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August 12, 2009

Home Owners Should Keep Tenants at Bay

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest To Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:17 pm

….or risk killing a deal
   
 
  
Most tenants are buttheads. Come on, let’s be real here. I can list dozens of reasons why tenants can be deal killers. All from my own personal experience. They are not on this planet to make sure a buyer buys your Center City Condo, or that you get the most money possible. They can interfere greatly. Consider:

-Tenants who keep YOUR home looking like crap, with filth and crap strewn about your condo.
-Tenants who will keep shades drawn, as they laze around watching daytime TV when a showing occurs. Yeah, that’s going to help you sell your condo.
-Tenants who follow home inspectors along saying things like “Yeah, the roof keeps leaking all the time”.
-Tenants who say they will be home to let you in, then magically don’t answer the door.
-Tenants whose lease is up on say May 30th, and shockingly aren’t prepared to move (haven’t signed another lease)
-Tenants who leave all kinds of crap behind.
-Tenants who lock the one lock on the front door to which you do NOT have a key
 
Tenants are not on this earth to make your transaction easy. A lot of times, they don’t want to move. And allowing realtors to show their residence is not something they generally get excited about.

So…make a plan to keep your tenants happy while you market your Philly condo. Give them some incentive for making showings easy. Keep them in check, and do not allow them to call the shots. You and your future buyer will be much happier if you do not allow your tenant to cause all kinds of potential problems.

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

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August 7, 2009

The Cost to Rehab your own Philly Loft

Filed under: Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:47 pm

Is it worth the time and effort?
 
If you know anything about Center City condos, you know that within the same (older style/exisitng) condo building, there can be two identical units in size, shape, and layout. One is priced 40% MORE than the other. The costlier unit has been fully rehabbed, and the cheaper unit is still in original conditon.

So what does it cost to cosmetically rehab a condo here in town? Well, the prices can vary of course depending upon who you use, materials used, and if you plan on replacing existing elements, or reinventing the wheel, so to speak. It has been my general experience that to simply upgrade kitchen, baths, floors, walls, closets, etc (not including heating/AC, or MOVING water supplies, etc.) is going to cost you somewhere around $50 per square foot. So if you have a 1000 sq ft condo that you wish to make gorgeous, you should plan on spending $50,000.  And if done right, with a good eye to detail, without getting to jaded or one-sided in your new “look”, the increase in value to your condo is going to exceed the $50,000 you just spent.

Now these rules are very general, and I would suggest you call me to chat prior to making any decision if you are concerned about return on your investment. I have rehabbed soooo many condos in Philly that hopefully I can be of help to you and your rehabbing dreams.

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

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July 23, 2009

Locust Point Condos Are Now All Sold!

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:21 am

A lot of smart elements helped make this building a success!

It can be no secret that a few buildings in town are struggling to sell their units. Some buildings have had a much greater degree of success. The shining example would have to be Locust Point Condominiums at 2425 Locust St. here in downtown Philadelphia. With a total of 110 units, the building offered a great residential location, coupled with on-site parking, nice common areas, and a great mix of one and two bedroom units. Add other relevant factors- like being right next to the entrance of the Schuylkill River jogging trail, and close proximity to Univ. Of Penn- and Viola!….

The building is now all sold out!

Of course, having a smart and friendly sales staff headed up by Marianne Harris didn’t hurt sales a bit! The sales staff made it very easy to show- and they flung the doors wide open when it came to cooperating with the real estate agents in Philadelphia.

The developer also was very smart in rehabbing the common areas of the building, making sure hallways, lobby, elevator, and exterior were presentable. He also replaced all the windows in the building, and made sure Locust Point get FHA approval.

Other developers should take note. This was a brilliant business model. The right building, done the right way, with a good sales staff equaled an unprecedented sell out.

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

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July 21, 2009

Philly Condominium Buildings with Stars

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:19 am

I am often asked what the 6″ metal star shaped thingies are that are often seen on the facade of many of Center City Condominium buildings.

      

Simply put, they are called star bolts. Though they come in many shapes, the star seems to be most prevelant here in downtown Philly. The purpose of the star shaped bolts are to prevent the facade from bowing out, or to perhaps to stop the process of the facade of many old rowhomes from bowing. They have a long rod that runs through the joists of the home, and is held in place by the endcap- the star bolt.
They are not for decorative purposes, rather as a structural element to prevent the facade from moving out of place from over exposure to water seepage (and freezing of that water). etc. These bolts were also added as protection from earth quakes. For example, all the old houses in Charlston, SC had these bolts installed after a large earthquake destroyed parts of the city.

So there you have it. Those bolts are doing more than just looking cute on the facade of many Society Hill homes.

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

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July 7, 2009

Yeah, I like Linoeum and Formica….

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:21 pm

You gotta’ problem with that?

Though as fancy as we urbanites profess to be, allow me to brake rank and confess my love for two things- formica and linoleum. I don’t admit this freely (usually) and I may deny it, should you bring it up to me in casual conversation at a party of some black tie affair here in Center City Philadelphia.

I have found that  the selection, price point, and durability of these two (once scroned) elements of new construction make these two items almost desirable. Certainly neither have the cache of real tile floors and granite countertops, but in certain areas, I really don’t object to their usage even in a Rittenhouse Square Condo.

For instance, in a laundry room- perfect. Kids bathroom- touche. Basement work areas- perfection.
No, I wouldn’t go as far as to splash a lovely acre of linoleum in my new kitchen, but in certain places, spaces, and quantities, linoleum and formica may be your best alternative. Especially in a mud room (linolum) or say a crafts area (formica).

It wasn’t easy for me to admit the above. But honesty is the best policy-even if I have to lie about it.

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

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July 2, 2009

Is that Window Air Conditioner Included in the Sale?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:56 pm

No, it is personal property:  

Yes, It is included in the sale:

 
 
This question, often asked, is really simple to answer. In the state of PA., IF a window air conditioner is simply sitting in a window, it is defined as chattel (personal property), and is not included in the sale of a home unless specifically listed as included in the sale.

However, if a special cut-out or pass-thru has been made in a wall for that unit, then it is included in the agreement of sale without mention. This question does arise in some lowrise/Brownstone condos in Philly.
 
Question? Call me…lets chat!

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

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June 30, 2009

Philadelphia Real Estate Buyers 2009

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:45 pm

…can best be described as thorough.


 
It is no secret I love showing and selling Philadelphia real estate. The hallmark of the 2009 Philadelphia buyer is one of complete and utter thoroughness.

Though they are buying, and doing in fairly good numbers, there is no sense of urgency, and they want to see everything. Everything. If I had a dollar for every property I showed in the spring of 2009, I would go buy a new Lexus. Or perhaps take a cruise and drink a lot.

Such behavior is actually a good thing for an old timer like myself. I get to see sooo many places, that it really does add to my already stuffed brain. I know the size of the kitchen in unit 1902 at the xxx building. I am familiar with the condition of the 2nd Floor Front condo at 19xx Spruce St., and I see for myself why the condos at XXX and Bainbridge aren’t selling so well.

The equation here is a simple one:

Buyer Market- no sense of urgency- they can look at 18 other places, and come back to this particular unit they liked

Sellers Market- Hurry and buy. If you don’t, the unit you loved may be gone. Perhaps it already is gone.
 
The Philadelphia housing market is in a bit of a buyers market in 2009. I will let you know when that equation changes.

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

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June 23, 2009

What is a water table and what is it doing on my Brownstone Philly Condo?

Filed under: Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:14 pm

 
 
Simply put, a water table is a very old architectural element found on many historic homes throughout the east coast, and in Center City Philadelphia, is most prevalent in many of the Society Hill area townhomes. A water table can best be viewed as an old fashion method of keeping water away from the foundation. Water, and lots of it- pouring down around a foundation is not a good thing. You don’t want your soil being loosened, and allowing your foundation to slip or move. Yeah, that would be bad.

The idea of a water table is to essential push or direct water away from the foundation. As water would pour down the (say) facade of a home, the angled brick would guide water out and away from a foundation. So if you ever even noticed such a thing, now you know why “it is what it is”.

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

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June 15, 2009

Are you going to be a drama queen…

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:27 pm

…when you get your home inspection report? 

This is a valid question. When you hire a home inspector, he will do his visual inspection, then email an 18 page report telling you that you have basically just purchased a big piece of crap. And that’s fine. That is his job. I believe it is now my job to put some of the issues into perspective.

Lets say we are in a Fitler Square Condo that clearly hasn’t been cleaned, repaired, or updated since 1912.    IF I DO NOT tell you that you should expect some needed repair work, am I really doing my job? Now there are limits to what you can and should reasonably expect me to point out.

I am not a home inspector, nor a structural engineer. But if I lead you to believe that this piece of crap Philly loft you just bought is in “fabulous mechanical shape”…then you should fire me as your Philadelphia Realtor, throw me out the back door, and basically curse my name aloud in public.

Conversely, you too should do your share of due diligence, and educate yourself about the reasonable expectations regarding home ownership. Most anything you own requires ongoing maintenance, updating, cleaning, and certainly costs money to do so. So please, don’t be shocked to learn that perhaps a $5 extension pipe from you new hot water tank is missing. Or perhaps your Air Conditioner needs to be filled. Or that outlet with black soot around it is inoperable. Shocking, eh? Be prepared, and I suggest you not become hysterical over the fact that the bathroom sink drains slowly.

A level head will help you manage the ins and outs, ups and downs over home maintenance.

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

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