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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 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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January 29, 2009

Philly New Construction Condos

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:27 pm

Philadelphia has been graced with some wonderful, and some not so wonderful additions to their condominium inventory over the past five years. Some are selling quite well, and some- well, not so much.

I think that the popularity of a certain building has to do more with the buildings cache, or “je ne sais quoi” rather than the normal fluctuations that occur within a given real estate market at any given time.  By that I mean that some buildings are, and have sold well due to either the builder’s name, or hype that surrounds such buildings. The lack of such hype can be devastating. 

From ultra-contemporary to elegantly conservative, Philadelphians seem split on the style design of the condos they prefer.  We have seen some very high end Penthouse units sell in Old City lately, and the addition of the most modern building to hit town become erected at 13th and South Streets.

New construction is favored by many, due to Philadelphia’s tax abatement , and the stylish finishes found in many new high and mid rise Center City condo buildings. Even high-end condos can be found, bursting with amenities, in some low rise Brownstone conversions projects found scattered about town.

In a town that brought you Ben Franklin, and Betsy Ross, historic and pre-war condos do have their place. But for some, there is nothing like a new construction condo here in Center City Philadelphia.

Like New? Prefer Old? Let’s chat! 

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

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January 20, 2009

Putting Foreclosures into perspective

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:38 pm

One of the most distressing real estate topics we hear in the news is the foreclosure rate.  Realty Trac, the California based company that tracks foreclosure information, just released the news that foreclosures rose 81% in 2008.  But to put this in the proper perspective, one needs to consider two things:
 
The total percentage of homes in foreclosure is 1.84%.  An 81% increase appears dramatic, but the fact is that this overall percentage rate is relatively small.

 
 
The majority of foreclosures are in areas of the country where real estate values rose at unsustainable rates and/or land available for development caused excess new construction.  These include the coastal areas of California and Florida, as well as Arizona and Las Vegas, Nevada.  One of the primary reasons that there has been steep price declines in these areas is because of the number of foreclosed properties on the market. 
 
The eight-county Philadelphia region placed 77th of 100 metro areas nationwide in the number of foreclosure filings recorded in 2008, not too bad.

If you are looking to find a great deal here in Center City Philadelphia, give me a call 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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August 26, 2008

Paint Your Philadelphia Condo While Drinking a Martini…at Behr.com

Filed under: General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:22 pm

I just saw one of the neatest innovations in painting that can save you a bungle of time, energy, and money. Huge secret here…it is called Behr.com. Behr is a paint company that has developed this online service in which you can pay $4.95, and upload a photo of any particular room in your new Rittenhouse Square condominium, or Old City flat. Then you simply click through their 3700 plus paint colors, to see how that room would look in any of those colors. From eggplant, to a nice sage green, this service is the ultimate “try before you buy” idea, and I think many first time buyers/painters could benefit from such a service.

                  

How Fabulous! If you have painted any room in your Society Hill condo in the past, you know as well as I do how easy it is to “miss” the color you were going for. Even by a little bit, a soft yellow can appear just awful- perhaps the yellow you picked is a little bold, has too much green mixed in, or is just wrong for the  lighting you have in any given room. This service is going to allow you to see the entire color, on a larger wall surface of any given room you choose, to make sure the color is right for that particular room.

            

And you know as well as I do, that paint cans have a tendency to gather in your closets or storage areas of your Philadelphia condo, and can generally outlive human beings in general. Just think of how many paint cans you WON’T have lingering for decades in that dark corner of your basement storage area! And believe me, this way of “painting a room” is a lot easier to do while downing a Martini or two.  Painting and drinking can now go hand in hand! Yippee!

Give it a try, and see if you don’t agree!

Looking for an easier way to buy your future condo in Philadelphia? Give Mark Wade a call at 215.521.1523 and let him show you a few condos here in Center City.

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

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August 14, 2008

What is a Mortgage “Point”?

Filed under: Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:59 pm

Very simply put, a point is equal to one percent of the mortgage amount of your loan for your Philadelphia condo or flat- be it a Rittenhouse Square condominium, or a Society Hill loft. Points are not mandatory, in most cases, and are offered by a bank in return for a lowering of your interest rate.

Let’s say you buy a $550,000 condo in Philadelphia. You are going put 5% down, so your mortgage amount is $500,000. Here is how points work:

You pay 1 point (payable to the lender), which costs you $5,000 and your interest rate is 6%
You pay 2 points, which will cost you $10,000, and your interest rate is 5.75%

Now, if you monthly mortgage payment is going to drop (say) $100 a month BECAUSE you paid a point, it will take you 50 months to recoup that $5000 investment in that one point.

You save $100 a month, and paid $5000 for that honor. Hence 50 months to recoup.

So it begs the question, are you SURE you are going to live in this Rittenhouse Square condo for over four years? Because if you are not sure how long you are going to stay put, it may not be in your best interest to pay that point. I have been a realtor in Philadelphia for almost twenty years now, and I sell a lot of condos in Center City. I don’t see a lot of folks staying put for more than four years. They get a dog, a family, a lawnmower, a promotion, a transfer, and they are off to bigger and better pastures. Empty nesters would be the exception to this general rule.

So there you have it…..for more information, check out my website www.CenterCityCondos.com and click the Vendor Menu button for mortgage solicitors who can explain more about financing a wide variety of condos in Philadelphia.

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
Fax: 215.627.3142
Email: Mark@CenterCity.com
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