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February 2015
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February 24, 2015

Every Buyer and Seller wants to know one thing…

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:51 am
What do I get for those super high  %&%#)@$
 condo fees?
I get it…everyone thinks condo fees are always higher than they should be and many folks are unclear about where their condo dollars go:
1) Master Insurance Policy – Depending on the size of your building, this cost alone can account for up to 50% of your condo fees. More spread out over larger buildings but still a huge proportion of your monthly fees.
2) Building Amenities- Pool, parking, elevators, doormen and any utilities that may be included in your Philadelphia condo fees like water & sewer, or maybe heat and central air. Unless of course elevators run on magic pixie dust- you are going to have to pay to keep them running smoothly and safely. 2401 Pennsylvania Ave. (The Philadelphian)  is a good example of an all-inclusive building where almost all amenities are covered in your condo fees.
3) Upkeep and Maintenance- Of course this is the one factor that varies greatly and plays an integral part of your resale ability and resale price. You gotta’ pay to play folks- and value retention and upkeep of your common areas go hand in hand. There is no avoiding that equation.
IF YOU OWNED A SINGLE FAMILY HOME- YOU WOULD HAVE TO PAY THESE EXPENSES OUT OF YOUR OWN POCKET.  THERE ARE SUCH THINGS AS
“SINGLE FAMILY HOUSE” FEES IN THIS WORLD
and buyers should know that!
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February 16, 2015

Just Listed ~ The Moravian Condominiums Unit 205

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 7:58 pm

moravian

A really Groovy mix of old urban, contemporary chic, and soft loft living at the Moravian Condos. Enter into a two story open vestibule with grand staircase. MASSIVE open living room, dining room, and kitchen combination with large vaulted ceilings and skylights…a rambling great room with fireplace and hardwood floors. Large kitchen with Viking appliances, beautiful cabinetry and stainless backsplash, granite counters and a large island area… the kind of kitchen that is open and large and really makes you want to go cook something. Honest. Two large sized bedrooms and one small den/play room as well as two and a half large baths with great elbow room. Gracious oversize closets and laundry area. Included is one car garage parking and private storage area. Please see the photos- this place will put a smile on your face. Oh yeah… and its 2590 sq. ft. and the place shows like a gem. Asking $865,000

Click play below to listen to the podcast now! 

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

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February 9, 2015

Attention Developers…

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:55 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 like the Commodore Barry Condos.

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
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox and Roach Realtors

 

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February 2, 2015

Buying Pre-Construction From a Set of Plans…

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 12:50 pm

Remember that 1960’s board game “Mystery Date?”
Where you didn’t know if you are going to get the dreamboat or the dud? Well, that is not unlike buying a new construction Center City condominium from a set of plans….
Unless you have a crystal
ball or are perhaps from the future.
Some buyers win, some…not so much.
    Evidence of both scenarios have clearly played out in town over the past decade as buyers often purchased from developers’ plans.
108 Arch St. clearly handed the brave buyers a lovely place to hang their hat as finishes, layout, scale, light, ceiling height, nearly every factor turned out to be top notch- not to mention the finish quality.
   There is an upside to buying from plans- and that generally is a developer’s willingness to make alterations to his plans free of charge. Don’t need that 3rd bedroom, but want a larger closet and bath? Done. Want to pick your finishes in the kitchen, flooring and tile options, etc? No problem. Altering a floor plan or finishes prior to the developer buying or completing the interior work usually can be negotiated at no charge to the buyer…so some flexibility/benefit can be achieved by buying new construction.
   But the same can’t be said for many other condo buildings in town. Examples of poor workmanship, values that deflate rapidly, and buyers left holding the bag are not uncommon. Because truth be told, there are many instances where you really don’t know what the hell you are buying. And getting the developer to finish the unit, should a significant punch list survive settlement, might be like pulling teeth.
There are winners and losers when buying pre-construction.
My advice?
 Get a good real estate lawyer from the get-go, and DO NOT settle until the condo is finished. Don’t settle with a punch-list IF it can be avoided.  Some developers are true to their word…and honestly will service your condo post-sale. I think a few good examples of this would be my experiences with Pearl Properties,Toll Brothers and Rufo Properties. All were really great at post-settlement follow up.
Oh, and when the completion date is set for say June 1st…plan on moving in August 1st or so (in any given year). I’m just sayin’….the best laid plans can get held up in town and so many things are out of the control of a developer…so plan ahead.
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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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