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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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July 16, 2010

Times Have Changed

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:45 pm

Giant Soaking Tubs, Formal Dining Rooms, and Bidets…All left Center City a while ago.

Real Estate advertising in the late 1980’s in Center City went like this:
Secure condo with wall to wall plush sculptured carpeting,  Corian counter-tops, and mirrored closet doors north of Society Hill.  Whirlpool bath soaking tub (Maroon color), bidet, and formal dining room.  Just FABULOUS!  Asking $199,000
 
Today’s Center City Condo Real Estate Ads read:
Stainless and Granite kitchen, tumbled marble back-splash, Walk-in Shower, Open Liv/Din room combo- Fab Loft style in Old City With Exposed brick, Sub-Zero and Viking appliances- $599,000
000_2176

 
Personally, I don’t remember the “good ol’ days” in many Philadelphia condominiums. A whole lot of them were builder grade crap. Buyers are certainly expecting more these days in terms of interior improvements, and sometimes the best applicable adage is that of Condition, Condition, Condition.

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

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July 9, 2010

Geez, that Condominium Building Sucks something Awful

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:57 pm

So here’s the scoop – The developer took a run down apartment building, added Granite and Stainless, and refinished the cabs of the elevators, and said “See…New Philly Condos“!

Well…. what about the heating, electric, plumbing, roof, exterior brick, heating systems, central air, exhaust stacks, risers, fire alarms and suppression systems,not to mention the exterior pointing, caulking, window frames, elevator structure and mechanical, and the cockroach problem?
 
Not all rehabs are created equal. Some really suck. Are you going to be the dope who gets fooled by a pretty face? I hope not. Some condo buildings have an inferior set of systems- be it mechanical, financial, or just unchecked age.
 
Look before you leap. Ask me questions about any Philadelphia Condo.  Ask me if I would live in that building you have your eye on. I promise to not hold back.

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

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July 2, 2010

Well Aren’t You a Big-Brain?!

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:15 am

Real estate is a funny business. Seems everyone knows more than I do about buying and selling.


 
I must confess, I know little about this world we live in…… but Real Estate, especially Philly Real Estate? I know Real Estate.

Today I met a buyer who clearly knew more than I did on everything from the agreement of sale, to the bidding process, to the cause of a water stain in the basement. He professed to know the age of the roof, the correct value of the condo in today’s market, and even was schooled in the area of kitchen cabinetry. Or at least in his brain he was. Sure as there are clouds in the sky, I could add nothing of value to his amazing grasp on the Center City condo market. It was clear my 21  years of selling a huge chunk of the Center City condo market amounted to a hill of beans. I wish him luck in his hunt for a condo. I have no interest in talking with him again.
 
I certainly don’t want to come off as some asshole, but my strength is my knowledge of the Center City condo market. If you don’t need my help, then call someone else. I would rather spend my time with someone who wants to learn, and make an intelligent decision in the Philadelphia real estate market.

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

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June 23, 2010

The Last Day of the Month…

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:20 pm

Do yourself a favor- and don’t try to settle on that day!
 

 
For some reason, all Realtors seem to want their clients to settle on the last day of the month. I don’t suggest such a thing.

Here is the scoop- since mortgage payments are made in “arrears”…..IF you settle say May 31st., your first monthly payment isn’t due until July 1st- and you need less monies out of your pocket to settle (its a complicated equation).  But if you settle June 1st- your first payment isn’t due until August 1st- but you need to pay all the interest for the month of June at the settlement table.  Either way….you gotta’ pay the piper.

The last day of the month is busy at all title companies and if your stuff is packed up on a truck, circling the block, awaiting for you to settle on your new Philly condo– the day can be a mess. Why complicate it even further by trying to settle on a day when the title companies are jammed and fully booked? Do yourself a favor…always settle mid-month. You may not understand why, but I do 🙂

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

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June 15, 2010

Are you a Realistic Buyer?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:34 am

Of course our Philadelphia condo market is not moving at the pace it was back in say 2006/2007. But are you looking a gift-horse in the mouth when a condo is clearly undervalued (say a foreclosure), and you want to offer 60% of the asking price?


    
Lets say a condo you adore once sold for $500,000, and has gone through the foreclosure process, and is now asking $400,000. You want to offer $240,000 although the comparable valid comps suggest it is worth every penny of the $400,000. Sure, you are probably going to get it for less than asking, but is a $240,000 offer really valid and/or realistic? Probably not.

Though each seller has their own level of motivation, I would suggest that buyers need to look at condos realistically. Don’t you think that IF the seller were going to take $240,000, that there would be a line out the door, and around the block to buy that Philly condo?  What, are you the only big-brained, know-it-all who is clever enough to come up with a plan to buy a condo at an unrealistic price? Perhaps you are new to this planet.
 
Again, YES…the market is not as strong as it once was in terms of sale prices. But ask yourself- are you being realistic, or are you looking a gift-horse in the the mouth?

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

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June 10, 2010

Not all 1500 Sq Ft Condos are Created Equally

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:34 am

…in value, scale, or layout!

   CL 302 stairs
 
There is one thing I know for sure…and that is that all condos are not cut from the same cloth. When we look at a variety of condos in Center City, buyers should be aware that some units excel in closet space, some units have a lot of wasted space, and some condos are just perfect in their proportions. Every buyer has their own set of “likes and dislikes”.

Sometimes a disjointed living/dining room situation is perfect for one set of buyers, but not for another. At times, a specific condo may have a large kitchen, eat-in-kitchen, or almost no kitchen at all. Center City offers such a wide variety of condominium styles and layouts that buyers are often puzzled when comparing a variety of units to one another. 
 
The comment I hear most is, “The other 1500 sq ft condo we just saw seemed so much larger”. Of course….know that the scale of the Philly condo in question also adds to the perception that one unit may be larger than the other, when in fact, it is not. Ceiling height, views, and the amount of natural light always play heavily into that equation.
 
I have seen some really AWFUL 1500 sq ft Philadelphia lofts and condos, and some that are just perfect. But then again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, opinions do differ from buyer to buyer.

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

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June 8, 2010

The Phoenix Condominiums Sale Staff

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 12:31 pm

I can’t recall the last time I was treated so well!

1
 
I am aware that sometimes when I roll into a Philadelphia condo building with my buyers in tow, the sales staff takes cover. They see me, and mumble…”Oh, shit”.  I am no walk in the park when I represent my buyers….I make last minute appointments, and I piss and moan when I don’t get my way. All in the name of my buyers who I want to make sure are either getting the best deal, or seeing as many things as possible.

For all the sale staff folks who have to put up with me, I apologize. But in my defense, I do sell a boatload of condos. And I would just like to say a huge “Thank You” to the great sales staff at the Phoenix….from John, to Louise, to Francesca. They are great to deal with, and are fair and honest. I am always happy to deal with them, because I believe my buyers are going to get a fair deal. Nothing shady or underhanded, or hidden. Like most new construction sales staff folks- they are great. These folks just rise to the top, and I am grateful. I will continue to show The Phoenix– not only for the staff- But for the new post-auction price structure that makes the building a tough one to beat in terms of value!

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

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June 2, 2010

DO YOU KNOW WHAT “REO” MEANS?

Filed under: General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:34 pm

In real estate lingo, it simply means “Real Estate Owned”….as in usually owned by a non-emotional third party, out-of-state, corporation or bank.

It also can mean a well priced condo deal for those looking to hopefully hit it “big” in the game of real estate. For instance, lets say a Rittenhouse Square condo goes through a foreclosure process. Often, a large bank will contract with a local real estate company to sell that condo- and usually at a discount.  Along comes Billy the Buyer.

One of Billy’s main priorities is to NOT OVERPAY for a condo here in town. All other wants and needs fall lower on Billy’s priority list. And though every situation is different, I would venture to suggest that REO properties are often priced at a discount. Something Billy is going to like.

Billy has already let me know that he is looking for a deal. So I find this REO property in the MLS, and I call Billy. “Hey Billy…get your can over here and take a look at this great deal”.

IF Billy can negotiate a great deal, Billy could be in for a great great property at a great deal. I have sold MANY an REO in my day here selling Center City Real Estate, and they all seem to have one thing in common- a great asking price!

Lets chat if you have something in common with Billy.

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

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May 28, 2010

An Aggressive Market calls for Aggressive Pricing

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 11:52 am

Auction, short sales, and foreclosures all exert pressure.

 
Interesting development- I had a gorgeous listing that sat on the market for a while, and recently sold for what I would suggest was a really really good price. A strong showing ability, layout, & amenities, coupled with low condo fees and low taxes might have suggested that this unit sold under its value.

However, in  the Philadelphia condo marketplace of 2010, the price was spot-on. The seller recognized the effects that outside forces have played on the local condo market, and therefore acted accordingly.  She signed the buyers highest and best offer.  With the onslaught of a handful of weakened sellers hobbling around the auction blocks, and banks selectively underscoring a trend in pricing with a foreclosure here and there, pricing a Philadelphia condominium is of utmost importance.

The year is not 2007, and prices are not where they were at one time. Though Philly has fared well in comparison to other large cities across the USA, it would be folly to believe that values have not fallen in the past few years. The bottom line is that if your condo is priced well, it should sell well.

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

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