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May 23, 2018

Be Careful…You Might Just Get What You Pay For

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:13 pm

There are two key distinctions that every buyer should know when purchasing insurance for their Philadelphia condo or home: “replacement cost” versus “market value.”  Here is some helpful info from our friends at Trident Insurance Agency:

Replacement Cost vs. Market Value
Replacement Cost and Market Value are two different things, and it’s important to understand both when you’re a homeowner. The former impacts your home insurance policy, while the latter comes into play when you put your home on the market.

Market Value
Your home’s market value is the amount for which it would sell in the current marketplace in its current condition. Market value changes and can be difficult to predict, but it’s based on your home’s location, internal and external characteristics, and how the homes are selling in that area.

In most cases, it’s not a good idea to insure your home based on its market value. Your home’s market value might not cover the cost of rebuilding if your house is destroyed by fire or another disaster. Materials and labor may cost more now than when it was built, and special features could be more expensive to replace.

Replacement Cost
This is how much it would cost to rebuild – or replace – your home if it were completely destroyed.

Why is this figure important? It’s how much you should insure your home for. Replacement cost, or reconstruction cost, coverage insures your home for the cost to repair damage to your home or rebuild it completely at equal quality — at current prices.

Replacement cost calculations can vary depending on the home insurance company you’re working with, but it typically covers plans and permits, labor and materials, and fees and taxes. Land value is not included in replacement value, as it does not factor into the cost to rebuild a structure. Keep in mind that costs for these things at the time of your appraisal will affect your replacement cost value. If supply and demand change, those costs may have increased significantly at the time you actually need them.

Insuring Your Home
You should insure your home based on its replacement cost, not its market value, as the cost of building a home often exceeds its market value. Because it is difficult to predict the future, it’s important to choose a policy to help account for unforeseen circumstances — and to regularly review your home’s current replacement cost in case you need to update your coverage.

Updating Your Policy
Remodeling your home will affect its replacement value, so it’s a good idea to review and update your homeowners’ insurance policy after remodeling. Be aware of fluctuating costs of labor and materials in your area so you can update your replacement cost as necessary. Review your policy annually and update it to reflect any changes in replacement value.  (Info provided by Safeco Insurance Company)

If you need help finding the best homeowner’s insurance coverage to fit your needs, email Jessica.Nydick@FoxRoach.com

Fox & Roach / The Trident Group LP
A HomeServices of America, Inc Company and a Berkshire Hathaway Affiliate

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May 16, 2018

How Much Waiting to Buy Can Cost You

Filed under: For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:26 pm

By now you know the Fed has raised interest rates three times already this year. The forecast is that we will have a few more bumps upward in 2018 and early 2019.

Our friends at Trident Mortgage shared this fancy chart with us to show just how much you could save over the life of your loan by locking in at a lower rate now.

Here is the scoop on rates this week:

Conventional Loan with a 30 Year Fixed – 4.625% (4.71 APR) – 60 day lock – 0 Points
FHA/VA Loan – 4.5% (4.91 APR) – 60 day lock – 0 Points
Jumbo Loan ($453,100+) – 4.375%  (4.43 APR) – 60 day lock – 0 Points

Conventional ARMS
7/1 – 4.0% (4.09 APR)
5/1 – 3.75% (3.82 APR)

Jumbo ($424,100+) ARMS
7/1 – 4.0% (4.08 APR)
5/1 – 3.875% (3.93 APR)

If you are sittin’ on the fence, now is a good time to hop off, lock in that rate, and make an offer on that Philly condo you have been considering…

Mark Wade
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. | Phila., PA 19106
www.CenterCityCondos.com

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April 9, 2018

Renting vs. Buying

Filed under: For Buyers,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:07 am

Why rent a Philly condo when you can buy one?  Many renters believe they need to save a large down payment to purchase a condo…the reality is that some loan programs accept as little as 3% down.  Many renters believe they need a 700+ credit score to qualify for a mortgage…the reality is that there are lenders that will accept a score as low as 620 for a conventional loan.

The main difference between renting and buying is who gets your check—a landlord or the bank.  Here are some fast facts from our friends at Trident Mortgage about the advantages of homeownership:

Fact: Interest rates are still at historic lows.
Fact: Renting deprives you of large tax breaks.
Fact: A home is a leveraged investment using other peoples’ money.
Fact: Real estate continues to be an excellent return on investment.

Still not convinced?  Check out this calculator to see the personalized numbers for yourself: Buy vs Rent Calculator.

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

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March 29, 2018

The Drake Tower at 1512 Spruce St.

Filed under: General Real Estate,Real Estate: Condominiums,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:29 pm

Built in 1929, the Drake stands as a magnificent addition to the Philadelphia skyline.

Here’s what you don’t know:

  • It IS a condo building. Back in the 1970’s, they converted to condos with a less than enthusiastic welcome.
  • Per public records, only five (5) units are privately held – the other 300 units are owned by one entity and are used as RENTALS.
  • The penthouse units start on the 24th floor.
  • Through most of the 1990’s- all penthouse units were vacant shells.
  • Some penthouses housed gardens and the top penthouse had its own pool.
  • The building is faced with small details of ships, mermaids, and other sea paraphernalia.

My first apartment was in the Drake in the late 1980’s when Duran Duran was on MTV and telephones had cords.

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

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March 16, 2018

Is AirBnB allowed in this Philly Condo?

Filed under: For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 11:59 am

The one condo question that always gets a negative answer?  I get this ALL the time…

Is Airbnb allowed in this building? No. Never. Ever. Sorry…

Almost every Philly condo has a clause embedded into its declaration/rules and regulations that the minimum lease period is either SIX or TWELVE months.  Period.

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

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March 2, 2018

The Deluxe 1-Bed Condo Market Here in Center City

Filed under: For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 12:37 pm

* Deluxe one bedroom?
* Jumbo one bedroom?
* One bedroom plus den?
* One bedroom plus niche?
* Extra large one bedroom?

Call them anything you want, but many buildings offer these super-sized one bedroom condos, which are growing in popularity as well as demand.

I think back to the “01” units at The Murano. Over 1000 sq ft with a very large living room, these units sell almost as quickly as they come on the market.

One Riverside at 25th and Locust has a one bedroom with den unit that I think is fantastic. The “den” is really a bedroom but the design is an open floor plan that offers a buyer options on how they want to lay out their space.

Waterfront Square offers two varieties. In one style, the living room is HUGE…the other has a separate den.

Independence Place has what they call a one bedroom and niche which plays out as a large living room that can easily be cordoned off if the owner desires.

These are just a few examples. I find many buyers will change their minds and opt for a large one bedroom plus den instead of a traditional two bedroom. Often, the square footage is the same but the pricing is usually better. They realize the need to host overnight guests is really NOT a practical decision.

The waters can get muddied when buyers ask what does or does NOT constitute a bedroom.  Does it need to have an operable window to be called a bedroom? If so, then NO units at Two Liberty have any bedrooms because none of the windows open.  Direct sunlight? Then very few units at the National are true two bedrooms as the 2nd bedroom gets no natural light. Does a bedroom need a closet to be a bedroom? I doubt it.

With so many options here in the Center City Condo Market, you might find your best option is a jumbo one bedroom/one bedroom plus den.  Worthy of consideration? I think so…

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

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February 27, 2018

Plans For The Laurel At 1911 Walnut Street

Filed under: For Buyers,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 5:21 pm

The plan is for 54 condos, along with long- and short-term rental units located in a 48-story high-rise with retail on the first floor.  With prices starting around $2.5M, the developer (Southern Land Company) is hoping for a groundbreaking in 2019.

According to Multi-Housing News, “residents will receive white-glove amenities that include valet parking, indoor lap pool and hot tub, five-star fitness center with luxury locker room, steam room and sauna, yoga and Peloton room. A club room and terrace overlooking Rittenhouse Square will offer bar and catering kitchen, conference room and dog spa.  Residents will also be afforded use of the luxury car service, as well as the rental suite for their out-of-town guests.”


Photo Source: Southern Land Company 

Designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz, this project aims to be Philly’s tallest residential-only building.  Their plan is to open a sales office at 1845 Walnut in the spring.

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

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February 16, 2018

7 Things That Could P*ss You Off On Your Settlement Day

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 5:17 pm

1) The process of getting a mortgage will drive you up a wall. Someday there will be paperless closings, I am sure. Until then, you will have to sign your name 1,378 times. Just know that you are being tortured just as equally as everyone else.  (Check out our preferred lenders here – they will make this process as painless as possible for you – I promise!)

2) The seller may leave your new home in a condition you find unacceptable. Rarely will a seller have the home professionally cleaned after they move out. If they do, know that you should thank them…honestly.  You should also be grateful if they remember to bring ALL the keys, key fobs, garage door openers, door codes, and the mailbox key to closing…

3) You will find holes left in the walls where the seller’s artwork once hung. Yeah- artwork and framed photos don’t magically float.  It would be illogical to assume that some holes will NOT be left. Sorry.

4) You can’t move in prior to settlement, nor may you move any of your belongings into the condo prior to settlement. Most buyers get this, but some get p*ssed when they learn they may not do so.

5) You have to coordinate your move-in with the condo management company and there may be restricted time frames that the building allows move-ins – weekends and after 5pm is most likely a no-no.

6) While chatting with the seller at the table, you find out you can’t have a BBQ grill on your deck, or that the building has rules on visitation, like extra fees for parking, etc. because you didn’t read your condo docs and now you are shocked and p*ssed. Not uncommon.

7) No one told you that your closing funds have to be in a cashier’s / bank check or wired in prior to settlement. (Our preferred title people will not let this happen to you – again, I promise!)

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

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January 31, 2018

Answering Philly Condo Reserve Questions

Filed under: For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:53 pm

Here are a few condo reserve questions I often get asked:

1) How much money does a certain condo association have in its 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 in reserves is required by Fannie Mae for the building to be “warrantable?”
Although there is no set amount (for the ability of buyers who want to buy in a particular building), it is 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 into the ASSOCIATION- this does not go to the seller and this helps to build the kitty for future improvements. You do not get this payment back when you sell the condo and it is not a pre-payment of condo fees.  This contribution is now applicable for almost ALL condo sales in town.

5) How much should my Philly condo 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.

Email me for details and I may be able to help with this. 🙂

Mark Wade 
www.CenterCityCondos.com | BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. #480 | Philadelphia, PA 19106
Mark@CenterCity.com | 215.521.1523

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January 26, 2018

Northern Liberties

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:45 pm

Northern Liberties has become a great residential neighborhood with a mix of professionals, families, and empty-nesters, all while maintaining its original artistic vibe.  With a great neighborhood association (NLNA) there is always something exciting going on in the area.

From family events at the Community & Rec Centers, to the seasonal farmer’s market and music festival at Liberty Lands Park, to the great variety of restaurants and bars in the neighborhood, Northern Liberties has it all. Here are just a few groovy spots:

Cantina Dos Segundos – 931 N. 2nd St. – Great for everything from brunch to happy hour to midnight margaritas…and all the delicious Mexican cuisine with a twist you can eat in between!

Yards Brewery – New location at 500 Spring Garden St. – 20 brews on tap plus a full menu…the brewery is still under construction but tours will begin soon. Bonus: They’ve got a Super Bowl bet going with Harpoon Brewery in Boston…Go Eagles!

North Bowl – 909 N. 2nd St. – Bowling, pool tables, arcade, bars, food – something for everyone. The NLNA is hosting a Winter Fest here on Feb. 11…

Edgar Allen Poe House – 532 N. 7th St. – Open Friday through Sunday – Free, self-guided tours – Great for history/literature buffs.

One Shot Coffee – 217 W. George St. – Great coffee and ambiance! House-made pastries, Good breakfast sandwiches –  Make sure you try the french toast!

There are plenty more restaurants, bars, and shopping options – too many to name here.  With a plethora of new construction, we can only expect this thriving neighborhood to continue to grow.  Click here to learn about condos available for sale in Northern Liberties.

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Philadelphia, PA 19106
Direct: 215.521.1523 ~ Office: 215.627.6005
Fax: 215.627.3142
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