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September 2020

October 28, 2013

What’s In Your Condo Docs?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:27 am

Here are a few things that you may not have known are pretty standard in condo docs in  Center City:

1) Almost all associations charge 2 months capital contribution- means you pay 2 months condo fees to the association- not the owner, but the association- Helps build the kitty.
2) You better check the pet policy- A few years back a young woman bought a Philadelphia condo at Locust Point, then had to sell because she ignored the pet policy- her dog was too big. And she of course wasn’t parting with the dog, so she parted with the condo.
3) Rental Restrictions- Becoming more and more common in condo docs and their rules and regs- which can be a huge value-preserving tool for the association.
4) Future Assessments- Will tell you if any assessments have been approved for the future. Not “discussing assessments” but real approved assessments. There is a difference.
5) The Budget- This is a biggie. You may want to see how much $$ is on hand for future improvements- should correspond to building size and age. New buildings have little reserve- and often, they don’t need them- there is no differed maintenance beyond cosmetic often.

In the state of PA., you have 5 days or 15 days to review your condo docs depending upon the type of Center City condo you are buying- used or new.

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October 7, 2013

Ask the Big Brain Realtor …questions I get most often

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:10 am

q and a


1) Have you ever walked into a condo and found someone naked?

Sleeping, drunk, passed out, in the shower, in the tub, having “relations” behind in a locked bedroom -Yes. But naked- no
2) What is the Value of a parking spot in town?
Up to $150,000 in the hottest, most densely packed parts of Center City Philly. Though rarely available
3) Should I Buy Or Should I Rent?

What do I look like? That’s your call. What I believe is that values have bottomed out, and demand is rising.

 4) What do you think of this or that area?
I think you need to look at your priorities, and your desired lifestyle. Rittenhouse and Society Hill have vastly different appeal- one more hustle and bustle, the other more quiet and a hint more suburban. Neither being a negative- you just have to decide what is right for you.
5) When will the Market Improve?
In many segments, it already has- multiple offer bidding, condos selling in a matter of a few days- being seen once again in the 2012 Center City Condo market. Scarcity is going to be the key word in 2012 for many segments.
6) You seem to badmouth a lot of condos… Do people often get pissed at you?
Yes. I was once asked to leave a Brokers Open House when I commented that the owner had a better chance of seeing god than he did of getting his asking price. Listing agent wasn’t happy. She’s been mad at my for like 19 years now. Whatever. I was right. It sat on the market for over 2 years. I will champion the cause of any well priced Philadelphia condo…but I will call ’em as I see ’em in terms of the junky overpriced listings around town.
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September 30, 2013

Does Staging Really Help Sell Condos, Or Is It a Crock Of Crap?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Sellers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:15 am


 The above two photos show off a living room / dining room combination. Exact same units. To which might you think a buyer would best respond ?



 Here are two identical high rise entry foyers (ABOVE). Adding a hint of color, as well as some well placed art, rugs and furniture can really add that pop of visual excitement that MANY buyers crave…



And finally, really nicely staged balcony adds such style and cements the concept of outside livability, that surely a buyer will respond in terms of interest and price for the Philadelphia condo that is well staged. Not rocket science here or anything….but a reality none the less. Buyers will pay for what they like. So yes, I think staging works and works well. These are actually before and after photos of our condo…but I think you get the picture 🙂

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August 5, 2013

You Want A Side Of Parking With That Condo?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:47 am

Philly condominiums offer a wide variety of parking options. From on-site rental, to deeded parking, many Center City condo buildings do offer an array of possibilities.



Rental parking- Most buyers will tell me that AS LONG AS there is guaranteed rental parking on the block, then this option is an acceptable substitute for actually owning a Philadelphia parking spot. I like the flexibility here, and such an approach will GREATLY add to the number of options you have when we are searching for your new condo.

Deeded Parking- If available, this arrangement has you purchasing a physical piece on property in which you have the rights to park. Means you have a separate tax bill as well. Usually you may buy or sell this parking spot with or without an accompanying condominium unit.

Assigned Parking: You pay for this too, but you do not get a deed. You are basically granted the rights to the use and enjoyment of a parking parking spot, usually located on-site. You may not separate this parking spot from your condominium unit, and such assignment is recorded somewhere in either the condo docs, or your deed.

Street Parking- For approx. $35 a year, you can purchase a Street Parking Sticker, and then be able to NOT have to feed parking meters, or move your car every two hours for the AREA in which your parking sticker is valid. IF you get one for the Old city area, because you live in Old City, this will not give the ability to park for free around Rittenhouse Square. I guarantee you that.

Parking does play a role in the value and desirability differently in almost every condo buying situation here in Center City.

Call me at 215.521.1523 or drop me an email at, and let’s discuss how parking may affect you!


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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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June 10, 2013

7 Ways To Lower Your Condo Fees

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:42 am

….fairly painlessly

Of course all associations could lower their condo fees if they made an effort. Now I wouldn’t go as far as to say that some condo associations piss their money away, but I think a look into some common money saving practices around town is fair game. I’m just saying:

pain face


1) Install 1.6 Gallons Per Flush toilets in entire building. Get rid of all the old 5.5 Gallon Per Flush toilets commonly installed in the 1960’s. And believe me, some Center City condos in town circa 1965 still have many of those hugely wasteful toilets in use today.


2) In buildings with a common HVAC for ALL condo units

provide free window tinting for all units that request. Even a 1%-2% savings is going to mean big money for larger buildings. Apply professionally. Also- add programmable thermostats and teach unit owners how to use. No need to heat a condo unit while owner is away from 8am-6pm!


3) In Brownstone styled buildings- Assign someone to form a committee to have your master-insurance policy reviewed. Then do it again. Get 5 competitive bids, and make sure your deductible is spot-on for your liability policy.


4) In Mid-Rise styled buildings- consider having hallway lights activate with motion. That way, you are not running all lighting to all areas of the building 24/7. And spend the money to replace light bulbs with high efficiency bulbs.


5) In larger Associations- consider forming a garden committee. Why pay for landscaping to be done when you may have 75 volunteers to do the work on the weekends?


6) In smaller Associations- Consider the possible benefit of replacing your doorman with a “Virtual Doorman” – one that electronically monitors the front door to permit guest access and registers the comings and goings of those in and out of the building. A few buildings in town have done so quite effectively.


7) In Brownstone Styled/ Lowrise Associations– consider managing “In-House” – if you have say 10 or fewer units total.


Remember- If your Philadelphia condo association isn’t being run like a business (which in essence, it is) then someone isn’t doing

their job. Capiche?

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July 12, 2010

Auction Results from CU 257

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 8:55 pm

The third auction in the Center City condo segment of the market to occur. I would deem it a success. Here is what I understand folks paid.

Here is the breakdown of the prices.  These prices are the winning bid prices and do not include the 10%  auction premium on each winning bid.
1.  $615,000 Unit 601E
2.  $600,000 Unit 601W
3.  $470,000 Unit 401W
4.  $495,000 501E
5.  $485,000 501W
6.  $455,000 301E
7.  $455,000 401E
8.  $445,000 201E
9.  $435,000 301W
And if you think this is the last Center City Condo auction that is going to take place, I would suggest you are wrong! Keep your eyes open for more future auctions! Call or email me if you want me to comment on these prices!  215.521.1523
Mark Wade
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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February 8, 2010

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:38 pm

I don’t give a crap- I live in a condo and don’t own a snow shovel…

And I don’t need to stock up on milk and bread with the impending onslaught of a winter storm. I live in Center City, and the little corner grocery stores are always open in any  blizzard, as are almost all the restaurants. And who needs to shovel out the cars- there are plenty of taxis that will do my driving for me.
If you live in one of our fine suburbs- be it Gladmore, Havernova, or Bala Who-Knows-Where, and are getting tired of having to deal with the weather,or perhaps you own one of those lawnmowing things that I understand are used to cut grass (I have only heard of such contraptions)-Then isn’t it time you simplified and let someone else do the unpleasant tasks in life?
Yeah, I am a Center City Condo snob. I know it, and am kinda’ proud of it. Riding on a train to work, or driving on the Schuylkill isn’t something that is a part of my life….and the business of owning more than one car?! Uh, no thank you.
Want some bragging rights too? Then drop me a note, and lets chat. Lets get you into town, and into a more simple life. Membership into the “I am a Center City Snob” club is free 🙂

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

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October 1, 2009

Does your Center City Philadelphia Garden Suck?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:10 pm

…yeah well, they all do.

Container gardens are very popular with city dwellers- though rarely do I see a small private outside area and witness plants thriving. It is like a death sentence for any plant that gets purchased by anyone who resides within the confines of Center City. So here are my suggestions for those looking to buy garden plants that basically “thrive on neglect”
Tall Plants- Good Sun           Tall Plants-Shade
Bamboo                                 Feather Reed Gras 
Small Flowers- Full Sun         Big Flowers-Shade
Moss Rose                              Salvia                      
So if killing plants is your “thing”, Try these goof-proof plants that can thrive on neglect,
and you may have one of the prettiest gardens in Center City Philadlephia!

Is gardening a priority for your move into Center City? Lets chat about how we can find you a place with some nearby “Greenery”.

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

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September 29, 2009

Philadelphia Real Estate for Empty Nesters

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:12 am

…and their priorities

I certainly don’t want to stereotype any particular set of buyers, but it has been my experience that each set or group of buyers assign different values to amenities in Philadelphia lofts and condominiums. From first time buyers to empty nesters, each comes with their own set of wants, needs, and priorities. Here are what I believe to be common amongst the empty nester set:

-Very few stairs
-Very little maintenance
-Pet friendly buildlings
-Closet space
-Walking Distance to shopping, dining, and cultural activities
While such niceties as a high floor with great views, hardwood flooring in bedrooms, and exposed brick may be a plus, I see fewer empty nesters in Philly willing to pay for such features. Again, I apologize if I am pidgeon-holing any group of buyers, it has just been my experience that different groups of buyers gravitate towards different amenities – some weighted with a higher value than others, of course.


Lets discover your priorities in Philly Real Estate!

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

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