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October 19, 2017

Lobby Upgrades at The Academy House Condominiums

Filed under: For Buyers,For Sellers,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 5:08 pm

Replacing the overabundance of green marble that had existed since the 1980’s was a smart move by the Academy House Condo Association.  The new front entrance/lobby looks great…see for yourself!

The Academy House condo association has also replaced interior unit windows (huge upgrade) several years ago, and in 2013 they revamped the interior hallways- which look really good. These condos have great track record of reselling- always have and probably always will. A very smart purchase. Condo fees include almost all utilities. A very central residential location, rental parking in the lower levels, and a 24-hour doorman. A fair number of units have outside balconies. Academy House is a non-smoking building. Values here are not heavily contingent upon floor height, as many units have great views.

If you are interested in taking a look at condos at The Academy House, give me a call at 215-521-1523 or email Mark@CenterCity.com.

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
www.Facebook.com/PhiladelphiaCondos
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors

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October 4, 2017

How Do Philly Condo Assessments Affect Demand and Value?

Filed under: For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate,Real Estate: Condominiums,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:11 pm

Now that is the million dollar question!

Automobiles, clothes, and condos all need maintenance to look and perform their best. Assessments imposed on owners of given buildings are used to make capital improvements and are a necessary evil.  How might that affect value?

I think in the short term, an assessment can lower demand for a building. Who the hell wants to pay for some electric behind a wall or an elevator motor which they are never going to see? (Uh, no one.) Though assessments to fix up interior hallways, and maybe a lobby, are much easier to swallow.  In the long run, assessments can be the best thing to ever happen to a building as the costs of the capital improvements are overshadowed by the long-term value growth.
Rivers Edge Condos

Look no farther than 2301 Cherry St. (River’s Edge) as an example of that argument. When the assessments were first implemented, the demand dropped because no new buyer wanted to pay for the needed improvements. But today…the money spent is bouncing the value of each unit MUCH higher than individual unit’s assessments. It’s not a hard equation to figure out.  And the new lobby at the Academy House? C’mon… you can’t tell me that the individual unit owner cost to do that lobby wasn’t worth it…The value added was huge….

So yes, assessments suck in the short term but are very beneficial in the long run in terms of value and demand.

(ps – YES, per the agreement of sale- any assessments that have been approved must be disclosed to a buyer.)

Mark Wade 
www.CenterCityCondos.com
www.Facebook.com/PhiladelphiaCondos
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
215.521.1523

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September 26, 2017

Why Good Blinds/Shades Are Important

Filed under: For Sellers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 11:54 am

Personally, I could give a cr*p about your blinds and shades. But if they matter to my buyers, then they matter to me – so listen up!

Lovely wood blinds at 1905 Green St. Unit 3

Buyers don’t buy bricks and mortar..they buy feelings and emotions. The Center City condo buyer is NOTORIOUS for being able to sniff out the lack of quality and they will indeed pay for quality. One of the first things that help elevate the emotional value of a condo is the window dressings. Shades, curtains, and blinds – the bling that either attacks or repels.  Though I have never done business with the folks at Allure, I know a number of my clients have and they seem to understand the needs of many condo buyers here in town. And here’s their pitch:

Window blinds are a familiar window treatment to many and continue to be a go-to, staple window covering for horizontal and vertical options for several reasons. The adjustable nature of a blind’s thin slats to control light and privacy while the shade is lowered or traversed over the window makes it a versatile choice of covering. Tilting of the slats is essential to maintain views and for refracting light so that a room can receive the exact amount of desired exposure where and when it is needed. In today’s market, simple and hassle-free operating options exist that did not in past years which make blinds conveniently functional. Blinds have been known to be pesky in the past because of tangled cords and strings and frustratingly cumbersome due to trying to balance and even-out the things! Blinds in Philadelphia are now able to be constructed with sophisticated motorization systems with remote-controlled operation or integration with Smart Home systems. Manual options are more advanced as well, including cordless lifting mechanisms and advanced-engineered corded mechanisms for flawless operation. Blinds can be matched to enhance any décor – elegant to transitional to modern. The material options for blinds are aplenty with distressed and stained genuine hardwoods, affordable faux-woods, and sleek to rustic aluminum. Within the material options are a plethora of striking color and stain choices. An overall beautifully complete look can be achieved by adding a decorative valance, accented cloth tapes, and chic wand attachments to coordinate with a room’s interior style. Because the Philadelphia area hosts buildings with a wealth of diverse architecture, our designers can help you find a blind to perfectly suit any room.

www.allurewt.com

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. #480
Philadelphia, PA 19106

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August 8, 2017

Clarification regarding pet policies listed on CenterCityCondos.com

Filed under: For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:13 pm

Note Regarding Pet Policies in Pet Restricted Condo Buildings:

The Fair Housing Act allows residents of almost every type of property (apartments and condos) to have an emotional support dog or a specially trained service dog if you get the proper medical documentation from your doctor, despite restrictive Pet Policies.

SO….If you see “No Pets” allowed on www.CenterCityCondos.com under any particular building- please know that there are exceptions to the rule!

Mark Wade
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
www.CenterCityCondos.com

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July 7, 2017

Trends I am Seeing In The Philadelphia Condo Market

Filed under: For Buyers,For Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:49 pm

1) Kitchens are going gray and white and are getting smaller than say 20 years ago, and are rarely the “eat-in” variety.

2) More attention is being paid to security. Wireless cameras and monitoring systems are being added and/or upgraded to most new construction condos in Philadelphia.

3) The new design focus is on room size and NOT room count. Most buyers today can do without the true blue 3 bedrooms. Most newer condos are now 2 beds & den. Finding a true 3 bedroom is huge…but rare.

4) The use of quartz over granite is the new trend. Also mixing counter tops is hot- Island counter top may be different than interior kitchen counter top.

5) Most new construction does not have closet space finished. Developers leave them blank for buyer to finish. And I find little difference in resale value if you use high-end closet brand vs. a reasonable knock-off brand. Just maximize your space.

Mark Wade
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
www.CenterCityCondos.com

 

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June 14, 2017

What Kind Of Buyer Is Going To Buy Your Condo?

  I tend to think we have a variety of buyers here in town. Spending 28 years hauling folks around town, I have learned a thing or two. Here is what I know when it comes to categorizing buyers:
 
1) The Prestige Buyer – Only wants to see condos that will look good on him or her. There are a number of buildings in town. Most offer town-car service. These buyers are generally fun to deal with.
2) The Value Driven Buyer – Wants lots of square footage. Location often the first to go for these buyers. No one appreciates a good deal better than I do!
3) The Loft Buyer – High ceiling, exposed brick and large windows fulfill this kind of buyer’s needs, soft loft or hard loft buyers often are just looking for something that is NOT cookie-cutter.
4) The I Don’t Want To Pay High Condo Fees Buyer – Best suited for a single family home, or maybe a Brownstone styled condo. High rise units not an option.
5) The Rittenhouse Square Only Buyer – Not uncommon…not at all.
6) The Need To Steal It buyer –These tend to be the most unrealistic buyers if ONLY for the reason that they can’t identify when a property is already drastically under valued. And they lose in multiple bid situations (usually).
7) The “One level living” buyer – VERY common. Very.
 
8) The Buyer Who Buys For Kids Going To An Area School. – Very common.
 
9) The I’m Not Really A Buyer, But I Want To See Condos Anyway – I love referring these buyers to my competition. LOL

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June 12, 2017

This Summer Matters – Here’s Why… The summer sales market is usually subdued, but not this summer.

Our Center City condo market is very cyclical. Every year about the same time in early March, my phone rings off the hook and that trend continues through say 4th of July. Then anyone with enough money to buy a condo, also has enough money to be sitting their butts on a beach somewhere.
This early part of the summer 2017 tells a bit of a different story. Nearly everyday for the past 3 months we have seen our inventory shrink – DAILY.
When I study the daily MLS activity sheet, I see say 20 new homes on the market. But I see 27 or so go under contract. EVERY DAY.
I would venture to guess this trend will continue through the summer – the lack of overall inventory suggests as much. And there are more buyers lingering in the market today than in the past dozen or so years – they can’t find the right place so they sit on the sidelines and wait. The backlog is staggering.
Usually we see a decrease in activity after Memorial Day. Hasn’t been the case and most likely will not be the case until sometime in say August, I would wager.
Mark Wade
Mark@centercity.com

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April 28, 2017

16 Buildings in 5 Words or less…

Hopkinson House – The Toyota of Center City dependability.
Ten Rittenhouse – Really amazing value growth & demand.
1830 Rittenhouse – It’s 1830. Enough said.
River’s Edge (2301 Cherry St.) – Buy! I think they’re undervalued.
Waterfront Square– Peace & Tranquility. Views for miles.
Murano (2101 Market St)– Prices & demand continue to escalate.
Naval Square – Huge demand. Huge.

Rittenhouse Hotel & Condominiums– What’s not to like? Really.

BridgeView Place (315 New St)–  It’s just hot money. Buy Now.
Philadelphian (2401 PA. Ave.) – Values driven by interior condition & view.
Tivoli (1900 Hamilton)– Some Penthouse finally being sold off.
Center City One (1326 Spruce) – Best floor plans & Great Values!
The National (112 N. 2nd) – Soft lofts at reasonable prices & parking.
St. James Court (Society Hill) – User friendly & Cool Mod. Still Relevant.
9xx-10xx Spruce – Townhouse styled and Jefferson adjacent. Bingo.
Two Liberty (50 S. 16th St) – #1 Views and #1 model units – Gorgeous!
Mark Wade
Mark@CenterCity.com
CenterCityCondos.com

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April 25, 2017

Is That A Concierge Or A Seat-Filler? …Can We Be Honest Here??

‘Cuz I call BS on some of these claims:
1) Concierge Services – Just because you have someone sitting their butt in a chair at the front entrance of your building doesn’t mean you have a concierge. In all honesty, only about SIX buildings in town have true concierge services in my opinion…though they all say they offer such an amenity.2) Includes Parking – Deeded parking is a term thrown around often that doesn’t ring true…often the space may not be reassigned, sold or rented out. And sometimes MLS listings says the unit includes parking, then in the small print it says “Seller pre-paid parking for one year.”

3) Hardwood Floors – Is it really? I mean technically, even pine isn’t hardwood…it’s categorized as a soft wood. The term ” hardwood floors” is seen often and you shouldn’t always believe it to be true. Could be laminate, or engineered flooring.

4) Penthouse – Is that really a penthouse? Just because the unit is on one of the top 3 floors doesn’t make it a penthouse. You’ll know a penthouse when you see one. Usually adorned with nice outside space, higher ceilings and maybe fireplaces.

5) We’re 72% sold! – A very common lie. Please don’t believe it unless the developer can whip out all legally binding sales contracts…otherwise may not be true.

6) Square footage claims – DO NOT rely upon the square footage of a condo based upon a “Fact Sheet” you get from your Realtor. You don’t know where that figure came from- The appraiser? The seller? The listing agent? The city? The man on the moon?? Come on…

7) “Fact Sheets” in general – I think it is fair to say that about 75% of the info listed on a flyer is true. The other 25%..perhaps not as much. DO NOT rely on those fact sheets. You should double check the accuracy for yourself!

Mark Wade

Centercitycondos.com

Mark@CenterCity.com

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April 18, 2017

Crap I know about Center City Real Estate

Why are some of the best deals the homes that sit and sit and sit on the market?
Because chances are, the seller is getting fatigued. I have no problems with homes that have been sitting, as long as the seller has been moving the price along with the long days-on- market.

Why Are Owner-Occupancy Ratios Important?
Because if the building has more tenants than owners living in the building, the building will be harder to finance (fannie mae rules). And as a result, you’ll generally see less demand.
And tenants tend to do things that owners wouldn’t…they aren’t as invested in the parcel.
What is one key to making money in the Center City Real Estate Market?
That is an easy one…buy ugly and sell pretty. Condition matters. Buyers don’t buy brick and mortar, they buy feelings and emotions. Make your place lovely when you go to sell.
Mark Wade
Mark@CenterCity.com

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