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July 31, 2008

Shut Up and Give me some feedback (pretty please)!

Filed under: General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:04 pm

As the owner and operator of www.CenterCityCondos.com, I am always appreciative when someone comes to me with feedback about my site. Nine times out of ten, someone is saying nice things.

But I wonder how many people leave my site, with a bitter review that perhaps they are not sharing with me. With the help of my website designers, I came up with the ideas for the layout, menu, and content. I have added a blog and a place to listen to my podcasts. But what if a lot of what I am doing, truly sucks…and I don’t know it?!

 

That is where I would like EVERYONE to know that I am open to criticism. If there is something that you think could be improved, refined, added, deleted, fixed, shortened, sweetened, or altogether altered, won’t you please drop me a note, and let me know?

I average over 5000 visits to my site per month, and the average length of each visit exceeds 4 minutes! And there is just no way everyone is leaving happy and fulfilled…

If you like, take a minute, and let me know what you think. Believe it or not, the more feedback I get, the more I want to do my corny “happy dance”…


 
Thanks so much for your continued support!

Mark Wade 
www.CenterCityCondos.com 
Prudential Fox and Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. Suite 260 Philadelphia, Pa. 19106

 

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July 29, 2008

How to scare Philadelphia condominium buyers

Filed under: Of Interest To Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:50 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking to scare away a few buyers for your next Philadelphia condominium sale? Why not try these decorating tips featured here?

 

 

 

 

 

 

And don’t worry for a second, if you have a vacant, or a cluttered condo in Philadelphia to sell. If you real goal is to simply list your condo, but not get an offer, than listen up! Nothing drives away a buyer like a poor showing ability. Could you imagine your realtor in Philadelphia showing you a condo like these in a prestigious Rittenhouse Square condominium building? Neither could I. And if you are considering selling your Old City loft, or Fitler Square condo, then you should consider making it show as well as it possibly can. Nothing says “run” like a poor showing ability.

Buying a condo in Philadelphia need not be a scary thing. Unless of course, you are looking for an ugly, say, Rittenhouse Square condominium that smell like dog pee, and is priced well. Either way, why not give Mark Wade a call at Prudential Fox and Roach Realtors in Society Hill? He can help you scare up a place of your own!

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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July 24, 2008

Making Center City Philadelphia More Livable by Improving Traffic Flow

Filed under: General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:00 pm

As a Philadelphia realtor for the past twenty years, my livelihood depends on my ability to navigate the streets, and be the ambassador of good will to those looking to move to our fair city. Not easy to do when I am cussing up a storm at “this idiot” or “that dumbass” who seems to believe that there are no parking rules, or etiquette in terms of driving in our fair town.  If I were in charge of this city, here is what I would do on my first HOUR on the job, in order to improve the quality of life for those of us who live here in beautiful Center City Philadelphia:

1) Corner of 5th and Market. Try turning left onto 5th from Market…Good Luck-traffic is backed up to 8th street on a busy day during rush hour. And restrict ALL parking within a block of that intersection at ALL times.

2) Restrict the double parking on Market Street between 3rd and 4th. Morons.

3) Cut the red light duration (length of time) on N. 19th St. at Vine. Possible good time to check your voicemail at work though. And return all the calls.

4) Provide MORE loading zones around town. Enforce time limits more effectively.

5) Time lighting sequence of red/green lights all the way along Callowhill. Though still the fastest way to get from the east to the west side of town currently.

6) Ticket the tour buses who feel that it is OK to idle for hours in any given street – turning a two lane street into a clogged, one lane pile of waiting cars.

7) Either tow ALL the cars after 3:30 on Walnut from 4th-23rd, or take the signs down – It is pointless if cars are allowed to idle in that lane. Or at least have a traffic cop shoo folks away.

8) Actually enforce the “NO parking” in the median of Broad St. here in Center City.

9) Turn Bainbridge traffic in the opposite direction, and have it head west, not east.

Feel free to leave a comment or drop me an email at Mark@CenterCity.com and let me know if there are any other traffic nightmares around here I might have missed or just let me know what you think of the ideas that I have mentioned above….or if you think we are all better off just walking around in this City of ours which has been ranked 5th in Walkability nationwide!!  

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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July 22, 2008

I don’t mean to be a “big brain” when it comes to Center City Condos or anything, but…

Filed under: General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:27 am

Wouldn’t it be a good idea of the architects of many of the Center City condo projects here in town, consulted an experienced Philadelphia condominium specialist, when laying out the floor plans for their new Center City condo project?

I have seen some screwy ideas that have been implemented in the Philly condo market, and many of buyers are like….”what the hell?? ”   For example, one prominent building, which I think quite highly of, has the exact kitchen in the studio, as they do the jumbo penthouse units. This kitchen is ample for the penthouse, but takes up about 55% of the living area of the studio. 


 
Way to think things out, Columbo.  Studio units target 22 year olds (on the whole). I don’t know a 22 year old that owns more than two pans, a cookie sheet, and a measuring cup. So this huge kitchen detracts from the value of this particular Center City condo unit. 

Next up is a personal favorite, the popular $700,000 two bedroom Philly skyscraper unit (roughly 1250 sq ft) with no closet space. If my buyers can afford the unit, they are not interested in stuffing their Prada in an armoire.  It appears that if I compare/contrast the various floor plans of many new Philadelphia condos, I find an excessive amount of square footage used for hallways.

 Hallway space can easily be converted to walk-in closet space, with minor adjustments to floor plan, or “flow” of the unit. My buyers will tell you to shove the hallway, and give them a good walk-in closet or two!    

The point of this post is to always remember to give the buyers what they want. And who would know better about what specific buyers want, than an experienced realtor?

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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July 17, 2008

All Nosey Neighbors are Welcome to visit my Center City Open Houses

Filed under: General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 12:32 pm

To all the Philadelphia Open House Junkies: You are indeed welcome to visit my open house. I don’t care. Really…the more the merrier. And I promise not to hound you, ask for your name, your number, you place of birth, etc etc. I will not call you the next day to “follow up’, and I will not stalk you, at some later date, to see if you want to sell your condo.

I sometimes get bored sitting waiting for the next potential buyer to walk in the door of any given open house, and fall madly in love (with the condo I am sitting).  So feel free to come over, sign in under a ficticious name (Yoko Ono?) and have a look around. Just a few things I ask of you:

1) If you see me talking to a “real buyer”, please do not interrupt

2) Excuse yourself from our little chat if you see other buyers come through the door. Remember, I am at work

3) Do not voice negative comments about the home in which you are visiting

And that is about it. I too love to visit open houses, always have, and always will I guess. Perhaps it is in the genes. Maybe I am just nosey, and I love to see how other people live. So if you are like me, you are welcome as a guest into my open house and I hope to see you knocking at the door to one my many new condos in Philadelphia that has just been listed!

Our Open Houses for this Sunday July 20 are:

753 Marvine                  11 N. 2nd #102        1010 Race PHH        104 Market #201

11:30AM-1PM               Noon-1 PM                 1:30PM-2:30PM        Noon-1PM

We hope to see you there!!!

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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July 15, 2008

1706 Rittenhouse Square St. Condominiums…

Filed under: Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:49 pm

…where I will be living, when I hit the PA Lottery

On the corner of Fabulous and Unbelievable, is a new piece of Center City real estate which arguably will be the ‘Belle of the Ball” amongst Philadelphia’s luxurious condo  buildings.  Known as 1706, this new 31 story tower at 17th and Rittenhouse Streets houses one unit per floor…with a jaw dropping two story penthouse unit. A majority of the units are flats- one story units with two balconies each, and have 4300 square feet  with ten foot ceilings and eight foot windows. From renderings I have seen, this is the kind of building one might see in Miami, Chicago, or New York City. The type of building that may have, say ten years ago, quietly passed on allowing itself to be planted in good old Philly.

When other Center City condominium buildings boast of amenities such as pool, sauna, and conference areas, it seems to me that a many of them are simply paying lip service to such goodies.  1706 Rittenhouse appears to be putting some serious effort into the common area freebies. It doesn’t appear that they will turn a maid’s closet into a room with no windows, a treadmill or two, and a Stair-master knock off.  From what I can gather, this building will not be selling itself short in terms of location, view, amenities, quality of finishes, and overall desirability.

Developed by Scannapieco Corp., and ParkWay Corp., 1706 is targeting a market that appreciates, and will pay for quality. I have always said two things about Philadelphia condo buyers- they will spend for quality when they see it (and can sniff out faux quality like an English fox hound). And secondly, that there are more people in Philadelphia with money, than there are condominiums in Philadelphia to serve the needs of those buyers. I think 1706 is going to be a huge success, and rightfully so. It seems to be taking on that segment of the market that has been somewhat neglected in the past.

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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July 10, 2008

Lofts at Bella Vista

Filed under: Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:51 pm

Bella Vista Lofts is a nine story condominium building located on the corner of 11th Street and Washington Avenue. I visited the other day, intruigued by the Pods they have built onto of the building, which they refer to as Villas. My curiosity was not only satisfied, but I was really amazed at what I saw. The lobby was done in a hip modern style, the units themselves clearly were priced well, and the Villas were unlike any other Penthouse condos in Philadelphia. I was impressed, to say the least. All units in the building offer indoor parking, and get this- for an extra $10,000 or so, you can purchase a lift, and turn your parking spot into Two car parking!

That was a really nifty idea, as many Center City condo buyers have more than one car, and the cost to garage both cars was easy, assessible, and not too expensive. What a great idea! The ceiling height in the garage allowed for such a novel approach. In fact, the ceiling height throughout the buiding was nothing short of phenomenal.

The dollar per square foot asking price on the two bedroom units was around $277 per square foot…and this includes parking! Again, I was very impressed with not only the finishes, but the hip, kinda’ modern and urban feel of these Philadelphia condos! With polished cement floor, and oversized windows, fantastic ceiling height, and the level of finishes throughout make the units very appealling. And it appears that the developer didn’t scrimp on the finishes either. The kitchens and baths were not only modern, but unlike the run-of-the-mill contractor grade stuff that we see in similar price ranges.

With a front doorman, extra wide hallways, and again, fantastic ceiling height and oversized unit windows, it was hard NOT to get excited about what I was seeing. The Penthouse units were a great mix of the Hard/Soft loft as the space was open, generous, and even the closets were of good size. The Villa Units (which I like calling POD units) were really amazing. If you are in the $1M plus price range, and you are looking for a different style of luxury Penthouse condo living here in Center City, then you are going to want to make sure you at least see these units, as there really is no substitutability anywhere around town for these homes. Two and a half story living, with three (count ’em…three!) outside spaces- each one bigger than the next! And the finish level was admirable! The Lofts at Bella Vista are now going to be #1 on my showing adgenda to new buyers whom I introduce to the Philadelphia condominium market.

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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July 8, 2008

Is your Condominium in Philly Really 1248 Square Feet?

Filed under: General Real Estate,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:59 pm

As a longtime realtor in Center City, I am often confronted with conflicting information given to me by other realtors, information on fact sheet or various sources of information on the internet.

One of the most common variables I come across is the difference is square footage calculations or claims. And I think it is important to ask yourself where this information is coming from – the seller, the seller’s appraiser, your appraiser, the realtor, city hall, the developer, your own measurements, or perhaps the man on the moon?

Since you might come up with nine different calculations of square footage, I would suggest that the best source would be from your own measurements. And know that variables do come into play here:
Is the square footage advertised for say a Rittenhouse Square condominium including staircases? Closets?
Does it include the deck or the patio of any given Old City loft?

     

Do the measurements go from “outside of drywall to outside of drywall”, or is the calculation coming from exterior wall to exterior wall of your Philadelphia condo?

You can always go to online to check city records. That information is usually garnered from the architectures renderings when the project was developed/converted into condos in Philadelphia.
Looking to get a good measure of the Center City real estate market? Give Mark Wade a call for all your real estate needs!

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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July 3, 2008

What to expect on our final walk-through of your new Philadelphia Condominium

Filed under: Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:00 pm

So it is settlement day (aka-the day I told you to take off from work) and we are meeting at your new groovy Old City loft, or Rittenhouse Square condominium to do our final walk-through.  I have found condos in Philadelphia left in a variety of stages of transition, from total hell-holes, to gorgeously clean condos with a bottle of Champagne in the refrigerator, and everything in between.

Per the terms of the agreement of sale, the condo should be left in broom-swept clean condition, normal wear and tear accepted. Now, how do we interpret that? I usually tell buyers not to expect that the home has been professionally cleaned, rather just “broom-swept clean, free of debris”. There should be no college fraternity house communal sofa left in the guest bedroom, nor should the seller’s old computer boxes and broken bicycle be left in the storage bin in the basement.

If you notice that the stove hasn’t been cleaned, or the shower stall full of grime, well…uh, know that there is no extra charge for these. The grime transfers with title :). Don’t expect the world from any given seller, just some honesty and good faith. And to all you sellers out there in internet land…no one needs your crap or your garbage. Take it with you….and if you want to donate furniture…call Uhuru at 12th and Spruce Street, who will take donations. And your future buyer is not interested in a closet full of wire clothes hangers either.

So a little forgiveness can go a long way to a happy, smooth day. Don’t expect to be able to eat off the kitchen floor, but garbage and other old belongings need not be present either.

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

 

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July 1, 2008

ATTENTION PHILADELPHIA CONDOMINIUM BUYERS-3 More Things You Should Know

Filed under: Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:22 pm

I just learned that one change that might affect buyers, is the fact that your mortgage company MAY INDEED pull a credit report on you, a few days before closing.  In addition to looking up your credit when they process your application, they are also pulling credit prior to closing to make sure nothing has substantially changed with your financial position, or you have not gone out and purchased a new car, a boat, applied for a slew of new credit cards, etc.

In almost every transaction involving a Philadelphia condo, there are TWO months “Capital Contribution” due and payable by the buyer at time of settlement. Basically, you have to pay the condo association an amount equal to two months of condo fees (all buyers do). This is just a neat little way for your condo association to stockpile dough. This is not you paying two months up front…this is money that is more like a one-time bill. Not really a bad thing, as everyone who buys into the building must contribute. More of a surprise to most Philly condo buyers than anything else.

And as a courtesy to realtors like myself, who don’t get out often (out of the city, that is…) please pick a title company who will do your title work at one of the realtors offices. At a bare minimum, it should happen in the same city, if not the same county, as the transaction. I truly am not interested in going to Erie, PA to close on a house because your mother’s neighbor’s cousin has a title company in that fine town.  I will bust my hump for you. But I ain’t going to Erie.  Please settle in town. I get the shakes when I have to go to the suburbs. It just isn’t a pretty sight. Thanks.

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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530 Walnut Street, Suite 260
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Direct: 215.521.1523 ~ Office: 215.627.6005
Fax: 215.627.3142
Email: Mark@CenterCity.com
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