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October 10, 2018

Pricing Condominiums For Sale

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:55 am

I am often asked by sellers to help them price their condos for resale. This is often a tricky task, as there are a variety of factors that go into pricing a condominium.

  

The job is sometimes less difficult if there is a standard unit, in say, a high-rise condominium building. Generally speaking, most of the newer high-rise buildings have a similar floor plan from floor to floor- hence, unit “604” is likely identical to “704”, as it is to, say- unit “1404″. The three variables which play a role in the differences in resale prices is definitely floor height, interior condition, and of course current market conditions. So pricing a newer high rise condo unit is fairly simple. We look at past sales for similar units within that building. Generally, the higher the floor, the higher the sale price.  Newly upgraded units sell for more than original condition units, and of course, the trends in the current market play a hand in the final resale price.

In low-rise, or mid-rise condominium buildings (where you do not have much uniformity in unit size, shape, or design), the task of finding a good value becomes much more difficult, even for condos within the same building. For instance, prices in a low or mid rise might be much more affected by floor height. A third-floor walk up is going to be harder to sell than a second-floor unit. And often times, a first-floor unit is more difficult to resell than a second-floor unit.  The value in these buildings is greatly swayed by the presence, or of lack of, an elevator. Also, ceiling height can vary within such units, as can the amount of light certain units receive throughout the day.  Lastly, the size of the condo can affect the dollar per square foot resale price. It is much easier, in my opinion, to get a very high dollar per square foot for a small unit (say 400 square foot) than it is to get that same high dollar per square foot for a 4000 square foot unit. That is another topic in and of itself.

When speaking of similar buildings in a similar neighborhood, the price can be difficult to peg as well. I generally look for things like the condition of the building’s common elements: façade, exterior windows, hallway paint, carpet condition, elevator upkeep, and general upkeep of common elements like a roof deck, or exterior grounds, if applicable.  Also affecting resale price from building to building is the amount of reserves that a building has in its possession (aka the rainy day fund). Additionally, the owner occupancy ratio in a building (which generally reflects on the condition of the common elements), plays a role in resale price. A building full of tenants is generally less desirable than a building mostly occupied by owners.  Owners have a tendency to better keep an eye on elements needing attention, and they have a better sense of pride in ownership. They have a tendency to replace light bulbs, sweep hallways, etc. than a renter might.

I certainly welcome any comments, questions, or concerns.  Shoot me an email at Mark@CenterCity.com if you’d like to chat.

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. #480, Philadelphia, PA 19106

• • •

September 18, 2018

Ten Philly Real Estate Facts

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 12:32 pm

…In my opinion, these are facts.

1) In most cases, showing ability can be just as important as location, in terms of the sale-ability of a condo here in town.

2) Yes, it is normal for your condo fees to go up a few percentage points per year.

3) Condo association assessments are a necessary ingredient to value preservation over the long haul.

4) I think a long-term hold in Center City is smart money (yeah, I may be biased.)

5) Laminate floors are very popular. Very.

6) Buyers buy feelings and emotions and not bricks and mortar.

7) The next high rise to be announced in town to be priced under $1000 per sq ft is going to be a hit because of the lack of options for new construction.

8) The outer bands of Center City are selling exceedingly well – and it doesn’t really matter which direction you go.

9) Philly buyers are devouring what once was B & C grade inventory and cashing in in terms of value retention.

10) Emotional support dogs may be changing the landscape of pet policies within Center City condo buildings.

I would love to discuss these points further. Don’t be shy- email me and challenge my two cents! I’m all ears…

Mark Wade 
www.CenterCityCondos.com
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. #480 | Phila., PA 19106

• • •

August 21, 2018

Condo Values Are A Moving Target

Filed under: For Sellers,General Real Estate,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 12:53 pm

Here are a number of factors that can sway the value of your condominium in any given month:

1) Time of year
The Center City condo market is HEAVILY weighted towards the spring. Selling a condo- especially a one bedroom condo may not pull nearly as much in any other time of year.

2) A spate of foreclosures or short sales in your building
Yeah, that always sucks- but a number of short sales or foreclosures can drop values fairly quickly within any given building. So can an auction.

3) A huge special assessment by the condo association
Though an assessment does (in time) help improve values, the onset of one might temporarily reduce demand for a particular building. ALL buildings have assessments from time to time and it’s unavoidable.

4) A large number of similar properties for sale in a building
Uncommon, but if several condos within any building hit the market, the value of your unit may be affected.

5) The state of the economy
If the market overall is depressed then the value of your condo will decrease.

6) Showing ability
Perhaps your condo used to “SHOW LIKE A GEM” but now you have three frat boys and a dog renting the place. Think that’s not going to affect value?!
You’d pretty much have to be from another planet to think that arrangement won’t affect a condo’s value. 🙂

Mark Wade
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Mark@CenterCity.com

• • •

August 9, 2018

Drone Footage at Waterfront Square Condos!

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:11 pm

Click to see drone footage at Waterfront Square Condos!

This beautiful, gated, high-rise community located at 901 N. Penn Street in Northern Liberties includes a 24-hour concierge and convenient shuttle service. The 25-meter-lap indoor pool is an absolute dream come true with beautiful views of the bridge and river and the purchase of each unit includes one valet parking space. There is also a spa, sauna, and steam rooms, not to mention a fitness center and on-site yoga classes. Bike parking is also available.  Call us to schedule a showing today!

Mark Wade
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. | Phila., PA 19106
www.CenterCityCondos.com

• • •

May 23, 2018

Be Careful…You Might Just Get What You Pay For

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:13 pm

There are two key distinctions that every buyer should know when purchasing insurance for their Philadelphia condo or home: “replacement cost” versus “market value.”  Here is some helpful info from our friends at Trident Insurance Agency:

Replacement Cost vs. Market Value
Replacement Cost and Market Value are two different things, and it’s important to understand both when you’re a homeowner. The former impacts your home insurance policy, while the latter comes into play when you put your home on the market.

Market Value
Your home’s market value is the amount for which it would sell in the current marketplace in its current condition. Market value changes and can be difficult to predict, but it’s based on your home’s location, internal and external characteristics, and how the homes are selling in that area.

In most cases, it’s not a good idea to insure your home based on its market value. Your home’s market value might not cover the cost of rebuilding if your house is destroyed by fire or another disaster. Materials and labor may cost more now than when it was built, and special features could be more expensive to replace.

Replacement Cost
This is how much it would cost to rebuild – or replace – your home if it were completely destroyed.

Why is this figure important? It’s how much you should insure your home for. Replacement cost, or reconstruction cost, coverage insures your home for the cost to repair damage to your home or rebuild it completely at equal quality — at current prices.

Replacement cost calculations can vary depending on the home insurance company you’re working with, but it typically covers plans and permits, labor and materials, and fees and taxes. Land value is not included in replacement value, as it does not factor into the cost to rebuild a structure. Keep in mind that costs for these things at the time of your appraisal will affect your replacement cost value. If supply and demand change, those costs may have increased significantly at the time you actually need them.

Insuring Your Home
You should insure your home based on its replacement cost, not its market value, as the cost of building a home often exceeds its market value. Because it is difficult to predict the future, it’s important to choose a policy to help account for unforeseen circumstances — and to regularly review your home’s current replacement cost in case you need to update your coverage.

Updating Your Policy
Remodeling your home will affect its replacement value, so it’s a good idea to review and update your homeowners’ insurance policy after remodeling. Be aware of fluctuating costs of labor and materials in your area so you can update your replacement cost as necessary. Review your policy annually and update it to reflect any changes in replacement value.  (Info provided by Safeco Insurance Company)

If you need help finding the best homeowner’s insurance coverage to fit your needs, email Jessica.Nydick@FoxRoach.com

Fox & Roach / The Trident Group LP
A HomeServices of America, Inc Company and a Berkshire Hathaway Affiliate

• • •

May 16, 2018

How Much Waiting to Buy Can Cost You

Filed under: For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:26 pm

By now you know the Fed has raised interest rates three times already this year. The forecast is that we will have a few more bumps upward in 2018 and early 2019.

Our friends at Trident Mortgage shared this fancy chart with us to show just how much you could save over the life of your loan by locking in at a lower rate now.

Here is the scoop on rates this week:

Conventional Loan with a 30 Year Fixed – 4.625% (4.71 APR) – 60 day lock – 0 Points
FHA/VA Loan – 4.5% (4.91 APR) – 60 day lock – 0 Points
Jumbo Loan ($453,100+) – 4.375%  (4.43 APR) – 60 day lock – 0 Points

Conventional ARMS
7/1 – 4.0% (4.09 APR)
5/1 – 3.75% (3.82 APR)

Jumbo ($424,100+) ARMS
7/1 – 4.0% (4.08 APR)
5/1 – 3.875% (3.93 APR)

If you are sittin’ on the fence, now is a good time to hop off, lock in that rate, and make an offer on that Philly condo you have been considering…

Mark Wade
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. | Phila., PA 19106
www.CenterCityCondos.com

• • •

May 1, 2018

The Top Things I Really Dislike About Center City Real Estate

Filed under: For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:21 pm

I’ve been selling Philly Real Estate for 29 years… so yeah, I’m going to vent…especially when I come across the following:

1) When the MLS says the unit has parking, only to discover that it really doesn’t and the seller is giving “one-year free rental parking.”

2) Late Sunday afternoon appointments…in the rain.

3) “Fact” Sheets about condos that are anything but facts.

4) Poor common area maintenance in any given Philly condo building. Nothing kills value better than a building that is not kept up!

5) Buyers that have never stepped foot in Philadelphia, but know more about the Center City condo market than I do.

6) Being late for an appointment- be it a buyer, a seller, or another agent. I just don’t get it. And if I’m the late party, then it really doesn’t matter because hell just froze over.

7) Suburban agents who drag my butt to the suburbs to settle on a condo in Center City. No offense, but I’m not interested in a drive to Havermore…or wherever.

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
Mark@CenterCity.com | 215.521.1523

• • •

April 10, 2018

The Schuylkill Banks Expansions

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:07 pm

Anyone who has ever taken advantage of any of The Schuylkill River Trail knows what an amazing addition it has been in Philadelphia!  The Schuylkill Banks section located in Center City begins at the Fairmount Water Works (by the Art Museum) and has expanded to Christian Street (so far). The jogging/walking/biking trail includes an ADA accessible connector bridge, boardwalk, and dog park in the Fitler Square area…not to mention a ton of things to do from picnicking and yoga to fishing and kayaking.

The most recent expansion completed was from South to Christian Streets featuring access points at The CHOP Bridge and Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk at South Street. This extended the trail an additional 1400 feet past the Boardwalk into the Graduate Hospital neighborhood.

(Photo Courtesy of SchuylkillBanks.org)

 

There are plans in the pipeline to continue the trail from Christian Street to Grays Ferry Crescent by 2020 and to open an ADA accessible swing bridge that would provide a link from Grays Ferry Crescent to the west bank of the Schuylkill, eventually extending the trail to Bartram’s Garden.

Learn more about the trail and things to do by clicking here: Explore The Schuylkill Banks.

Mark Wade
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Mark@CenterCity.com

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April 9, 2018

Renting vs. Buying

Filed under: For Buyers,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:07 am

Why rent a Philly condo when you can buy one?  Many renters believe they need to save a large down payment to purchase a condo…the reality is that some loan programs accept as little as 3% down.  Many renters believe they need a 700+ credit score to qualify for a mortgage…the reality is that there are lenders that will accept a score as low as 620 for a conventional loan.

The main difference between renting and buying is who gets your check—a landlord or the bank.  Here are some fast facts from our friends at Trident Mortgage about the advantages of homeownership:

Fact: Interest rates are still at historic lows.
Fact: Renting deprives you of large tax breaks.
Fact: A home is a leveraged investment using other peoples’ money.
Fact: Real estate continues to be an excellent return on investment.

Still not convinced?  Check out this calculator to see the personalized numbers for yourself: Buy vs Rent Calculator.

Mark Wade
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Mark@CenterCity.com

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March 29, 2018

The Drake Tower at 1512 Spruce St.

Filed under: General Real Estate,Real Estate: Condominiums,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:29 pm

Built in 1929, the Drake stands as a magnificent addition to the Philadelphia skyline.

Here’s what you don’t know:

  • It IS a condo building. Back in the 1970’s, they converted to condos with a less than enthusiastic welcome.
  • Per public records, only five (5) units are privately held – the other 300 units are owned by one entity and are used as RENTALS.
  • The penthouse units start on the 24th floor.
  • Through most of the 1990’s- all penthouse units were vacant shells.
  • Some penthouses housed gardens and the top penthouse had its own pool.
  • The building is faced with small details of ships, mermaids, and other sea paraphernalia.

My first apartment was in the Drake in the late 1980’s when Duran Duran was on MTV and telephones had cords.

Mark Wade 
www.CenterCityCondos.com
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
Mark@CenterCity.com

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530 Walnut Street, Suite 480
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Direct: 215.521.1523 ~ Office: 215.627.6005
Fax: 215.627.3142
Email: Mark@CenterCity.com
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