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December 31, 2009

Center City HighRise Smack-Down

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 12:35 pm

New Construction VS Newer Existing Construction

ResRitz                                                        hop house

In this corner, offering tax                           And in this corner, offering (generally)
abatments, ample parking, and                  stronger locations and better new, unoccupied units:                              financed associations:

Aria Society Hill Towers
Murano  Hopkinson House
 23  The Dorchester
 Western Union  Academy House
 Waterfront Square  Center City One
 Phoenix  Wanamaker House
 Symphony House  The Philadelphian
 1352  River’s Edge
 Ten Rittenhouse  Independence Place
 Ritz Carlton  The Savoy

So whats your fancy? New, and sometimes sleek, with a great tax abatement, new fixtures and finishes that perhaps no one has previously lived in?  Or do you want something a bit more tried and true that is going to deliver perhaps less emotional appeal?  I am finding that this High Rise Philadelphia Smack Down is pretty much an even draw. To each their own, and buyers here in Center City are “Six one, a half dozen the other”.

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

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December 29, 2009

The New Condominium Face Off

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:14 pm

Soft VS. Hard Styled Philadelphia Lofts

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Almost any Center City condominium, with a smattering of exposed brick, attempts to pass itself off as a loft. Often sought after as an expression of one’s own style, loft living has taken off in downtown Philadelphia, as well as almost all urban pockets of the USA. Lofts vary in look, layout, and scale, and some loft condos impress mightily, while others are cheap imitations of highly unique, urban treasures hidden in pockets of urban areas, usually amongst the old warehouse set.

The best example of a hard loft in Center City might be The Old Shoe Factory at 314 N. 12th St. From an unadorned cavernous lobby area, up to the eighth floor via a converted over-sized warehouse lift, the units are characterized by hugely over-sized windows, exposed brick, minimalist kitchens, and bedrooms that are open to the living area. Fantastic city views, high ceilings, and a few units with polished cement floors. Minimalistic at best, these condos truly tag at the definition of a live/work open space where room size is valued over room count.

old-shoe-factory

A fair example of a soft loft might be BridgeView Place at 315 New St. in Old City. With the prerequisite high ceilings, and touches of exposed brick, these condos have been compartmentalized to include bedrooms, walled off kitchen areas, and walk-in closets. Some units at BridgeView do indeed have a loft bed perched above the living space, but those units are few and far between. The conversion to condominiums in the mid 1980’s at 315 New St. is a good example of a reasonable living space, with a bit of “lofty” flair.

bridgeview

A Center City Philadelphia loft can come in a variety of sizes, styles, and locations throughout downtown Philadelphia. Some more true to their “lofty roots” than others, loft living of all proportions is gaining popularity amongst the empty-nester set moving into town from the suburbs and elsewhere. Many of the available loft condos today didn’t exist in the early 1990’s when the very first empty nester/baby boomer began trickling into Center City. And judging from the success of many loft and loft-like sales throughout the area, buyers are finding individuality can be expressed through the (loft) style in which they choose to live.

Whether you are looking for the hard edge style of living, or just something out of the ordinary, loft living has clearly made its way into the realm of possibility for many urban condominium buyers. Like snowflakes, no two true lofts are identical. From room sizes to layouts, the designs generally vary from unit to unit, giving the urban condo buyer a plethora of options in which to live.

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

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December 24, 2009

A fair Real Estate deal is when everyone bleeds

Filed under: General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 11:49 am

 

Lets be honest here- most  Philadelphia real estate transactions leave buyers feeling that perhaps they may have overpaid, and sellers left feeling like their home was worth a bit more than was reflected in the agreed upon sale price. And it usually doesn’t matter if it is a buyers market, or a sellers market.  Similar to the notion that those driving slower than you are slugs, and those driving faster than you are maniacs. Sound familiar?
    
As a veteran Philadelphia Realtor, I am aware that there is a fair deal of perceived bleeding in most transactions. I personally have never sold a home for what I thought it was worth. In my brain, I always end up getting screwed.  And that is really, in my humble opinion, what buying and selling is all about. You get what you can, you give what you can, and hopefully an agreement is reached. But please don’t think there isn’t going to be a little pain, and a little bleeding.
    
The idea is to keep the bleeding to a minimum as no to warrant anything more than a band-aid. Certainly no one wants to walk away from a deal with war-sized wounds. But a little bleeding is to be expected in most transactions. I always tell my buyers that I can get them 9 out of ten things on their wish list. And the same holds true during negotiations- hopefully I can get you 90% of the way there.
    
At that point, perhaps if the deal is right (for you), you are going to have to cough up that list nickle. And I am aware, it is that last nickle that is the toughest to part with!

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

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December 22, 2009

Philly Real Estate w/ a side of Parking

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:16 pm

Philly condos offer a wide variety of parking options. From on-site rental, to deeded parking, many Center City condo buildings do offer an array of possibilities.

car2

Rental parking- Most buyers will tell me that AS LONG AS there is guaranteed rental parking on the block, then this option is an acceptable substitute for actually owning a Philadelphia parking spot. I like the flexibility here, and such an approach will GREATLY add to the number of options you have when we are searching for your new condo.

Deeded Parking- If available, this arrangement has you purchasing a physical piece on property in which you have the rights to park. Means you have a separate tax bill as well. Usually you may buy or sell this parking spot with or without an accompanying condominium unit

Assigned Parking: You pay for this too, but you do not get a deed. You are basically granted the rights to the use and enjoyment of a parking spot, usually located on-site. You may not separate this parking spot from your condominium unit, and such assignment is recorded somewhere in either the condo docs, or your deed.

Street Parking- For approx. $35 a year, you can purchase a Street Parking Sticker, and then be able to NOT have to feed parking meters, or move your car every two hours for the AREA in which your parking sticker is valid. IF you get one for the Old city area, because you live in Old City, this will not give the ability to park for free around Rittenhouse Square. I guarantee you that.

Parking does play a role in the value and desirability differently in almost every condo buying situation here in Center City.

Call me at 215.521.1523, and let’s discuss how parking may affect you!

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

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December 18, 2009

Top 5 New Construction Upgrades

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 11:40 am

…that no developer will offer, but you may request!

So you buy a new Philly condo, and the developer gives you options for carpeting, tile work in the bathroom, and selection of kitchen cabinets. However, here are my top five suggestions for things you might want to request. With a good offer, you may just be able to tweak your new condo with the right touches!

1) Back-splash in the kitchen. Almost never included in new construction. Be prepared, and bring a sample with you when doing up your offer.

2) The “edge finish” to your new granite. Most offer a simple “bull nose” finish. But how about an “Ogi” edge? Can really put a nice spin on your granite?

3) A tile or granite threshold into your bathrooms. A simple 4″ wide piece of granite where the carpeting or wood floors meet your tile bath could be nice.

4) A door sweep to your front door. This will help seal the gap between your units front door, and the hallway. Reduced intake of dust and possible pests.

5) Shelving in your laundry area. Never included, but always helpful for storing detergent, etc. Maybe even a cabinet would be nice here too.

Little tweaks here and there can really put a nice looking finish on many new condos in Philadelphia. And under the rule that you don’t get if you don’t ask…why not ask?

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

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December 15, 2009

Cash For Clunker Appliances?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:04 pm

…I hear it is the next stimulus piece to come down the pike! 

Though the details are still being worked out, the Cash inefficient and old appliances program that kicks in late this fall will offer consumers cash to help buy new home appliances. You could get a rebate of $50 to $200 for buying a new, more energy-efficient appliance to replace one in your kitchen. The federal government has set aside $300 million for the program as part of the economic stimulus plan. Appliances including dishwashers, boilers, freezers, refrigerators, washing machines, dryers, furnaces, water heaters, and air-conditioning units may all be available for the program, and Pennsylvania has indeed applied for enrollment in the program! We may just see the last of the Avacado Green and Forest Brown appliances that adorn many old Center City Philadelphia condominiums.

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

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December 10, 2009

Are you the reason your Center City Condo isn’t selling?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:53 am

… I have met more than one seller who was his own worst enemy.  🙂

In a town where only about 30%-40% of the condos that come on the market, actually sell, I need all the help I can get when it comes to selling your Old City Condo, or your Rittenhouse Square high rise unit. If condos just sold themselves, you would find me singing and dancing in the middle of Broad St. every day around lunch time. I do my best to employ every business and technological advantage to selling your condo, but if you are a giant DOLT, then you are going to make my job a lot more difficult.  Now I don’t mean to be a bully here, and I am saying this kinda’ tongue in cheek. But sometimes, a seller can really get in the way of his or her Fitler Square condominium from obtaining an acceptable offer. Here is just a quick rundown of things no seller should be found guilty of doing:
 
Being present for an Open House. Not cleaning your home, or making your bed daily. Not putting all the crap in your walk-in closet into a storage bin. Talking to a buyer excessively if and when showing your own home. (…like extolling the virtues of your new mauve carpeting).  Oh, and allowing your tenants to dictate if and when your condo can be shown.  And my personal favorite, insisting that your condo is worth more than any other proven similar area sale. I like that one the best. 
 
When it comes to pricing, you are going to have to be negotiable. I can scarcely remember a time when a seller actually got everything they wanted in a given offer. Mostly the disappointment is reflected in a sale price, but can assume the role of an inconvenient settlement date, having unwanted contingencies gum up a deal, what-have-you. Suck it up. We all have to. I am sorry. I wish I could make those issues disappear, but they are part and parcel when selling a condo in Philly
 
I tell ALL my buyers that I can get them 9/10 things on their wish list. I can never get them 10/10. The same goes for sellers. That is just a fact of life here in the big city.
 
Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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December 8, 2009

Excuse me, Mr. or Mrs. Lazy Realtor

Filed under: General Real Estate,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:57 am

Is it wrong of me to expect some effort on your part, or Am I some kinda’ goof?


 
    
Here is an open letter to a small fraction of the realtors in the world. Most are indeed professional and responsible. This letter is to those who are not.
 
You say the Philadelphia Condo market is brutal, and you complain about your lack of income. Well guess what? It isn’t just the market working against you. You are working against yourself.  For Instance… You don’t own a lockbox , you won’t return my call, and your cell phone is not set up to accept messages, and my buyers really want to see your listing.  You make it exceedingly difficult to show your listings. And I ask-Are you outta your mind? I mean, isn ‘t your fiduciary responsibility to work in the best interest of your seller? How do you not see that YOU are the reason that your particular listing isn’t perhaps selling, or at least getting the traffic it deserves?

I know, I should get off my high horse, and stop expecting you to do your job. I should have my head examined for guessing that you are interested in your job enough  to actually perform it with the least bit of effort.  Oh, and you gave me the wrong alarm code, didn’t mention the owners had a big mean dog inside their Center City Penthouse, and that perhaps the tenants were the angry sort. You said the property was open to FHA financing, which it clearly isn’t, and in your ad, you said parking was included. Now you want $35k for that spot?

I do my best to extol the virtues of professionalism when it comes to dealing with buyers and sellers. I am no saint, but am I wrong to expect some sort of proper behavior on the part of cooperating realtors?

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

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December 4, 2009

Philadelphia Penthouses

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:43 pm

As you can see from my Philadelphia condo site, www.CenterCityCondos.com, there are a variety of Penthouse units to choose from here in Center City. The sky is the limit- pun inteneded, the the priciest condo in town is listed at $30,000,000. Call me if you hit the lotto numbers in the near future! 🙂
    
There is also currently a corportate owned Penthouse condo in town, with over 3600 sq. ft, and a huge veranda asking just over $1,000,000 (down from something like $2.9m) And of course for perhaps you, I, and the masses, there are more modest offerings sprinkled throughout Old City, Rittenhouse Square, and Society Hill in the mid $500,000 range. If you are willing to go a little harder edge, perhaps a “hard” loft, top floor condo with a roof deck can fetch a few hundred thousand, though rare indeed.
    
Philadelphia really has an amazing assortment of Penthouse condos in almost every neighborhood. From the mansions in the sky, to the studio and one bedroom, and everything in between. Pre-War, Modern, New Construction, Water Front, to warehouse conversions with spacious roofdeck.

Philly has it’s share of interesting inventory for the Penthouse set.

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

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December 1, 2009

The Roach Hotel

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:56 pm

Building Prestige doesn’t always insure the absence of pests.
 
I was showing a million dollar condo the other day in one of Philadelphia’s more prestigious condo buildings, and there was a huge dead cockroach laying on its back, dead, in the middle of the living room. Ick. Needless to say, I was shocked. My buyers weren’t singing and dancing in the middle of the street after this revelation either.

Though the building is “High-end”, and  is very well managed, it really came as a surprise. Who would have thought? And a mouse on the 21st floor of a new construction high rise building? More prevalent than you might think. 

If the absence of pests is high on your priority list, you might want to take a few precautionary measures. First, make sure the “door sweep” attached to the bottom of your condo unit door fits snug to the ground. If you can see a gap between the bottom of your unit door, and the floor, you are going to invite critters in from the common areas.

Also, you may want to pull your appliances out, and have a handy-person spray some “expanding foam” in the areas where the gas line, water lines, or electric lines come into your unit.  If you live in an older, pre-war Center City Condo building, make sure gaps between baseboards and floors are tight, and fill any holes in between floorboards. If all else fails, get a cat! 🙂

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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