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September 26, 2017

Why Good Blinds/Shades Are Important

Filed under: For Sellers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 11:54 am

Personally, I could give a cr*p about your blinds and shades. But if they matter to my buyers, then they matter to me – so listen up!

Lovely wood blinds at 1905 Green St. Unit 3

Buyers don’t buy bricks and mortar..they buy feelings and emotions. The Center City condo buyer is NOTORIOUS for being able to sniff out the lack of quality and they will indeed pay for quality. One of the first things that help elevate the emotional value of a condo is the window dressings. Shades, curtains, and blinds – the bling that either attacks or repels.  Though I have never done business with the folks at Allure, I know a number of my clients have and they seem to understand the needs of many condo buyers here in town. And here’s their pitch:

Window blinds are a familiar window treatment to many and continue to be a go-to, staple window covering for horizontal and vertical options for several reasons. The adjustable nature of a blind’s thin slats to control light and privacy while the shade is lowered or traversed over the window makes it a versatile choice of covering. Tilting of the slats is essential to maintain views and for refracting light so that a room can receive the exact amount of desired exposure where and when it is needed. In today’s market, simple and hassle-free operating options exist that did not in past years which make blinds conveniently functional. Blinds have been known to be pesky in the past because of tangled cords and strings and frustratingly cumbersome due to trying to balance and even-out the things! Blinds in Philadelphia are now able to be constructed with sophisticated motorization systems with remote-controlled operation or integration with Smart Home systems. Manual options are more advanced as well, including cordless lifting mechanisms and advanced-engineered corded mechanisms for flawless operation. Blinds can be matched to enhance any décor – elegant to transitional to modern. The material options for blinds are aplenty with distressed and stained genuine hardwoods, affordable faux-woods, and sleek to rustic aluminum. Within the material options are a plethora of striking color and stain choices. An overall beautifully complete look can be achieved by adding a decorative valance, accented cloth tapes, and chic wand attachments to coordinate with a room’s interior style. Because the Philadelphia area hosts buildings with a wealth of diverse architecture, our designers can help you find a blind to perfectly suit any room.

www.allurewt.com

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. #480
Philadelphia, PA 19106

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July 27, 2017

Our Center City Philly Condo Market …In Under 137 Words

Filed under: For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 12:15 pm

We remain in a sellers’ market where demand outweighs supply. Some segments around $1m have little inventory and nearly 90% of the “grey” inventory left over from the boom of 2006-2008 has sold.

Interior condition tends to be the driving force of value and can compete with the “location x 3” aspect in terms of value retention. Overall, sale prices average around 97% of asking price and the “days on market” clock is not long by Philadelphia standards.

Empty-Nesters and first-time buyers are our primary buyers and both want “move-in condition” and will pay accordingly. If a Philly condo shows well, it will sell well. Weekend warriors and part timers are buying one bedroom units for fun and many parents buy condos for their kids coming to Philly to attend school- you would be surprised how active that segment has become.
The best move for buyers is to learn the market and take your time. When and only when you are ready- strike like there is no tomorrow. Pounce.

For sellers, staging works. More than you think. This is not an area you want to scrimp. Buyers don’t buy bricks and mortar- they buy feelings and emotions. Dare to disagree with me on that one 🙂

That could have been more than 137 words.
I didn’t really count…

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
Mark@CenterCity.com

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July 7, 2017

Trends I am Seeing In The Philadelphia Condo Market

Filed under: For Buyers,For Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:49 pm

1) Kitchens are going gray and white and are getting smaller than say 20 years ago, and are rarely the “eat-in” variety.

2) More attention is being paid to security. Wireless cameras and monitoring systems are being added and/or upgraded to most new construction condos in Philadelphia.

3) The new design focus is on room size and NOT room count. Most buyers today can do without the true blue 3 bedrooms. Most newer condos are now 2 beds & den. Finding a true 3 bedroom is huge…but rare.

4) The use of quartz over granite is the new trend. Also mixing counter tops is hot- Island counter top may be different than interior kitchen counter top.

5) Most new construction does not have closet space finished. Developers leave them blank for buyer to finish. And I find little difference in resale value if you use high-end closet brand vs. a reasonable knock-off brand. Just maximize your space.

Mark Wade
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
www.CenterCityCondos.com

 

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June 29, 2017

14 Best Philly Condo Amenities

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,General Real Estate,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:45 pm

Every Building Shines In One Way Or Another. Here Are My BEST 14 Picks For Specific Buildings:

1) Best Grounds– That would be Naval Square. Hands down- Gated, green and fantastic landscaping on over 25 acres.

2) Best Condo Pool – Waterfront Sq. There is not even a 2nd place for this category.
Waterfront Square Pool

3) Best Parking – Either Academy House or Independence Place – All rental & always available.

4) Best Views– Two Liberty. Enough said.

View Two Liberty Place

5) Best Staff– Friendliest staff has got to be The Ritz. Always nice and no sass which is a good first impression for buyers.

6) Best Management– Society Hill Towers. Model of excellence here- Bev runs the place well and has for many years.

7) Best Layout/Floor Plan– Center City One at 1326 Spruce. The 1209 sf two bed units are perfect.

8) Best For Closet Space– The Philadelphian at 2401 Pa. Ave. Beyond cavernous in terms of storage.

9) Best Kept SecretThe Lippincott. See..you don’t even know where that is located (227 S. 6th St).

10) Best Low Rise– Either 1615 Spruce (the old Garden Restaurant) or maybe 725 Chestnut. Both strong and both very original in fit & finish.

11) Best Value– Lots of bang for the buck at Rivers Edge (2301 Cherry). Buy ’em if you can find ’em.

12) Best Resale Ability– Gotta’ go with Hopkinson House on Washington Sq. Always more demand than supply.

13) Best Lobby & Common Areas– I would have to say 1830 or 1900 Rittenhouse. Very old school Philadelphia. And very high on the “cache” scale.
1830 Rittenhouse Square Lobby

14) Best Common Roof Deck– The Phoenix at 1600 Arch….hands down.

Phoenix Roof Deck

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
Mark@CenterCity.com

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November 8, 2016

Additional Crap I know about Real Estate in Center City That You Probably Don’t :-)

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:35 am

1) The Philadelphian at 2401 Pennsylvania Ave. is the largest condo building in the state of PA. Over 700 units. Very cool mid-century feel to the place.

2401-pennsylvania-ave-1

2) Buyers AND Sellers often nit-pick themselves right out of a deal. They focus on minute details and the other party gets fatigued and the deal falls apart.  Most deals fall apart over the SMALLEST details and usually based upon emotion and not $$.

3) Buyers usually don’t buy the bricks and mortar. They buy feelings and emotions. (See #2 above).

4) I encourage buyers to bring family members on a tour of condos. But not friends. Family members support and encourage. Friends are the ultimate deal killer who bad mouth EVERY condo we see- almost always.

5) I do not believe that expiring tax abatements on any given condo building equates to lower future values. I have watched many buildings with expired abatements and I haven’t seen a correlation.

6) Like automobiles, popular condo units (when first offered/built) have a tendency to remain popular units throughout their life span. Like all the “01” units at The Murano or the “G” units at Society Hill Towers.

7) Condo fees are like a person’s age. They go up nominally almost every year. It is a fact of life…it just is.

8) Waterfront Sq. at 901 N. Penn just got their Energy Star Rating- To earn the ENERGY STAR, the apartments in a new multifamily building must be built to meet strict guidelines for energy efficiency set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. An apartment unit that has earned the ENERGY STAR label has undergone a rigorous process of third-party testing and verification to ensure it delivers better quality, comfort, and value.

9) When I settle on a property, that buyer or seller is out of my life for the foreseeable future. This often is a letdown as I have grown to know my clients and I won’t get to continue to interact with them.

10) Sloppy offers usually garner sloppy responses. If you want your offer to be presented in the best light, then dot your i’s and cross your t’s. And that often means getting a pre-qual from the lender that the LISTING AGENT knows best. This can easily remove doubt as to your qualification for a mortgage.

11) No, you can’t bring your dog on our tour of condos. I love dogs. I love my dog too, but you won’t see her on our tour. Leave your dog at home. Seriously.

12) Every home inspector says you need a pan under your washer/dryer. If there is not one there now, then you most likely aren’t getting one. This is the #1 thing on any inspection report that I cannot successfully negotiate for you. (If there is not drain, then a pan will do you no good and very few buildings have drains under their W/D units).

13) Mortgage companies torture everyone equally. You will not be able to circumvent this fact EVEN if you are super-duper rich or if you have an existing account with your lender. Trust me. I know.

14) More and more high rise buildings are not renewing their FHA approvals. Not sure why- but the Reef building at Waterfront Sq. just did so.

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
Mark@CenterCity.com ~ 215.521.1523

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October 6, 2016

901 N. Penn St. ~ Peninsula Building now FHA approved!

Filed under: For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 11:04 am

Waterfront Square

Great news! We just received word that The Peninsula Building at Waterfront Square has been approved for FHA Financing!

fhapeninsula

As you can see, the Reef Building has also been approved. This is great news for Waterfront Square! The approval is valid for 2 years.
FHA insures condominium single unit loans for up to 30-year terms to purchase or refinance a unit in an FHA-approved condominium project.

For more information about FHA condos, click here!

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

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September 27, 2016

Rising home prices, quick sales – Philly’s in a sellers’ market (Mark’s Two Cents on Philly.com)

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:54 am

Alan J. Heavens, Philly.com’s Real estate writer says, “The city of Philadelphia is officially a sellers’ real estate market, as a continued shortage of inventory has pushed up prices for properties listed for sale.”
skyline_west

Economist Kevin Gillen, senior research fellow at Drexel University’s Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation, said the second quarter of 2016, which ended June 30, saw median prices 13 percent higher than April-through-June 2015.

…Gillen isn’t exactly sure why homeowners aren’t rushing to list their houses, but Mark Wade, an agent with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach Realtors, cites several factors.

Mostly, it is “because many buyers in town over the last few decades have been empty nesters who believe they have made their final move and don’t need to downsize or adjust their living quarters to match their future needs,” Wade said.

The “flip side of rising house prices is decreased housing affordability,” Gillen said.

“Prices are now rising faster than household incomes, which implies that home buyers must now sacrifice a greater portion of their wealth to buy a home than they would otherwise, or else must defer the purchase of a home altogether,” he said.

Click here to read the full article on Philly.com.

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
Mark@CenterCity.com ~ 215.521.1523

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May 11, 2015

15 Buildings- 15 Updates

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:30 pm
The Hopkinson House at 604 S. Washington Sq.
Doing their annual Habitat for Humanity clean out as well as providing a truck on-site to shred documents for owners. Also the apron work around the front entrance appears to be completed.
WaterFront Square at 901 N. Penn St.
New front entrance (really nice looking water feature) is almost complete as is the new redesigned dog park. New manager for Reef Building as well as new front door staff.
444 N. 4th St.
This lofty styled condo building between Spring Garden and Callowhill has 4 recent pending sales as well as another 12 settlements and has brought new life to the loft building. Recent developer upgrades to each unit would most likely be the culprit behind the great sales of late.
The Philadelphian at 2401 Pennsylvania Ave.
 Terrace upgrades are in the works!  The owners have chosen clear glass panels and there will not be a special assessment to pay for this project.  The work is expected to begin in early summer of this year. Just terrific!
The “NEW” National Condos (?) 
Who knows what to call the condos on the east side of N. 2nd (between Elfreth’s Alley and Arch). I am told by a fairly reliable source that the parcel was purchased by the developer of WaterFront Sq. No idea what is to become of this. 10 years ago it was to be high end loft condos. That never happened….
One Riverside Condos at 210 S. 25th St
 I hear the condos are flying off the shelves. There is very little competition for this segment in terms of location and pricing for new buildings- anywhere in Center City. One Riverside is a fantastic location in 19103 zip and views are going to be some of the best in town.
Sales are going very well…37 sold and 2 under deposit out of 55. Now can offer tours of the building and show individual residences with the 10′ ceilings, 8′ doors, trim and cabinets installed. Projected delivery in the fall so buyers can now protect their interest rate till their settlement…and that fee paid by seller.
The Murano-at 2101 Market St.
With just 3 units still on the market (developer owned)- I would expect to see values jump in the short run as almost all similar buildings see a jump in resale value after the developer is gone. Don’t ask why. I think I am a big brain and I can’t explain this phenomenon. Also- The first floor commercial space has a new tenant- some kind of financial/banking tenant which adds some liveliness to the ground level entrance which is nice.
The Dorchester at 226 W. Rittenhouse Sq
 Work continues on the heating/cooling risers as well as progress on the repairs to the garage under the building. Upgrades to the bike room look to be completed shortly – Most major projects now completed or nearly completed.
The Rittenhouse Hotel at 210 W. Rittenhouse Sq.
 Sales of the raw space on the 19th floor (two settled and one still available)
are encouraging as are recent sale prices in the building. I have always thought the building was a bit undervalued  but prices here are escalating as they should. Top notch in my book. This would be my destination if my other half said we could move. We can’t.
Rivers Edge Condos at 2301 Cherry St.
All common windows and inside apartment windows(bedrooms) have been replaced at the condos expense. They’re still replacing the sliding patio doors but have completed quite a few and are done at the owners request and expense. The outside front entrance is about to have new pavers and plantings. Also they are working on water damage from the courtyard level. Assessments continue through 2018…then look for a HUGE spike in resale values.
Academy House Condominiums at 1420 Locust St.
Front entrance/lobby has been torn out and a new lobby is in the works. Replacing the overabundance of green marble that had existed since the 1980’s. Sales in the building are hot as only “one bedroom” condos are available in the entire building of over 500 units. And of the one beds for sale (seven total)- FIVE are under contract and only two left for sale. Huge.
Ten Rittenhouse Condos at 130 S. 18th St.
A larger unit just sold at over $1000 a sq ft. No surprise- building is stunning and there really is no inventory in town. Oh, and that unit didn’t even face the square. The gold standard for this segment.
Low Rise/Brownstone Styled Condos in 19107
Aka- Near Jefferson Hospital. Always hot in the spring market and this year is no exception. Currently there are 22 such units “UNDER CONTRACT” and awaiting settlement. Prices have escalated and inventory shrinking. The surprise in this segment is the “DOM” clock (days-on-market) is much shorter in 2015 than I have seen in the past.
The Ritz Carlton at 1414 S. Penn Sq.
Without a doubt, the hottest selling building in town. And deservedly so.
With the completion of Dillworth Plaza, the views facing north are really stunning and worth seeing if you have yet to view. Also pretty nice resale values for previously owned units… appreciating nicely!
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December 15, 2014

Whatta’ you…new to these parts?

Filed under: For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:59 am

 

Our condo market in town can best be
described as Turn-Key
  Fixer-Uppers cater to a very slim market in Center City as most buyers are not equipped with the tools, knowledge, time nor the know-how to rehab a condo. Turn-key condos (those that are ready to occupy with little or no work) appeal to the majority of buyers in Center City Philadelphia.
 Most buyers who come to town do not own a band saw, a miter saw, or any kind of saw for that matter. Nor do they possess the expertise in using such instruments and probably couldn’t identify a band saw if their life depended on it. Our marketplace is one of professional white collar buyers who have money and a sharp eye…but fall short of having the time, inclination or ability to make repairs to any new possible purchase. That fact should come as no surprise to any of my readers.
  So when you hear that condition is king…right up there with location- you needn’t look or act surprise. The visual appeal of any given condo here in town is going to play a heavy hand in determining value. See the photos below to see what I mean…
Visual appeal with some heavy decorating…
Turn key is KEY in our marketplace
when looking to garner maximum
resale value for your condo.
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June 2, 2014

Screw “Location, Location, Location” In Center City It Can Be All About “Condition, Condition, Condition.”

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:41 am

When enthusiasm drips from a buyers mouth-
Every “Ohh” is worth $5,000
and every “Ahh” is worth $10,000
Location is always going to be a determining factor in price as well as long term value retention. But there are mitigating factors in the Center City condo market that are going to dilute the power of a strong location in driving prices over the long haul. That major factor would be interior condition and the visual impact of any given Center City condo.  Here are a few factors that may help the power of a condo’s condition to play a huge role in determining value:
Disbursement Of Wealth- Twenty years ago, if you had $1,000,000 you bought on Rittenhouse Square-period. Today, we will find that every neighborhood has broken the $1M barrier.  And it is getting much easier for buyers to find high end condo product in some locations that might have been unfathomable even five years ago.
First Time Buyers and Empty Nesters- Clearly the dominate driving forces in the Center City condo buying segment. AND what do they both have in common? They both want a strong interior condition as neither seem to favor the condos that need work. Trying to get either to buy a fixer upper is an uphill battle (generally speaking).
Everything is out the window when buyers fall in love- You would pretty much have to be new to this planet to not know that concept. I have found that most buyers buy with their eyes. More often than not, buyers will forego the strength of the location in order to buy the condos that really strike a visual chord.
In no way should this argument be a vote for a weaker location than perhaps what you have in mind. However over the long haul, you might be surprised to find just how important condition is to the overall value retention of your condominium here in Center City.  Ugly is an 800 pound albatross that can and will drive down your value like no other condominium attribute- And it may not matter if you are sitting in the perfect location. To underestimate the value of strong interior and visual appeal would be to underestimate the overall value of any given  
Center City condominium.
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530 Walnut Street, Suite 260
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Direct: 215.521.1523 ~ Office: 215.627.6005
Fax: 215.627.3142
Email: Mark@CenterCity.com
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