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September 13, 2017

New Condos Coming to Philly at Broad and Pine

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 11:54 am

The developer of the beautiful new construction condos, One Riverside at 25th and Locust, has decided to switch the focus of his next project from a hotel/apartment project to a 56-unit condominium high-rise. We have been saying for some time now that there is a shortage of condos in town and we think this will be a great addition to the market.  You can read about the switch here.


One Riverside Condominiums at 25th and Locust

The new condos will be designed by Philly architect Cecil Baker, who has also designed the Residences at The Western Union Building and the brand new ultra luxury condos at 500 Walnut Street – just to name a few.  The Design Review Board approved Dranoff’s new condo plan for Broad and Pine Street last week.

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. #480
Philadelphia, PA 19106

 

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June 29, 2015

Venting Issues in Your Philadelphia Condo

Filed under: For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:09 pm

There are really three things you should consider when purchasing a Philly condo, in terms of it’s ventilation:

1) Is the fireplace vented? A lot of gas fireplaces are NOT vented to the outside in the state of PA. I have one in my house. I like it, and it certainly looses no heat via the flue. However, I do feel it is best to have a CO2 detector nearby, just in case. I rarely see the non-vented fireplaces as an issue to resale. Buyers generally don’t seem to either care, or realize the difference between a vented and non-vented gas fireplace.

2) Is the hood range vented? In most Philadelphia condos, it is not. How do you tell? Simply open the cabinet door above the microwave or hood range, and see if there is a pipe which leads up through the top of the cabinet. If you see no pipe..then the unit generally is not vented. If your unit is not vented, there are usually charcoal filters embedded into the hood range, or the microwave that will reduce the odors and smoke that arise from you burning dinner, or smelling your Old City loft up with odorous fish cooking. The range in my Philly condo is not vented, and it doesn’t bother me. And again, most Philadelphia condominium buyers are either not aware of the difference, of they don’t care.

3) Is you dryer vented to the outside? A lot of times, there is a white plastic box at the end of a six foot vent pipe. You know, the one that you are supposed to keep filled with water, which no one does, in order to reduce the amount of dryer lint/dust that will fill your condo? My condo has a vented dryer, because we insisted on buying a condo with a vented dryer. I lived in one condo that did not have a vented dryer, and I had a perpetually dusty apartment as a result. The only way to combat this issue is to investigate into ventless dryers that filter through some type of water.

It is more common than not, to have all three of the above items NOT vented to the outside of your Philadelphia condo…and none really make an impact on resale. Just a comfort issue for you, the potential buyer, whether or not all three are vented!  So, let me know what you think…..post a comment or drop me an email at Mark@CenterCityCondos.com and we’ll chat.

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com

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June 16, 2015

A very cool shot of 4 Center City condo buildings

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:31 pm
In the foreground on the left is 1706 Rittenhouse Sq.
In the foreground on the right is 250 S. 17th St.
The red building in the center is 250 S. 18th St.
Background on the right is the Barclay at 237 S. 18th St.
(taken from the 12th floor of the old medical arts tower- looking west down the 17xx block of Rittenhouse)
And here is some good food for thought…
If Location, location, location is the sole driving force of value then how can these four condo buildings each have distinct demand as well as pricing?
Certainly a building’s reputation and cache have something to do with pricing….

 

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March 2, 2015

Smoking Policies Effect On Condo Values

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:10 am
 I have had groups of buyers in my car almost everyday for the past 26 years and after talking with and listening to an overwhelming number of buyers- I do not believe that a restrictive smoking policy will negatively affect values. It may decrease demand nominally, but overall I do not see how a smoking ban would, could, or has negatively affected any values for condos in Center City like Center City One at 1326 Spruce St.   I also think that the world is gravitating towards smoking bans in many areas (not just residential condos) and think the trend will continue. So unless a buyer wanted to move to the moon- there really is no avoiding the non-smoking trend and therefore really will not hamper values in my opinion. The following are condo buildings that have a NO SMOKING policy in effect:
Symphony House at 400-440 S. Broad St.
Society Hill Towers at 200-220 Locust St.
Hopkinson House at 604 S. Washington Sq.
 The Rittenhouse Hotel & Condos at 210 W. Rittenhouse
The Dorchester at 224 W. Rittenhouse
    I think more damning to values of particular buildings in town would be restrictive pet policies. 
   It is difficult to argue that the largest buildings should allow dogs. Yet implementing restrictions based upon size and breed may ultimately increase demand and ultimately resale values. I have seen many buyers in my day pass on particular buildings due to restrictive pet policies.  Buyers will more readily give up on a particular building than to give up their pets…reasonably so.

 

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January 26, 2015

Answering Condo Reserve Questions

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:28 am
No two condo associations are the same…much like snowflakes.
1) How much money does my condo association have in the kitty? 
  You really are not going to know the answer to that question until you purchase the condo and review the condo docs. The state of Pennsylvania allows for a five day review of condo docs for you to make an informed decision. Some buildings stockpile a boatload of $$ – and others simply just assess when needed. I usually find that the very small buildings and the very expensive / exclusive buildings in town don’t keep that much $$ on hand- their way of making improvements is to simply assess owners when needed.
2) How much does Fannie Mae Require to go into reserves every month for the building to be “warrantable?”
Although there is no set amount (for the ability of buyers who want to buy in your building) probably a good idea to be setting 10-15% aside every month for capital improvements.
3) What are capital expenditures?
   Reserves for deferred maintenance (performed less frequently than yearly in order to maintain the asset’s useful life) and capital expenditures (purchasing or replacing assets that have a useful life over one year) are required for certain building components unless the board votes annually to waive and/or reduce reserve funding.
4) WTF is a capital contribution??? 
   Buyer pays two months worth of condo fees to the ASSOCIATION- this does not go to the seller and this helps to build the kitty for future improvements. This contribution is now applicable for almost ALL condo sales in town like the Barclay Condominium.
5) How much should my association have in reserves?
     This really is a function of the board’s goals and the current condition of the entire parcel including the roof, windows, elevators, etc. Most folks I speak with suggest 10% -15% of the TOTAL annual intake of condo fees to help build the kitty. A professional reserve study may be in order to best guide an association- call for details and I may be able to help with this. Maybe not 🙂

 

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January 19, 2015

Tossing Up Red Flags Faster Than I Can Down A Martini

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:37 am
Being on the inside track of the Center City condo market, I am at the epicenter of buyer feedback and I am privy to their thoughts and I see what buyers consider to be red flags. Here is what they are telling me. This list could also be called                        ” Things My Condo Buyers Quickly Reject:”
1) A condo with a  two-story spiral staircase
2) Poorly kept common areas of low rise condo buildings
3) Low owner occupancy ratios in any size condo association
4) Lawsuits against the association
5) An unusually high “days on market” for units within the building
6) A clear lack of upkeep and maintenance for any size building. Buyers are usually acutely aware of the lack of upkeep and have little trouble identifying such buildings.
Certainly there are a plethora of reasons why a buyer will buy or reject any given condo here in town. The above list of six examples are the most common that I see.

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April 15, 2013

I Don’t Have a Crystal Ball

Filed under: For Buyers,For Sellers,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 8:51 am

     The Philadelphia condominium market is something I enjoy analyzing, thinking about, etc., I am always amazed at how many times buyers and sellers ask me to give them solid concrete information about what is going to happen in the future.

crystalball

     Often a buyer’s query comes in the form of: “Will this home be worth more in five years than the one across town we just saw?” or “Should I lock my interest rate today because interest rates are going to rise next week?”

     Sellers are a bit more forward thinking as I find their mental dilemma encompassing thoughts of: “If I hold this property, and rent it out, what kind of rents can I get in the year, say, 2027?”

     Now I admit that when I bought my first Center City condominium, I drove my real estate agent nuts. I mean crazy. I still kinda’ duck my head when I pass her by on the street. And I am sure I tortured her with silly questions she could not have possibly answered.

     Although, you know, her crystal ball must have been fully operational way back when as she had no problem spittin’ out future numbers like they were being read off a bingo card. And I bought everything that came out of her mouth. Today that condo is worth exactly 4 times what it was worth back in 1991. (Bridgeview Place Unit #521).

     Now why didn’t I ask her to pick some lottery numbers for me?

     I might not have a crystal ball, but I do have the knowledge to help you purchase or sell your Center City condo or Philadelphia condominium for the best price and terms. Give me a call today at 215-521-1523 or drop me and email at mark@centercity.com. We’ll have fun!

 

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August 19, 2010

Divide up your Old City Loft Space….but keep the light!

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:16 am

A buyer of mine sent me this link, www.RayDoor.com, and I think it is really groovy! And a great idea for many Old City condo lofts which have exceedingly large living rooms. By adding another bedroom area, and still keeping the light coming into your living room, you could quickly and easily add value.

raydoor raydoor 2 raydoor3 raydoor4

And the look is very hip and perfectly positioned for some of the neat Old City condos that Center City has available! See more at www.RayDoor.com.

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

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August 12, 2010

An Insider’s Look Into The Center City Condo Activity

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 @ 1:30 pm

We hear all kinds of national news stories about the country’s current real estate market. Below is a simple breakdown of the number of showings that have taken place at Prudential Fox and Roach’s Center City Philadelphia Listings over the past 9 months. The figures are broken down by price ranges. There does not appear to be a lack of folks looking to buy and as usual, very early spring seems to produce the most Center City Condo buyers with traffic slowing mid-summer as many people leave for vacations.   

eshow

Leave a comment, or shoot me an email at Mark@CenterCity.com. I’d live to hear your thoughts on this “inside” Center City Real Estate report. Spring Market 2011 is just around the corner!

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

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August 5, 2010

Sh*tty Philadelphia Condo Buildings

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:17 pm

…Have Sh*tty Resale Prices- If they sell at all.

 
Come on, you would have to be from the moon to believe all condo buildings here in Center City are created equal in terms of
demand, cache, and resale ability (in terms of price and “days on market”). There are some buildings in downtown Philly that just really suck, in terms of their investment value. And there are a handful of buildings that basically cannot resale at all.
 
Some of the signs to be aware of-
 
1) A lot of units on the market, and very few sold in the past 12 months
2) A high number of REO’s/Foreclosures/Short Sales
3) A low owner-occupancy ratio in the building
4) Poorly managed exterior and common area condition
 
Unless you are buying a short sale or a foreclosure in the building, or are in the mood to just piss your money away, I would suggest we talk prior to you buying in certain buildings.. Some Center City condominium buildings aren’t worth a look, much less an offer.

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

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530 Walnut Street, Suite 260
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Direct: 215.521.1523 ~ Office: 215.627.6005
Fax: 215.627.3142
Email: Mark@CenterCity.com
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