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February 25, 2013

Philly Condo Buyers- Who Are They?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 11:12 am

Of course I get tons and tons of folks emailing me looking to move into a condo in Center City…no surprise there. But you might be surprised by who is actually buying in town. Here are some common groups of buyers who I see buying condos in Center City.  Certainly others exist, but this is a generalization of what I see:

1) The Returnees – Grew up in Philly, moved elsewhere, and now returning. Being close to friends and family is often the draw.
2) The Empty Nesters- Shedding themselves of 75,000 pounds of unused house. They can often be very happy happy buyers who are starting a new chapter in their lives. I enjoy working with and watching them get excited for a move into town.
3) The Weekend Warriors- They have done the shore, now they spend their weekends in town. Much more common than you think.
4) The Kids Who Have Parents Who Have $$ – Very common. Very.
5) The Transferee- Maybe came to town via a promotion- and wants to be close to work. Moving to town wasn’t on the radar. Doesn’t matter- he or she is here now.
6) The Growing Families- It used to be that young adults would get married , and get a dog, two kids, a station wagon, and BOOM- off to suburbia they went. No longer the case. They now often represent our move up buyers in Center City.
7) The Investors- Who knew that the city is the place to be, and that their investment will provide a handsome return year after year after year. Unless say Univ. of Penn moves to say the moon…a condo may easily be a magnet for a tenant.

8) The First Timers- The good ole reliable first time buyer. The backbone of the Center City condo market- always has been, probably always will be.


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September 28, 2012

The Dying Art of Open Houses

Filed under: For Buyers,For Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:58 pm

Remember the olden days when the Sunday paper would arrive and you would get our your red felt tipped marker, then circle the open houses you wanted to see?

That was so 1997….

Those days are all but gone- having been replaced by the advances in internet marketing for Philly condos. Additionally, more and more buildings around Center City are forbidding agents to hold Open Houses- ever.

It is said in Real Estate circles that open houses are NOT for sellers- they are for agents trying to pick up buyers. To a degree, I agree. More so with the fact that videos, virtual tours, podcasts, blogs, multiple photos, etc are easily found with a quick Google search. And most Realtors’ websites can give you a lot more than you can learn at an open house- think neighborhood stats, crime reports, etc. not to mention the gossip and dirt you can pick up on your neighbors house.

If someone is seriously in the market for a condo, they are going to view your listing if they are interested- Open House or not.

I usually find that Open Houses tend to cut down on the weekly traffic- the more people who see it at an open, the less weekly appointments one will find in terms of buyer traffic.

And of course, we are all aware that Open Houses usually beget nosey neighbors, passersby, and the like.

With overall traffic down on Open Houses over the past decade (in my experience)- how long before Open houses will go the way of print advertising for Real Estate?

Probably not long.

FYI-Center City Open Houses are usually ONE hour only- Get in, then get out. Suburban agents can spend 3-4 hours at one open house. How utterly boring. I think I’d rather drink bathwater than to sit in a house on a Sunday for four hours.

Mark Wade
Prudential Fox and Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. #260 Phila., PA 19106


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September 21, 2012

8 Ways to Piss off a Buyer

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Sellers,Of Interest To Sellers,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:48 pm

The market generally still favors buyers, in my opinion, and has since 2007 or so. No big surprise there. Since it is overall still a buyer’s market (that fact is changing, I believe), I think it’s best not to piss off a buyer who can be described as “Ready, Willing, and Able”. Pissing a buyer off who is under agreement on your Philadelphia condo can seriously backfire, and cost you more in the long run. I have been selling condos for 23 years in this town, and I see it ALL the freakin’ time. So sellers, listen up…..

1) Fail to disclose the condition of your condo.
If  say, an outlet doesn’t work, Disclose it.  Ditto for say the leak in the kitchen faucet. You may end up being sorry if you don’t disclose all you know.  Trust me…not doing so honestly can be quite costly and time consuming.

2) Neglect to tell buyer of impending assessments-
They can be found in the condo docs- usually in the budget section. You gotta’ fess up about this. Talk of an assessment may not be  the same as  an assessment that has been voted on, approved, and is being collected.  Talking to a Real Estate lawyer would be a good idea here if unclear.

3) Nit-pick every detail of their offer.
Check your ego at the door, swallow your pride, and move forward.  I see a TON of sellers who like to moan about the most miniscule BS- Remember, this is a business transaction…nothing here is personal.  Perhaps best if you just “dummy up” and don’t let the little things become HUGE.

4) Insisting on having the last word
Akin to # 3 above, don’t nickle and dime the crap out of a buyer.  If buyer says their highest and best is say $535,500, and you come back with $535, 600, I would suggest you are doing more harm than good for yourself. Remember, they still have the home inspection to knock you over the head with.  A little sugar can help a lot.  Just smile.  Be the best actor you can be.  You can thank me at the closing table for this advise. Or buy me a Martini. You pick.

5) Leave  a Pig Sty  for the buyers walk-through
Sure, the contract says that you need to leave the condo in “Broom Swept Clean” condition upon exiting/moving out. You want to put a smile on the buyers face? Have your condo professionally cleaned. It is one heck of a nice thank you. And can put the buyer in a good mood for closing.  Priceless!

6)  Don’t complete Punch Lists per home inspection
This is fabulous. Don’t be a goof. Do what you say you are going to do. And do it prior to settlement. No buyer wants to inherit your problem(s).   This is one sure way to irk the sh*t out of a buyer.  Urg…

7) Not allowing them to come in and measure
Nothing in the contract says you have to, but if you don’t , the  buyer will think you are hiding something. Keep an open door policy without being taken advantage of, when the buyer wants to revisit to measure.

8)  Remove the blinds  or surreptitiously replace the dishwasher with a cheaper model prior to settlement and after the home goes under agreement.
This should go without saying but sometimes does need to be said. Read your contract. Then read it again. You can’t be pulling those hi-jinks. I know 99.9% of my sellers would never ever dream of such a thing….

Mark Wade
Prudential Fox and Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. #260 Phila., PA 19106

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September 11, 2012

Rising Values in Center City 2012

Filed under: For Buyers,For Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 12:42 pm

A LOT of  the recent talk in Center City Real Estate circles has been about the number of multiple offers on various parcels, and how some places are sitting on the market for a only a week, and being sold in short order. This is clearly a change from the previous four years. Maybe not be true in all segments, but certainly becoming more and more common this year.

I think what most buyers in the Philadelphia Real Estate market have to come to terms with is that they may need to make their offer as attractive as possible on those homes that are in short supply, and in heavy demand.  Even a gradual shift from a buyers market to a sellers market is difficult for buyers to grasp. Those in the know are going to fare much better than those who perhaps think they can come in at super low offers like perhaps that might have done in 2009.

As demand increases, and supply decreases, we will see the gradual escalation of values here in town. But remember, Philadelphia Real Estate values generally don’t skyrocket…they meander up or down depending upon market conditions. This certainly lends  strength to the fact that
“All in All”, the Philadelphia housing market is relatively stable…relatively speaking.

We have not seen the peaks that perhaps NYC, Miami, or parts of Southern California have seen over the years, and in turn, we are not seeing the loss in value as many other big cities have seen over the years.

Be happy you live in Philadelphia.

Mark Wade
Prudential Fox and Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. #260 Phila., PA 19106

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July 26, 2012

WHO is kickin’ butt in Center City?

Filed under: For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate,Real Estate: Condominiums,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:06 pm

Check it  out…

Residential Sales in 19146, 19147, 19107, 19106, 19102, 19103, & 19130 – Jan 1-July 15, 2012

Thanks to all for sending me their friends and family looking to buy and sell in town. Much Appreciated!

The Biggest Cheerleader for Condo Living in Center City,
Mark Wade
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. #260 Phila., PA 19106

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July 17, 2012

Two New Big Trends in The Center City Condo Market

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:19 pm

1) The Move-Up Buyer

Ten years ago, these younger Center City folks with growing families would have a child or two, and BOOM- they were destined for the ‘burbs. Not always the case any longer as Center City Condos become more “Kid Friendly” and popular with the younger family set. These buyers tend to already live in town, and simply move into larger quarters, while remaining inside the downtown area.

2) The Out -of -Towners

Becoming much more common than most current Center City owners are aware. These buyers are looking for an urban weekend place. Generally empty nester folks who have done the beach and the burbs, and are now excited about buying their second or third home in Center City. Space is usually not a huge issue for many of these buyers, but walk-ability ranks very high on their list of priorities.  I also find that many gravitate towards less than “full service” buildings as they look to avoid full service condo fees.  And usually (I am generalizing here) will swing more towards hip and groovy interiors.

Mark Wade
Prudential Fox And Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. #260 Phila., PA 19106

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June 12, 2012

8 Ways to Piss off a buyer/Condos You’ve Never heard of/Tips for Condo Tax Appeal/Developer Miscues?

Click here to view more online…

Mark Wade
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox and Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. #260 Phila., PA 19106

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May 9, 2012

W Hotel planned for Chestnut Street

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Real Estate: Condominiums,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 11:17 am

From  “An upscale W Hotel is scheduled to break ground next year on a half-acre site that was originally planned for a $420 million Waldorf-Astoria Hotel with luxury condominiums before the lending markets collapsed four years ago.

The new hotel would sit on what is now a surface parking lot at 1441 Chestnut St, just behind the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and its condo tower, according to a representative of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc., which owns the W brand.” [Read More…]

Mark Wade
Prudential Fox and Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. #260 Phila., PA 19106

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April 5, 2012

Changes to Center City over the years

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 12:03 pm

I get a lot of email from folks who used to live in town…here is what you may not know about Center City if you haven’t been to town in 20 years:

1. Spruce and Pine Streets are now one lane- the other lane is a bike lane.

2. There is a new tax called the “Center City District Tax”…kinda’ nominal, but adds street cleaners and supervisors on many of the residential streets.

3. Northern Liberties is RED HOT- You MUST see to believe (compared to the 1980’s).

4. Graduate Hospital is now apartments- The hospital closed.

5. We have a new “South Street Bridge” and it is fabulous.

6. Broad St Just South of City Hall is Hoppin’…with residential and tons of restaurants.

7. The Bellevue Stratford is now The Hyatt at the Bellevue- and is stunning.

8. Delaware Ave. is now Columbus Blvd- and nicely manicured.

9. The old Naval Home on Grays Ferry is now a Toll Brothers development.

10. Most Parking meters are gone- replaced by Kiosks- and the parking authority is still very well run- If our city was run as well, the streets would be lined in gold.

If you are looking to come back to check out the City, drop me an email at…I would love to show you some of the great new Philadelphia Lofts and Condos available too!

Mark Wade
Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. #260 Phila, PA 19106

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January 18, 2012

Read my quote about Philly Condo Associations in the Philadelphia Inquirer

Before you buy, Mark Wade of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services  Fox & Roach in Center City, who specializes in low- and mid-rise condos, recommends careful scrutiny of the condo association.

“The association can influence value,” Wade said. For instance, if it doesn’t monitor the owner-occupancy ratio – that is, if there are more than the acceptable number of renters vs. owner-occupiers,  it may make it difficult for a buyer to get financing.

Condos not approved for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or Federal Housing Administration-backed financing are known as “nonwarrantable” and offer few options for buyers or those refinancing.

“This scenario ultimately lowers demand for a building, and reduces resale values as well,” Wade said. “A review of the condo budget, money on hand, and knowing what is included in the condo fees should be considered when buying a unit.”

Click to check out some other articles in which I have been quoted speaking about Philly Condos!

Mark Wade
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox and Roach
530 Walnut St. #260 Phila., PA 19106

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