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February 8, 2010

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:38 pm

I don’t give a crap- I live in a condo and don’t own a snow shovel…

And I don’t need to stock up on milk and bread with the impending onslaught of a winter storm. I live in Center City, and the little corner grocery stores are always open in any  blizzard, as are almost all the restaurants. And who needs to shovel out the cars- there are plenty of taxis that will do my driving for me.
 
If you live in one of our fine suburbs- be it Gladmore, Havernova, or Bala Who-Knows-Where, and are getting tired of having to deal with the weather,or perhaps you own one of those lawnmowing things that I understand are used to cut grass (I have only heard of such contraptions)-Then isn’t it time you simplified and let someone else do the unpleasant tasks in life?
 
Yeah, I am a Center City Condo snob. I know it, and am kinda’ proud of it. Riding on a train to work, or driving on the Schuylkill isn’t something that is a part of my life….and the business of owning more than one car?! Uh, no thank you.
 
Want some bragging rights too? Then drop me a note, and lets chat. Lets get you into town, and into a more simple life. Membership into the “I am a Center City Snob” club is free 🙂

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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June 25, 2009

Fireplaces, Huge Soaking Tubs and other useless Amenities

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:23 pm

…that are pointless in a Philly High Rise Condo.

I love it when some dumbass developer takes up a large chunk of a 20th floor condo with a huge soaking tub.  Always good for a laugh. Pointing out the foilbles of some newbie condo builder is one of my favorite pasttimes. Under the theory of “When In Rome….” fireplaces and those giant soaking tubs are soooo out of place in a high rise Philly condominium.

I know of NO ONE who actually uses those giant oversized tubs. I am not talking about a regular bathtub….I am referring to those big dumb soaking tubs that can fit an army of regular sized people. NOTE TO DEVELOPER- grow a brain. Such an amenity is a huge waste of space. I always point to them and tell my buyers- You will use this on the first day you move in, then you will never use it again. They ALWAYS agree.
And wood burning fireplaces here in  Rittenhouse Square 19103 condominiums? Now where the heck is my buyer going to store the wood needed to fuel such a spectacle? Better question- where the hell is he going to get the firewood? It is not like there is some lumber jack who lives at 9th and Spruce Street who chops down trees and sells split wood.

Developers installing such amenities are spending money, and taking up valuable space for items that are really a negative to many Philadelphia condominium buyers. Trust me, this ain’t suburbia. This is urban downtown Philly, and such amentities don’t fly with the condo buying set.

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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April 21, 2009

Finding the right Philadelphia condo…is like playing 20 questions

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:39 pm

It is really simple. I show you a condo. Then I ask…is this too small? What do you think of the view? The closet space? The layout?

Then we visit the 2nd condo, and the questions are: What do you think of this building? How do you like the location? Is the kitchen big enough?

Then we go to the 3rd condo, and I ask: How do you feel about rental parking being around the corner, as opposed to on-site? Do you like the bathrooms? How adverse are you to paying higher condo fees (for things like doormen, and elevators)?


 
Finding you the right (say) Rittenhouse Square flat, or say Old City loft is a function of how well you can verbalize your “dream condo”, and me being able to interpret what you say, and match that to the current Center City Philadelphia inventory of condos.

It is not rocket science. However, I am a fairly quick study, and I know the Philadelphia real estate market better than most (if you don’t mind me being a big-brain)….

So give me a call at 215.521.1523 or drop me an email at Mark@CenterCity.com. Let’s play 20 questions, and let’s see if I can come up with your dream Philadelphia condo!

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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April 16, 2009

Yippee! Congress has made it $8000 easier to buy your new home

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:06 pm

The new Federal Home Buyer Tax Credit provides $8000 to help qualified first-time home buyers get into the house of their dreams. Described as the opportunity of a lifetime, this program has drawn a lot of interest from the first-time buyers market, which seems to remain strong here in Center City Philadelphia. Coupled with very low interest rates, and a softening of home prices in the area, perhaps now might indeed be a good time to buy a home in Center City Philadelphia.

For more information, please visit: www.FederalHousingTaxCredit.com

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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April 9, 2009

2201 Cherry St. – One Of the Top Three Best Buys in a Center City Condominium

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:15 pm

Located in the Logan Circle area of Center City (roughly, the mid North West quadrant of town), sits a quiet almost unnoticed mid/high rise condo buildings, simply known as 2201 Cherry St.

Clad in a white stucco-esque exterior interrupted by a series of windows and small balconies, this 11 story, fourty unit condominium building was first occupied in early 1988. Interestingly enough, almost all units have parking. Penthouse units available as well.
    
With just four units per floor, the building retains a somewhat quiet boutique feeling. A large (1055 sq ft) and small one bedroom condo (a whopping 948 sq ft!), and large (1264 sq ft.) and small (1115 sq. ft) two bedroom condo per floor. All the two bedroom units have walk in closets, and small balconies. And of course, each unit has its own heating and air conditioning units, and deeded on-site parking. Extra storage is provided for choice condos at 2201 Cherry St. We give this building our first “5 Star” recommendation!
    
Located close to the new Schuylkill River Trail, and not far from the Trader Joes food store, the location has seen a great improvement in services, and “things to do”. 2201 provides easy access to I-76 and the Amtrack Train station at 30th Street, as well as Kelly Drive, and the high rise business district along Market Street.
    
I choose 2201 Cherry St. as an outstanding value in the Philadelphia condo market because:  Prices are fairly undervalued , The on-site deeded parking, and the general layout of the units, and proximity to 30th Street Station, and access to I-676.    Some of the corner two bedroom units allow for an open kitchen/dining/livingroom combo that is a descent size for the price- provided you remove the non-load bearing partition between the two rooms. Not a difficult task, in my opinion.

Great value, an improving location, an active and progressive minded condominium association that manges the buiding well, are all the reasons why I think 2201 Cherry St. is tough to beat in terms of value in the Philadelphia real estate condo market.

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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March 31, 2009

The Lure of the Philadelphia Real Estate Market to Empty Nesters

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:07 pm

Neighbors thought Edward and Connie were nuts to abandon their idyllic suburban oasis, replete with ducks flying to and from the pond, for a 17′ wide row house in Center City in 1989. A row house without parking, or more than a small square slab of cement to call a back yard. And four stories from basement to top floor.  Edwards and Connie’s move signaled a shift in the residential paradigm. Their parents left the city after World War II, and come hell or high water, they weren’t coming back. But Gordon and Ellen think of themselves as far to cool and hip to spend their days in a five bedroom ranch house with a half acre of land, and a basement full of tools and half used accrutremones. Recall, they are the generation that said words like “groovy”, and “right on”. The idea of never owning a lawmower, nor a garage full of half used brooms and shovels -appeals to many an empty nester. No more yard work, no more owning more than one car, and no more having to repair the roof. The thought of new surroundings, in a new luxury condominium, with much less responsibility (and therefore more freedom) is again very appealling.


     
Baby boomers, becoming empty nesters provided the fuel needed for many new projects that have recently been added to Center City’s skyline. Buyers of many luxury condominiums her in downtown Philadelphia have made wonderful gains in the last twenty years, with respect to their real estate investments. That money is coming to town, without the burden of private schools for the kids, the kids, and often comes during prime earning years. It is their turn to treat themselves, and the developers of many condominium buildings are positioning themselves to take advantage of that market.


    
The perception that downtown Philadelphia has really come a long way over the past twenty years, from being cleaner, safer, and culturally more adept -are all reasons that contribute to the lure of the empty nester set. From friends who have also made the move, to museums, restaurants, shopping, and the bike trails up the Schuykill river, Philadelphia is shaping up to be a fine residential attraction, and empty nesters have taken notice. And to think that South Broad street is now the place to see and be seen. Who would have thought?

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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March 26, 2009

Real Estate Appreciation and Depreciation in the Center City condo market

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:27 pm

Not all fluctuations in value have a direct correlation to one event, or one particular quality to a particular Philadelphia condominium. Rather, a Phildelphia condominium’s value, and the rate of change therein, is really a product of a host of factors.

  
    
Obvious factors are the showing ability and emotional impact that a particular condo unit does or does not possess: cleanliness, natural light, wall color, furniture, even the smell of a condo can add or subtract from the emotional beauty, and leads to a huge impact on a condos value. In my twenty years of selling real estate, I have never had a buyer tell me to find him the dirtiest, or the worst decorated condo available. Easily, as much a ten percent difference in value depending upon showing ability. And of course interior condition can also have a major impact on value. Beige bathtubs and appliances can crimp value fairly quickly in a lot of cases.  And of course the physical charactoristics of any given unit can help or hurt the units value (think- huge closets, a tax abatment, high ceilings,etc). Styles, like appliances and carpeting have a tendency to age, and that is usually accompanied by a slower rate of appreciation. Clearly, more recently rehabbed, say, Rittenhouse Square condos are going to retain their value better than a unit in a state of disrepair or decline in its finishes. Also prohibitive condominium association rules and policies can deter many buyers from specific buildings. A host of factors can cause units to sit on the market longer than normal, and almost always guaranteeing a lessened resale value.    

Location is also a huge factor to the rate of either appreciation or depreciation. Stronger locations in town have a tendency to be a bit more elastic- they are the first neighborhoods to see a drop in inventory with any influx of buyers to the market. That’s a good thing. Recall the principles of supply and demand. I would argue that a strong location is going to depreciate less -because IF in a weakened marketplace, the first condos to remain unsold are in the weaker locations. (The flip side is that you might be able to strike a significantly improved deal, should you be looking away from an “A” location.)
 
I am just brushing the surface here, but know that not all condos in town will appreciate or depreciate at the same rate. Or sell within the same given timeframe. The best tools you have to insure your value remains intact is twofold:

1) Buy it at the right price in the first place and/or

2) Keep your unit looking like it just jumped off the pages of Town and Country Magazine.

Easier said than done, I am aware!

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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March 19, 2009

Dude-Your condo STILL smells like dog pee.

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 8:47 am

As a longtime Philadelphia Realtor, I see the value in a good appearance of your Center City Condominium, and a good first impression.

Nevermind that your kitchen has white appliances, and formica countertops. Those sins are forgiveable.  Most folks can even get past a seller’s vanilla bathroom and maybe even the lack of good natural light. But your ratty futon from your college days? Your clear lack of ownership in a sweeper, or a mop?  More than any home improvement, if you are looking to increase the value of your condo in Philly, get yourself some Mop N Glo, and get cleaning.

Most buyers are not interested in having your dirt and grime transfer with title. Unless of course, you are looking to attract really low offers.

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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March 17, 2009

Philadelphia Condominium Pet Policies

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:19 am

…Vary Building by Building


 
Every condominium association has its own rule governing cats, dogs, giraffes, and other miscellaneous pets. The general rule of thumb is as follows:

1) Low Rise and/or Brownstone Style condominiums

Almost ALL of these small associations allow dogs and cats. I dunno’ about giraffes. Rarely are size, or breed restrictions in place. Such is the case at The Clinton Condominiums at 11th and Clinton Streets. No elevator, and limited common space generally mean more relaxed pet policies. However, there may be a nuisance clause inserted into the condo docs, should your pet be continually yappy, or be prone to bite others.

2) High Rise Condos

All Pre-War buildings on Rittenhouse Square allow dogs and cats. Breed restriction or weight limits may apply. It has been my experience that smaller high rise (and high-end) buildings with limited number of occupants do allow pets- Like 1900 Rittenhouse Square.  High rise condo buildings with large populations (Academy House)  generally will not allow dogs. The Philadelphian, at 2401 Pennsylvania Ave. goes as far as to prohibit dogs and cats. I understand not wanting some wreckless 19 year old kid with his mean dog in an elevator with my 94 year old grandmother.

Large condo associations looking to rethink their restrictive pet policies can implement size and breed restrictions to keep disruptions and the “fear factor” out of the common areas of any given association. This idea will probably gain in popularity as associations look for ways to attract, instead of repel potential buyers. In my 20 year real estate career here in Center City, the buying public is about 50 times more likely to purchase a condo with a relaxed pet policy, than in spite of one. Most buyers will give up their first choice of condo buildings, before they will give up their beloved dog or cat. I wouldn’t dream of giving away my dog to live in any specific building here in Center City. Would you?     

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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March 10, 2009

Exposed Brick Walls – Some finishing options

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:29 pm

Generally accompanied by oversized windows and high ceilings, exposed brick walls lend an air of casual comfort to many Old City lofts, and other Center City abodes. But the treatment of those walls need not take on the same ol’ look, time after time.

Some Opt to varnish, or apply polyurethane to the brick, thereby controlling the brick dust accumulation, and giving the brick a bit of a shine, not unlike shiny hardwood flooring.

Another option, which I strongly prefer, would be the Painted Exposed brick look. Though I can rarely convince others to paint their exposed brick, some of the coolest and most hip looks are achieved by taking a  colored paint to interior exposed brick finishes.

Of course, once you paint an exposed brick wall, you are kinda’ stuck with the look, unless you go and have the walls sandblasted. Not a process I would wish upon my worst enemy! Messy, to say the least.

Looking for cool and hip? Let’s take a look at some units together? Maybe a Fitler Square Condo? Give me a call at 215.521.1523 or email me at Mark@CenterCity.com.

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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Philadelphia, PA 19106
Direct: 215.521.1523 ~ Office: 215.627.6005
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