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June 25, 2009

Fireplaces, Huge Soaking Tubs and other useless Amenities

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:23 pm

…that are pointless in a Philly High Rise Condo.

I love it when some dumbass developer takes up a large chunk of a 20th floor condo with a huge soaking tub.  Always good for a laugh. Pointing out the foilbles of some newbie condo builder is one of my favorite pasttimes. Under the theory of “When In Rome….” fireplaces and those giant soaking tubs are soooo out of place in a high rise Philly condominium.

I know of NO ONE who actually uses those giant oversized tubs. I am not talking about a regular bathtub….I am referring to those big dumb soaking tubs that can fit an army of regular sized people. NOTE TO DEVELOPER- grow a brain. Such an amenity is a huge waste of space. I always point to them and tell my buyers- You will use this on the first day you move in, then you will never use it again. They ALWAYS agree.
And wood burning fireplaces here in  Rittenhouse Square 19103 condominiums? Now where the heck is my buyer going to store the wood needed to fuel such a spectacle? Better question- where the hell is he going to get the firewood? It is not like there is some lumber jack who lives at 9th and Spruce Street who chops down trees and sells split wood.

Developers installing such amenities are spending money, and taking up valuable space for items that are really a negative to many Philadelphia condominium buyers. Trust me, this ain’t suburbia. This is urban downtown Philly, and such amentities don’t fly with the condo buying set.

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

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June 18, 2009

You think you know Philadelphia real estate values?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:52 pm

…then explain the value difference between these two Philly condo buildings:

These are two actual side by side buildings on Spruce St. in Washington Square West.

So you have a big brain, and you think you are going to take a look at Trulia, Zillow, or one of the many fine real estate websites out there in CyberSpace, and you are going to come up with the true value of any given condo. Really?

You can’t tell me that condition does not play into value. How about showing ability? You go into the public records and find a two bed, two bath in such n such zip code should sell for say $500,000. Really??? What was the condition of the Washington Square West Condo?  Was the building well maintained?

My point is, sometimes you need a realtor who knows his or her market to help you make valid decisions. There are many issues that affect value, that reading a webpage about any given Philadelphia condo may NOT tell you…

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

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June 11, 2009

PA Seller Disclosure Laws

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:03 pm

 …when the truth is more than enough:

 

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

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June 9, 2009

Do Your Blinds/Curtians need to be white?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:45 am

Per many Philly condo associations, the backside of your curtains and blinds may need to be white in color. You may ask why…but drive by any poorly managed condo association who does not enforce such a rule, and you will see why. The building ends up looking like an unattractive collection of cheap, and often unattractive variations of ugly looking blinds/shades/curtains. From Mauve, to Sea Foam Green, the rainbow of cheap shades is not an attractive sight.

And If I were king of the world, or even a developer of a Philadelphia high rise condo, I would go as far as to include a high end line of blinds/shades into my sale price. Because the visual uniformity is going to be important in the overall impression a building gives off when viewed from street level. We have all seen, or perhaps even been guilty (usually in our college years) of using a bedsheet as a curtain. And god knows bedsheets come in some funky colors and patterns. Not the best look, when trying to visually highlight a condo building from a distance.

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

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March 31, 2009

The Lure of the Philadelphia Real Estate Market to Empty Nesters

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:07 pm

Neighbors thought Edward and Connie were nuts to abandon their idyllic suburban oasis, replete with ducks flying to and from the pond, for a 17′ wide row house in Center City in 1989. A row house without parking, or more than a small square slab of cement to call a back yard. And four stories from basement to top floor.  Edwards and Connie’s move signaled a shift in the residential paradigm. Their parents left the city after World War II, and come hell or high water, they weren’t coming back. But Gordon and Ellen think of themselves as far to cool and hip to spend their days in a five bedroom ranch house with a half acre of land, and a basement full of tools and half used accrutremones. Recall, they are the generation that said words like “groovy”, and “right on”. The idea of never owning a lawmower, nor a garage full of half used brooms and shovels -appeals to many an empty nester. No more yard work, no more owning more than one car, and no more having to repair the roof. The thought of new surroundings, in a new luxury condominium, with much less responsibility (and therefore more freedom) is again very appealling.


     
Baby boomers, becoming empty nesters provided the fuel needed for many new projects that have recently been added to Center City’s skyline. Buyers of many luxury condominiums her in downtown Philadelphia have made wonderful gains in the last twenty years, with respect to their real estate investments. That money is coming to town, without the burden of private schools for the kids, the kids, and often comes during prime earning years. It is their turn to treat themselves, and the developers of many condominium buildings are positioning themselves to take advantage of that market.


    
The perception that downtown Philadelphia has really come a long way over the past twenty years, from being cleaner, safer, and culturally more adept -are all reasons that contribute to the lure of the empty nester set. From friends who have also made the move, to museums, restaurants, shopping, and the bike trails up the Schuykill river, Philadelphia is shaping up to be a fine residential attraction, and empty nesters have taken notice. And to think that South Broad street is now the place to see and be seen. Who would have thought?

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

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March 26, 2009

Real Estate Appreciation and Depreciation in the Center City condo market

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:27 pm

Not all fluctuations in value have a direct correlation to one event, or one particular quality to a particular Philadelphia condominium. Rather, a Phildelphia condominium’s value, and the rate of change therein, is really a product of a host of factors.

  
    
Obvious factors are the showing ability and emotional impact that a particular condo unit does or does not possess: cleanliness, natural light, wall color, furniture, even the smell of a condo can add or subtract from the emotional beauty, and leads to a huge impact on a condos value. In my twenty years of selling real estate, I have never had a buyer tell me to find him the dirtiest, or the worst decorated condo available. Easily, as much a ten percent difference in value depending upon showing ability. And of course interior condition can also have a major impact on value. Beige bathtubs and appliances can crimp value fairly quickly in a lot of cases.  And of course the physical charactoristics of any given unit can help or hurt the units value (think- huge closets, a tax abatment, high ceilings,etc). Styles, like appliances and carpeting have a tendency to age, and that is usually accompanied by a slower rate of appreciation. Clearly, more recently rehabbed, say, Rittenhouse Square condos are going to retain their value better than a unit in a state of disrepair or decline in its finishes. Also prohibitive condominium association rules and policies can deter many buyers from specific buildings. A host of factors can cause units to sit on the market longer than normal, and almost always guaranteeing a lessened resale value.    

Location is also a huge factor to the rate of either appreciation or depreciation. Stronger locations in town have a tendency to be a bit more elastic- they are the first neighborhoods to see a drop in inventory with any influx of buyers to the market. That’s a good thing. Recall the principles of supply and demand. I would argue that a strong location is going to depreciate less -because IF in a weakened marketplace, the first condos to remain unsold are in the weaker locations. (The flip side is that you might be able to strike a significantly improved deal, should you be looking away from an “A” location.)
 
I am just brushing the surface here, but know that not all condos in town will appreciate or depreciate at the same rate. Or sell within the same given timeframe. The best tools you have to insure your value remains intact is twofold:

1) Buy it at the right price in the first place and/or

2) Keep your unit looking like it just jumped off the pages of Town and Country Magazine.

Easier said than done, I am aware!

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

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March 17, 2009

Philadelphia Condominium Pet Policies

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:19 am

…Vary Building by Building


 
Every condominium association has its own rule governing cats, dogs, giraffes, and other miscellaneous pets. The general rule of thumb is as follows:

1) Low Rise and/or Brownstone Style condominiums

Almost ALL of these small associations allow dogs and cats. I dunno’ about giraffes. Rarely are size, or breed restrictions in place. Such is the case at The Clinton Condominiums at 11th and Clinton Streets. No elevator, and limited common space generally mean more relaxed pet policies. However, there may be a nuisance clause inserted into the condo docs, should your pet be continually yappy, or be prone to bite others.

2) High Rise Condos

All Pre-War buildings on Rittenhouse Square allow dogs and cats. Breed restriction or weight limits may apply. It has been my experience that smaller high rise (and high-end) buildings with limited number of occupants do allow pets- Like 1900 Rittenhouse Square.  High rise condo buildings with large populations (Academy House)  generally will not allow dogs. The Philadelphian, at 2401 Pennsylvania Ave. goes as far as to prohibit dogs and cats. I understand not wanting some wreckless 19 year old kid with his mean dog in an elevator with my 94 year old grandmother.

Large condo associations looking to rethink their restrictive pet policies can implement size and breed restrictions to keep disruptions and the “fear factor” out of the common areas of any given association. This idea will probably gain in popularity as associations look for ways to attract, instead of repel potential buyers. In my 20 year real estate career here in Center City, the buying public is about 50 times more likely to purchase a condo with a relaxed pet policy, than in spite of one. Most buyers will give up their first choice of condo buildings, before they will give up their beloved dog or cat. I wouldn’t dream of giving away my dog to live in any specific building here in Center City. Would you?     

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

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