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January 26, 2015

Answering Condo Reserve Questions

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:28 am
No two condo associations are the same…much like snowflakes.
1) How much money does my condo association have in the kitty? 
  You really are not going to know the answer to that question until you purchase the condo and review the condo docs. The state of Pennsylvania allows for a five day review of condo docs for you to make an informed decision. Some buildings stockpile a boatload of $$ – and others simply just assess when needed. I usually find that the very small buildings and the very expensive / exclusive buildings in town don’t keep that much $$ on hand- their way of making improvements is to simply assess owners when needed.
2) How much does Fannie Mae Require to go into reserves every month for the building to be “warrantable?”
Although there is no set amount (for the ability of buyers who want to buy in your building) probably a good idea to be setting 10-15% aside every month for capital improvements.
3) What are capital expenditures?
   Reserves for deferred maintenance (performed less frequently than yearly in order to maintain the asset’s useful life) and capital expenditures (purchasing or replacing assets that have a useful life over one year) are required for certain building components unless the board votes annually to waive and/or reduce reserve funding.
4) WTF is a capital contribution??? 
   Buyer pays two months worth of condo fees to the ASSOCIATION- this does not go to the seller and this helps to build the kitty for future improvements. This contribution is now applicable for almost ALL condo sales in town like the Barclay Condominium.
5) How much should my association have in reserves?
     This really is a function of the board’s goals and the current condition of the entire parcel including the roof, windows, elevators, etc. Most folks I speak with suggest 10% -15% of the TOTAL annual intake of condo fees to help build the kitty. A professional reserve study may be in order to best guide an association- call for details and I may be able to help with this. Maybe not 🙂

 

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January 19, 2015

Tossing Up Red Flags Faster Than I Can Down A Martini

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:37 am
Being on the inside track of the Center City condo market, I am at the epicenter of buyer feedback and I am privy to their thoughts and I see what buyers consider to be red flags. Here is what they are telling me. This list could also be called                        ” Things My Condo Buyers Quickly Reject:”
1) A condo with a  two-story spiral staircase
2) Poorly kept common areas of low rise condo buildings
3) Low owner occupancy ratios in any size condo association
4) Lawsuits against the association
5) An unusually high “days on market” for units within the building
6) A clear lack of upkeep and maintenance for any size building. Buyers are usually acutely aware of the lack of upkeep and have little trouble identifying such buildings.
Certainly there are a plethora of reasons why a buyer will buy or reject any given condo here in town. The above list of six examples are the most common that I see.

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January 5, 2015

Real Estate Agent Cliques

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 11:37 am

The Real Estate community here in Center City is not unlike High School. You have your Prom Queens, your Stoners, and your Jocks….not to mention the Wallflowers and the Loudmouths. All kinds of agents make our world go around…and that is great. Most agents are nice and cooperative but there are of course the real A-Holes that some agents try to avoid like the plague.

And if you think the Center City Real Estate community doesn’t have its own clique- then you would be incorrect. Some Center City Condo listings get more traffic than others just due to their basic popularity, like the Academy House at 1420 Locust St. Being cooperative, flexible, playing by the rules, etc., all have their benefits. I have heard repeatedly that agents will avoid certain listings because they don’t want to work with this or that agent for the next two to three months of their lives. I get it. I am not saying I condone such behavior, but I do understand it. I too do not want to deal with someone who is not going to return my phone calls, has a reputation of being a pain to deal with, or maybe even known to be a hint evasive or is just someone who is known for not being able to help carry a deal to closing because they haven’t (say) been honest with their clients. Or just plain aloof.

    And being “In with the In crowd” gives me access to properties that less popular agents can’t arrange.  I am in the clique, you see :-)   And I sell a lot of Philadelphia condos….so I may get a hint more wiggle room for weekend appointments, or last minute appointments. Or just get waltzed right past the doorman when I walk into a building.

 

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