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March 29, 2018

The Drake Tower at 1512 Spruce St.

Filed under: General Real Estate,Real Estate: Condominiums,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:29 pm

Built in 1929, the Drake stands as a magnificent addition to the Philadelphia skyline.

Here’s what you don’t know:

  • It IS a condo building. Back in the 1970’s, they converted to condos with a less than enthusiastic welcome.
  • Per public records, only five (5) units are privately held – the other 300 units are owned by one entity and are used as RENTALS.
  • The penthouse units start on the 24th floor.
  • Through most of the 1990’s- all penthouse units were vacant shells.
  • Some penthouses housed gardens and the top penthouse had its own pool.
  • The building is faced with small details of ships, mermaids, and other sea paraphernalia.

My first apartment was in the Drake in the late 1980’s when Duran Duran was on MTV and telephones had cords.

Mark Wade 
www.CenterCityCondos.com
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
Mark@CenterCity.com

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January 26, 2018

Northern Liberties

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:45 pm

Northern Liberties has become a great residential neighborhood with a mix of professionals, families, and empty-nesters, all while maintaining its original artistic vibe.  With a great neighborhood association (NLNA) there is always something exciting going on in the area.

From family events at the Community & Rec Centers, to the seasonal farmer’s market and music festival at Liberty Lands Park, to the great variety of restaurants and bars in the neighborhood, Northern Liberties has it all. Here are just a few groovy spots:

Cantina Dos Segundos – 931 N. 2nd St. – Great for everything from brunch to happy hour to midnight margaritas…and all the delicious Mexican cuisine with a twist you can eat in between!

Yards Brewery – New location at 500 Spring Garden St. – 20 brews on tap plus a full menu…the brewery is still under construction but tours will begin soon. Bonus: They’ve got a Super Bowl bet going with Harpoon Brewery in Boston…Go Eagles!

North Bowl – 909 N. 2nd St. – Bowling, pool tables, arcade, bars, food – something for everyone. The NLNA is hosting a Winter Fest here on Feb. 11…

Edgar Allen Poe House – 532 N. 7th St. – Open Friday through Sunday – Free, self-guided tours – Great for history/literature buffs.

One Shot Coffee – 217 W. George St. – Great coffee and ambiance! House-made pastries, Good breakfast sandwiches –  Make sure you try the french toast!

There are plenty more restaurants, bars, and shopping options – too many to name here.  With a plethora of new construction, we can only expect this thriving neighborhood to continue to grow.  Click here to learn about condos available for sale in Northern Liberties.

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December 20, 2017

Philly Condo Buildings’ Best Amenities – 2017

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 5:17 pm

Many of my buyers ask me which buildings they should view based on specific amenities.
Here’s how I generally respond…

Best Philly Condos For Swimmers:
Two Liberty Or Waterfront Square.

Best Philly Condos For Multiple Car Parking:
Bella Vista Lofts offers stacked parking/lifts.

Best Philly Condos For Views:
Lots, but I like Society Hill Towers.

Best Philly Condos For Gorgeous Common Areas:
Ten Rittenhouse, 1706!

Best Philly Condos For Being Pampered:
Ritz Carlton, Two Liberty, The Rittenhouse.

Best Philly Condos For Gym Users:
Waterfront Square, Ritz Carlton.

Best Philly Condos For Having Guests:
One Riverside…hospitality suite on site!

Best Philly Condos For Access To Shows:
Symphony House, Center City One…can’t get any closer!

Best Philly Condos For Dogs:
Naval Square, Waterfront Square.

Best Philly Condos For Kids:
Washington Mews.

Best Philly Condos For Convenience:
River’s Edge.

Best Philly Condos For Balconies:
1352 South.

Best Philly Condos For Large Kitchens:
Tivoli, The Rittenhouse Plaza.

Best Philly Condo For Closet Space:
The Philadelphian.

Best Philly Condos For Privacy:
Ten Rittenhouse, The Ayer, 1706, One Riverside, The Lippincott.

Want to know why I picked what I picked?  Email me and we can chat!

Mark Wade
Mark@CenterCity.com
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. #480 | Philadelphia, PA 19106

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November 28, 2017

12 Philly Condo Fee Facts…As I See Them

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:21 pm

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.

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
BHHS | Fox & Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. #480 | Phila. PA 19106
Mark@CenterCity.com | 215.521.1523

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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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August 24, 2017

Philadelphia Condo Building Updates – Summer 2017

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Real Estate: Condominiums,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:13 pm

Here is what I am told. Verify for yourself…

The owner occupancy ratio at 2101 Chestnut is 10% – 90% renters.

Waterfront Sq. is enacting a limitation on renters.

The Savoy at 1806 S. Rittenhouse has an assessment coming down the pike that is close to $28 a square foot. Needed, and in the long run, a good thing as values will climb!

Dockside at 717 S. Columbus Blvd. has been recently approved for conventional financing.

The Philadelphian at 2401 Pennsylvania Ave. is making progress on the installation of new exterior balcony rails throughout.

Many more buildings are going non-smoking. Here are a few:
Society Hill Towers, Center City One, Academy House, The Rittenhouse, The Hopkinson House, The Murano, The Dorchester. Look for that list to grow substantially.

Hopkinson House is nearing completion of it’s lobby work.

2601 (2601 Pennsylvania Ave.) is upgrading it’s steam systems.

Penn’s Landing Square (130 Spruce St.) is doing work to it’s underground garage.

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
Mark@CenterCity.com

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November 8, 2016

Additional Crap I know about Real Estate in Center City That You Probably Don’t :-)

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:35 am

1) The Philadelphian at 2401 Pennsylvania Ave. is the largest condo building in the state of PA. Over 700 units. Very cool mid-century feel to the place.

2401-pennsylvania-ave-1

2) Buyers AND Sellers often nit-pick themselves right out of a deal. They focus on minute details and the other party gets fatigued and the deal falls apart.  Most deals fall apart over the SMALLEST details and usually based upon emotion and not $$.

3) Buyers usually don’t buy the bricks and mortar. They buy feelings and emotions. (See #2 above).

4) I encourage buyers to bring family members on a tour of condos. But not friends. Family members support and encourage. Friends are the ultimate deal killer who bad mouth EVERY condo we see- almost always.

5) I do not believe that expiring tax abatements on any given condo building equates to lower future values. I have watched many buildings with expired abatements and I haven’t seen a correlation.

6) Like automobiles, popular condo units (when first offered/built) have a tendency to remain popular units throughout their life span. Like all the “01” units at The Murano or the “G” units at Society Hill Towers.

7) Condo fees are like a person’s age. They go up nominally almost every year. It is a fact of life…it just is.

8) Waterfront Sq. at 901 N. Penn just got their Energy Star Rating- To earn the ENERGY STAR, the apartments in a new multifamily building must be built to meet strict guidelines for energy efficiency set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. An apartment unit that has earned the ENERGY STAR label has undergone a rigorous process of third-party testing and verification to ensure it delivers better quality, comfort, and value.

9) When I settle on a property, that buyer or seller is out of my life for the foreseeable future. This often is a letdown as I have grown to know my clients and I won’t get to continue to interact with them.

10) Sloppy offers usually garner sloppy responses. If you want your offer to be presented in the best light, then dot your i’s and cross your t’s. And that often means getting a pre-qual from the lender that the LISTING AGENT knows best. This can easily remove doubt as to your qualification for a mortgage.

11) No, you can’t bring your dog on our tour of condos. I love dogs. I love my dog too, but you won’t see her on our tour. Leave your dog at home. Seriously.

12) Every home inspector says you need a pan under your washer/dryer. If there is not one there now, then you most likely aren’t getting one. This is the #1 thing on any inspection report that I cannot successfully negotiate for you. (If there is not drain, then a pan will do you no good and very few buildings have drains under their W/D units).

13) Mortgage companies torture everyone equally. You will not be able to circumvent this fact EVEN if you are super-duper rich or if you have an existing account with your lender. Trust me. I know.

14) More and more high rise buildings are not renewing their FHA approvals. Not sure why- but the Reef building at Waterfront Sq. just did so.

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
Mark@CenterCity.com ~ 215.521.1523

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September 27, 2016

Rising home prices, quick sales – Philly’s in a sellers’ market (Mark’s Two Cents on Philly.com)

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:54 am

Alan J. Heavens, Philly.com’s Real estate writer says, “The city of Philadelphia is officially a sellers’ real estate market, as a continued shortage of inventory has pushed up prices for properties listed for sale.”
skyline_west

Economist Kevin Gillen, senior research fellow at Drexel University’s Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation, said the second quarter of 2016, which ended June 30, saw median prices 13 percent higher than April-through-June 2015.

…Gillen isn’t exactly sure why homeowners aren’t rushing to list their houses, but Mark Wade, an agent with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach Realtors, cites several factors.

Mostly, it is “because many buyers in town over the last few decades have been empty nesters who believe they have made their final move and don’t need to downsize or adjust their living quarters to match their future needs,” Wade said.

The “flip side of rising house prices is decreased housing affordability,” Gillen said.

“Prices are now rising faster than household incomes, which implies that home buyers must now sacrifice a greater portion of their wealth to buy a home than they would otherwise, or else must defer the purchase of a home altogether,” he said.

Click here to read the full article on Philly.com.

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
Mark@CenterCity.com ~ 215.521.1523

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June 22, 2015

Do You Really Know What You Are Buying When You Buy A New Philly Condo From Plans?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:36 pm

I get the shivers when I think of people investing in new Philadelphia Condos that are still on the drawing board. Do these people have some kind of condominium ESP I lack?

After almost 3 decades selling condos at place like The Murano, I know one thing is for sure: there’s a big disparity between finished condo projects and the drawings that started them.

plans photo

 

Let’s take a couple of Philadelphia condo projects as an example. Any two projects… line them up side by side in terms of resale ability, quality of finishes, the overall fit, the light views, etc.

In both instances, buyers are asked to plunk down money, site unseen. It’s quite a gamble, isn’t it? Doesn’t it just make sense that there will be winners and losers? Some people will get the Philadelphia condos of their dreams; other people will get a nightmare.

You also have to ask yourself about the resale factor. Some Philadelphia condos simply do not resell well. Other Center City condos are at the opposite end of the spectrum- buyers are reselling for a good deal more than they originally paid a few years ago and have little trouble doing it.

So do we really know what we are getting into when we buy Philadelphia real estate that is not yet built? Unless you have condominium ESP, you can never know for sure. But, it does help to know a bit (or a lot) about condos and Philadelphia and buyers in general. That’s the best way I know of to determine whether un-built Philadelphia condos will ultimately be successful. Learn more about Center City planning for growth.

Ready to stop relying on condominium ESP? With my years of experience representing buyers and sellers of Philadelphia and Center City condos, I can guide you through today’s real estate maze and help you come out a winner! Give me a call today at 215-521-1523 or drop me and email at mark@centercity.com

 

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June 8, 2015

Do Expiring Tax Abatements Equate To Lower Resale Values In the Center City Condo Arena?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:36 pm
 There are a number of buildings in town whose tax abatements have run their course and an even bigger pile whose abatements expire over the next few years. The net effect on resale values and demand comes into question for many buyers. Here is my opinion:
     Center City CondoBuildings such as The Phoenix at 1600 Arch St. and Dockside at 717 S. Columbus Blvd. have expired abatements. Buildings like York Square, WaterFront Sq (in the Peninsula and Regatta towers),
many Naval Square units-as well as many other buildings erected here in town in the mid-2000’s are soon to expire. I have heard (though I certainly am usually not one to speak on behalf of city hall) that the tax rate for condos will be 1.34% of assessed value when abatements expire.
   If we look at the sales data from buildings whose abatement has expired over time, the net effect of an expired tax abatement is almost nil when looking at resale prices, demand and values. I have not seen any instance of value dropped solely based upon the expiration of a tax abatement.   Why, you ask? Here is what I gather from my many condo buyers in town:
   Lee Iococca adopted a theory he called “The Equality Of Sacrifice” – which I interpret to mean that as long as everyone is in the same boat (of an unabated tax bill) – then any fears of inequity are diminished.  And I believe that to be true. FULL ten-year tax abatement offers are few and far between in town these days
…. Except for maybe the last three units at WaterFront Square in the Reef building and a smattering of smaller new construction projects here and there.
   I think that buyers generally do not expect to see a “game changing”  benefit from the balance of any tax abatement. The entire market is rapidly aging in the expiration of the abatements and therefore I believe that any partial abatement period is kinda’ icing on the cake. It certainly can sweeten a deal for many, but I don’t think this is the end all, be all determining factor if a buyer buys “this unit or that”. But again, it certainly does not hurt to inherit the balance of an abatement 🙂
   Center City is more attractive than any abatement. We’re growing in size and popularity and the expiration of abatements and almost certainly isn’t going to keep anyone out of  town or out of any specific building in town.

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530 Walnut Street, Suite 480
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Direct: 215.521.1523 ~ Office: 215.627.6005
Fax: 215.627.3142
Email: Mark@CenterCity.com
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