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November 3, 2016

Ten Pitfalls to Avoid when buying a Center City Condominium…

Filed under: For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:24 am

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Being a veteran Center City Realtor (26 years), I often see buyers making some repeated mistakes.  At least in my opinion, I use the word mistakes.

Here are some common pitfalls:

1) Paying Points on a short term hold.
Many buyers know they will only own their condo for 3 to 5 years. Paying Points may not be advantageous- Talk to your lender. Do your homework here.

2) Saying “No” to a “Betterments and Improvements ” rider on your home owners policy. This covers items like floor, appliances, cabinetry, doorknobs, etc etc. Might be worth considering.

3) Glossing Over Building Issues – You are given 5 days to read your condo docs. If you don’t want to do so, then hire a lawyer. A Real Estate Lawyer.

4) Using a Mortgage Lender because you have a Savings Account at that bank, and have had for 23 years. That doesn’t mean crap, in my experience. Nada. Nil. Zip.

5) Using a relative to be your Realtor, Mortgage person, or otherwise to play a huge role in your buying process. These arrangements can go up in flames quickly. Not always…but…

6) Not Vetting Your Philadelphia Realtor – “When in Rome” is pretty good advice.. Interview him/her to decide if you two make a good team.

7) Over-buying : Do you really need a three bedroom and den unit? Or will a two bedroom and den suffice? Same story with one vs two bedroom units- If you don’t need the space, why pay for the space?

8) Not Reading Your Sales Contract – 99% of the questions you may have about a transaction here in PA can be answered by reading your Agreement of Sale (The Contract). Read It. I beg you.

9) Expecting Perfection: Yes, the seller is going to vacate your new condo in a dirty and somewhat used condition, with holes in the walls where their art once hung. IF that is the biggest bump in the road during our journey, then we should all g o sing and dance in the middle of the street with joy and glee :-). Nothing in life is perfect so a hint of forgiveness along the road can be helpful.

10) Relying on the Square Foot calculations on Condo Flyer. Or even relying on info provided by some sources. Best to do your own measuring/ fact checking.

Just Ask Me.
Let’s find the answers together to help you make the best decisions possible.

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

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April 27, 2015

Spring 2015 Condo Market Is In Full Swing!

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:12 pm
Our listing inventory is impressive, if I may say:
Our recent sales :
Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
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July 29, 2014

The Dying Art Of Open Houses

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Sellers,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 8:37 am

Remember the olden days when the Sunday paper would arrive and you would get out your red felt tipped marker, then circle the open houses you wanted to see?

   That was so 1997….Those days are all but gone- having been replaced by the advances in internet marketing for condos. Additionally, more and more Center City Condos are forbidding agents to hold Open Houses- ever.

   It is said in Real Estate circles that open houses are NOT for sellers- they are for agents trying to pick up buyers. To a degree, I agree. More so with the fact that videos, virtual tours, podcasts, blogs, multiple photos, etc are easily found with a quick Google search. And most Realtors’ websites can give you a lot more than you can learn at an open house- think neighborhood stats, crime reports, etc., not to mention the gossip and dirt you can pick up on your neighbor’s house. If someone is seriously in the market for a condo, they are going to view your listing if they are interested- Open House or not.

  I usually find that Open Houses tend to cut down on the weekly traffic- the more people who see it at an open, the fewer weekly appointments one will find in terms of buyer traffic. And of course, we are all aware that Open Houses usually beget nosy neighbors, passersby, and the like. With overall traffic down on Open Houses over the past decade (in my experience)- how long before Open Houses will go the way of land lines and flip phones?  Probably not long.

FYI-Center City Open Houses are usually ONE hour only- Get in, then get out. Suburban agents can spend 3-4 hours at one open house. How utterly boring. I think I’d rather drink bathwater than to sit in a house on a Sunday for four hours.

 

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July 21, 2014

Considering Developing a New Condo Building in Center City?

Filed under: For Sellers,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 8:20 am
Here are 10 things NOT to overlook…
 
1) Buyers today appreciate security, but is an alarm system necessary? Probably not. Try installing a “dropcam” styled camera inside the front door of each unit- And owners can get an instant email IF and WHEN someone enters their unit- day or night, even if owners are on the other side of the planet.
 
2) Recharging Stations- How about a little shelf by the front door of each unit that will recharge cell phones and devices by simply placing the devices on that shelf? Any buyer with a cell phone could get very excited about such a feature.
 
3) Pet Policies- I would suggest your building needs to be pet friendly- but not for tenants. Breed restrictions and size restrictions may also be in the overall best interest of the buying public.
 
4) Two Month Capital Contribution- New buyers need to add to the “kitty”…very common and a great way to jump start the reserves. This practice is now standard in Center City Condos around town.
 
5) Virtual Doorman- Looking to keep condo fees in check? Try a virtual doorman- Activity can be monitored offsite but still give the sense of security to the condo owners. Many newer buildings are going this route to save on condo fees.
 
6) Electric Automobiles Plug In Bays. One day soon, this will be a must for all new buildings. And don’t forget to save at least one parking spot for car sharing purposes. Bike sharing might not be a bad idea on your property as well.
 
7) Be as Transparent As Possible- Post the true sale prices of each unit- not just asking prices. Shove the info into the faces of potential buyers. They will without a doubt appreciate your candor and transparency. Shady is not going to work for you…trust me on that one.
 
8) Don’t Forget The WOW Factor- Let’s face it, unless you are buying at the Ritz Carlton, or some other “A” building, chances are the finishes and model units are not going to as appealing as they possibly can be. Change that. I am begging you….Nothing sells better than stunning visual finishes! Get a little crazy because no other developer will dare to do so…
 
9) Parking- Important for larger units, but if the location is fairly central, will probably not be important to studio, one bedroom, or even smaller two bedroom condos.
 
10) Make Sure Your Sales Office Is Realtor Friendly-
Offer free parking, allow Realtors easy access without the mandatory one hour tour. Scrap the stupid rules and long info forms buyers and agents must fill out that most . NOTHING CAN KILL SALES FASTER than pissing off the Real Estate Community.
 
Want to learn more about how to make your 
new condos fly off the shelf? 
Let’s chat…..
 
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July 14, 2014

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

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 @ 9:42 am

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.

curtain

 


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.

paint

 

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.

knob

 

That’s it. Three quick easy steps for maximizing the interior “curb appeal” to your  Center City Condo!

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

 

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December 9, 2013

Philadelphia Condo Sales – Crappy Sales Pitches And Outright Lies

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:12 am

Snarky, yes- But I truly am not a bitter Philadelphia Real Estate agent. Most would agree that I am kinda’ happy go lucky. Except when another agent pees on my leg and tries to tell me it is raining outside. Then I get kinda’ angry. I am not a fan of someone lying, or trying to twist the truth to my clients. And I have listened to my share of crappy real estate sale pitches over the past 24.5 years, but here are some of the more memorable:

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1) “The cabinetry is A Wenge Dutch Maple laminate with a caramelized soapstone countertop”
To Which I respond: PUKE. Could you be more pretentious? Nobody gives a crap for all your namedropping. The kitchen is small, not real attractive (some would say ugly)…no matter how much fabulousness you try to heap on it.

2) “We are 60% sold”
To which I respond …perhaps you have trouble telling the truth- I know you are lying, and you should know that I am going to tell my customers. I am not on “your” side. I work for my clients.

3) “The Developer said we will not negotiate on the prices”
Tell me if that is the case in 6 months when your bank is putting pressure on you to hold an auction. Actually, in some rare cases, this is true. More often than not, it is BS. I recently got this song and dance from a high rise in 19103. The one that isn’t selling.

4) “I have a buyer for your condo!!”
I hate it when Realtors send these fake postcards to potential sellers….trying to induce them to sell/list with whoever is sending the mailer. More often than not, this just a sales pitch.

5) “This Philadelphia condo includes parking”
No it doesn’t. You have induced your seller to buy one year of rental parking down the street, but you want to advertise that your condo has parking- hoping it will draw more attention. That is like lying to your therapist, or saying on eharmony that you are 29 when you are 48. Do you think the world is full of idiots?- I mean, what is the point of lying here?

Looking for the straight scoop? Let me be your agent and I will sing like a canary!

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox and Roach Realtors

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January 20, 2011

Do I need to buy Title Insurance if I am paying cash for my Philly condo?

Filed under: For Buyers,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:56 pm

Technically, in the State of Pennsylvania, if you do not obtain mortgage financing, no one is going to force you to buy title insurance on your new Old City or Rittenhouse Square condominium.  But as your Realtor, with your best interest in mind, I am going to rant and rave until you agree to buy it.

title-insurance1

A mere title search doesn’t always reveal all the flaws that could potentially be a part of the chain of title. And title searches are not free. Not to mention you will need to pay an attorney or title company closing fees and notary fees to complete your transaction if you do not purchase title insurance from them.  Closing fees and search fees are usually waived if you purchase the title policy. Since you will need to put out several hundred dollars for these services if you waive title insurance anyway, you might as well pay the difference and protect yourself against the unthinkable.

Here are a just a few scenarios you could encounter without the protection of title insurance:

– Forgery or Fraud in connection with the execution of previously recorded documents
– Incorrect representation of marital status of grantors
– Undisclosed or missing heirs
– Wills that have not been properly probated
– Mistaken interpretation of wills and trusts
– Incorrect legal descriptions
– Unsatisfied mortgages, liens, or judgments not shown on the record
– Deeds executed under expired or false power of attorneys
– Confusion due to similar or identical names

– Unknown rights of ex-spouses or former owners
– Clerical errors in recording legal documents
– Incorrect filing of condominium declarations

Some of these things sound crazy I know. But in my 21 years of selling Philadelphia Real Estate I have come across more than a few of the above situations.  So think of it this way:

Paying for a title search and other closing fees to buy your condo without the protection of title insurance – Around $800

Paying for the same search and closing fees including title insurance protection on your $300,000 condo – Around $1600

The peace of mind of having your title company to call and not having to deal with an old lien or back taxes that suddenly show up on your title – priceless!

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

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October 1, 2010

Is that Center City Condo Building a Poser?

Filed under: For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:13 pm

Certainly not all Philly condo buildings are created equal. They may look alike on the surface, but may not resell as well, and maybe be subject to a high number of foreclosures, short-sales, or REO/transferee buyouts.  And how do you tell the difference? Quick Answer- Get a Real Estate professional who knows the ins and outs of the Center City Philadelphia Condo market, and get an expert opinion.
    
In order to make a sound, value-based decision, you need to be concerned with issues such as: Owner-Occupancy ratios, Association finances, Upkeep, Rules and Regulations, and whether or not the building you are considering is even available to be financed. Unless you have a crystal ball in your possession, perhaps you need to ask someone who knows about the Center City condominium market.

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

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October 1, 2009

Does your Center City Philadelphia Garden Suck?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:10 pm

…yeah well, they all do.

Container gardens are very popular with city dwellers- though rarely do I see a small private outside area and witness plants thriving. It is like a death sentence for any plant that gets purchased by anyone who resides within the confines of Center City. So here are my suggestions for those looking to buy garden plants that basically “thrive on neglect”
 
Tall Plants- Good Sun           Tall Plants-Shade
                          
Bamboo                                 Feather Reed Gras 
 
Small Flowers- Full Sun         Big Flowers-Shade
            
Moss Rose                              Salvia                      
 
 
So if killing plants is your “thing”, Try these goof-proof plants that can thrive on neglect,
and you may have one of the prettiest gardens in Center City Philadlephia!

Is gardening a priority for your move into Center City? Lets chat about how we can find you a place with some nearby “Greenery”.

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
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