undervalued. Homerun! Location is key here as well. Interior condition drives the wide range of values here.

3) Washington Square West Condos on the 12xx Block of South St. – Solid investments in a high growth area. Oh, and all have parking and two bedrooms! You can’t beat these simple yet value driven condos. Boom!

4) St. James Court in Society Hill – 40 years old condos with interiors that clearly stand the test of time. Undervalued and best deals in the 19106 zip code. Most units are off street and quiet. Interior courtyard is picture perfect. You can’t beat the prices in this segment in my opinion.

5) The Coronado at 2201 Chestnut St.– Improvements to the building make the investment here a solid one in terms of value growth. And in the 19103 zip code to boot.

6) The Lenox at 250 S. 13th St.– Not unlike 2201 Chestnut Street in the fact that it is a pre-war styled condo building that has undergone many recent upgrades and improvements. Since the Parker across the street closed- are values poised for a significant bounce upwards? Probably.

7) Center City One at 1326 Spruce St. – If I had millions of dollars, I would probably spend most of them inside this building if I wanted to make money.
Try to beat the location and the floor plan of the two bed, two bath units.
No supply here.

8) The Philadelphian at 2401 Pennsylvania Ave. – Values for the larger units bounced higher and faster than any other segment in Center City. Many reasons which can be attributed to the association…and lack of supply didn’t hurt either.

9) Low Rise Condos in 19103 and 19107– Perpetual demand leads to a shortened “days on market” for many in this segment. Solid purchases and solid returns. And those near Jefferson and U of Penn have a double good whammy- which is huge rent-ability.

10) 2200 Arch St. Condos at 2200 Arch St. – Probably the quickest sales in the loft like segment here in town. Parking, close to jogging trail and in the 19103 zip code. This place is firing on all cylinders.

Honorable Mention:  The Reef Building at WaterFront Square 901 N. Penn St. – Just about 6 units remain and the values are climbing faster than most other buildings around town. Expect another bump in values when the building completely sells out. Philadelphian’s are warming to the idea of living in this lovely gated community. Though I am biased…We own and live here.

Mark Wade
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
215.521.1523 |

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