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March 16, 2015

How MANY sales per building in past 12 months?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:45 pm

Philadelphian– 35

Society Hill Towers– 13

Academy House – 17

Dorchester– 9

Hopkinson House– 17

City View- 39

Independence Place– 9

2601 PA. Ave– 30

WaterFront Square – 33

Wanamaker House– 2

The Murano– 25

The Savoy– 9

Center City One– 3

Symphony House– 12

1352 South– 12

The Ellington – 12

Locust Point – 13

And interestingly enough…Low Rise Condos On Spruce St. From River to River = 39

Mark Wade
Mark@CenterCity.com
www.centercitycondos.com
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services – Fox & Roach Realtors

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March 9, 2015

Condo ONLY Sales And Inventory Data

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 8:54 am
(When I have nothing better to do, I like to run through all MLS data…)
2401
19102 – Broad to 16th Streets
Number Of Active Condos For Sale = 41
Number Of “Pending” Condos = 8
Number of Sold Condos in Past 12 Months = 72
19103- Rittenhouse/Fitler/Logan Circle
Number Of Active Condos For Sale = 89
Number Of “Pending” Condos = 31
Number of Sold Condos in Past 12 Months = 244
19106- Old City/Society Hill
Number Of Active Condos For Sale = 103
Number Of “Pending” Condos = 30
Number of Sold Condos in Past 12 Months = 160
19107 Washington Square West
Number Of Active Condos For Sale = 48
Number Of “Pending” Condos = 8
Number of Sold Condos in Past 12 Months = 97
19130 Art Museum Area
Number Of Active Condos For Sale = 82
Number Of “Pending” Condos = 30
Number of Sold Condos in Past 12 Months = 187
19146 Graduate Hospital Area
Number Of Active Condos For Sale = 40
Number Of “Pending” Condos = 10
Number of Sold Condos in Past 12 Months = 88
19147 Queen Village/Bella Vista
Number Of Active Condos For Sale = 67
Number Of “Pending” Condos = 19
Number of Sold Condos in Past 12 Months = 85
So just what the heck does this all mean?
Pretty simple equation- shrinking inventory coupled with growing buyer demand means that condos are selling for much closer to asking price than a year ago, they are selling faster, and there are fewer options.
AND…the spring market will “officially” be here in a week or two- When we hit our first 60 degree day, the buyers will come out in full force.
This scenario is playing out all over town- be it in the condo or the single
family segment.
Prices are going up. 
Period.
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February 24, 2015

Every Buyer and Seller wants to know one thing…

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:51 am
What do I get for those super high  %&%#)@$
 condo fees?
I get it…everyone thinks condo fees are always higher than they should be and many folks are unclear about where their condo dollars go:
1) Master Insurance Policy – Depending on the size of your building, this cost alone can account for up to 50% of your condo fees. More spread out over larger buildings but still a huge proportion of your monthly fees.
2) Building Amenities- Pool, parking, elevators, doormen and any utilities that may be included in your Philadelphia condo fees like water & sewer, or maybe heat and central air. Unless of course elevators run on magic pixie dust- you are going to have to pay to keep them running smoothly and safely. 2401 Pennsylvania Ave. (The Philadelphian)  is a good example of an all-inclusive building where almost all amenities are covered in your condo fees.
3) Upkeep and Maintenance- Of course this is the one factor that varies greatly and plays an integral part of your resale ability and resale price. You gotta’ pay to play folks- and value retention and upkeep of your common areas go hand in hand. There is no avoiding that equation.
IF YOU OWNED A SINGLE FAMILY HOME- YOU WOULD HAVE TO PAY THESE EXPENSES OUT OF YOUR OWN POCKET.  THERE ARE SUCH THINGS AS
“SINGLE FAMILY HOUSE” FEES IN THIS WORLD
and buyers should know that!
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February 9, 2015

Attention Developers…

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:55 pm

ATTENTION DEVELOPERS….

Converting a Brownstone to Condos in Center City?

As the market begins to heat up, so does the demand for smaller associations like brownstone styled condos that tend to have lower condo fees, and a hint more character than say a high rise may possess. Here are a few hints a developer may want to keep in mind:

1) Make sure to carpet the common areas. No one wants to hear the owner of say unit 2R clomp his or her way through the halls with their high heels. Keep noise to a minimum in common areas- hardwood floor and or tile is not appropriate. Carpet these areas. Please.

2) Think about splitting your water bills up- meter each unit separately. Many buyers may be part timers or weekend city warriors, and may benefit from not having to pay for water that they don’t use on a daily basis.

3) If the city allows, and you have space in the basement, put up two by fours and chicken wire storage units. And buy a dehumidifier for the association. The minimal cost will pay for itself in terms of marketability like the Commodore Barry Condos.

4) Common Area paint should be done in a low gloss finish. And spend a few extra dollars on front door security and hallway lighting. Again, a small cost, but huge in the minds of many Center City brownstone styled condo buyers.

5) When you are done building the condos, take a step back, and put in another $2500 into each unit in terms of groovy paint, wallpaper, and lighting. You will no doubt be able to recoup every penny of that visual investment (and them some) and the condos will sell quicker. Much quicker.

Remember, your competition is going to be at least a decade or two old- so modern up to date cosmetics are exceedingly important for marketability. I find that what kills a developer in terms of profitability, is the time it takes to market a condo. A vacant condo is simply just p*ssing money down a drain.  I would suggest there is a fine line between over-improving, and hitting the market just right- in terms of pricing and your final product. Need some more advice?

Call me, Let’s chat.

Mark Wade
215.521.1523 / 215.627.6005
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox and Roach Realtors

 

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February 2, 2015

Buying Pre-Construction From a Set of Plans…

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 12:50 pm

Remember that 1960’s board game “Mystery Date?”
Where you didn’t know if you are going to get the dreamboat or the dud? Well, that is not unlike buying a new construction Center City condominium from a set of plans….
Unless you have a crystal
ball or are perhaps from the future.
Some buyers win, some…not so much.
    Evidence of both scenarios have clearly played out in town over the past decade as buyers often purchased from developers’ plans.
108 Arch St. clearly handed the brave buyers a lovely place to hang their hat as finishes, layout, scale, light, ceiling height, nearly every factor turned out to be top notch- not to mention the finish quality.
   There is an upside to buying from plans- and that generally is a developer’s willingness to make alterations to his plans free of charge. Don’t need that 3rd bedroom, but want a larger closet and bath? Done. Want to pick your finishes in the kitchen, flooring and tile options, etc? No problem. Altering a floor plan or finishes prior to the developer buying or completing the interior work usually can be negotiated at no charge to the buyer…so some flexibility/benefit can be achieved by buying new construction.
   But the same can’t be said for many other condo buildings in town. Examples of poor workmanship, values that deflate rapidly, and buyers left holding the bag are not uncommon. Because truth be told, there are many instances where you really don’t know what the hell you are buying. And getting the developer to finish the unit, should a significant punch list survive settlement, might be like pulling teeth.
There are winners and losers when buying pre-construction.
My advice?
 Get a good real estate lawyer from the get-go, and DO NOT settle until the condo is finished. Don’t settle with a punch-list IF it can be avoided.  Some developers are true to their word…and honestly will service your condo post-sale. I think a few good examples of this would be my experiences with Pearl Properties,Toll Brothers and Rufo Properties. All were really great at post-settlement follow up.
Oh, and when the completion date is set for say June 1st…plan on moving in August 1st or so (in any given year). I’m just sayin’….the best laid plans can get held up in town and so many things are out of the control of a developer…so plan ahead.
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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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December 29, 2014

More Super Duper Condo Comp Data

Click the LINKS above for Full details
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December 15, 2014

Whatta’ you…new to these parts?

Filed under: For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:59 am

 

Our condo market in town can best be
described as Turn-Key
  Fixer-Uppers cater to a very slim market in Center City as most buyers are not equipped with the tools, knowledge, time nor the know-how to rehab a condo. Turn-key condos (those that are ready to occupy with little or no work) appeal to the majority of buyers in Center City Philadelphia.
 Most buyers who come to town do not own a band saw, a miter saw, or any kind of saw for that matter. Nor do they possess the expertise in using such instruments and probably couldn’t identify a band saw if their life depended on it. Our marketplace is one of professional white collar buyers who have money and a sharp eye…but fall short of having the time, inclination or ability to make repairs to any new possible purchase. That fact should come as no surprise to any of my readers.
  So when you hear that condition is king…right up there with location- you needn’t look or act surprise. The visual appeal of any given condo here in town is going to play a heavy hand in determining value. See the photos below to see what I mean…
Visual appeal with some heavy decorating…
Turn key is KEY in our marketplace
when looking to garner maximum
resale value for your condo.
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December 1, 2014

Click the Link Below to See our Featured Listings!

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:35 am

ccc_logo_berkshire

Click here to see Center City Condos Featured Listings!

Mark Wade
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services | Fox & Roach Realtors®  
 530 Walnut St. Suite 260
Philadelphia, Pa. 19106
Mark@CenterCity.com 
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November 3, 2014

Philly Condo Buyers- Who Are They?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:54 pm
blog
Of course I get tons and tons of folks emailing me looking to move into a Center City condo…no surprise there. But you might be surprised by who is actually buying in town. Here are some common groups of buyers who I see buying condos in Center City.  Certainly others exist, but this is a generalization of what I see:
1) The Returnees – Grew up in Philly, moved elsewhere, and now returning. Being close to friends and family is often the draw.
2) The Empty Nesters– Shedding themselves of 75,000 pounds of unused house. They can often be very happy happy buyers who are starting a new chapter in their lives. I enjoy working with and watching them get excited for a move into town.
3) The Weekend Warriors– They have done the shore, now they spend their weekends in town. Much more common than you think.
4) The Kids Who Have Parents Who Have $$ – Very common. Very.
5) The Transferee– Maybe came to town via a promotion- and wants to be close to work. Moving to town wasn’t on the radar. Doesn’t matter- he or she is here now.
6) The Growing Families– It used to be that young adults would get married , and get a dog, two kids, a station wagon, and BOOM- off to suburbia they went. No longer the case. They now often represent our move up buyers in Center City.
7) The Investors– Who know that the city is the place to be, and that their investment will provide a handsome return year after year after year. Unless say Univ. of Penn moves to say the moon…a condo may easily be a magnet for a tenant.

8) The First Timers– The good ole reliable first time buyer. The backbone of the Center City condo market- always has been, probably always will be.

 

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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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