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March 25, 2010

Hawthorne Area of Center City

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:51 pm

..an area of interest to many buyers!

bellavistamap

Bound by South St. to Washington Ave., 11th to Broad St., The Hawthorne area of town has seen a real growth in the past five years. Located to the west of the established Bella Vista neighborhood, Hawthorne has a lot of benefits that many Center City buyers find attractive:

1) A good proximity to the heart of Center City,
2) Super low taxes on condos and townhomes in the area,
3) An abundance of easy parking,
4) Some hip groovy styles of Philadelphia real estate (thanks in large part to Tony Rufo & his building in the area),
5) Great pricing in light of similar neighborhoods.

If you might be looking for alternatives to the growing Center City area of Philadelphia, give me a call, and lets go explore The Hawthorne area of town!

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

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March 23, 2010

The 5 most frequently asked Questions by Center City Condo Buyers

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:57 pm

1) Is transfer tax split between buyer and seller?
Yes….and that fact is embedded into the agreement of sale. You pay 2% of the sale price, and so does the seller.
 
2) Can I move my stuff in prior to settlement?
Uh, no. The day you give the seller your money, it is all yours. Until then, you may not occupy or make alterations to your new Philly condo!
 
3) Why do I have to pay 2 months condo fees to the association?
It is called a capital contribution. Helps pad the condo association against future assessments. Almost all condos has everyone pay this when buying.
 
4) Do I get my 2 months capital contribution back when I sell?
Uh, no, shut up.
 
5) Why do I need to buy title insurance?
Because certain debt transfers with title. You buy, you may inherit someone else’s debt. Title insurance gives you a clean, debt-free title. (Abridged answer!)
 
You will certainly have more questions when purchasing a new Rittenhouse Square condo, or say Old City loft. Trust me. 🙂 And that is why I am here.

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

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March 11, 2010

Is a Two Bedroom Center City Condo inherently better than a One Bedroom?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:47 pm

Does an 800 sq. ft. Philadelphia Condominium become more valuable if you start adding walls?

000_1908   000_1919

Here is what I believe to be correct:

1) You will lose value if you turn a two bedroom condo into a one bedroom condo by removing walls. Improving the size of the living room does not add value. At all.

2) Any huge one bedroom unit that can visually and logically be turned into a two bedroom condo- should be.

3) A cheap 2 bed VS a cool 1 bed? Depending on sooo many factors- primarily square footage, location, prestige of building, interior condition, etc, etc. A 2 bedroom gets you divided rooms- but can that top (say) a stronger building in a stronger location inside a 1 bedroom unit?

4) Whether the walls completely seal off a bedroom, or bedrooms are cordoned off by half-walls, in most instances will not affect value of any given unit.

5) I think that if we were talking a Beach House, then yes….go for the 2 bed. With the plethora of hotels in town, perhaps the value of more “rooms” in a Philly loft is diminished a bit.
 
Agree, disagree? Lets hear it….
 
Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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March 9, 2010

Condos for Jefferson Medical College Attendees

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:55 pm

Jefferson Medical College is located on the edge of the Washington Square West neighborhood of Center City Philadelphia, and every spring, my website is abuzz with the new incoming attendees of this fine institution.

So what do the incoming residents look for when purchasing a condo near Jefferson Medical School? I usually find that proximity and safety are at the top of these buyers priority list when condo shopping. Also, I find most students will want to see the Hopkinson House and maybe even Academy House condos.

hop house   the_academy_house

Condos along the Spruce St/Pine St corridor are always very popular for those looking for a low rise/ Brownstone styled condominium. In the high rise sector, we have the Lenox at 13th and Spruce, the Western Union Building at 11th and Locust, and the Victory building at 10th and Chestnut Street.

There is a fair amount of inventory available, and all kinds of styles fit most buyers’ needs and tastes. I think a great place to start a search for Jefferson Medical School condo buyers would be the plethora of condos near 10th and Spruce Streets. The surrounding blocks hold a variety of sizes and styles. Next up would be to hit the doorman buildings in the area.

Want to start your shopping online, prior to your arrival in town? Drop me an email at Mark@CenterCity.com, and lets chat!

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

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March 4, 2010

What you Need to Know About Applying the Tax Credit to Your Philly Condo Purchase!

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:06 pm

By now, we have all heard hundreds of times that the Home Buyer Tax Credit has been extended and expanded by Congress. If you are a buyer who might be actively looking for a Philadelphia Condo, or even if you are sitting on the fence, here are some facts you should know:

1. Time is running out! In order to qualify for the tax credit, you must be under contract by April 30, 2010. You also need to complete a successful settlement no later than July 1. Which means you probably should not plan to settle ON July 1. Plan to settle a few days in advance. It would be such a shame to miss out on such an amazing deal because of a last minute postponement (none of us hope for them, but unfortunately sometimes, they do happen). 

2. If you are a first-time home buyer, which means you or your spouse have not owned a home within the last 3 years, you qualify for $8000. If you are a “long-term resident” and you are selling or vacating your primary residence that you have lived in for 5 consecutive years to purchase a new primary residence, you qualify for $6500.  A primary residence can include any single-family home, townhouse, condominium, or co-op.

3. If you settle before the April 15 tax deadline, you can even apply the credit to your 2009 tax return! Not a bad deal! If you miss it, you will of course apply it to your 2010 return. Still not bad!

4. The income limits have also been raised. The credit will now be available to single taxpayers with gross incomes up to $125,000 and joint filers who earn up to $225,000. You may even qualify for a reduced credit if you earn up to $145,000 or $245,000 for joint filers.

The clock is ticking on this once in a lifetime deal. If you have questions and are looking to buy here in Philadelphia, feel free to drop me an email at Mark@CenterCity.com or give me a call at 215.521.1523. 

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

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March 2, 2010

Center City One Condos at 1326 Spruce St.

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:00 pm

With 182 individual condominium units, and 86 deeded parking spots, Center City One Condominiums have a great reputation for being a solid Philadelphia real estate buy.  A Great Value which could be improved!  A mix of studio, 1, and 2 bedroom units, Center City One condos offer either wonderful city views to the north, or south facing sun-drenched views.  These Washington Square West condos are located in the 19107 zip code, and all units at Center City One are flats- no loft condo units at 1326 Spruce exist. We find many Philly real estate buyers delighted with what they can buy for their money at Center City One. Although a stable building in terms of resale and location, the building could easily pull higher sale prices with minimal effort.

As a veteran Philadelphia real estate agent who specializes in Philadelphia condo sales, I hear a lot of feedback from buyers whom I shuttle around town in my car. Most buyers will comment on the lack of emotional appeal to the exterior of the building, followed by the worn hallways on every floor. And although the lobby and elevators are attractive, a somewhat unfavorable impression is made by prospective buyers, prior to even seeing the interior of any condo that may be for sale at 1326 Spruce St. I often counter with the fact that the building has a strong on- site management team, an active condo association, and of course liberal pet policies, parking, and proximity to Avenue of the Arts. My ability to lessen the lack of initial emotional appeal usually falls on deaf ears.

If I were the king of Center City One, the first thing I would do is to power wash the concrete exterior which has collected its fair share of city soot and dirt over the years. In addition, the wood balcony partitions on the outside of the building appear faded and a bit weathered. Step two would involve a special assessment to immediately refinish all common hallway areas. The carpet currently appears to be worn, and faded, is what I will hear from most potential buyers. The hallways dimly lit with brass fixtures from perhaps the 1980’s, and fingerprint-proof wallpaper that screams “dated” are going to figure prominently into the associations ability to update the building in order to raise the value of the existing units in this 30 story building.

The death knell of values in existing Philadelphia condominiums is a dated, worn cosmetic look. Center City One excels in location, views, amenities, closet space, balconies, and unit layout. I would suggest that if the association spends for interior and exterior cosmetic work, that values of the condos at 1326 Spruce St. would rise appreciably.

Since this post was written in 2010, Center City One has made some of the very upgrades I wrote about in this post. Please read our new, updated post about Center City One Condominiums here

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
215-521-1523

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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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