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April 2020

August 19, 2013

Flipping Condos For Profit

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:30 am
Between 1995 and 2005, my brother and I flipped over WELL over 100 condos in town
Here are a few secrets that I discovered:

can't keep a Secret

1) You can screw up any decision, but the one thing you can’t do is overpay at the start. If you do, then the whole venture is doomed. You have to let value be a top guiding priority.

2) Don’t Get over your head.
Cosmetic flips are much much much easier than those needing a full scale rehab. BUY UGLY!

3) Make sure the Philadelphia condo is in a building that is solid, and is fanne mae warrantable. If you cant sell it on the back end, then your efforts will be for naught.

4) I cant stress ENOUGH about the importance of visual appeal. You MUST make your finished product stand out in terms of emotional impact. Finishes purely off the shelf from Home Depot aren’t going to cut it. Hire an interior decorator to decide paint colors, finishes, and even the how the unit will be staged- Please!
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July 17, 2012

Two New Big Trends in The Center City Condo Market

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:19 pm

1) The Move-Up Buyer

Ten years ago, these younger Center City folks with growing families would have a child or two, and BOOM- they were destined for the ‘burbs. Not always the case any longer as Center City Condos become more “Kid Friendly” and popular with the younger family set. These buyers tend to already live in town, and simply move into larger quarters, while remaining inside the downtown area.

2) The Out -of -Towners

Becoming much more common than most current Center City owners are aware. These buyers are looking for an urban weekend place. Generally empty nester folks who have done the beach and the burbs, and are now excited about buying their second or third home in Center City. Space is usually not a huge issue for many of these buyers, but walk-ability ranks very high on their list of priorities.  I also find that many gravitate towards less than “full service” buildings as they look to avoid full service condo fees.  And usually (I am generalizing here) will swing more towards hip and groovy interiors.

Mark Wade
Prudential Fox And Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. #260 Phila., PA 19106

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February 9, 2011

3 Easy Ways to Spruce up your Philly Condo’s Showing Ability

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Sellers,Of Interest To Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:17 pm

I am often asked by condo owners to offer tips on getting their condo to “Show Well”. Here are the 3 quick easy tips for maximizing the showing ability of your Philadelphia condominium:

1) Go to Ikea, and buy a floor to ceiling curtain and hang it from ceiling height, in front of your bathtub. This is not going to take the place of your shower curtain, it is simply going to add some dramatic effect to the bathroom. It is quick, cheap, and has a powerful punch in terms of the emotional appeal of your Center City condo.

2) Paint an accent wall. Preferably, one that is opposite the entryway to any given room. I like to see fireplace walls accented in somewhat neutral, yet enticing colors too. Like a chalky blue, or green. Painting an accent wall will give a hint of flavor to a room, without overpowering the room with massive color.

Hawthorne Lofts, Mark Wade-1-8

3) Replace the knobs on the doors and drawers in your kitchen and bathroom. And don’t buy the 99 cents knobs either. Go to Pottery Barn, or Restoration Hardware, and spend a few dollars. Believe me when I tell you, they will help even a somewhat tired kitchen look a bit refreshed.

That’s it. Three quick easy steps for maximizing the interior “curb appeal” to your Philly loft or condo!

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

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November 22, 2010

Donating Used Appliances and Fixtures in Center City Philadelphia

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate,Real Estate: Condominiums,Uncategorized — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:07 pm

If you are doing work around your Philadelphia home, why not donate your Used items to Impact Services of Philadelphia?

old oak kitchen  wide angle faucet-10b-765484

Here is why you should:

1) They will take used appliances, faucets, cabinetry, doors, sinks- even furniture -THEY TAKE THEM AWAY FOR FREE!

2) You are helping the community, as the donations you make will be sold quite inexpensively to those in need

3) You get a tax deduction

4) Did I mention that they will come into your Philadelphia condo or home and remove said fixtures?

So let’s review. You save money from not having to dispose of a variety of items, free removal, tax deduction, and you are helping the city.

A few rules:

-All appliances must be in good working order, and a maximum of 10 years old

-All other fixtures must be in good working order/good condition

-They do not take mattresses

You can call Impact Services at 215.423.3613 Monday-Friday 8am-4:30pm. Their schedule is done on Mondays for the week. So schedule your pick up accordingly. And know that the staff is always very friendly!

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

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