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February 17, 2011

A Wise Philly Condo Association

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 5:07 pm

1100 Vine Street, The Grandview is a 12 story condominium building at the corner of 11th and Vine here in Center City Philadelphia. The building is made up of mostly 1 bedrooms under 600 square feet, some nice 2 bedrooms, and a few penthouses. The Grandview has a close proximity to Jefferson.

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What is so wise about this Philly condo? The condo association has limited the number of rentals allowed at any given time within this building. Fannie Mae will not lend on a unit in a building where the owner-occupancy is out of whack. This makes it exceedingly difficult to preserve value in a building that has more rentals than owner-occupants. So, the Grandview has a rule written into their condo documents limiting their rentals to around 30%. Genius!

In the buildings with more renters than owners, it is extremely difficult for a new buyer to obtain financing. Occasionally you can find a lender to do it, but you better have at least a 25-30% down payment. Which most first time home buyers here in Center City do not have. Let’s face it, these buyers are “job-rich and cash-poor”. They just started working their first great job, but they have nothing in savings and are buried in students loan payments.

Sales will begin to come to a halt in buildings that are not finance-able. Sellers will begin to compete with each other lowering prices and the value of the building will be a stake. Due to the preemptive strike at the Grandview, condos there are still selling, and selling well. Their value has been preserved. First time buyers can go in with as little as 5% down.

On the flip side, another building here in town has lost a lot of value when the condo board sued the developer. Whether their reason to sue was right or wrong is not for me to decide. But unfortunately, as a result of a lawsuit within the condominium, lenders will not lend. Sales in the building have ceased. After 3 or 4 years of no sales, the building has become filled with renters and anxious sellers lowering prices, and lowering prices some more, hoping for a cash buyer to come along.

The worst part is that when it’s all said and done, due to this short-sighted lawsuit, the owners of the building will never get back what they have lost in value. Let’s say there are 100 units, and let’s say they win the lawsuit.  Even if they win something like $1,000,000, when you split that up among the units, they end up with around $5000 each. It’s like they cut off their noses to spite their own faces. They have lost a lot more than $5,000 in value per unit. Whatever they may win, it will not be enough to override fact that they lost so much value.

Back to a more positive note, I hear another building in Old City also considering the same thing as the Grandview-limiting rentals. Great move! Keep buildings valuable by keeping them mortgage-able.

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Prudential Fox and Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. #260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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December 10, 2009

Are you the reason your Center City Condo isn’t selling?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:53 am

… I have met more than one seller who was his own worst enemy.  🙂

In a town where only about 30%-40% of the condos that come on the market, actually sell, I need all the help I can get when it comes to selling your Old City Condo, or your Rittenhouse Square high rise unit. If condos just sold themselves, you would find me singing and dancing in the middle of Broad St. every day around lunch time. I do my best to employ every business and technological advantage to selling your condo, but if you are a giant DOLT, then you are going to make my job a lot more difficult.  Now I don’t mean to be a bully here, and I am saying this kinda’ tongue in cheek. But sometimes, a seller can really get in the way of his or her Fitler Square condominium from obtaining an acceptable offer. Here is just a quick rundown of things no seller should be found guilty of doing:
 
Being present for an Open House. Not cleaning your home, or making your bed daily. Not putting all the crap in your walk-in closet into a storage bin. Talking to a buyer excessively if and when showing your own home. (…like extolling the virtues of your new mauve carpeting).  Oh, and allowing your tenants to dictate if and when your condo can be shown.  And my personal favorite, insisting that your condo is worth more than any other proven similar area sale. I like that one the best. 
 
When it comes to pricing, you are going to have to be negotiable. I can scarcely remember a time when a seller actually got everything they wanted in a given offer. Mostly the disappointment is reflected in a sale price, but can assume the role of an inconvenient settlement date, having unwanted contingencies gum up a deal, what-have-you. Suck it up. We all have to. I am sorry. I wish I could make those issues disappear, but they are part and parcel when selling a condo in Philly
 
I tell ALL my buyers that I can get them 9/10 things on their wish list. I can never get them 10/10. The same goes for sellers. That is just a fact of life here in the big city.
 
Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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December 8, 2009

Excuse me, Mr. or Mrs. Lazy Realtor

Filed under: General Real Estate,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:57 am

Is it wrong of me to expect some effort on your part, or Am I some kinda’ goof?


 
    
Here is an open letter to a small fraction of the realtors in the world. Most are indeed professional and responsible. This letter is to those who are not.
 
You say the Philadelphia Condo market is brutal, and you complain about your lack of income. Well guess what? It isn’t just the market working against you. You are working against yourself.  For Instance… You don’t own a lockbox , you won’t return my call, and your cell phone is not set up to accept messages, and my buyers really want to see your listing.  You make it exceedingly difficult to show your listings. And I ask-Are you outta your mind? I mean, isn ‘t your fiduciary responsibility to work in the best interest of your seller? How do you not see that YOU are the reason that your particular listing isn’t perhaps selling, or at least getting the traffic it deserves?

I know, I should get off my high horse, and stop expecting you to do your job. I should have my head examined for guessing that you are interested in your job enough  to actually perform it with the least bit of effort.  Oh, and you gave me the wrong alarm code, didn’t mention the owners had a big mean dog inside their Center City Penthouse, and that perhaps the tenants were the angry sort. You said the property was open to FHA financing, which it clearly isn’t, and in your ad, you said parking was included. Now you want $35k for that spot?

I do my best to extol the virtues of professionalism when it comes to dealing with buyers and sellers. I am no saint, but am I wrong to expect some sort of proper behavior on the part of cooperating realtors?

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

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December 4, 2009

Philadelphia Penthouses

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:43 pm

As you can see from my Philadelphia condo site, www.CenterCityCondos.com, there are a variety of Penthouse units to choose from here in Center City. The sky is the limit- pun inteneded, the the priciest condo in town is listed at $30,000,000. Call me if you hit the lotto numbers in the near future! 🙂
    
There is also currently a corportate owned Penthouse condo in town, with over 3600 sq. ft, and a huge veranda asking just over $1,000,000 (down from something like $2.9m) And of course for perhaps you, I, and the masses, there are more modest offerings sprinkled throughout Old City, Rittenhouse Square, and Society Hill in the mid $500,000 range. If you are willing to go a little harder edge, perhaps a “hard” loft, top floor condo with a roof deck can fetch a few hundred thousand, though rare indeed.
    
Philadelphia really has an amazing assortment of Penthouse condos in almost every neighborhood. From the mansions in the sky, to the studio and one bedroom, and everything in between. Pre-War, Modern, New Construction, Water Front, to warehouse conversions with spacious roofdeck.

Philly has it’s share of interesting inventory for the Penthouse set.

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

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December 1, 2009

The Roach Hotel

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:56 pm

Building Prestige doesn’t always insure the absence of pests.
 
I was showing a million dollar condo the other day in one of Philadelphia’s more prestigious condo buildings, and there was a huge dead cockroach laying on its back, dead, in the middle of the living room. Ick. Needless to say, I was shocked. My buyers weren’t singing and dancing in the middle of the street after this revelation either.

Though the building is “High-end”, and  is very well managed, it really came as a surprise. Who would have thought? And a mouse on the 21st floor of a new construction high rise building? More prevalent than you might think. 

If the absence of pests is high on your priority list, you might want to take a few precautionary measures. First, make sure the “door sweep” attached to the bottom of your condo unit door fits snug to the ground. If you can see a gap between the bottom of your unit door, and the floor, you are going to invite critters in from the common areas.

Also, you may want to pull your appliances out, and have a handy-person spray some “expanding foam” in the areas where the gas line, water lines, or electric lines come into your unit.  If you live in an older, pre-war Center City Condo building, make sure gaps between baseboards and floors are tight, and fill any holes in between floorboards. If all else fails, get a cat! 🙂

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

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November 24, 2009

How Times Have Changed…And How They Haven’t

Filed under: Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:48 am

I came across one of my old Philadelphia Real Estate advertisements…you know from back when we used to walk uphill in the snow with holes in our shoes and we didn’t rely on email and text messaging to survive…I thought you might like to check it out! Click here.

Don’t you miss that Caps Lock typewriter print?  Not to mention those sales prices? All these years later, I still love the Bella Vista section of Philadelphia and we still love to list and sell homes and condominiums there! 

Interested in taking a look at some Bella Vista, Rittenhouse Square, Old City, or Society Hill properties? Give me a call or drop me an email at Mark@CenterCity.com. Obviously, I have been doing this long enough!

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

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November 11, 2009

5 of the dumbest things I have heard in Real Estate (and It was I who uttered # 4)

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 8:35 pm

1) Maybe some rich person from NYC will buy it (yeah-and maybe a cow will jump over the moon….)

2) Does this Philadelphia condo building have condo fees? (Oh no…the doorman/common hallway lights work for free)

3) Are there ghosts in this loft? (Well hold on, and let me call someone and ask)

4) The sellers are moving because they really hate this house (too much disclosure?)

5) The views are very urban in nature (livingroom overlooked a dumpster, bedroom faced a brick wall)

Bonus: What will this piece of Philly real estate be worth in five years? (As it happens, I carry a crystal ball with me at all times)
 
Realtors are not the only folks guilty of putting their foot in their mouths, it is just that I seemed to be in their company a lot, and have first hand knowledge of some of the absurdities that are said.

If you are looking to weed out some of the BS, give me a call. Perhaps I can help. Again, I’m not perfect, but I may be perfect for you.

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

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November 3, 2009

Nuisance Requests Can Pollute Your Offer

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 5:15 pm

Consider This Scenario:

You make an offer on a great Philadelphia condo. You are pre-approved, you are putting 20% down, your ducks are in a row, and you are presenting a clean offer. No goofy contingencies in sight. All normal and standard- mortgage, home contingency, etc. Then you ask the seller (who has already packed up, and moved to the other side of nowhere, perhaps), and you request that the seller power wash the stucco in the patio area. 

I would suggest that asking the seller to spend $175 is not necessarily a bad idea, but asking him to do something that is clearly a nuisance to him can really emotionally cripple your offer.  Remember, it is not only the sale price that determines a sellers Openness to your offer. Terms and conditions play a huge part. The easier you can make it on a seller, the bigger the impact of your offer may be.
 
Nuisance requests come in all forms. My suggestion is that you keep the offer as clean and easy on the seller as possible. Reduce your offer by $175 (shy of what would be your “highest and best offer”) and make it easy on the seller. Like you, he is probably worried, burdened, and has a million things on his mind. And you making a deal clean and easy may benefit you well beyond that $175.
 
Suck it up, and make it a clean deal. Your offer may be contingent upon it, especially if you are in a mulitple offer situation!
 
Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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October 29, 2009

You Claim your building is 70% Sold

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:44 am

…and I claim that you have a problem telling the truth.

 

So there I was last night at some little gathering of well heeled city folk, many of whom are “In the Know”, along with a few hanger-on’ers, and me. And someone that knows who I am drops a BOMB- a certain new construction condo building in town is 44% sold. Oh how I love a good story. Especially when it appears to be true, and contrary to what the PR machines have been putting out. I understand the motive. Every new Philadelphia real estate condo building loves to put on a good show, and appear to be a success. I get it. But don’t you, Mr. Sales Staff for any given new condo building, feel any sense of remorse or regret when you convince a buyer to buy in your building, under false sales stat quotes? I certainly would.
    
Philly condo buyers should not believe everything they hear. Especially from developers sales staff who claim that their buildings have this much, or that percentage sold. The numbers are secretive, not displayed in the MLS, or in government records, and sometimes the numbers are bogus. And what recourse might you have? I would suggest very little. When you walk into any new construction condo building, without a buyers representative (aka- me) with you, you possibly are going to get one side of the story.
     
Many new condo developments have a policy and it reads- “Agents must accompany on buyers FIRST visit”….or,  they (that sales staff) will not allow me to come in with you visit #2, or anytime thereafter. I personally feel this policy is bullshit. If you visit a building, then meet me, I cannot be your agent for THAT building.
    
So wise up here folks. IF you want buyer representation…see me first. Then let’s go visit some Center City new construction high rise buildings. Because if that building is spewing BULLSHIT, I am going to tell you. And again, I am kinda’ “In the know”…..

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

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October 27, 2009

5 Things That Can Ruin a Closing

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 11:51 am

1) Buyer buys a new car, or otherwise obligates him or herself financially, between signing of the agreement of sale, and closing.

2) Either party, while NOT attending settlement, sends documents back that have not been witnessed by a notary.

3) Either party, having to bring money to the table to complete the transaction, brings a personal check, and not a certified check.

4) Realtor forgets to either: Bring the escrow check, read the utility meters, neglects to do a walk-through, or doesn’t check to see all obligations on the agreement of sale have been fulfilled-like making sure appliances are still in the house at the time of settlement, etc.

5) Seller neglects to, or just doesn’t give a crap, and fails to complete items on a written punch list. I hate sellers like this. Usually deveoplers. Sleezy-bags.

Through hundreds of closings, Mark will do his best not to ruin the day you close on your favorite Fitler Square condo. Or any Philadelphia condo for that matter! 🙂

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

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Philadelphia, PA 19106
Direct: 215.521.1523 ~ Office: 215.627.6005
Fax: 215.627.3142
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