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June 30, 2009

Philadelphia Real Estate Buyers 2009

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:45 pm

…can best be described as thorough.


 
It is no secret I love showing and selling Philadelphia real estate. The hallmark of the 2009 Philadelphia buyer is one of complete and utter thoroughness.

Though they are buying, and doing in fairly good numbers, there is no sense of urgency, and they want to see everything. Everything. If I had a dollar for every property I showed in the spring of 2009, I would go buy a new Lexus. Or perhaps take a cruise and drink a lot.

Such behavior is actually a good thing for an old timer like myself. I get to see sooo many places, that it really does add to my already stuffed brain. I know the size of the kitchen in unit 1902 at the xxx building. I am familiar with the condition of the 2nd Floor Front condo at 19xx Spruce St., and I see for myself why the condos at XXX and Bainbridge aren’t selling so well.

The equation here is a simple one:

Buyer Market- no sense of urgency- they can look at 18 other places, and come back to this particular unit they liked

Sellers Market- Hurry and buy. If you don’t, the unit you loved may be gone. Perhaps it already is gone.
 
The Philadelphia housing market is in a bit of a buyers market in 2009. I will let you know when that equation changes.

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

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June 25, 2009

Fireplaces, Huge Soaking Tubs and other useless Amenities

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:23 pm

…that are pointless in a Philly High Rise Condo.

I love it when some dumbass developer takes up a large chunk of a 20th floor condo with a huge soaking tub.  Always good for a laugh. Pointing out the foilbles of some newbie condo builder is one of my favorite pasttimes. Under the theory of “When In Rome….” fireplaces and those giant soaking tubs are soooo out of place in a high rise Philly condominium.

I know of NO ONE who actually uses those giant oversized tubs. I am not talking about a regular bathtub….I am referring to those big dumb soaking tubs that can fit an army of regular sized people. NOTE TO DEVELOPER- grow a brain. Such an amenity is a huge waste of space. I always point to them and tell my buyers- You will use this on the first day you move in, then you will never use it again. They ALWAYS agree.
And wood burning fireplaces here in  Rittenhouse Square 19103 condominiums? Now where the heck is my buyer going to store the wood needed to fuel such a spectacle? Better question- where the hell is he going to get the firewood? It is not like there is some lumber jack who lives at 9th and Spruce Street who chops down trees and sells split wood.

Developers installing such amenities are spending money, and taking up valuable space for items that are really a negative to many Philadelphia condominium buyers. Trust me, this ain’t suburbia. This is urban downtown Philly, and such amentities don’t fly with the condo buying set.

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

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June 23, 2009

What is a water table and what is it doing on my Brownstone Philly Condo?

Filed under: Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:14 pm

 
 
Simply put, a water table is a very old architectural element found on many historic homes throughout the east coast, and in Center City Philadelphia, is most prevalent in many of the Society Hill area townhomes. A water table can best be viewed as an old fashion method of keeping water away from the foundation. Water, and lots of it- pouring down around a foundation is not a good thing. You don’t want your soil being loosened, and allowing your foundation to slip or move. Yeah, that would be bad.

The idea of a water table is to essential push or direct water away from the foundation. As water would pour down the (say) facade of a home, the angled brick would guide water out and away from a foundation. So if you ever even noticed such a thing, now you know why “it is what it is”.

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

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June 18, 2009

You think you know Philadelphia real estate values?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:52 pm

…then explain the value difference between these two Philly condo buildings:

These are two actual side by side buildings on Spruce St. in Washington Square West.

So you have a big brain, and you think you are going to take a look at Trulia, Zillow, or one of the many fine real estate websites out there in CyberSpace, and you are going to come up with the true value of any given condo. Really?

You can’t tell me that condition does not play into value. How about showing ability? You go into the public records and find a two bed, two bath in such n such zip code should sell for say $500,000. Really??? What was the condition of the Washington Square West Condo?  Was the building well maintained?

My point is, sometimes you need a realtor who knows his or her market to help you make valid decisions. There are many issues that affect value, that reading a webpage about any given Philadelphia condo may NOT tell you…

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

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June 15, 2009

Are you going to be a drama queen…

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:27 pm

…when you get your home inspection report? 

This is a valid question. When you hire a home inspector, he will do his visual inspection, then email an 18 page report telling you that you have basically just purchased a big piece of crap. And that’s fine. That is his job. I believe it is now my job to put some of the issues into perspective.

Lets say we are in a Fitler Square Condo that clearly hasn’t been cleaned, repaired, or updated since 1912.    IF I DO NOT tell you that you should expect some needed repair work, am I really doing my job? Now there are limits to what you can and should reasonably expect me to point out.

I am not a home inspector, nor a structural engineer. But if I lead you to believe that this piece of crap Philly loft you just bought is in “fabulous mechanical shape”…then you should fire me as your Philadelphia Realtor, throw me out the back door, and basically curse my name aloud in public.

Conversely, you too should do your share of due diligence, and educate yourself about the reasonable expectations regarding home ownership. Most anything you own requires ongoing maintenance, updating, cleaning, and certainly costs money to do so. So please, don’t be shocked to learn that perhaps a $5 extension pipe from you new hot water tank is missing. Or perhaps your Air Conditioner needs to be filled. Or that outlet with black soot around it is inoperable. Shocking, eh? Be prepared, and I suggest you not become hysterical over the fact that the bathroom sink drains slowly.

A level head will help you manage the ins and outs, ups and downs over home maintenance.

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

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June 11, 2009

PA Seller Disclosure Laws

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:03 pm

 …when the truth is more than enough:

 

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

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June 9, 2009

Do Your Blinds/Curtians need to be white?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:45 am

Per many Philly condo associations, the backside of your curtains and blinds may need to be white in color. You may ask why…but drive by any poorly managed condo association who does not enforce such a rule, and you will see why. The building ends up looking like an unattractive collection of cheap, and often unattractive variations of ugly looking blinds/shades/curtains. From Mauve, to Sea Foam Green, the rainbow of cheap shades is not an attractive sight.

And If I were king of the world, or even a developer of a Philadelphia high rise condo, I would go as far as to include a high end line of blinds/shades into my sale price. Because the visual uniformity is going to be important in the overall impression a building gives off when viewed from street level. We have all seen, or perhaps even been guilty (usually in our college years) of using a bedsheet as a curtain. And god knows bedsheets come in some funky colors and patterns. Not the best look, when trying to visually highlight a condo building from a distance.

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

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June 5, 2009

You can’t compare a walk-up to an elevator Condo building in Philadelphia

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:13 pm

… in a Low Rise Condo Building.


 
Just like comparing apples to oranges, an elevator vs. a NON-elevator building is just not the same. But there are a number of “red flags” I would preface this information with….

I am not suggesting that an elevator building in inherently more valuable than a non-elevator building. That is not the point. And it ain’t true in all cases. However, there MUST be some differentiation in value when you are talking about two IDENTICAL units (in terms of size, location, condition, amenities,etc) in which one is a FIFTH floor walk-up, and the other is a FIFTH floor condo in an elevator building. HUGE difference in price.

No one could tell me, with any conviction (unless they were mental) that a value difference needn’t be considered.

Most Philadelphians will hike it up to the 2nd floor without a gripe. A few noises for 3rd floor walk-ups. Fifth floor is a tall order- no pun intended.

But then again, most of the higher walk-up floors are going to be discounted. Just look at 924 Spruce St. # 301 – probably one of the best deals in town! Generally speaking, the higher the floor ( above 2nd) is going to have to be discounted more and more. These units are saleable, but adjustments need to be made.

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

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June 3, 2009

What color wood will be the latest hot thing?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:49 pm

Remember 1990, when pickled oak was all the rage? 


 
How about blond (maple) in the mid 1960’s? And of course Java colored wood tones of the past few years? I wonder what will be the latest and the greatest wood tint/hue/shade that will be popular in say 2011. Being a long time realtor, you can almost date the age of any rehabbed historic home by the color of the hardwood floors and/or kitchen cabinetry. Dark brown oak? Sooooo 1976. And to take it to another level- all white formica kitchens? Yeah, back when Duran Duran was on MTV, and cell phones where the size of bricks.

I like to think I am pretty much on the cutting edge of real estate fashion- I saw stainless steel appliances coming down the pike years before the masses. And don’t get me started on that dumbass country kitchen look. Ugh. That maybe fine in Utah, but Center City Condos (thankfully) ain’t in Utah.
    
So here is my guess: Softer wood tones with a lot of natural accents- be it white glass, bronze colored appliances, and/or user friendly, less hi-tech appliances.

I think there is going to be a general dummy’ing down of some of the super sleek kitchens and household finishes. More or less to reflect our less extravagant times. Check back in a few years, and see if I am right.

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
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Direct: 215.521.1523 ~ Office: 215.627.6005
Fax: 215.627.3142
Email: Mark@CenterCity.com
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