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December 27, 2012

A hint of Old City Insight….

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:16 am

5 Things I know about Old City Philadelphia…

I lived in the neighborhood for 18 years- and I know of what I speak…

1) Old City is very “So-Ho” in nature- lots of people walking on the street, shopping and simply strolling around. It is really kinda’ groovy

2) Old City has but about two dozen single family homes- and a few thousand condos

3) BridgeView Place, The Wireworks, and the The Castings Condos are exceedingly similar-all built by the same developer and all offer similarly priced and sized condos. If you are condo shopping and see one building- you should see all 3 of these buildings

4) There is a “sweet spot” in Old City in terms of where most folks will ask to live- Which is east of 4th street, and north of say Market Street

5) Old city has it’s own Special Service district- uniformed folks who sweep the street and provide tourists with directions and a sense of comfort. A special tax is included for many Old City condo purchases, but a small price to pay for piece of mind.

Mark Wade

www.CenterCityCondos.com

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December 25, 2012

Capital Contributions

Filed under: For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:16 am

WTF? Two Months Capital Contribution Buyers Have To Pay… Define: Two Months of Condo Fees A Buyer Must Fork Over When Buying a Condo In the old days- say 20 years ago, a Capital Contribution was a very rare line item paid by a buyer to reimburse the seller for the the contribution he or she originally made to the condo association when they first bought into any given building. Today, this fee is nearly universal in Center City, but it not longer goes to the seller- It goes to the condominium association. I think this is a great idea… You see, the more your building sells, the more money that the condo association is getting to put into their bank account. No longer does the seller get this money. The money goes to the association, and helps build the funds that will one day be needed to say, replace the roof, or do some kind of ongoing upkeep, maintenance, or repairs. I think the strength of any given condo association, and their ability to maintain a building without the need for a Special Assessment, is a function of how much money they have to fix and keep up the building- without having to go to the owners and ask them to pay a special assessment to address upkeep. So yes…if you are going to buy a condo in Center City Philadelphia, plan on having to pay two months condo fees upfront (this is in addition to the month fees you have to pay every single month) to the condo association. This fee will be on your settlement sheet, and is due the day you go to settle on your condo. Everyone pays it….so don’t think you are being singled out. And the money is not going to line someone else’s pocket- You are basically paying the condo association in which you are now a member. So cough it up…. Mark Wade www.CenterCityCondos.com

 

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December 19, 2012

East of Broad St. Condo Growth Over the Years

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:09 am

 

The Way I see it…

How Neighborhoods in Center City came to be (East of Broad St)

In the 1960’s the city wanted to revitalize Society Hill. They did indeed with the addition
of Society Hill Towers, and the surrounding area. Many vacant homes were sold for $1 as
long as you promised to fix them up and make them livable.
As Society Hill become popular and pricey, folks started to take their money, their lives, and
the rehabbing skills to Queen Village (QV)….though Queen Village was never as vacant and run down as Society Hill had become. But none-the-less, to QV they went.
Then in the late 1990’s, it became apparent the QV was becoming pricey, and availability of
run-down started homes become scarce, and folks then began to see the value and beauty of
Bella Vista. Back in the day, you couldn’t find a Bella Vista home for over $500,000- that kind of money was reserved for (first) Society Hill, then Queen Village.
Finally, as Bella Vista began to be known as a destination, folks started to move west into
Hawthorne (west of 11th street, east of Broad). Now Hawthorne boasts some nice houses
and some fine Hawthorne lofts.
And that is the migration of folks east of Broad Street since the 1960’s – the way I see it.

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com

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December 11, 2012

Attention Developers…

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:44 pm

     ATTENTION DEVELOPERS….

Converting a Brownstone to Condos in Center City?

As the market begins to heat up, so does the demand for smaller associations like brownstone styled condos that tend to have lower condo fees, and a hint more character than say a high rise may possess. Here are a few hints a developer may want to keep in mind:

1) Make sure to carpet the common areas. No one wants to hear the owner of say unit 2R clomp his or her way through the halls with their high heels. Keep noise to a minimum in common areas- hardwood floor and or tile is not appropriate. Carpet these areas. Please.

2) Think about splitting your water bills up- meter each unit separately. Many buyers may be part timers or weekend city warriors, and may benefit from not having to pay for water that they don’t use on a daily basis.

3) If the city allows, and you have space in the basement, put up two by fours and chicken wire storage units. And buy a dehumidifier for the association. The minimal cost will pay for itself in terms of marketability.

4) Common Area paint should be done in a low gloss finish. And spend a few extra dollars on front door security and hallway lighting. Again, a small cost, but huge in the minds of many Center City brownstone styled condo buyers.

5) When you are done building the condos, take a step back, and put in another $2500 into each unit in terms of groovy paint, wallpaper, and lighting. You will no doubt be able to recoup every penny of that visual investment (and them some) and the condos will sell quicker. Much quicker.

Remember, your competition is going to be at least a decade or two old- so modern up to date cosmetics are exceedingly important for marketability. I find that what kills a developer in terms of profitability, is the time it takes to market a condo. A vacant condo is simply just p*ssing money down a drain.  I would suggest there is a fine line between over-improving, and hitting the market just right- in terms of pricing and your final product. Need some more advice?

Call me, Let’s chat. Mark Wade

215.521.1523 / 215.627.6005           www.CenterCityCondos.com          Prudential Fox and Roach Realtors

• • •

December 6, 2012

Guest Post: Three Center City Museums You Should Make Time to Visit

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:11 pm

If you live in Center City Philadelphia, then you already know how rich the place is in culture and activities. From parks and theaters to dining and nightlife, Center City Condo residents can always find something fun or enjoyable to do.

Perhaps that’s part of the problem, however. Since you live in the city, you know that you’ll always have a chance to get around to that one place you want to check out. Tourists, on the other hand, have to make the most of the limited time they have. As a result, it’s quite possible that out-of-towners have experienced more of your hometown than you have.

Whether you’re a nightclub waitress or a mechanic specializing in 1987 Mustang parts, everybody needs a little downtime. Make time in your schedule one day to experience some of the amazing places right in your own backyard. Here are three that you shouldn’t miss:

  1. Philadelphia Museum of Art

If the thought of visiting a museum makes you cringe with thoughts of dull education, you need to rethink your idea of the museum experience. Museums are fascinating places to visit with all kinds of interesting artifacts, exhibits and pieces of art. Exhibits tend to change, though, so check the website to see what’s currently on display.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the country’s largest, so you know you’re in for a treat when you visit. From periodic furniture and clothing to displays of the armor of knights and their horses, there’s something at the museum that will delight everyone.

  1. Rodin Museum

Rodin museum is actually administrated by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, but it definitely has its own wonders to offer. One of the most prized treasures of this museum is the beautiful gardens which have been recently renovated. In the gardens, you’ll find several famous sculptures and statues, including the classic work, The Thinker.

Inside the museum, you’ll enjoy the extensive collection of the works of Rodin. Explore the brass, plaster and marble masterpieces from one of the most notable sculptors in modern history.

  1. The African American Museum in Philadelphia

African Americans have played such a large role in shaping what our country is today. The African American Museum in Philadelphia offers tribute and recognition to the pioneers in some of the nation’s most historical and important movements.

The works in the museum go far beyond civil rights leaders, however. Get a glimpse of noteworthy art, discover a rich culture, and take a look into the lives of famous African American photographers, inventors, educators and others.

Whether you’re looking for something to do on a first day or want to spend a weekend exploring what Central City has to offer, consider adding at least one of these places to your itinerary.

Michelle Rebecca

Byline: Michelle is an aspiring writer with a passion for blogging. She enjoys writing about a vast variety of topics and loves that blogging gives her the opportunity to publicly voice her thoughts and share advice with an unlimited audience.

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