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May 2, 2019

Things You’ll Learn On Your First Condo Tour

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:35 pm

Once you’ve spent all the time you can browsing Philadelphia Condos for Sale online, you’ll finally be ready for your first condo tour. Here are a few things you’ll learn in person that online listings may not reveal at first glance.

1) Many “concierge” folks are, in fact, front desk attendants. In some buildings, I think it’s fair to say they are simply seat-fillers. Sorry.

2) You should NEVER underestimate the value of good closet space. Ever.

3) Many newer construction high-rise buildings do not vent the stove or the dryer to the outside.

4) Deeded parking usually doesn’t really mean “deeded” parking – most parking spots do not have their own separate deed (they’re usually assigned and/or identified as a limited common element in the condominium declaration).  There are some exceptions here but they are rare.

5) An alarm system inside a condo is likely useless to a buyer because the systems become obsolete very quickly.

6) Almost all new or replacement floors are laminate. They look great, they don’t wear, and they come in 1.5 jillion colors/options.

7) Most tenants usually don’t want to move out and will often make showing the home a nightmare- from locking deadbolts to leaving the home dirty and looking like crap for showings.

8) You really shouldn’t rely upon a “fact sheet” or what you read in the MLS. That info may be outdated and should always be verified…(I am lookin’ at you Zillow and Trulia!).

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

• • •

February 13, 2019

Buy Ugly…Sell Pretty

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 11:30 am

I believe appreciation is a greater function of an improved interior condition than is any other factor.

Why? Because buyers don’t buy bricks and mortar-they buy feelings and emotions. So the best way to increase the value of your condominium is to improve the strength of the feelings and emotions of your condo.  C’mon… This isn’t a difficult concept.

There is always a multiplier effect for the first dollars you put into your condo (think-painting, cleaning, etc).  Add a new kitchen, bathrooms, flooring, etc. and the value of any given condo will almost always rise above the cost of those upgrades.  And don’t forget about staging your Philly condo, either!

Our market is made up of TWO distinct types of buyers: first-time buyers and empty-nesters, and though they don’t buy the same product, the one thing they have in common is that they’ll pay for turnkey condition, especially in the condo segment of the Philadelphia market.

Therefore…

Want to steal a condo here in town? Buy Ugly.  Want to max your resale price? Sell Pretty.

Again, no earth-shattering concepts here. I’ve seen this theory in action for thirty years here in Center City and it’s a solid one.

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

• • •

January 22, 2019

Droppin’ Knowledge About the Center City Condo Market

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:12 pm

If you need to act like you know something about the Center City Condo/real estate market, then drop these little nuggets of info at any gathering:

“Unless U of Penn moves to Oklahoma, there will always be demand for one bedroom condos west of Broad Street.”

“Most loft-styled condos in Old City are one of a kind.”

“My condo guy (that’s me!) says he’s never seen condo inventory this low in 29 years.”

“New construction condos around town can easily pull over $1000 per sq. foot.”

“The bigger the building, the higher the condo fees.” (Think gym, pool, doormen, parking, etc…)

“The Center City condo market revolves around The Spring- always has and always will!”

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

• • •

January 9, 2019

Top Real Estate Misconceptions

Filed under: For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:33 pm

Often Heard…Rarely Realized

1) “Once I move out, I’m going to rent the condo.”
Half my buyers tell me this and about 10% of those buyers actually do retain the condo as a rental.

2) “I can see past dirt & crap piled in the corners.”
112% of my buyers tell me they can see past the clutter. About 2% actually can. And they’re usually architects. Even after 29 years, I find myself adding (sometimes significant) value to Philadelphia condos that evoke a strong emotional response.

3) “It’s a good idea to only work with listing agents.”
Sure…limit yourself. Go ahead. Maybe best to go with the person who has the most experience within any given building.

4) “I can Air BnB my condo.”
Rub a lamp… then read your condo docs.

5) “The condo fees are too high for that condo.”
Probably a good idea to consider what those fees cover. Parking, gym, electric, pool etc., etc.  All things considered-the fees are likely not too high if you’re getting use out of the amenities.

6) “I’m going to bid based upon what the seller paid.”
Since we don’t know the terms and conditions of that sale, I find this number is often irrelevant. Better to turn your eyes towards interior condition to gauge value.

7) “I need a ‘true’ second bedroom for my guest.”
It is quite possible that a one bedroom plus den would better suit your needs. In any given price range, a full 2nd bedroom will cost more than a comparably equipped one bedroom plus den. However, the latter usually affords a larger living room.

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

• • •

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

• • •

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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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