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October 22, 2009

Shopping for your new Philadelphia Condominium?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 11:26 am

…see if you can avoid being a dumb ass! 

Here are the top 5 Mistakes potential buyers make when shopping for a new condo in Philly:
 
1) They don’t do their homework- And end up buying a condo with a fatal resale flaw… like a 6th floor walkup, or a 2000 sq ft studio.

2) They overpay without asking their realtor for detailed comparable info- huge mistake. Happens all the time.

3) They use a realtor who is a relative, or someone from way out of the area. Whatta’ you, new to this planet? Don’t do that.

4) They neglect to get their mortage costs AND interest rate in writing from their mortgage dude/dudette.

5) They get a friend or relative to do a home inspection for them. I reserve the right to laugh at anyone who does this.
 
Honestly, most Center City Condominium buyers are intelligent, and come prepared. But some don’t do their homework, and end up getting kinda’ screwed in the end. Please don’t let this happen to you! Call, and let’s chat about some of the common pitfalls of buying a condo.

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

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June 3, 2009

What color wood will be the latest hot thing?

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 @ 3:49 pm

Remember 1990, when pickled oak was all the rage? 

 
How about blond (maple) in the mid 1960’s? And of course Java colored wood tones of the past few years? I wonder what will be the latest and the greatest wood tint/hue/shade that will be popular in say 2011. Being a long time realtor, you can almost date the age of any rehabbed historic home by the color of the hardwood floors and/or kitchen cabinetry. Dark brown oak? Sooooo 1976. And to take it to another level- all white formica kitchens? Yeah, back when Duran Duran was on MTV, and cell phones where the size of bricks.

I like to think I am pretty much on the cutting edge of real estate fashion- I saw stainless steel appliances coming down the pike years before the masses. And don’t get me started on that dumbass country kitchen look. Ugh. That maybe fine in Utah, but Center City Condos (thankfully) ain’t in Utah.
    
So here is my guess: Softer wood tones with a lot of natural accents- be it white glass, bronze colored appliances, and/or user friendly, less hi-tech appliances.

I think there is going to be a general dummy’ing down of some of the super sleek kitchens and household finishes. More or less to reflect our less extravagant times. Check back in a few years, and see if I am right.

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

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May 15, 2009

Urban Aromas

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:03 am

…I love the smell of brake dust in the morning.


 
City living can be tough on the senses. From the wafting smoke churned out from passing busses, to the brake dust the collects on our front windowsills of our urban loft in downtown Philadelphia.
 
The flip side of the coin is that we are never woken up by early morning lawn mowing, aren’t bitten by mosquitos in the middle of the night, and we rarely have roosters waking us at the crack of dawn. Yes, city life is blessed with with a mixed bag of smells, sounds, and sights. I will never forget when I was huddled with a bunch of early morning commuters at the corner of 16th and Market one morning- waiting for the light to change so we could cross the street. Also waiting, was a rat. When the light changed to green, and we all proceeded out into the street, so did the rat. I named him “Commuter Rat”. Haven’t seen him since. I hope he is doing well.

And I know suburbanites don’t think that city living is really “real”….but my mind goes back to what Samantha said on Sex in the City one time about living in a big urban area: “A homeless man just showed me his d***”…It doesn’t get any more REAL than that. And it is true. There are many things we put up with in order to live the City Life. And I wouldn’t have it any other way…….

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

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May 1, 2009

Six Can’t Miss Paint Colors for your Philadelphia Condo

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 @ 11:30 am

I found a very interesting little tid-bit in Readers Digest. For all you knuckleheads who have never picked out paint before, you should use view the following as gospel. I disagreed with one of their choices, so I deleted it.  (All colors are Benjamin Moore.)

Million Dollar Red (#2003-10): Good for dining rooms and family rooms. Just please use sparingly.

Potpourri Green (#2029-50): “Earthy and pale,” a neutral for kitchens and bathrooms.

Wood Grain Brown (#2109-30): Less red and more gray than Hershey’s Kiss brown, this is the color Mayhew used in her own dining room.

Gray Owl (#2137-60): Works in bedrooms or throughout the house.

Birds Egg (#2051-60): A blue with a “clean gray tint,” another all-purpose color for Mayhew.

Early Morning Mist (#1528): “Somewhere between gray and beige” is this versatile neutral “greige.”
 
–Source: Flip! For Decorating: A Page-by-Page, Piece-by-Piece, Room-by-Room Guide to Transforming Your Home by Elizabeth Mayhew (Ballantine, $24)
 
Want a few more decorating tips to make your Philadelphia condominium stand out? Drop me a note, and let’s chat!

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 Philadelphia 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 condo’s 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, the 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 characteristics of any given unit can help or hurt the unit’s value (think- huge closets, a tax abatement, 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 in 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 ensure 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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Philadelphia, PA 19106
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