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May 12, 2009

Buying a Rehabbed Center City Condo?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:15 pm

It is difficult to put a price on a new kitchen in say, The Hopkinson House condominiums, or the Academy House condos. Though it is easy to calculate what the seller may have paid for the new granite, the appliances, and the cabinetry, but what about all the other costs associated with a new kitchen in an existing high rise condo here in Philadelphia?

Consider the fact that you have to first plan for the new kitchen. You measure, you check, you curse, you get confused, you wing it, and you now have some plans. But you have to pull permits from the city. And get approval from your condo association. You then must shop for all the new ingredients- including baseboard, toekicks, quarter round, and backsplash tile. You then need to get rid of your old kitchen. It is not like you can just throw the sink down the trash chute. And you have to live with this mess. And without a kitchen for a while as well. Then you have to take delivery of the new cabinetry and appliances and all (from M-F 9am-4pm only in most Philadelphia condo highrise buildings) and see that your delivery men get a parking space, don’t bang the walls in the hallway, etc. Next plan for something to go wrong, and put your plans back 3 weeks. It happens. All the time 🙂

So congratulations. You now have a new kitchen. And a healthy respect for EVERYTHING you had to go through to get this new kitchen inside your new Center City condo. And you swear you will never do it again. So, you still think that new kitchen in the condo you are looking to buy is only worth $20,000?

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

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May 5, 2009

Pending Home Sales Jump 3.2%

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:57 pm

Yippee – Increase in sales contracts signed during March. 
  
I am generally not a big fan of NATIONAL real estate news, but here is one good sign….

Pending home sales rose in March for the second consecutive month and are up year over year. The Pending Home Sales Index from the National Association of Realtors showed a 3.2% gain to 84.6 from February, when it was 82. The index stands 1.6% higher than a year ago.

The consensus forecast of industry experts polled by Briefing.com had predicted no increase in the index.

It may still take a while before the market gains enough momentum to firmly state that the downturn has been reversed, according to Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. And, the upturn may have been boosted by the first-time homebuyers tax credit, a temporary measure that will lapse in December.

A ray of sunshine, in a storm of dismal housing news!

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

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April 28, 2009

Views can heavily influence value in High Rise Philadelphia condos

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:04 pm

…and floor height isn’t the only factor affecting values within the same buildings.

Probably the most overlooked effect on value to high rise condominium is the view that any particular piece of Philadelphia Real Estate has to offer. And not all views are created equal. Let compare and contrast a few different scenarios. All are based on my opinion, as a fairly seasoned realtor who specializes in condo sales I have learned a great deal about the effect on value that particular views may or may not have, and any given buyer’s perception of how that view might affect their desire to purchase.


 
1) It is possible for a posh condo to nearly double in value if it has a highly coveted view. Think Central Park.

2) In some buildings, the highest values have been posted not only on the highest floors, but also on what we call “treetop” view. A very nice view of the treetops, say on the 5Th floor of a high rise condo can be very appealing to a number of buyers

3) A condo on a high Floor does not always warrant a higher sales price. IS there a benefit to looking directly into a neighboring high rise condo building- from the 27Th vs the 8Th floor?

4) I personally have found few buyers to discriminate between an East vs West view. However, a number of condo values are greatly affected by a North Vs South view.

5) Not all views from the 16Th floor of various buildings are the same. Think about ceiling height, and windows that run floor to ceiling. The building itself can manipulate either the view, or the feeling that the view offers, and this in turn will affect resale value and overall appeal.
 
At times, the need for a good view can be bypassed if a condominium has great light. There are many Rittenhouse Square condos that offer tremendous natural light, be it north or south, east or west, that don’t necessarily have great visuals. I find a lot of buyers will fore-go a great view if the natural light is strong. Conversely, I find that a great view will not overcome the weakness of a dark condominium. I would suggest that natural light is a stronger motivator than a great view- at least in terms of resale ability.
So know that it has been my experience that view does indeed affect resale price and the time it may take to sell any given Philadelphia condominium. Though direct “park views” are the most desirable, there are compensating factors, and issues that can compensate for a lovely tree lined view of say, Washington Square. One needs to consider the window size, ceiling height, amount of natural light, and of course floor height. All factors should be considered when determining the resale ability of any given Philadelphia condo.

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

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April 16, 2009

Yippee! Congress has made it $8000 easier to buy your new home

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:06 pm

The new Federal Home Buyer Tax Credit provides $8000 to help qualified first-time home buyers get into the house of their dreams. Described as the opportunity of a lifetime, this program has drawn a lot of interest from the first-time buyers market, which seems to remain strong here in Center City Philadelphia. Coupled with very low interest rates, and a softening of home prices in the area, perhaps now might indeed be a good time to buy a home in Center City Philadelphia.

For more information, please visit: www.FederalHousingTaxCredit.com

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

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April 9, 2009

2201 Cherry St. – One Of the Top Three Best Buys in a Center City Condominium

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:15 pm

Located in the Logan Circle area of Center City (roughly, the mid North West quadrant of town), sits a quiet almost unnoticed mid/high rise condo buildings, simply known as 2201 Cherry St.

Clad in a white stucco-esque exterior interrupted by a series of windows and small balconies, this 11 story, fourty unit condominium building was first occupied in early 1988. Interestingly enough, almost all units have parking. Penthouse units available as well.
    
With just four units per floor, the building retains a somewhat quiet boutique feeling. A large (1055 sq ft) and small one bedroom condo (a whopping 948 sq ft!), and large (1264 sq ft.) and small (1115 sq. ft) two bedroom condo per floor. All the two bedroom units have walk in closets, and small balconies. And of course, each unit has its own heating and air conditioning units, and deeded on-site parking. Extra storage is provided for choice condos at 2201 Cherry St. We give this building our first “5 Star” recommendation!
    
Located close to the new Schuylkill River Trail, and not far from the Trader Joes food store, the location has seen a great improvement in services, and “things to do”. 2201 provides easy access to I-76 and the Amtrack Train station at 30th Street, as well as Kelly Drive, and the high rise business district along Market Street.
    
I choose 2201 Cherry St. as an outstanding value in the Philadelphia condo market because:  Prices are fairly undervalued , The on-site deeded parking, and the general layout of the units, and proximity to 30th Street Station, and access to I-676.    Some of the corner two bedroom units allow for an open kitchen/dining/livingroom combo that is a descent size for the price- provided you remove the non-load bearing partition between the two rooms. Not a difficult task, in my opinion.

Great value, an improving location, an active and progressive minded condominium association that manges the buiding well, are all the reasons why I think 2201 Cherry St. is tough to beat in terms of value in the Philadelphia real estate condo market.

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

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March 24, 2009

Old City – Once referred to as the Warehouse District

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 6:22 pm

Old City Philadelphia, or Olde City Philadelphia….either way, the neighborhood once blighted with unattractive and massive warehouses, is now the place to be for many searching for a hip and groovy condos in Philly. Once referred to as the “Warehouse district”, Old City has become the hip urban neighborhood that is much in demand! Converted factories and lofts dominate the Old City condos set. Though few townhomes are located within the Old City, many buyers find the attraction to the variety of loft space a real draw. Old City Condos in the area are many and varied. From studios to larger rambling spaces, the historic fabric and eclectic visuals make Old City a popular buying destination for Philadelphia’s residential condo buyers. 108 Arch, The Moravian condominiums, York Square, BridgeView Place condos, Wireworks condos, and the National in Old City are some of the big name condo projects in the area. All of Old City falls within the 19106 zip code. Area boundaries for Old City Philly are:  Front St. to the east, 5th St. to the west, and Walnut St. to the south, and Wood St. to the north.

I personally have lived in Old City for the past 16 out of my 20 years here in downtown Philadelphia, and really enjoy the neighborhood. The charm, history, and area shopping proximity are just a few bonuses to my Old City condo!

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106
 
Listen to Mark describe condos in Old City in a podcast
Read a blog entry about Old City lofts in Philadelphia
See video of an Old City condo that aired on HGTV!

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March 19, 2009

Dude-Your condo STILL smells like dog pee.

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 8:47 am

As a longtime Philadelphia Realtor, I see the value in a good appearance of your Center City Condominium, and a good first impression.

Nevermind that your kitchen has white appliances, and formica countertops. Those sins are forgiveable.  Most folks can even get past a seller’s vanilla bathroom and maybe even the lack of good natural light. But your ratty futon from your college days? Your clear lack of ownership in a sweeper, or a mop?  More than any home improvement, if you are looking to increase the value of your condo in Philly, get yourself some Mop N Glo, and get cleaning.

Most buyers are not interested in having your dirt and grime transfer with title. Unless of course, you are looking to attract really low offers.

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

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March 10, 2009

Exposed Brick Walls – Some finishing options

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:29 pm

Generally accompanied by oversized windows and high ceilings, exposed brick walls lend an air of casual comfort to many Old City lofts, and other Center City abodes. But the treatment of those walls need not take on the same ol’ look, time after time.

Some Opt to varnish, or apply polyurethane to the brick, thereby controlling the brick dust accumulation, and giving the brick a bit of a shine, not unlike shiny hardwood flooring.

Another option, which I strongly prefer, would be the Painted Exposed brick look. Though I can rarely convince others to paint their exposed brick, some of the coolest and most hip looks are achieved by taking a  colored paint to interior exposed brick finishes.

Of course, once you paint an exposed brick wall, you are kinda’ stuck with the look, unless you go and have the walls sandblasted. Not a process I would wish upon my worst enemy! Messy, to say the least.

Looking for cool and hip? Let’s take a look at some units together? Maybe a Fitler Square Condo? Give me a call at 215.521.1523 or email me at Mark@CenterCity.com.

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

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March 5, 2009

Views can heavily influence value in High Rise Philadelphia condos

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

…and floor height isn’t the only factor affecting values within the same buildings
 
Probably the most overlooked effect on value to high rise Rittenhouse Square condos is the view that any particular condominium building offers. And not all views are created equal. Let compare and contrast a few different scenarios. All are based on my opinion, as a fairly seasoned Center City realtor who specializes in condo sales-
 
1) It is possible for a posh Rittenhouse Square condo to nearly double in value if it has a full squre view (as opposed to say the identical unit with NO view of the square).

2) In some buildings, the highest values have been posted not only on the highest floors, but also on what we call “treetop” view. A very nice view of the treetops, say on the 5th floor of a Philadelphia highrise condo can be very appealling to a number of buyers

3) A condo on a high Floor does not always warrant a higher sales price. IS there a benefit to looking directly into a neighboring high rise condo building- from the 27th vs the 8th floor?

4) I personally have found few buyers to discriminate between an East vs West view. However, a number of condo values are greatly affected by a North Vs South view.

 

5) Not all views from the 16th floor of various buildings are the same. Think about ceiling height, and windows that run floor to ceiling. The building itself can manipulate either the view, or the feeling that the view offers, and this in turn will affect resale value and overall appeal.

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

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July 22, 2008

I don’t mean to be a “big brain” when it comes to Center City Condos or anything, but…

Filed under: General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:27 am

Wouldn’t it be a good idea of the architects of many of the Center City condo projects here in town, consulted an experienced Philadelphia condominium specialist, when laying out the floor plans for their new Center City condo project?

I have seen some screwy ideas that have been implemented in the Philly condo market, and many of buyers are like….”what the hell?? ”   For example, one prominent building, which I think quite highly of, has the exact kitchen in the studio, as they do the jumbo penthouse units. This kitchen is ample for the penthouse, but takes up about 55% of the living area of the studio. 


 
Way to think things out, Columbo.  Studio units target 22 year olds (on the whole). I don’t know a 22 year old that owns more than two pans, a cookie sheet, and a measuring cup. So this huge kitchen detracts from the value of this particular Center City condo unit. 

Next up is a personal favorite, the popular $700,000 two bedroom Philly skyscraper unit (roughly 1250 sq ft) with no closet space. If my buyers can afford the unit, they are not interested in stuffing their Prada in an armoire.  It appears that if I compare/contrast the various floor plans of many new Philadelphia condos, I find an excessive amount of square footage used for hallways.

 Hallway space can easily be converted to walk-in closet space, with minor adjustments to floor plan, or “flow” of the unit. My buyers will tell you to shove the hallway, and give them a good walk-in closet or two!    

The point of this post is to always remember to give the buyers what they want. And who would know better about what specific buyers want, than an experienced realtor?

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

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530 Walnut Street, Suite 480
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Direct: 215.521.1523 ~ Office: 215.627.6005
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Email: Mark@CenterCity.com
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