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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 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 2, 2015

The 5 most frequently asked Questions by Center City Condo Buyers

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:21 pm

1) Is transfer tax split between buyer and seller?
Yes….and that fact is embedded into the agreement of sale. You pay 2% of the sale price, and so does the seller.

2) Can I move my stuff in prior to settlement?
Uh, no. The day you give the seller your money, it is all yours. Until then, you may not occupy or make alterations to your new Philly condo!

3) Why do I have to pay 2 months condo fees to the association?
It is called a capital contribution. Helps pad the condo association against future assessments. Almost all condos has everyone pay this when buying.

4) Do I get my 2 months capital contribution back when I sell?
Uh, no, shut up.

5) Why do I need to buy title insurance?
Because certain debt transfers with title. You buy, you may inherit someone else’s debt. Title insurance gives you a clean, debt-free title. (Abridged answer!)

You will certainly have more questions when purchasing a new Rittenhouse Square condo, or say Old City loft. Trust me. :-) And that is why I am here.

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

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April 27, 2015

Spring 2015 Condo Market Is In Full Swing!

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:12 pm
Our listing inventory is impressive, if I may say:
Our recent sales :
Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
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April 14, 2015

Ten Pitfalls to Avoid when buying a Center City Condominium…

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:12 am
                      
Being a veteran Center City Realtor (26 years), I often see buyers making some repeated mistakes.
At least in my opinion, I use the word mistakes.
 Here are some common pitfalls:
1)  Paying Points on a short term hold
Many buyers know they will only own their condo for 3 to 5 years. Paying Points may not be advantageous-  Talk to your lender. Do your homework here.
2) Saying “No” to a “Betterments and Improvements” rider on your home  owners policy. This covers items like floor, appliances, cabinetry, doorknobs, etc etc. Might be worth considering.
3) Glossing Over Building Issues – You are given 5 days to read your condo docs. If you don’t want to do so, then hire a lawyer. A Real Estate Lawyer.
4)  Using a Mortgage Lender because you have a Savings Account at that bank, and have had for 23 years. That doesn’t mean crap, in my experience. Nada. Nil. Zip.
5) Using a relative to be your Realtor, Mortgage person, or otherwise to play a huge role in your buying process. These arrangements can go up in flames quickly. Not always…but…
6)  Not Vetting Your Realtor – “When in Rome” is pretty good advice.. Interview him/her  to decide if you two make a good team. Ask your realtor what they know about, say The Ayer condominiums on Washington Sq.
7)  Over-buying: Do you really need a three bedroom and den unit? Or will a two bedroom and den suffice? Same story with one vs two bedroom units- If you don’t need the space, why pay for the space?
8) Not Reading Your Sales Contract – 99% of the questions you may have about a transaction here in PA can be answered by reading your Agreement of Sale (The Contract). Read It. I beg you.
9) Expecting Perfection: Yes, the seller is going to vacate your new condo in a  dirty and  somewhat used condition, with holes in the walls where their art once  hung. IF that is the biggest bump in the road during our journey, then we should all go sing and dance in the middle of the street with joy and glee 🙂  Nothing in life is perfect so a hint of forgiveness along the road can be helpful.
10)  Relying on the Square Foot calculations on Condo Flyer. Or even relying on info provided by some sources. Best to do your own measuring/ fact checking.
  Just Ask Me.
 Let’s find the answers together to help you make the best decisions possible.
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March 23, 2015

Let’s look closer at the Low Rise/ Brownstone condo segment of Center City…

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:39 pm
 

    Known for low condo fees and uniqueness brownstone / low rise styled condos are an option in Center City that I find are becoming more popular for many condo shoppers. Known for their really groovy features, low rise condos have shown to have good resale over time, and often show up in some of the strongest residential locations in Center City.

    The condo associations tend to almost always favor pets, rules can be a bit more lax than a high rise, and many units have either decks, parking, fireplaces, or say an abundance of original detailing. Here are some of my favorite low rise/ brownstone condo buildings in town- Due to either curb appeal, unit layout, value retention, or just an overwhelmingly serene locale:

1) Roberts Quay: 1035 Spruce – 18 units, a huge variety of layouts, and probably the most handsome building in 19107. Sits on the NE corner of 11th and Spruce. (see above and you can see what I mean).

2) 2100 Delancey: Again, huge curb appeal, an array of unit sizes and wrought with original detail. Many units have fireplaces, ornate windows, and of course a great location.

3) 251 S. 24th St: A very rare loft styled new condo building in Fitler Square that few have heard of/know of/have seen. Garage parking, huge windows, and sits in a quiet pocket of Fitler Square. High end contemporary finishes throughout each unit.

4) The Clinton: 1023 Clinton St. – Now here is a stunning building. Sits on the corner of 11th and Clinton St- serene as they come. Some units have parking, and many units have south facing windows- many completely shielded by huge trees. Modest condo fees and attractive pricing.

5) St. James Court: Hidden between 5th/6th Street, Locust and Walnut sits this enclave of “uppers and lowers”. Rental parking next door at Indep Place. Great space, quiet location, handsome exteriors, outside space for every unit, and two story living rooms. A great track record of resales / value retention over the past dozen years.
And of course I should mention:
Kahn Park Place at 1119-25 Pine
Wash Sq. West Condos on the 12xx block of South St.
Portico Row – 9xx Block of Spruce St.
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December 9, 2014

2015 Condo Market Forecast

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:08 am

So where are we in terms of value retention and return? Have we fully recovered from our last downturn? Just What Can We Expect For 2015?

Center City Philadelphia Condos

Is it time to be a seller??

Click play below to listen to my new podcast about the 2015 Philly Condo Market…

 

Mark Wade    215.521.1523
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services | Fox and Roach Realtors®

 

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November 24, 2014

Here is What I am hearing around town…

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:47 am
1) Rivers Edge Condos at 2301 Cherry St: There can be little argument that prices and demand for the building are on a huge upswing since residents have implement and paid for assessments for improvements made to 2301. Just look at the sales in the MLS. And it makes sense- a killer location in the 19103 zip with parking. Winning!

2) The Coronado at 2201 Chestnut St: Facade overhaul – even decorative elements of this lovely pre-war are being removed and recast…including ironwork and window frames. Foyer and front entrance being studied to include doors, lighting, canopy and tile restoration work. And they have limited their allowable rentals-BRAVO!

3) WaterFront Square at 901 N. Penn St: In the middle of some really groovy renovations to the entrance including an attractive water feature and improvements to the larger of the two dog parks. The entrance was benign and bland. Not any more…

4) The Plaza at 1901 Walnut St: Assessments are finished and interior (behind the walls) work done to common elements. New entrance and foyer area work completed as well as mail room. I think 1901 is poised for real value growth.

5) GrandView at 1100 Vine St: Recently refinished the lobby area..and holy crap is it stunning. Someone here had a good eye.
Also plans for redoing the entire 2nd floor (common area) to include new/expanded gym, yoga studio and commercial kitchen areas. First floor commercial offices being rented out as well- which will help curb appeal. Smart Center City Condo building- one of first to put a severe hold on rental ratio. Very smart indeed.

6) BridgeView Place at 315 New St: Finished the common roof deck and exterior brick work (some time ago).

7) Hopkinson House at 604 S. Washington Sq: A face lift project to the front entrance plaza area is well underway as well as installation of a handicap ramp and the repair of deteriorating underground structural beams and expansion joints.

8) The Academy House at 1420 Locust St: Upcoming improvements include lobby and arcade renovations. Fabulous!
And the employees recently rejected the idea of “going union.”


Mark Wade
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services | Fox & Roach Realtors®  
 530 Walnut St. Suite 260
Philadelphia, Pa. 19106
Mark@CenterCity.com 
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September 29, 2014

My Top 5 Picks for Value Increases Over The Next 10 Years

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 8:35 am

1) 2301 Cherry St– The condos are selling at a pace I haven’t seen in a decade at Rivers Edge.  Major assessments are helping and you just can’t find these values in 19103 with parking in a doorman building.

2)1352 South St. Condos– Began a  new marketing campaign earlier this year. When that is over and the building sells out- I would look for prices to spike as the current $/sf is very competitive.

3) Low Rise Condos in 19107 – The overall lack of inventory and “DOM” (days on market) for this set shows a trend for potential future growth. One key is proximity to Jefferson Medical.

4) The Rittenhouse Hotel and Condominiums – Recent sales have primarily been original condition units which have artificially set the bar at a low point in terms of resale prices. Once that inventory gets soaked up- Prices are going to jump in the building in my estimation. The competition just isn’t there for such a fine building on the Square.

5) Center City One Condos– 1326 Spruce St. The lines have already started- buyers looking for a two bedroom two bath unit here will compete with each other for the next unit to appear. A new benchmark will be set…that is pretty clear to anyone who has kept their eye on the Center City condo market. I mean…even a blind man knows when the sun is shining 🙂

Oh, and of course 1706 Rittenhouse!

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May 13, 2013

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

Filed under: For Buyers,For Sellers,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:29 am

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 Center City condos, I know one thing is for sure: there’s a big disparity between finished condo projects and the drawings that started them.

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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Philadelphia, PA 19106
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