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November 28, 2017

12 Philly Condo Fee Facts…As I See Them

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:21 pm

1.) Right or wrong, some buyers will reject a Philadelphia Condo with high condo fees. However…

2.) Most buyers will look at their total monthly cost in determining their financial reach in terms of a purchase.

3.) Educating a buyer about the purpose of condo fees often tempers a buyer’s aversion to higher fees – most buyers simply do not grasp the concept of condo fees and how they are determined.

4.) It is not uncommon for there to be an additional condo fee for a parking spot and sometimes that number can be super duper high (often as high as neighboring rental garages).

5.) Condo fees are not tax deductible.

6.) Condo fees in Co-op buildings include the taxes.

7.) Almost every buyer will pay approx. 2 months worth of condo fees into the kitty (aka- reserve fund) at time of closing. This goes to the association, not the seller.

8.) An additional burden of condo fees is called the special assessment. No owner likes them, but everyone benefits from them in the long run.

9.) All condo fees are based on the square footage of that particular building. All. Period. Stop asking me that question. 🙂

10.) Super duper low condo fees are NOT a good thing. Usually means your building is running on fumes with no emergency reserves.

11.) A reflection of a building’s health is how much money it has in its reserves (which can stave off future assessments).

12.) Newer buildings tend to have less money in their reserves as the life expectancy of some of the larger common elements/ticket items (roof, windows, elevators, etc) have little or deferred maintenance.

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
BHHS | Fox & Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. #480 | Phila. PA 19106
Mark@CenterCity.com | 215.521.1523

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November 21, 2017

Is That Covered by My Homeowner’s Insurance?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:27 pm

Homeowners Insurance is necessary if you want to protect your home and your assets. Of course, Philly condo associations have a master insurance policy that covers the building, but you will still need to purchase a separate policy for everything “inside” the walls of your condo.

The standard homeowner’s insurance policy protects you from a wide range of things.  Here is some information straight from our friends at Trident Insurance Agency that you may be surprised to find that homeowner’s insurance can cover:

1. Tombstones
Yes! Grave markers at a cemetery are considered “personal property” and are covered by some homeowners insurance policies. There is probably a special coverage limit on tombstones.

2. Volcanoes (Not Earthquakes)
Most of us in the U.S., outside of Hawaii, don’t have to worry about this but if your home is in the path of an erupting volcano you’ll be covered! Earthquake damage or ground movement is not covered under most standard policies.

3. Your Child’s Belongings at College
If you send your child to college and he or she is living in a dorm, their items are usually covered under your homeowner’s policy. That’s because most policies cover anyone in your household as well as students under the age of 24. Not all policies cover students living in off-campus housing, however. Those students may require a separate tenant’s policy.

4. Your “Stuff” that you travel with
Most homeowners policies cover your belongings wherever they go under the “off-premises” provision. This means that if your luggage is stolen while you’re on vacation in China or Turkey or even North Dakota you’re usually covered. For pricey items like your jewelry, you should make sure you discuss purchasing additional coverage with your insurance agent, anyway.

5. Dog Bites
If your dog or cat or even your guinea pig bites someone, your homeowner’s policy may cover the cost of medical care, up to your Personal Liability Limit. Trident Insurance recommends AT LEAST $500,000.

Review your policy. You’ll find more interesting things that may be covered.  If you have any questions about homeowner’s insurance, please email Jessica Nydick at Trident Insurance Agency….jessica.nydick@foxroach.com.

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

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November 7, 2017

More New Condos Coming to Graduate Hospital

Filed under: For Buyers,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 5:07 pm

Graduate Hospital has been a really hot growth area for new construction townhouses and condo developments! Just south of Rittenhouse Square, you will find this hotbed of new construction here in Center City. The City’s tax abatement program has really helped this area grow. Easy access to the Square, restaurants, and shopping make the Graduate Hospital area a real attraction to buyers. The new Bloc 23 project and 2400 South condo projects are the latest additions to the area.

A 15-unit project, Ravello Philly, is set for the 14xx block of Clymer Street…a small block nestled between Broad and 15th, Fitzwater and Catharine. According to Curbed Philly,  “The development will include five three-unit buildings with dark brick facades in front and aluminum paneling in the back. In total, there will be 10 three-bedroom, bi-level units clocking in at about 1,800 square feet. There will be another five one-bedroom units about half that size. Each unit will have outdoor space, too.” [Read More Here…]

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

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August 24, 2017

Philadelphia Condo Building Updates – Summer 2017

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Real Estate: Condominiums,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:13 pm

Here is what I am told. Verify for yourself…

The owner occupancy ratio at 2101 Chestnut is 10% – 90% renters.

Waterfront Sq. is enacting a limitation on renters.

The Savoy at 1806 S. Rittenhouse has an assessment coming down the pike that is close to $28 a square foot. Needed, and in the long run, a good thing as values will climb!

Dockside at 717 S. Columbus Blvd. has been recently approved for conventional financing.

The Philadelphian at 2401 Pennsylvania Ave. is making progress on the installation of new exterior balcony rails throughout.

Many more buildings are going non-smoking. Here are a few:
Society Hill Towers, Center City One, Academy House, The Rittenhouse, The Hopkinson House, The Murano, The Dorchester. Look for that list to grow substantially.

Hopkinson House is nearing completion of it’s lobby work.

2601 (2601 Pennsylvania Ave.) is upgrading it’s steam systems.

Penn’s Landing Square (130 Spruce St.) is doing work to it’s underground garage.

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

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August 8, 2017

Clarification regarding pet policies listed on CenterCityCondos.com

Filed under: For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:13 pm

Note Regarding Pet Policies in Pet Restricted Condo Buildings:

The Fair Housing Act allows residents of almost every type of property (apartments and condos) to have an emotional support dog or a specially trained service dog if you get the proper medical documentation from your doctor, despite restrictive Pet Policies.

SO….If you see “No Pets” allowed on www.CenterCityCondos.com under any particular building- please know that there are exceptions to the rule!

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

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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

600-s-9th-view2

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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September 21, 2016

Top Ten Philly Condos

Filed under: For Buyers,General Real Estate,Real Estate: Condominiums,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:41 am

In terms of value retention, resale ability and livability…Here are my latest top ten picks:

Waterfront Square

1) 1706 Rittenhouse at 1706 Rittenhouse St. – – There can be little doubt that the building shines in terms of value growth and demand. The highest of high end here in Center City. Buyers line up for these units- Who wouldn’t want to live at 1706 ??

2) Kahn Park Place at 1119-25 Pine St.– Parking, roof decks and nice interior space…at prices that I think are undervalued. Homerun! Location is key here as well. Interior condition drives the wide range of values here.

3) Washington Square West Condos on the 12xx Block of South St. – Solid investments in a high growth area. Oh, and all have parking and two bedrooms! You can’t beat these simple yet value driven condos. Boom!

4) St. James Court in Society Hill – 40 years old condos with interiors that clearly stand the test of time. Undervalued and best deals in the 19106 zip code. Most units are off street and quiet. Interior courtyard is picture perfect. You can’t beat the prices in this segment in my opinion.

5) The Coronado at 2201 Chestnut St.– Improvements to the building make the investment here a solid one in terms of value growth. And in the 19103 zip code to boot.

6) The Lenox at 250 S. 13th St.– Not unlike 2201 Chestnut Street in the fact that it is a pre-war styled condo building that has undergone many recent upgrades and improvements. Since the Parker across the street closed- are values poised for a significant bounce upwards? Probably.

7) Center City One at 1326 Spruce St. – If I had millions of dollars, I would probably spend most of them inside this building if I wanted to make money.
Try to beat the location and the floor plan of the two bed, two bath units.
No supply here.

8) The Philadelphian at 2401 Pennsylvania Ave. – Values for the larger units bounced higher and faster than any other segment in Center City. Many reasons which can be attributed to the association…and lack of supply didn’t hurt either.

9) Low Rise Condos in 19103 and 19107– Perpetual demand leads to a shortened “days on market” for many in this segment. Solid purchases and solid returns. And those near Jefferson and U of Penn have a double good whammy- which is huge rent-ability.

10) 2200 Arch St. Condos at 2200 Arch St. – Probably the quickest sales in the loft like segment here in town. Parking, close to jogging trail and in the 19103 zip code. This place is firing on all cylinders.

Honorable Mention:  The Reef Building at WaterFront Square 901 N. Penn St. – Just about 6 units remain and the values are climbing faster than most other buildings around town. Expect another bump in values when the building completely sells out. Philadelphian’s are warming to the idea of living in this lovely gated community. Though I am biased…We own and live here.

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

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May 19, 2014

No Inventory? Wha-Wha-What??

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 8:57 am
We Will Remember 2014 As The
Year Of No Inventory
In my opinion, the cause is easy to pinpoint.
We are just now coming to a time in the market where prices have begun to rise. However, they have not risen to a point where many sellers have a ton of equity into their Center City condos.
As a result, they either choose not to sell or simply cannot sell because they do not have the equity to move into a new home. This creates a bottleneck of demand- buyers are buying but there is not enough product on the market to meet that demand.
We see this phenomenon once every 7 years or so when the market shifts from a buyers market to a sellers market.
Look for the situation to change next fall as more sellers gain the equity needed to move into a new home and list their current properties.
  Although I don’t mean to be the “big brain”….
We do have a fairly sizable amount of the
Center City Condo inventory for our buyers….
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May 28, 2013

Move in Dates for New Philadelphia Condos

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:23 pm

I always find it interesting when developers or REALTORS advertise a spring 2013 delivery for Center City condos and the project has yet to break ground. I’m thinking, it’s summer 2013 and your project isn’t even started!

Or, how about those large signs in the ground announcing a new development that got axed nine months ago? Look around town, you can see a few.construction_sign

I don’t know why delivery dates for new construction Philadelphia condos are so wrong sometimes but I do have my theories.

Perhaps these developers are unaware of what it takes to get Philadelphia condos approved and built. Maybe its a bit of wishful thinking on the part of the REALTOR: will and early delivery date increase the traffic through their site?

More likely, it’s a bit of both.

Any buyer looking at pre-construction projects should be told of the inherent delays in new construction. Buyers must be aware of the countless pieces of the puzzle that need to fit into place in order for a project to come together. And they must be told the truth- that often, developers have zero control of the puzzle pieces. (Think city and state permit requirements for example.)

I think it would be difficult in most cases to adequately predict, some nine months in advance, an exact settlement date for your new condo. To me, promising a delivery date that clearly isn’t within range is a mistake. REALTORS and developers of new Philadelphia condos lose credibility when they do this.

I started thinking about all this remembering a mistake I made. (I know, I know. I, of all people should know better!) When I was moving I actually messed up my calculations on a new construction piece. I ended up in corporate housing for six months. (You can imagine what a pain in the ass that was. Two extra moves…)

If you’re considering Philadelphia condos in a new construction project, be wary of the advertised delivery date. Allow for some grace time with your lease. Don’t make completely firm plans with your moving company. You’ll avoid a lot of headaches brought on by unforeseen construction delays.

Stop trying to comprehend today’s complex real estate market all alone. Give me a call today at 215-521-1523 or drop me an email at mark@centercity.com. Together, we’ll find your perfect Center City Condo or sell your Philadelphia condo… and ave fun doing it!

 

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May 20, 2013

Buy That Condo That Smells of Dog Pee

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:11 am

And has dirty orange shag carpeting. And faded purple painted walls. Really!

I have been preaching this mantra for some eighteen years now here in Center City Philadelphia. And it has worked! Our little group of seven REALTORS (www.centercitycondos.com) at Prudential Fox & Roach REALTORS sell over 160 Philadelphia condos and Philadelphia townhouses every year to very happy owners.

One distinction that we can brag about is the fairly sizable profits a lot of our buyers make when they call us a number of years later to resell their Center City condos. Now granted, a lot of that has to do with the market conditions, and the fact that Philadelphia real estate has been on an upswing for the past dozen or so years. But, a significant reason many of our Philadelphia condo buyers make money is because we guide them to properties that are diamonds in the rough.

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Buyers are probably going to find the smelly, ugly Center City condos severely discounted (disproportionately) lower than one might expect… because few other buyers are emotionally attracted to these “dogs”.  My goal is to get buyers to see past the simple outdated or unattractive cosmetics that are inherent in a number of downtown Philadelphia lofts, condos, and townhomes.

I feign deafness when I hear a buyer tell me that the “place is perfect, except I don’t like the carpeting”. Or that the appliances are old and the inside of the refrigerator smells like the inside of their gym bag. Those issues are what I call PHONE CALL UPGRADES. You pick up the telephone, you dial the local Home Depot or Lowes and you set an appointment for them to cone out and replace the appliances and carpet. You place one call to a painter who repaints all the faded purple colored walls. These are one step-one call upgrades. This isn’t brain surgery. We are not moving the kitchen which would involve moving gas line, water lines, replacing flooring, redoing baseboard moldings on and on and on. Simple stuff…”One Phone Call” Stuff.

And that is where many buyers see a huge increase in their resale price: simple, light cosmetic work. The kind of work that takes a pee smelling, dirty orange shag carpeted piece of ick, and adds significant emotional value through the use of good decorating skills, cleanliness, and minor cosmetic upgrades that are readily visible to the eye.

Buy ugly. Buy smell. And sell oohs and aahs… Then sing and dance all the way to the bank.

Ready to discover your own diamond in the rough? Give me a call today at 215-521-1523 or drop me and email at mark@centercity.com. We’ll smell out those “dogs” and find you a real ooh and aah buy!

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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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