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September 30, 2013

Does Staging Really Help Sell Condos, Or Is It a Crock Of Crap?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Sellers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:15 am

   

 The above two photos show off a living room / dining room combination. Exact same units. To which might you think a buyer would best respond ?

 

              

 Here are two identical high rise entry foyers (ABOVE). Adding a hint of color, as well as some well placed art, rugs and furniture can really add that pop of visual excitement that MANY buyers crave…

 

 

And finally, really nicely staged balcony adds such style and cements the concept of outside livability, that surely a buyer will respond in terms of interest and price for the Philadelphia condo that is well staged. Not rocket science here or anything….but a reality none the less. Buyers will pay for what they like. So yes, I think staging works and works well. These are actually before and after photos of our condo…but I think you get the picture 🙂

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September 23, 2013

Renegotiating After A Home Inspection?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:03 am
Think you are going to get a $10,000 price reduction after your home inspection?
Inspector_gadget
Everyone should get a home inspection. There is no such thing as perfection and every Philadelphia condo- be it new construction, or a clearly used up old condo- almost every condo that I have come across needs some kind of maintenance or attention.
  But how do you go about protecting yourself without pissing off a seller to a point where he or she no longer wants to deal with you? Well, that can be a thin line….but here is what I suggest:
1) Focus on the big ticket items. Try not to be too nit picky about the small stuff. Sellers can become easily fatigued…so instead of asking for a plethora of small items to be corrected, ask for (say) one or two big issues- If warranted. One that can be backed up by the home inspection. Sellers are sometime less worried about the money and more worried that they may not have the time to fix every little issue- sometimes sellers will negotiate on convenience- as opposed to being consumed by trivial matters.
2) If you have the option of taking a credit, or having the seller repair items- GO FOR THE CREDIT. Because more often than not, you or your contractor may not like the way the seller does the repair. Then we all have a problem….
3) I don’t think it is logical for a buyer to ask for a credit or a repair on items they clearly knew were previously broken. For instance,  if you make an offer on a condo that has a cracked window pane or clearly unused/broken dishwasher – the seller may be less apt to fix it- because you clearly knew of this shortcoming prior to making an offer….and of course you made your offer accordingly, one would assume.
4) Electrical issues are huge….and you can almost always hit a seller up for making such a repair. Electrical issues are scary for most buyers and something most buyers cannot and probably should not fix themselves.
     I usually coach my buyers to think this way: If the amount of the needed repairs impacts your perception of the value of the Center City condo, then you should probably back out of the deal or go at the seller at full force. However, if you are just looking to rake the seller over the coals for the hell of it- that should be done during the time you make your offer. Not at a later date where you are just looking to perhaps get something for (almost) nothing. Just my two cents…
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September 16, 2013

Skewing Philly Condo values?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:35 am

Trulia, Zillow, etc… Really?

 

 Perhaps you could just

 Rub A Magic Lamp

 to determine Center City Condo Values….

Magic-Lamp-3D

I think the methods used by many Online sites to show specific area condo values is just horse crap. You would have to be kinda’ simple to believe that the emotional punch of a condo is not going to seriously affect it’s value. Selling factors such as price, days-on-market and demand can be heavily influenced by a condos Showing Ability, Floor Height, and View. I know of no on-line real estate site that can take these factors into account …therefore possibly throwing off estimates of value for a Center City condo.  And you can’t logically argue  that value is “generalized within a given zip code”. That would be folly.Because if that were the case, then “1830”  and The DORCHESTER  values would be more in line with one another.   Throw the emotional punch or lack thereof into the mix and you have an exceedingly wide chasm of values and trying to generalize those values might prove daunting.

  And another example of how miscalcuations can also be achieved……

Over the past 3-5 years,many local publications have declared that the Center City zip code of 19102 has blossomed in terms of value growth.     Really?  I would suggest that the additions of The Ritz Carlton, the Aria, The Ellington, and The Grande have artificially bloated their calculations of area  values, average sale price, number of sales, etc moreso than true appreciation could ever have mustered.

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September 9, 2013

Spit on Your Mortgage Solicitors Grave….

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:00 pm

You know you want to. All my buyers do….it is just part and parcel in terms of the buying process. Believe me when I tell you that you are going to be tortured. Mortgage lenders have rules they have to follow, and these loans are sold on the secondary market via Fanne Mae….and of course they have their rules as well.

    The good news is that everyone gets tortured equally. And I don’t care if you have fabulous credit, millions in the bank…whatever. The process is an arduous one, and no one is free from the pain of procuring a residential loan these days. I recently bought a new Center City condo and thought that I might be exempt from the pain and torture…being the big brain that I am. I soon discovered that my attributes could not save me….

    Even my mortgage dudes Jason and Mike at Trident, who I use myself ALWAYS comes through for me and my buyers ….gets the stink eye from even the nicest of the buying set.  So get ready to get tortured. But know that it is not the mortgage solicitor who is making the rules. He or she is just following the rules and guidelines set forth by either their investors or fanne mae, or a combination of the two.

So buckle up boys and girls. Just when you think you have given your mortgage company every thing they ask for….You can pretty much be sure that there is one more document that will need from you…..  And don’t look at me…I am not making up any rules here- I am just passing on the information  🙂
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September 4, 2013

Not All Upgrades Pay Off….

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Sellers,Of Interest To Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:27 am

There is no such thing as a Sure Thing. No surprise there. But time and time again I see Philadelphia condos where the seller has spent money in order to hopefully improve the resale value of their condo. In most instances, condo owners upgrade for their own Use and Enjoyment- but some do improve with the goal being a higher resale value. Here are common upgrading mistakes I see in the Center City Condo marketplace:

1) Wall to Wall Carpeting in a Living room.2200aarch
2) Installing a Huge soaking tub/ Jacuzzi like monstrosity
3) Replacing closet doors with Mirrored closet doors
4) Adding a Roof Deck
5) Adding Hi-Hats and / or track lighting
Now certainly there are exceptions to every rule, and in some instances, these additions can add value. But from my experience- the value added is nominal. And in some cases- can actually detract from value. Really depends upon the unit. If you have some of these features in your condo, I would NOT suggest you remove them. But spending money to add them to your existing condo may not provide you with the expected return.
Instead,
I suggest you throw some money into what buyers seem to always remember:
1) Rework your Closets-  You can buy off the shelves at Home Depot or Lowes. I call it the faux California Closet looks. And they can add tremendous value to your condo. Never underestimate the power of good closets in Center City condo value. One of the first things condo buyers do is they check out the closet space.
2) Repainting- Want some Kick-A** ideas? Visit www.Houzz.com for some fab fab fab visuals. Remember, focus on two main colors and highlight with decor pieces as the third. You needn’t paint every wall in a room one color.
3) Recaulk and Regrout Your Bathroom- This is huge, and doesn’t cost a lot. Email me and I can send you references  to
make your bathroom look 1000% better- and can be done in a day. Don’t underestimate this upgrade, please.
4) Replace all the knobs and pulls in your kitchen and bathroom. And try Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware. This is a huge and inexpensive way to really put “icing on the cake” in two of the most important rooms in your home. And if you want to take it a step further- after you do the above 4 Upgrades- think about replacing interior door knobs. Again, a small visual cue that can really set the tone and feel of you condo.

Want my input? Call me, and I will come over and do a quick assessment of your place…No biggie.  I have been on HGTV for the decorating I did in my own home, and I won Philly Mag’s Kitchen of the Year contest back in 2005.
—–
 So I’m thinkin’……I am kinda’ groovy, you see 🙂
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