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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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October 9, 2009

Appraised Values are Bullshit

Filed under: General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:50 pm

…how do you not understand that?

I have long contended that appraisals are not worth the money. Sure, they are a necessary ingredient into any mortgage or refinance situation, but just how real is an appraisal for any given Rittenhouse Square condo for example?

It has been my general experience that an appraisal is any given mortgage or Re-Fi situation is a question of “Meets”….does the appraised value meet or exceed the sale price. If yes, then great…deal goes through. If not, big problem. But I have seen COUNTLESS appraisals magically come back at exactly sale price. Now how does that happen?
    
Here is what happens: Appraiser finds out sale price, then finds comparable sales to meet that sale price.  It is the tail wagging the dog.

But my bigger complaint is that appraisals do not take into account (or for the most part, discount) interior condition. IF Mr. or Mrs. Appraiser is looking for comparable sales to either meet or exceed the value of the subject property, but he or she has not been inside the comparables, how can they account for the huge fluctuations in the sale prices of supposedly similar units? Does the emotional impact of a unit not count for anything?  And are they getting their insight/knowledge about the interior condition, or the emotional impact of a condo from 5 or 6 crappy photos of a Center City Condo added to the MLS by some realtor with a $20 camera??
    
I would love to hear some feedback on my assertion that appraisals are Bullshit. What do you have to say?

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

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October 7, 2009

No Lack of Condominium Buyers In Center City Philadelphia

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

….for distressed properties, that is. Interesting note for Fall 2009.

There was a really nice 1500+ Sq ft. two bed/two and a half bath condo with parking at WaterFront Square that went on the market a 12 days ago.

The unit was being sold by a bank, and from what I hear, had 4 cash offers. Asking price was $389,000.  Clearly, this unit sold in no time. I even told a buyer that I easily could have sold that unit at least twice, providing no one else knew of this gem.

Whats my point? There are no lack of ready willing and able buyers in Center City Philadelphia. However, there is a lack of severely distressed inventory to satisfy the bottom-feeder buyers.

And I am casting no judgement on those buyers- more power to anyone who is smart enough to be prepared to make such a move. I wish I had more buyers like that! There are still 3 places in town that I think are similar in nature- two in Old City (which is rare) and one in Washington Sq. West. Bottom feeders- Call me. Lets chat.

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

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June 18, 2009

You think you know Philadelphia real estate values?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:52 pm

…then explain the value difference between these two Philly condo buildings:

These are two actual side by side buildings on Spruce St. in Washington Square West.

So you have a big brain, and you think you are going to take a look at Trulia, Zillow, or one of the many fine real estate websites out there in CyberSpace, and you are going to come up with the true value of any given condo. Really?

You can’t tell me that condition does not play into value. How about showing ability? You go into the public records and find a two bed, two bath in such n such zip code should sell for say $500,000. Really??? What was the condition of the Washington Square West Condo?  Was the building well maintained?

My point is, sometimes you need a realtor who knows his or her market to help you make valid decisions. There are many issues that affect value, that reading a webpage about any given Philadelphia condo may NOT tell you…

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

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June 11, 2009

PA Seller Disclosure Laws

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:03 pm

 …when the truth is more than enough:

 

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

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June 9, 2009

Do Your Blinds/Curtians need to be white?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:45 am

Per many Philly condo associations, the backside of your curtains and blinds may need to be white in color. You may ask why…but drive by any poorly managed condo association who does not enforce such a rule, and you will see why. The building ends up looking like an unattractive collection of cheap, and often unattractive variations of ugly looking blinds/shades/curtains. From Mauve, to Sea Foam Green, the rainbow of cheap shades is not an attractive sight.

And If I were king of the world, or even a developer of a Philadelphia high rise condo, I would go as far as to include a high end line of blinds/shades into my sale price. Because the visual uniformity is going to be important in the overall impression a building gives off when viewed from street level. We have all seen, or perhaps even been guilty (usually in our college years) of using a bedsheet as a curtain. And god knows bedsheets come in some funky colors and patterns. Not the best look, when trying to visually highlight a condo building from a distance.

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

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June 5, 2009

You can’t compare a walk-up to an elevator Condo building in Philadelphia

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:13 pm

… in a Low Rise Condo Building.


 
Just like comparing apples to oranges, an elevator vs. a NON-elevator building is just not the same. But there are a number of “red flags” I would preface this information with….

I am not suggesting that an elevator building in inherently more valuable than a non-elevator building. That is not the point. And it ain’t true in all cases. However, there MUST be some differentiation in value when you are talking about two IDENTICAL units (in terms of size, location, condition, amenities,etc) in which one is a FIFTH floor walk-up, and the other is a FIFTH floor condo in an elevator building. HUGE difference in price.

No one could tell me, with any conviction (unless they were mental) that a value difference needn’t be considered.

Most Philadelphians will hike it up to the 2nd floor without a gripe. A few noises for 3rd floor walk-ups. Fifth floor is a tall order- no pun intended.

But then again, most of the higher walk-up floors are going to be discounted. Just look at 924 Spruce St. # 301 – probably one of the best deals in town! Generally speaking, the higher the floor ( above 2nd) is going to have to be discounted more and more. These units are saleable, but adjustments need to be made.

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

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May 29, 2009

Not all Philadelphia Locations suffer Equally in this Real Estate Market

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:54 pm

What I find interesting about the current state of the market, here in late Spring 2009, is that not all segments of the real estate market in downtown Philadelphia are equal in terms of it being a sellers or a buyers market. 

The hottest segment in town has got to be the two bedroom townhouse market in the 19103, or northern portion of 19146- roughly called the Rittenhouse Square area, under $400,000. Slim pickins’ should a buyer find themselves looking for housing in this crowded area. Many buyers, either Penn students, or whomever, are searching for that perfect, say, $375,000 two bedroom townhouse. I would strongly suggest that this segment of the market is a sellers market, or at least leaning in that direction- more so than any other segment of the Center City real estate market.

Conversely, I would venture to guess that an extreme buyers market is in effect in the Northern Liberties section of Center City in terms of the condo market. Simply looking at inventory levels in one clue. The other clues, or symptoms would be average “Days On Market”, and the difference between asking price and selling price of many of these units. The last hint to where any segment of the market may fall, in an extremely unscientific measure, is the amount of buyers I have who visit my website, and search for inventory in those two particular neighborhoods. The Rittenhouse Square area out weights other areas in a disproportionate manner. 

Depending on what market segment you may be interested in, may determine your ability to not only have a lot to different condos to look at, but also may provide more opportunity to bargain with any given seller. Yes, there can be a buyers market on one end of town, and a sellers market on the other end of town- at the same time.

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

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May 27, 2009

Dispursement of Philadelphia’s Real Estate Wealth

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:16 pm

Twenty years ago, if you had $750,000 to spend on a piece of Philadelphia real estate, you had just two options- Rittenhouse Square or Society Hill. Or like most buyers in the Philadelphia region, you may actually have omitted the downtown options, and landed in suburbia. Back in the late 1980’s/early 1990’s, transferees into the metro Philly area would seem to magically bounce of Center City (our downtown area) and end up in a suburb. The idea of spending anything over a half million dollars to live in Old City, The Art Museum area, or say Washington Square West was just not a popular option or idea- even if you could find something in those neighborhoods in such a price range. You would have to be out of your mind NOT to position yourself front and center on Rittenhouse Square, or in Society Hill- our two mainstays for the Location, Location. Location equation.

Today, options for high end condos and townhomes in Philly are varied- not only in terms of location, but also style. Old City is a REAL possibility for many condo buyers in the upper tier. Old City is probably the one neighborhood where a high end modern loft condo has not only become a real possibility, but a true draw to many empty nesters looking to abandon such things in their lives as lawnmowers and multiple car ownership.  Fitler Square, with its quaint cobblestone side streets and small pocket gardens, as well as the Avenue of the Arts- replete with cultural activities nearby, are options that high end buyers did not exercise in the late 1980’s.  And let’s not forget the Waterfront areas, as well as Art Museum areas, and Queen Village, each offering their own attractions and pleasures of an urban lifestyle.
   
With the growth and popularity of downtown Philly, there has arisen a variety of options in which buyers should explore, before sticking with one neighborhood in which they are familiar. And it seems that all buyers coming into Philadelphia have heard of locations like Rittenhouse Square and Society Hill. With the advent of Google Street Views, and maps, one can easily learn about all of the area neighborhoods before even stepping foot into the downtown Center City area.

So take a look around, and explore. Not only neighborhoods, but also the variety of housing stock offered in the downtown area. From converted brownstone mansions, to contemporary new “green” structures, downtown Philadelphia has come a long way in the past twenty years as a viable alternative to suburban life. And it seems like the table have now turned- transferees now magically bounce off the outlying suburban areas, and end up putting their money and their belongings in a Center City townhouse or condominium.

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

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May 20, 2009

New Construction Condos in Philadelphia

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:28 am

You call THAT an upgrade?


 
Since when are closet inserts an upgrade? When one buys an $800,000 condo, should you not be able to expect that some sort of clothes hanging mechanism would be included? Even the cheesy cheap wire mesh systems? I have seen developers try to pass off even the basic necessities as upgrades, and it is insulting. Perhaps Mr. Developer, you think my $800,000 buyer just fell off the back of a turnip truck? How the hell do you think he or she got to the point in their life where they could afford such a condominium without a brain cell or two? Dumbass.

And please stop with the patronizing “and you get lovely carpet in the bedrooms at no extra charge”. Again, you are an idiot.

And touting the virtues of a dishwasher, a garbage disposal, and/or doorbell for each condo unit?Yippee…where does my buyer sign?? If developers could take a minute or two to tour some of the condo offerings in Center City Philadelphia, and realize that the buyers I am bringing to your front door have seen almost EVERYTHING on the market, then maybe that developer could wise up, and compare apples to apples. Tell us about the significance of your location, the quality of your construction, or the fact that you are priced competitively. My buyers are not stupid, and I will not allow them to be uneducated. So wise up, and let’s make a deal. Because until you (Mr. Developer) come to your senses, my buyer’s desire to write an offer on one of your condos is going to be severely limited.

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

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