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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 ( 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.


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  My goal is to get buyers to see past the simple outdated or unattractive cosmetics that are inherent in a number of downtown Philadelphia lofts, condos, and townhomes.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 We’ll smell out those “dogs” and find you a real ooh and aah buy!

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March 4, 2013

Is a Condo right for you?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:58 am

Condominium; an apartment house, office building, or other multiple-unit complex which is individually owned, with an individual deed and right to sell the individual unit of that building. So many uses of the word “individual” but that’s not exactly the word most people would use to describe a condo. Yes, you have your individual unit, but it is in a shared building with shared amenities, such as pool, gym, and/or tennis court, and shared responsibility to show your neighbors the utmost respect.

Let’s back track for a minute. You stopped at the word “amenities” didn’t you? That’s right, when living in a condo amenities such as these are right in your “backyard”, so to speak. Some Philly condos even go as far as to providing you with town car or private bus service to and from your destinations! Not a bad deal for a small fee.

A fee is described as a charge or payment for professional service. That couldn’t hit the nail harder on the head. Along with all the amenities included in your “condo fee”, which is a monthly payment for access to all that a condo has to offer, you also receive the privilege of professional services such as lawn and exterior maintenance as well as indoor home repairs. There are so many wonderful things a condo has to offer.

Condos provide a sense of a safer environment for people living alone or looking after small children considering the extra eyes that are always around. Living in a condo is like working in an office, you have your own personal and private space, yet you aren’t alone, and you aren’t too far from a neighbor or friend.

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January 22, 2013

Guest Post: Renovating Condo Units

Filed under: For Buyers,For Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 11:36 am

Renovating a Philadelphia condo unit brings with it challenges that homeowners simply don’t face. Unit owners must comply with condo rules and regulations, consider how noise affects neighbors and work within the building’s larger electrical or plumbing systems. Careful planning before renovations helps prevent problems with the condo association and staff.

Unlike a house, when you purchase a condo you only own what lies within the unit’s walls. You cannot renovate public areas, other people’s units or the building’s utility infrastructure. This is necessary, in part, to ensure the building maintains its overall feel and appearance.

Check Everything

Well before you commit to any condo renovations, read over the condo association’s condo docs to find out what types of renovations are permitted. Different condo docs have different restrictions. You’ll probably need to submit a plan of renovation, in writing, to the condo association.

Generally, most condo agreements allow you to paint, install new appliances, replace lighting and plumbing fixtures and replace flooring. More complex renovations such as rerouting plumbing or electrical wiring and knocking down walls require approval by the condo association.

Renovations requiring work in adjourning units are least likely to be approved, as this inconveniences other residents. Extensive plumbing and electric work may fall into this category.

Working with Contractors

Renovating a condo often means working several stories up, rather than on the ground. This complicates materials delivery, heavy equipment transport, waste removal and even contractor parking.

Ask your condo association if they can recommend contractors with experience in condo renovations. Contractors need experience working in the tighter confines of a condo unit, and keeping noise to a minimum for the sake of your neighbors.

Renovations will go smoother if you coordinate with condo staff. Doormen and other staff need to know when contractors will be on-site, when they will be moving heavy items and your renovation schedule. Early planning and frequent updates help prevent miscommunications and hard feelings. If your renovations require access to the building’s plumbing or electricity, arrange for access well ahead of time.

Considering the Neighbors

When renovating a house, contractors usually work late into the evening, so the job will inconvenience you as little as possible. In a condo, you have to consider how renovation noise and dust affect your neighbors.

Most condo associations have strict noise regulations and limit the hours during which contractors can work. These are reasonable restrictions; your neighbors share walls, ceilings and floors with you, and don’t want to be disturbed late into the evening.

Let neighbors know your renovation plans well in advance so they don’t get blindsided by unexpected noise. Be polite and understanding–after all, you’re inconveniencing them, not the other way around. When renovations are done, express your thanks to neighbors for their patience.

Byline: Michelle is an aspiring writer with a passion for blogging. She enjoys writing about a vast variety of topics and loves that blogging gives her the opportunity to publicly voice her thoughts and share advice with an unlimited audience.

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September 14, 2012

Condo Talk Around Town….

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:54 pm

The Packard Grand Condos at 111 S. 15th St: Condo Assoc recently acquired the top floor of the building from the developer. It is a 3,300SF space (on the 27th floor) with fitness center, large west-facing outdoor deck, party room, meeting room, and large capacity laundry machines. This was a great move by the condo board for a building that had lacked amenities. The new fitness center is now open and the rest of the amenity floor will open by September.

Center City One  at 1326 Spruce St.: Responds well to its broken water meter. The association took quick action and repaired and replaced everything with swift action.

Toll Brothers: Approx 160 new units right on 24th street! Expect delivery late July 2013. Based upon the success at Naval Square- look for these units to sell at a pretty good clip. 8 out of 22 sold in Phase One and ground hasn’t even been broken. Stay tuned for more details…

WaterFront Square: A trail runs through it- The Penn Street Trail – a section of the Central Delaware waterfront trail that will connect Spring Garden Street with SugarHouse Casino’s portion of the trail – is expected to open next spring.

Murano: 2101 Market St.- Sale prices doing exceedingly well post auction. They just re-listed all high floor units with Pru Fox Roach. Look for the remaining units to sell fairly quickly!

Penns Landing Square at 130 Spruce St: Spending money to better manage water run-off and to be more efficient at being able to segment water shut-offs in order to better serve homeowners. Touche!

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

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September 13, 2012

Its Not the Size of Your Unit- It’s How You Use It

Filed under: For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:12 pm

I now know firsthand…

We just sold our summer vacation house of 2200 sq ft and bought a really nice 458 sq ft condo up on Cape Cod….and in all honesty- we have never been happier.

The benefits?

Easier to clean
One Level living
Financially- It is a no brainer
I honestly feel like I can breathe a sigh of relief…hard to explain.

When you get to an age where you are looking to downsize to a Philly loft or condo, I am here to tell you that less really is more. More peace of mind…and more to smile about. I feel I shed about 700,000 pounds of fat- and I am feeling free as a bird. Size isn’t everything- especially when you know how to use it. We want for nothing, and aren’t looking back…

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

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October 10, 2011

Center City Philadelphia Gated Condominium Communities

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

There are really only three Philadelphia condominium buildings that I believe qualify as being gated:

WaterFront Square at 901 N. Penn St: I live here and I love it. I have lived in town for 24 years, and I know every condo building like the back of my hand. I choose the building because it sits on 13 manicured acres with tons of parking, pool, deck onto the river, etc. And being gated (and a doorman building), it takes the security equation right out of the picture- in my mind. If I forget to lock my condo door- WHO GIVES A CRAP?!  I live in a gated community with a doorman to boot.



Naval Square: Gated and sits on something like 20+ acres…gorgeous setting. And again, takes the security equation right out of the picture. Ample parking, pool, and lots of space for the dog, the kids, even bike riding. These are qualities that are generally lacking in a non-gated urban community. I love Naval Square, and think that the HUGE variety of styles and sizes are fantastic. And the tax abatement doesn’t hurt either. Many units are single level/one story styled condos.



The National in Old City: Gated, yes. Doorman- no. Acts like a doorman building, but actually there is no attendant on duty. This is a Semi-Gated Community where a fair number of properties are indeed off-street, and you have to pass through a gate to gain access. I have sold a fair number of units here, and my buyers do appreciate the sense of security. I love the location in Old City, the garage parking, and remaining life of the original tax abatement. High floors have some really cool water views as well.

If you are considering looking at some condos in downtown (Center City) Philadelphia, and would like to check out some gated communities, Give me a call or email. No pressure.

Mark Wade
267.237.3404 (Cell)

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February 2, 2011

Pet Policies in Philly Condos

Filed under: For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 11:41 am

…They vary from building to building

Every Philadelphia condo association has its own set of rules and regulations in regards to 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 Garden Condominiums on the 1600 block of  Spruce Street. 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 prone to biting the neighbors.

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 Philly condo buildings with large populations (Academy House)  generally will not allow dogs.

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 Philadelphia, I have realized that the buying public is about 50 times more likely to purchase a condo with a relaxed pet policy. Most buyers will give up their first choice of condo buildings, before they will give up their beloved pet. I wouldn’t dream of giving away my dog to live in any specific building here in Center City. Would you?

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

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November 30, 2010

The Philadelphia Parking Authority

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 11:53 am

Whether you live or work here in Center City Philadelphia, you know all about The Parking Authority! Here is a short video about how to easily avoid them.

So from avoiding “No Parking” zones in front of the driveway of any given Center City Home, to making sure you do not exceed twenty minutes in the “loading zone” in front of that Philly Condo Building, you can greatly cut your chances of getting a ticket, or even worse, getting towed.

Watch your time in meter spots. The meter folks are only doing their jobs, so be nice to them. Always look out for temporary regulations and read the signs to make sure parking on any given street isn’t cut off after a certain time of day. For example, you can only park on the 600 block of Walnut Street until 3:30PM so they can clear the road for rush hour traffic, which does everyone a lot of good.  They will tow you if you are blocking the traffic!

Some streets offer free 2 hour parking, but if you don’t live in a Philly Loft or Home in that neighborhood (with a sticker on your window to prove it), you will be ticketed if you exceed the 2 hour limit OR if you try to sneak back to the same block later in the day. Your license plate number is in the system, so they have no idea if you left and came back. You get 2 hours free on each block each day if you are an out-of-towner! There are tons of lots in Center City if you need to stay longer.

Lastly, don’t park in a Handicap Spot if you don’t have a Handicap plate. It WILL cost you! Follow this simple advice, so you don’t end up featured on the next episode of Parking Wars!

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

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July 12, 2010

Auction Results from CU 257

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 8:55 pm

The third auction in the Center City condo segment of the market to occur. I would deem it a success. Here is what I understand folks paid.

Here is the breakdown of the prices.  These prices are the winning bid prices and do not include the 10%  auction premium on each winning bid.
1.  $615,000 Unit 601E
2.  $600,000 Unit 601W
3.  $470,000 Unit 401W
4.  $495,000 501E
5.  $485,000 501W
6.  $455,000 301E
7.  $455,000 401E
8.  $445,000 201E
9.  $435,000 301W
And if you think this is the last Center City Condo auction that is going to take place, I would suggest you are wrong! Keep your eyes open for more future auctions! Call or email me if you want me to comment on these prices!  215.521.1523
Mark Wade
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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December 24, 2009

A fair Real Estate deal is when everyone bleeds

Filed under: General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 11:49 am


Lets be honest here- most  Philadelphia real estate transactions leave buyers feeling that perhaps they may have overpaid, and sellers left feeling like their home was worth a bit more than was reflected in the agreed upon sale price. And it usually doesn’t matter if it is a buyers market, or a sellers market.  Similar to the notion that those driving slower than you are slugs, and those driving faster than you are maniacs. Sound familiar?
As a veteran Philadelphia Realtor, I am aware that there is a fair deal of perceived bleeding in most transactions. I personally have never sold a home for what I thought it was worth. In my brain, I always end up getting screwed.  And that is really, in my humble opinion, what buying and selling is all about. You get what you can, you give what you can, and hopefully an agreement is reached. But please don’t think there isn’t going to be a little pain, and a little bleeding.
The idea is to keep the bleeding to a minimum as no to warrant anything more than a band-aid. Certainly no one wants to walk away from a deal with war-sized wounds. But a little bleeding is to be expected in most transactions. I always tell my buyers that I can get them 9 out of ten things on their wish list. And the same holds true during negotiations- hopefully I can get you 90% of the way there.
At that point, perhaps if the deal is right (for you), you are going to have to cough up that list nickle. And I am aware, it is that last nickle that is the toughest to part with!

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

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