1.) Right or wrong, some buyers will reject a Philadelphia Condo with high condo fees. However…
2.) Most buyers will look at their total monthly cost in determining their financial reach in terms of a purchase.
3.) Educating a buyer about the purpose of condo fees often tempers a buyer’s aversion to higher fees – most buyers simply do not grasp the concept of condo fees and how they are determined.
4.) It is not uncommon for there to be an additional condo fee for a parking spot and sometimes that number can be super duper high (often as high as neighboring rental garages).
5.) Condo fees are not tax deductible.
6.) Condo fees in Co-op buildings include the taxes.
7.) Almost every buyer will pay approx. 2 months worth of condo fees into the kitty (aka- reserve fund) at time of closing. This goes to the association, not the seller.
8.) An additional burden of condo fees is called the special assessment. No owner likes them, but everyone benefits from them in the long run.
9.) All condo fees are based on the square footage of that particular building. All. Period. Stop asking me that question. 🙂
10.) Super duper low condo fees are NOT a good thing. Usually means your building is running on fumes with no emergency reserves.
11.) A reflection of a building’s health is how much money it has in its reserves (which can stave off future assessments).
12.) Newer buildings tend to have less money in their reserves as the life expectancy of some of the larger common elements/ticket items (roof, windows, elevators, etc) have little or deferred maintenance.
Homeowners Insurance is necessary if you want to protect your home and your assets. Of course, Philly condo associations have a master insurance policy that covers the building, but you will still need to purchase a separate policy for everything “inside” the walls of your condo.
The standard homeowner’s insurance policy protects you from a wide range of things. Here is some information straight from our friends at Trident Insurance Agency that you may be surprised to find that homeowner’s insurance can cover:
Yes! Grave markers at a cemetery are considered “personal property” and are covered by some homeowners insurance policies. There is probably a special coverage limit on tombstones.
2. Volcanoes (Not Earthquakes)
Most of us in the U.S., outside of Hawaii, don’t have to worry about this but if your home is in the path of an erupting volcano you’ll be covered! Earthquake damage or ground movement is not covered under most standard policies.
3. Your Child’s Belongings at College
If you send your child to college and he or she is living in a dorm, their items are usually covered under your homeowner’s policy. That’s because most policies cover anyone in your household as well as students under the age of 24. Not all policies cover students living in off-campus housing, however. Those students may require a separate tenant’s policy.
4. Your “Stuff” that you travel with
Most homeowners policies cover your belongings wherever they go under the “off-premises” provision. This means that if your luggage is stolen while you’re on vacation in China or Turkey or even North Dakota you’re usually covered. For pricey items like your jewelry, you should make sure you discuss purchasing additional coverage with your insurance agent, anyway.
5. Dog Bites
If your dog or cat or even your guinea pig bites someone, your homeowner’s policy may cover the cost of medical care, up to your Personal Liability Limit. Trident Insurance recommends AT LEAST $500,000.
Review your policy. You’ll find more interesting things that may be covered. If you have any questions about homeowner’s insurance, please email Jessica Nydick at Trident Insurance Agency….firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is no doubt that technology has changed the real estate industry…the days of looking for your next home in a newspaper are long gone. Buyers can find everything they need from pictures to floorplans to videos online. Redfin conducted a survey in May and found that 33% of people that bought a home in the last year, made an offer without first seeing the property in person. That is up from 19% the year before.
But a Virtual Reality tour of a listing is like hosting a 24/7 open house…without having to entertain the looky-loos. Even without the headset, these VR tours are cutting edge. You can check out a sample – one of Allan Domb’s listings – created by Matterport by clicking here. Stay tuned for more…
Graduate Hospital has been a really hot growth area for new construction townhouses and condo developments! Just south of Rittenhouse Square, you will find this hotbed of new construction here in Center City. The City’s tax abatement program has really helped this area grow. Easy access to the Square, restaurants, and shopping make the Graduate Hospital area a real attraction to buyers. The new Bloc 23 project and 2400 South condo projects are the latest additions to the area.
A 15-unit project, Ravello Philly, is set for the 14xx block of Clymer Street…a small block nestled between Broad and 15th, Fitzwater and Catharine. According to Curbed Philly, “The development will include five three-unit buildings with dark brick facades in front and aluminum paneling in the back. In total, there will be 10 three-bedroom, bi-level units clocking in at about 1,800 square feet. There will be another five one-bedroom units about half that size. Each unit will have outdoor space, too.” [Read More Here…]
So, you have decided to load up the truck and move to ‘beverly, eh? Please know that before you go, you are probably going to get busted by your buyer’s home inspector for a number of issues. Here are the most common issues that I see sellers neglect when they sell their Philly condo:
1) Your air filter to your heating and air conditioning system needs replacing. It is old…super old…and has been restricting flow to your HVAC system, or it is improperly sized, or even non-existent. I see this ALL the time. Go to the Home Depot, and spend the $25 to remedy this….Now.
2) There is a missing TPRV on your hot water tank. This is another “under $25” fix. Again, go to Home Depot, and look in the plumbing section for a Temperature Pressure Relief Valve. Simply put, it is an “L” shaped thick metal pipe that measures about 1’ by 4’ and directs hot water down and away from anyone standing nearby, should the pressure relief valve open on its own.
3) There are double taps, and under/oversized breakers in your electrical panel box. I don’t really know what that means. I do know that it means you should call an electrician and have your electrical system looked over and remedied. Again, happens in a good percentage of the past 2000+ home inspections I have seen in my career.
4) Missing grout, or worn grout, and /or caulk in the shower and tub. Another $20 fix in most cases. This is preventive maintenance stuff here, and you will get called on it, if applicable.
5) Water stains on your ceiling. You need to fix the cause of the leak- and more often than not in Philadelphia condos, it is caused from a leaking bathroom above (should you NOT be living on the top floor, perhaps).
Now clearly, there is a possibility that none of these issues apply to you, but I would have to say that these are the most common issues cited by home inspectors in the 29 years I have been selling condos in Philadelphia.
So, when you are ready to add your condo “Just Listed” site, give me a call at 215.521.1523 or drop me an email at Mark@CenterCity.com. We can talk about the possibility of some of these issues before the home inspection takes place, this way your potential buyer won’t nag you with the small stuff!
Just a few years after his success with the gorgeous project at 1706 Rittenhouse (a building we named one of Philly’s Top Ten Condos), developer Tom Scannapieco broke ground at 500 Walnut Street. My office is adjacent to these gorgeous new condos and I have watched them go up in awe over the past two years. They finally had their grand opening ceremony and I must say the building is a stunning addition to the City.
What’s interesting is that this building had to be delicately designed to have such a narrow width, so that it did not distract from the views from The Liberty Bell to Independence Hall. With only one or two condos per floor, these condos have breathtaking views and huge balconies. 500 Walnut offers nonstop elevators, garage parking (with electric vehicle charging), a spacious fitness center and spa, 50′ lap pool, a 4,000 square foot open-air terrace, and a boardroom with a fully equipped catering kitchen.
Cecil Baker & Partners, the architects that worked on One Riverside, Western Union, and York Square, just to name a few, also worked on this project with Scannapieco. You can check out some common area photos from Curbed Philly here.
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.
A Renovation Mortgage allows home buyers to finance renovations as opposed to having to pay cash out of pocket for upgrading their recent purchase. If you’re looking for a condo that needs a lot of work after closing, this loan program can provide the funds for renovations and repairs for a primary residence or for investment properties by using the “after improved value” with a single loan at closing.
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.
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.)