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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

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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May 8, 2009

Hard vs. Soft Lofts

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 12:13 pm

Almost any Center City condominium, with a smattering of exposed brick, attempts to pass itself off as a loft. Often sought after as an expression of one’s own style, loft living has taken off in downtown Philadelphia. Lofts vary in look, layout, and location throughout downtown Philly. Some loft condos impress mightily, and others are cheap imitations of highly unique, urban treasures hidden in pockets of Old City, Bella Vista, and of course, The Loft District around 13th and Vine Streets.

The best example of a hard loft in Center City might be The Old Shoe Factory at 314 N. 12th St. From an unadorned cavernous lobby area, up to the eighth floor via a converted oversized warehouse lift, the units are characterized by hugely oversized windows, exposed brick, minimalist kitchens, and bedrooms that are open to the living area. Fantastic city views, high ceilings, and a few units with polished cement floors. Minimalistic at best, these condos truly tag at the definition of a live/work open space where room size is valued over room count.

A fair example of a soft loft might be BridgeView Place at 315 New St. in Old City. With the prerequisite high ceilings, and touches of exposed brick, these condos have been compartmentalized to include bedrooms, walled off kitchen areas, and walk-in closets. Some units at BridgeView do indeed have a loft bed perched above the living space, but those units are few and far between. The conversion to condominiums in the mid 1980’s at 315 New St. is a good example of a reasonable living space, with a bit of “lofty” flair.

A Center City Philadelphia loft can come in a variety of sizes, styles, and locations throughout downtown Philadelphia. Some more true to their “lofty roots” than others, loft living of all proportions is gaining popularity amongst the empty-nester set moving into town from the suburbs and elsewhere. Many of the available loft condos today didn’t exist in the early 1990’s when the very first empty nester/baby boomer began trickling into Center City. And judging from the success of many loft and loft-like sales throughout the area, buyers are finding individuality can be expressed through the (loft) style in which they choose to live.

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

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April 14, 2009

How much noise can you expect to hear from your Philly condo neighbors?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 11:02 am

Some is to be expected. Keeping you awake is beyond reasonable.


 
I know one new Philadelphia condo conversion project here in town where the occupants say you can hear your neighbors’ alarm clock go off and phone ring. I know other buildings that have exposed ceiling timbers, with no insulation, in which you can hear every footstep of your upstairs neighbor. I live in a converted warehouse condominium, and steps were taken to reduce the possibility of hearing my neighbor upstairs. And though I am aware when he is home, I am seldom bothered or annoyed. (Except when Tammy, his high-heel wearing friend comes over and does a clog dance of some kind- directly over my living room. 🙂 )
    
There certainly  has to be some degree of forgiveness when living in close proximity of other folks. Be it noise from above, below, or through an adjoining wall, you may become aware of the fact that you have neighbors. However if the racket from others is driving you crazy in (say) your Rittenhouse Square condo, I would suggest the following:
 
1) Make sure your common hallways are carpeted. Aside from quieting footsteps, carpeting will prevent the hallways from becoming an echo chamber.

2) Find a condo building in which the developer has “stacked” the bedroom. Having a bedroom above you is generally better than having a living room above you, especially in some of the converted loft/warehouse lofts in Old City.

3) Should your bedroom be adjacent to your neighbors living room (more common in newer construction), have a layer of soundproof sheet-rock added to that wall.

4) Make sure you have a high quality door sweep on the bottom of your front door to keep out hallway noise.

5) Make sure condo rules are enforced. Many condo docs state that 70% of each condo unit must be carpeted. Rarely enforced, but an option.

Concerned about living too close to others? Lets discuss more options!

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

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March 31, 2009

The Lure of the Philadelphia Real Estate Market to Empty Nesters

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:07 pm

Neighbors thought Edward and Connie were nuts to abandon their idyllic suburban oasis, replete with ducks flying to and from the pond, for a 17′ wide row house in Center City in 1989. A row house without parking, or more than a small square slab of cement to call a back yard. And four stories from basement to top floor.  Edwards and Connie’s move signaled a shift in the residential paradigm. Their parents left the city after World War II, and come hell or high water, they weren’t coming back. But Gordon and Ellen think of themselves as far to cool and hip to spend their days in a five bedroom ranch house with a half acre of land, and a basement full of tools and half used accrutremones. Recall, they are the generation that said words like “groovy”, and “right on”. The idea of never owning a lawmower, nor a garage full of half used brooms and shovels -appeals to many an empty nester. No more yard work, no more owning more than one car, and no more having to repair the roof. The thought of new surroundings, in a new luxury condominium, with much less responsibility (and therefore more freedom) is again very appealling.


     
Baby boomers, becoming empty nesters provided the fuel needed for many new projects that have recently been added to Center City’s skyline. Buyers of many luxury condominiums her in downtown Philadelphia have made wonderful gains in the last twenty years, with respect to their real estate investments. That money is coming to town, without the burden of private schools for the kids, the kids, and often comes during prime earning years. It is their turn to treat themselves, and the developers of many condominium buildings are positioning themselves to take advantage of that market.


    
The perception that downtown Philadelphia has really come a long way over the past twenty years, from being cleaner, safer, and culturally more adept -are all reasons that contribute to the lure of the empty nester set. From friends who have also made the move, to museums, restaurants, shopping, and the bike trails up the Schuykill river, Philadelphia is shaping up to be a fine residential attraction, and empty nesters have taken notice. And to think that South Broad street is now the place to see and be seen. Who would have thought?

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

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March 26, 2009

Real Estate Appreciation and Depreciation in the Center City condo market

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:27 pm

Not all fluctuations in value have a direct correlation to one event, or one particular quality to a particular Philadelphia condominium. Rather, a Phildelphia condominium’s value, and the rate of change therein, is really a product of a host of factors.

  
    
Obvious factors are the showing ability and emotional impact that a particular condo unit does or does not possess: cleanliness, natural light, wall color, furniture, even the smell of a condo can add or subtract from the emotional beauty, and leads to a huge impact on a condos value. In my twenty years of selling real estate, I have never had a buyer tell me to find him the dirtiest, or the worst decorated condo available. Easily, as much a ten percent difference in value depending upon showing ability. And of course interior condition can also have a major impact on value. Beige bathtubs and appliances can crimp value fairly quickly in a lot of cases.  And of course the physical charactoristics of any given unit can help or hurt the units value (think- huge closets, a tax abatment, high ceilings,etc). Styles, like appliances and carpeting have a tendency to age, and that is usually accompanied by a slower rate of appreciation. Clearly, more recently rehabbed, say, Rittenhouse Square condos are going to retain their value better than a unit in a state of disrepair or decline in its finishes. Also prohibitive condominium association rules and policies can deter many buyers from specific buildings. A host of factors can cause units to sit on the market longer than normal, and almost always guaranteeing a lessened resale value.    

Location is also a huge factor to the rate of either appreciation or depreciation. Stronger locations in town have a tendency to be a bit more elastic- they are the first neighborhoods to see a drop in inventory with any influx of buyers to the market. That’s a good thing. Recall the principles of supply and demand. I would argue that a strong location is going to depreciate less -because IF in a weakened marketplace, the first condos to remain unsold are in the weaker locations. (The flip side is that you might be able to strike a significantly improved deal, should you be looking away from an “A” location.)
 
I am just brushing the surface here, but know that not all condos in town will appreciate or depreciate at the same rate. Or sell within the same given timeframe. The best tools you have to insure your value remains intact is twofold:

1) Buy it at the right price in the first place and/or

2) Keep your unit looking like it just jumped off the pages of Town and Country Magazine.

Easier said than done, I am aware!

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

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March 17, 2009

Philadelphia Condominium Pet Policies

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:19 am

…Vary Building by Building


 
Every condominium association has its own rule governing 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 Clinton Condominiums at 11th and Clinton Streets. 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 be prone to bite others.

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 condo buildings with large populations (Academy House)  generally will not allow dogs. The Philadelphian, at 2401 Pennsylvania Ave. goes as far as to prohibit dogs and cats. I understand not wanting some wreckless 19 year old kid with his mean dog in an elevator with my 94 year old grandmother.

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

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

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February 24, 2009

Inflexible Sellers of New Construction High Rise Condos

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:11 pm

Do they, or do they not negotiate?

Sometimes developers of new condo buildings here in town will negotiate price. Sometimes they won’t. At times, sales staff will casually “leak” a phrase like- “make us an offer”, or “the seller is getting motivated”.

   

As someone who sells a fair share of new construction condos in Philadelphia, I can pretty much tell you that each seller is different, and each offer varying, disguised degrees of flexibility.

Here is how I describe the range of seller flexibility in new construction:
 
1) Seller will not budge an inch. This approach protects the values, for those who have already purchased in this piece of Philadelphia real estate.

2) Seller will not budge on price, but may throw in some free upgrades- from hardwood floors, to a Smart Car, to a free parking space.

3) Seller is very flexible on price. Make an offer, and perhaps a quick settlement, without interior cosmetic alterations, will do the trick

4) Seller is very flexible on price, and if you want changes to the interior, plus free parking, then make the offer.
 
Every seller is a different. And many factors may be pulling the seller into one camp, or another. Consider-
 
1) Does the seller have really deep pockets?

2) Is the seller perhaps nearing the very end of the sales in that building, and is that a motivator for him or her?

3) Is this project fresh off the drawing boards, and does the seller need to establish a predetermined number of sales, in order for him or her to get bank financing to build the building?
 
Give me a call at 215.521.1523 or drop me an email at Mark@CenterCity.com if you might like some help in finding your new Center City condo!

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

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February 20, 2009

What are your priorities when buying A Philadelphia condo?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 11:01 am

Some buyers favor space. Others location. Some buyers want only the BEST city views
 
All home buyers priorities are like snowflakes- no two are ever the same.

Are you strickly looking for a highrise, or a brownstone styled condo? 

Do you desire a gorgous, modern new construction piece that shows like a dream?  

           

How about proximity to your work, or your play areas of Center City?    
 
My job as a Philadelphia realtor is very simple: Discover your priorities (via casually looking at some properties together), until I can identify exactly what you seek in a Center City condo, then take you two that home, or group of homes. I am pretty adept at matching condos and people. The key for me is getting good feedback from my buyers.

I need to learn about what you like and don’t like….and why. I am not going to be offended if you really
dislike Mr. and Mrs. Seller’s living room. I just have to know why you dislike what you are seeing, so I can
put the pieces of the puzzle together to find you your perfect new home!
 
Call me at 215.521.1523 or drop me an email at Mark@CenterCity.com…let’s chat about your priorities in a Center City condominium!

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

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February 18, 2009

Tax Credit for Homebuyers

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:20 am

Here is a solid breakdown of the information in the stimulus bill the President signed:

First-time homebuyers who purchase homes from the start of the year until the end of November 2009 may be eligible for the lower of an $8,000 or 10% of the value of the home tax credit.  Remember a tax credit is very different than a tax deduction – a tax credit is equivalent to money in your hand, as opposed to a tax deduction which only reduces your taxable income.

The tax credit starts phasing out for couples with incomes above $150,000 and single filers with incomes above $75,000.  Buyers will have to repay the credit if they sell their homes within three years.

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If you have any questions or would like to discuss how you can apply this tax credit to your Center City Condo purchase, please feel free to call me at 215.521.1523 or drop me an email 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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Philadelphia, PA 19106
Direct: 215.521.1523 ~ Office: 215.627.6005
Fax: 215.627.3142
Email: Mark@CenterCity.com
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