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October 13, 2014

Could you be dealing with a desperate seller? Here are some signs:

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:06 am

1) You see that the condo is vacant, and the front desk tells you they moved
over a year ago.

2) You Google the sellers, and You see that they own multiple properties,
and all of them are for sale.

3) You search the history (in the MLS) of that listing, and see the seller is on
their third listing agent.

4) You walk into the Philadelphia condo, it is vacant, the appliances are gone, and it looks
like the seller left in the middle of the night.

5) You read some unique language in the MLS listing about “seller makes no
warranties”, or “ corporate addendum must accompany…” usually means
corporate owned- aka REO.

These are all possible signs that the condo is ripe for an insulting offer.

Good Luck!

Mark Wade

CenterCityCondos.com

Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox and Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. #260 Phila., PA 19106

 

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August 26, 2013

Minimizing Risk in a Condo Purchase

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:40 am

Mick Jagger once said “It’s alright letting yourself go, as long as you can get yourself back”.   I like that…and think the phrase is apt when considering a condo purchase. I bought in a building that was perceived to have a hint of  risk (in terms of value retention)-

but I snagged the condo at such a great price, I know that if I ever want to move to the moon– I can sell my condo without losing money.

But you do have to be wary of the units I call the “HOTEL CALIFORNIA” condos- meaning you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave- because you simply can resell the damned thing.

 

Here are 5 things to consider when determining the risk of a condo purchase:

 

1) The Cost of the Condo- If you buy a Center City condo at half the price similar condos are selling for- then most of the risk is removed. It gets back to one issue- NOT OVERPAYING.

2) Owner Occupancy Ratios can be an issue in SOME buildings- as a lack of Fanne Mae Warrant-ability can be a sign of a risky condo purchase. BUT by no means is this the only factor- it may just be a factor in assessing the risk.

3) Reputation and Resale History- There are buildings in town where NO CONDO has resold for 5 years. Not as rare as you might think. If no one else is buying in the building- you need to start asking me questions as to why.

4) Deferred Maintenance– I can name two buildings off the top of my head that need HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of dollars of repair, upkeep and maintenance work just to put them on par with their competition. I generally would avoid, unless of course you can just steal the condo outright (at a killer price). Otherwise, future assessments may wreak havoc on your investment dollars in that Philadelphia condo.

5) Buying within the Price Frames of the building- Buying a $2M condo in a building where the average price is $250,000 and is overwhelmingly populated with say studios may not be in your best financial interest, and may be a risky purchase.

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July 8, 2013

Crappy Center City Condo Buildings

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:30 pm

There are a lot of well managed, well run Philadelphia condo buildings here in town, and there are a lot of crappy, hard to resell, impossible to finance, and just all around disasters-  In terms of being an awful investment.

Here are some things that I suggest buyers keep in mind when determining the strength of a Center City condo purchase (unless of course, they outright just steal the condo in terms of a killer price-

1) Owner- Occupancy Ratios: The more owners in a building, generally the better for resale. Under 30% tenants is a fine number. 90% tenants ain’t so great.

2) Delinquincy Ratios on Condo Fees- Some buildings are filled with deadbeats. Sorry. If over 15% of owners are late on their monthly dues- building becomes non fanne mae warrantable, and financing the condos in the building is remarkably difficult. Leads to depressed values real quick.

3) Condo buildings with appallingly low monthly fees. That could mean the building is going to hell in a handbag. Buildings need to be maintained regularly.

4) Buildings that clearly are in need of an assessment- yet owners won’t approve deferred, much needed upkeep and repairs- either internal or exterior.

5) Overall Ugly Buildings. In an alley. Next to a dumpster. Puke on the sidewalks. And urine. Yeah, not a big fan.

You want me to name name’s? Call me. Let’s chat.

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March 25, 2013

High Floors- Worth The Higher Price?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 8:45 am

     It is no secret that new developments in Center City are primarily priced according to not only the size of the Philly condo, but also the floor height. Sometimes asking prices are as much as $50,000 per floor. And to some degree, I get it. Higher floors usually always mean a better view, perhaps more prestige, whatever. Though not everyone wants to be on the top floor of any given building around town. Sometimes the lower floors give really nice tree or treetop views, which can be in demand as well.
     But what happens to that paid premium over time? Does that equation pan out in 50 years? Look no further than say the Hopkinson House, or Society Hill Towers for that answer.
Here is my Two Cents:
   Over time, floor height value has a tendency to erode. Sure, given the opportunity, a great many buyers would rather be on a higher floor for the views, but I do not believe that this is the guiding light of value. Over time, the value equation points more squarely on interior condition….and that is not a reflection of any given Center City Condo.
   A gorgeous unit on a low floor at the Hopkinson House can indeed garner a higher sale price than an average looking unit on a higher floor (Note- major caveats here….a low floor unit with zero view, overlooking the trash dumpster might cause a low floor to generate a low offer).  Now if two units are 100% identical in an older building, sure- we will likely see a premium paid for that higher floor….but I would suggest that the equation more hinges on interior condition as the driving force in resale value.
   So should you pay the premium for a higher floor? That is up to you. I am just sayin’ that I do not think that higher floors necessarily garner a higher sale price as the years go by- I think the value is more reflective of interior condition. So maybe you don’t see the return on the investment- but for many, the kick-ass views are well worth the initial investment.
   So in the end- the premium paid for a view is your call.  We recently bought on the 9th floor of a new highrise here in town- kinda’ in the middle of the building overlooking treetops which we thought provided the view without to paying too much of a premium.

 

 

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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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July 29, 2010

The First to Flinch, loses

Filed under: General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:07 pm

I am at a standoff between a buyer and a seller on a particular condo in Center City.

This is routine. What makes this an interesting case is that after 5 days of initial offer presentation, the seller is at (say) $815k, after some price reductions, and negotiating…and the buyer is stuck at $810k, after a few counter offers.

So who is going to budge?

If I pester the other agent to hammer his or her buyer to take my seller’s offer of $815k…does that not show a sign of weakness?  I think it does. It is a game of chicken at this point, and the first party to flinch, or show weakness in the negotiating process by being too impatient, may well indeed be the loser and may have to cave to make up the $5,000 difference in this case.
 
I am advising my seller to sit tight, and put on their best poker face.
 
We will see….stay tuned.
 
Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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July 27, 2010

Five best selling new construction condo buildings in Center City

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:19 pm

1) Locust Point

2) 815 Arch St

3) Naval Square

4) York Square

5) The National at Old City

Based upon the fact that these buildings are sold out, (or in the case of Naval Square which continues to add new buildings as demand dictates), I would suggest that these five Philly condo buildings have fared the best in Center City since the onslaught of new construction in Philadelphia started taking shape. There are also a handful of buildings that have just a few remaining units left- Ayer, Symphony House, and Western Union Building to name a few. And of course, there are buildings here in Center City in which a small fraction of sales have happened, even after a four to five year marketing period. We won’t mention those pieces here.

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

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July 23, 2010

Top 3 Snarky answers to the question: Do I have to pay condo fees?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:01 am

1) Why no…the elevator runs on magic pixie dust…it doesn’t need electricity to operate.

2) Of course not…the doorman here works for free.

3) Not in this building….the hallways, windows, and lobby magically clean themselves.

 …it is a miracle of course, but that is how things happen at this Philadelphia Condominium.
 
If there are common elements (the definition of a condo) then they have to be maintained by the members of the condo association. If your condo makes up say 2% of the building, then you are responsible for 2% of the cost to run the building. Plain and simple! 🙂

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

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