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September 17, 2019

5 Most-Asked Questions That I Usually Can’t Answer

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 12:00 pm

1) Why is the seller selling?

2) What will my taxes be in five years?

3) Is this condo going to appreciate?

4) Are there going to be any future assessments?

5) Will there be more units coming on the market in the future?

Every good Philly condo buyer has asked me at least one of these questions. It is to be expected. As is the blank expression that will cover my face after you ask.  Call me and I’ll let you know the answers to all the questions I can answer!

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

• • •

May 2, 2019

Things You’ll Learn On Your First Condo Tour

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:35 pm

Once you’ve spent all the time you can browsing Philadelphia Condos for Sale online, you’ll finally be ready for your first condo tour. Here are a few things you’ll learn in person that online listings may not reveal at first glance.

1) Many “concierge” folks are, in fact, front desk attendants. In some buildings, I think it’s fair to say they are simply seat-fillers. Sorry.

2) You should NEVER underestimate the value of good closet space. Ever.

3) Many newer construction high-rise buildings do not vent the stove or the dryer to the outside.

4) Deeded parking usually doesn’t really mean “deeded” parking – most parking spots do not have their own separate deed (they’re usually assigned and/or identified as a limited common element in the condominium declaration).  There are some exceptions here but they are rare.

5) An alarm system inside a condo is likely useless to a buyer because the systems become obsolete very quickly.

6) Almost all new or replacement floors are laminate. They look great, they don’t wear, and they come in 1.5 jillion colors/options.

7) Most tenants usually don’t want to move out and will often make showing the home a nightmare- from locking deadbolts to leaving the home dirty and looking like crap for showings.

8) You really shouldn’t rely upon a “fact sheet” or what you read in the MLS. That info may be outdated and should always be verified…(I am lookin’ at you Zillow and Trulia!).

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

• • •

February 13, 2019

Buy Ugly…Sell Pretty

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 11:30 am

I believe appreciation is a greater function of an improved interior condition than is any other factor.

Why? Because buyers don’t buy bricks and mortar-they buy feelings and emotions. So the best way to increase the value of your condominium is to improve the strength of the feelings and emotions of your condo.  C’mon… This isn’t a difficult concept.

There is always a multiplier effect for the first dollars you put into your condo (think-painting, cleaning, etc).  Add a new kitchen, bathrooms, flooring, etc. and the value of any given condo will almost always rise above the cost of those upgrades.  And don’t forget about staging your Philly condo, either!

Our market is made up of TWO distinct types of buyers: first-time buyers and empty-nesters, and though they don’t buy the same product, the one thing they have in common is that they’ll pay for turnkey condition, especially in the condo segment of the Philadelphia market.

Therefore…

Want to steal a condo here in town? Buy Ugly.  Want to max your resale price? Sell Pretty.

Again, no earth-shattering concepts here. I’ve seen this theory in action for thirty years here in Center City and it’s a solid one.

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

• • •

January 22, 2019

Droppin’ Knowledge About the Center City Condo Market

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 @ 1:12 pm

If you need to act like you know something about the Center City Condo/real estate market, then drop these little nuggets of info at any gathering:

“Unless U of Penn moves to Oklahoma, there will always be demand for one bedroom condos west of Broad Street.”

“Most loft-styled condos in Old City are one of a kind.”

“My condo guy (that’s me!) says he’s never seen condo inventory this low in 29 years.”

“New construction condos around town can easily pull over $1000 per sq. foot.”

“The bigger the building, the higher the condo fees.” (Think gym, pool, doormen, parking, etc…)

“The Center City condo market revolves around The Spring- always has and always will!”

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

• • •

January 9, 2019

Top Real Estate Misconceptions

Filed under: For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:33 pm

Often Heard…Rarely Realized

1) “Once I move out, I’m going to rent the condo.”
Half my buyers tell me this and about 10% of those buyers actually do retain the condo as a rental.

2) “I can see past dirt & crap piled in the corners.”
112% of my buyers tell me they can see past the clutter. About 2% actually can. And they’re usually architects. Even after 29 years, I find myself adding (sometimes significant) value to Philadelphia condos that evoke a strong emotional response.

3) “It’s a good idea to only work with listing agents.”
Sure…limit yourself. Go ahead. Maybe best to go with the person who has the most experience within any given building.

4) “I can Air BnB my condo.”
Rub a lamp… then read your condo docs.

5) “The condo fees are too high for that condo.”
Probably a good idea to consider what those fees cover. Parking, gym, electric, pool etc., etc.  All things considered-the fees are likely not too high if you’re getting use out of the amenities.

6) “I’m going to bid based upon what the seller paid.”
Since we don’t know the terms and conditions of that sale, I find this number is often irrelevant. Better to turn your eyes towards interior condition to gauge value.

7) “I need a ‘true’ second bedroom for my guest.”
It is quite possible that a one bedroom plus den would better suit your needs. In any given price range, a full 2nd bedroom will cost more than a comparably equipped one bedroom plus den. However, the latter usually affords a larger living room.

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

• • •

August 9, 2018

Drone Footage at Waterfront Square Condos!

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:11 pm

Click to see drone footage at Waterfront Square Condos!

This beautiful, gated, high-rise community located at 901 N. Penn Street in Northern Liberties includes a 24-hour concierge and convenient shuttle service. The 25-meter-lap indoor pool is an absolute dream come true with beautiful views of the bridge and river and the purchase of each unit includes one valet parking space. There is also a spa, sauna, and steam rooms, not to mention a fitness center and on-site yoga classes. Bike parking is also available.  Call us to schedule a showing today!

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

• • •

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

• • •

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

• • •

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 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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530 Walnut Street, Suite 480
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Direct: 215.521.1523 ~ Office: 215.627.6005
Fax: 215.627.3142
Email: Mark@CenterCity.com
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