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July 29, 2014

The Dying Art Of Open Houses

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Sellers,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 8:37 am

Remember the olden days when the Sunday paper would arrive and you would get out your red felt tipped marker, then circle the open houses you wanted to see?

   That was so 1997….Those days are all but gone- having been replaced by the advances in internet marketing for condos. Additionally, more and more Center City Condos are forbidding agents to hold Open Houses- ever.

   It is said in Real Estate circles that open houses are NOT for sellers- they are for agents trying to pick up buyers. To a degree, I agree. More so with the fact that videos, virtual tours, podcasts, blogs, multiple photos, etc are easily found with a quick Google search. And most Realtors’ websites can give you a lot more than you can learn at an open house- think neighborhood stats, crime reports, etc., not to mention the gossip and dirt you can pick up on your neighbor’s house. If someone is seriously in the market for a condo, they are going to view your listing if they are interested- Open House or not.

  I usually find that Open Houses tend to cut down on the weekly traffic- the more people who see it at an open, the fewer weekly appointments one will find in terms of buyer traffic. And of course, we are all aware that Open Houses usually beget nosy neighbors, passersby, and the like. With overall traffic down on Open Houses over the past decade (in my experience)- how long before Open Houses will go the way of land lines and flip phones?  Probably not long.

FYI-Center City Open Houses are usually ONE hour only- Get in, then get out. Suburban agents can spend 3-4 hours at one open house. How utterly boring. I think I’d rather drink bathwater than to sit in a house on a Sunday for four hours.

 

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July 21, 2014

Considering Developing a New Condo Building in Center City?

Filed under: For Sellers,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 8:20 am
Here are 10 things NOT to overlook…
 
1) Buyers today appreciate security, but is an alarm system necessary? Probably not. Try installing a “dropcam” styled camera inside the front door of each unit- And owners can get an instant email IF and WHEN someone enters their unit- day or night, even if owners are on the other side of the planet.
 
2) Recharging Stations- How about a little shelf by the front door of each unit that will recharge cell phones and devices by simply placing the devices on that shelf? Any buyer with a cell phone could get very excited about such a feature.
 
3) Pet Policies- I would suggest your building needs to be pet friendly- but not for tenants. Breed restrictions and size restrictions may also be in the overall best interest of the buying public.
 
4) Two Month Capital Contribution- New buyers need to add to the “kitty”…very common and a great way to jump start the reserves. This practice is now standard in Center City Condos around town.
 
5) Virtual Doorman- Looking to keep condo fees in check? Try a virtual doorman- Activity can be monitored offsite but still give the sense of security to the condo owners. Many newer buildings are going this route to save on condo fees.
 
6) Electric Automobiles Plug In Bays. One day soon, this will be a must for all new buildings. And don’t forget to save at least one parking spot for car sharing purposes. Bike sharing might not be a bad idea on your property as well.
 
7) Be as Transparent As Possible- Post the true sale prices of each unit- not just asking prices. Shove the info into the faces of potential buyers. They will without a doubt appreciate your candor and transparency. Shady is not going to work for you…trust me on that one.
 
8) Don’t Forget The WOW Factor- Let’s face it, unless you are buying at the Ritz Carlton, or some other “A” building, chances are the finishes and model units are not going to as appealing as they possibly can be. Change that. I am begging you….Nothing sells better than stunning visual finishes! Get a little crazy because no other developer will dare to do so…
 
9) Parking- Important for larger units, but if the location is fairly central, will probably not be important to studio, one bedroom, or even smaller two bedroom condos.
 
10) Make Sure Your Sales Office Is Realtor Friendly-
Offer free parking, allow Realtors easy access without the mandatory one hour tour. Scrap the stupid rules and long info forms buyers and agents must fill out that most . NOTHING CAN KILL SALES FASTER than pissing off the Real Estate Community.
 
Want to learn more about how to make your 
new condos fly off the shelf? 
Let’s chat…..
 
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July 14, 2014

3 Easy Ways to Spruce up your Philly Condo’s Showing Ability

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:42 am

I am often asked by condo owners to offer tips on getting their condo to “Show Well”. Here are the 3 quick easy tips for maximizing the showing ability of your Philadelphia condominium:

1) Go to Ikea, and buy a floor to ceiling curtain and hang it from ceiling height, in front of your bathtub. This is not going to take the place of your shower curtain, it is simply going to add some dramatic effect to the bathroom. It is quick, cheap, and has a powerful punch in terms of the emotional appeal of your Center City condo.

curtain

 


2) Paint an accent wall. Preferably, one that is opposite the entryway to any given room. I like to see fireplace walls accented in somewhat neutral, yet enticing colors too. Like a chalky blue, or green. Painting an accent wall will give a hint of flavor to a room, without overpowering the room with massive color.

paint

 

3) Replace the knobs on the doors and drawers in your kitchen and bathroom. And don’t buy the 99 cents knobs either. Go to Pottery Barn, or Restoration Hardware, and spend a few dollars. Believe me when I tell you, they will help even a somewhat tired kitchen look a bit refreshed.

knob

 

That’s it. Three quick easy steps for maximizing the interior “curb appeal” to your  Center City Condo!

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

 

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July 7, 2014

What’s In Your Condo Docs?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 12:21 pm

Here are a few things that you may not have known are pretty standard in condo docs in  Center City:

1) Almost all associations charge 2 months capital contribution- means you pay 2 months condo fees to the association- not the owner, but the association- Helps build the kitty.
2) You better check the pet policy- A few years back a young woman bought a Philadelphia condo at Locust Point, then had to sell because she ignored the pet policy- her dog was too big. And she of course wasn’t parting with the dog, so she parted with the condo.
3) Rental Restrictions- Becoming more and more common in condo docs and their rules and regs- which can be a huge value-preserving tool for the association.
4) Future Assessments- Will tell you if any assessments have been approved for the future. Not “discussing assessments” but real approved assessments. There is a difference.
5) The Budget- This is a biggie. You may want to see how much $$ is on hand for future improvements- should correspond to building size and age. New buildings have little reserve- and often, they don’t need them- there is no differed maintenance beyond cosmetic often.

In the state of PA., you have 5 days or 15 days to review your condo docs depending upon the type of Center City condo you are buying- used or new.

Mark Wade
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach Realtors
Mark@CenterCity.com    215.521.1523

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July 1, 2014

Really? You wanna’ buy that Center City Condo??

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 12:56 pm
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The old adage “Buyers Are Liars” is repeated often in many Real Estate circles. I think the line is a crock of sh*t….The line should be “Realtors don’t spend the time to get to know their Buyers.”

And there you have it….

The key to selling condos in Philadelphia. Find out as soon as possible what trigger is going to make any given condo work for a given buyer. Oh, and make sure you know everything about almost every condo in town and be able to discuss that condo at length, at the drop of a hat.

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Here is a list of things that I find buyers really key into when shopping for a condo here in town:

1) Walkability
2) A Side of parking
3) Proximity to a given Point Of Interest
4) Areas in which they already are familiar
5) Curb Appeal / Interior Condition
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Which one of those blows the others out of the water?
That would be # 5…
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I hear it all the time- “I want this area”, “I must have parking”, or I want to be able to walk around town”.  But many of those MUST HAVES fly out the window the minute the majority of buyers walk into a Philadelphia condo and fall in love with what they are seeing…usually quite a different story than what originally comes out of their mouths. NOTHING wrong with knowing what you like….I too am very visual.
Gone is the need for a study, or a 2nd bedroom, that large kitchen buyers have always wanted. Visually stunning condos here in Center City Philly are always in demand- regardless of most market conditions. Believe you me….and NEVER underestimate the fact –
IF IT SHOWS WELL, IT WILL SELL WELL

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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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