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December 2007

December 31, 2007

Philadelphia Condominiums-The DIY version

Filed under: Of Interest To Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 12:57 pm

There are contractors, and there are designers. And there is you. Let’s say you are neither.

But let’s say the “DIY” bug has hit you, because you read a book, and now you think you are both.

Well…uh, good luck with that.

Some home improvements are similar to how certain guys dance at weddings….just all wrong. And you know it the minute they hit the dance floor. Truly cringe worthy and laughable. But true to form, they have no idea how goofy they look out there trying their best to impress the ladies. But everyone else does!

Is This How You Roll?

You know what I mean here…..The cheap brass bathroom  sink faucet, paired with brushed nickel shower fixtures.  Or one of my true favorites, dark green wall to wall carpeting in a room with burnt orange colored walls.  Or the moderately acceptable DIY improvements coupled with the living room couch that was discarded at the curb by a neighbor, that magically found its way into your life.

There is overwhelming validity to carpenters, contractors, and designers work. And if you are (say) an accountant, perhaps you should allow the professionals to do what they do best. I sure as heck am not going to allow my plumber to work on my taxes. Would you? You should never underestimate the emotional impact your Philadelphia condominium exudes….or the lack thereof.

What you may not see, may be readily apparent to others. Like the lovely limo pictured above. Sure, it’s a limo. And it is a Honda. Put the two together, and you have one extraordinary piece of crap. There is always a side of an issue that others see, that you perhaps don’t. And having been a Philadelphia realtor for nineteen years now, I have seen “The dark side” of DIY home improvements, and they are not all pretty.  The emotional strength of your Center City Condo is going to equate directly to its marketability, and the eventual sale price.

So they next time you think you are some fancy-pants, limo-riding hipster, perhaps you should seek the advice of the professionals. Because like the “clueless wonder” on the wedding reception dance floor, not everyone is going to be impressed with your skills, regardless of how many “Do It Yourself” books you buy at the local hardware store.

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

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December 27, 2007

New Construction Sales Policies for Philadelphia Lofts and Condominiums – Buyer Representation

Filed under: Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:17 am

It seems to be universal that all new construction condominium sales policies here in Center City Philadelphia state that buyers must have realtor in tow, on first visit, in order to be represented by said agent.

To which I say, “Bull”. 

Ok, here is a scenario: You are my buyer (I am your realtor, a buyer representative) and you happen upon an open house in say a highrise, new luxury construction project here in Center City Philadelphia.  IF I AM NOT ATTACHED TO YOUR SIDE, AT THAT FIRST VISIT….YOU LOOSE.  I cannot represent you in that particular sale, should you decide to buy in the development.  The developer’s sales staff, at that point, will refuse to recognize me as your buyers agent.  They instead will be your agent, and represent you.

How do you like them apples?

Now… How many buyers, new to our town, are going to know that fact, right off the bat? I would guess, not many.  Even if you and I have been working together, to find a condo for the past six months, and I have been educating you, holding your hand, giving my best advice, and you are planning on naming your first born after me, I cannot represent you unless I accompany you on your first visit to that condominium building.

What kind of suggestion can I offer to such a buyer, who goes to such an Open House without their Realtor? Maybe they can tell the sales staff of their working relationship to said agent, and ask to get that agent on the phone. Maybe the sales staff will then see the commitment that buyer has with his agent, and offer a “Get Out Of Jail Free” card. Maybe that developer’s agent would say, “It’s alright, we can let you slide”.  Maybe not.

It is my opinion that developers are selling themselves short on this issue. I mean come on…you basically steal one of my good long term clients, who has their mom in town for the weekend, can’t reach me, goes to your open house, and your are not going to recognize me? Go ahead, Mr. Developer, and I promise you, I will be the bigger man, and not discourage my buyer from buying your product. You have my word on it.

But I can’t speak for the other 1,587 agents who can sell condos here in Center City Philadelphia.

If you are interested in obtaining honest buyer representation before you make a visit to a new construction loft or condominium here in Center City Philadelphia give me a call at 215-521-1523 or send me an email at

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

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December 20, 2007

No One Likes Cold Feet

Filed under: General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:39 am

So you are cozying up after a warm bath in your luxurious Philadelphia condominium sipping on a nice hot cup of tea and enjoying the stunning view of the snow falling outside atop the Center City skyline. 


Beautiful….calm….serene…..and the phone rings.  Oh, boy, you left your slippers in the bathroom and the walk across the hardwood flooring to the kitchen will be pretty chilly on your toes!

Well, maybe not!  There is a great new ENERGY STAR qualified way to actually warm your floors.  

Nuheat Floor Warming Systems.  It’s like a Center City Philadelphia Condominium owner’s winter holiday wish come true! You can use it under tile, stone, laminate, or engineered wood floors in any room!  


The heating system is pre-built like an electric blanket.  It heats evenly and is only 1/8 inch thick so it won’t dramatically raise the flooring in your condo.  It’s easy to install and safe too!  It must be installed with a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI), which is built in, of course.  It was tested and approved for use in North American Homes by the Underwriter’s Laboratory.

The 7-day programmable thermostat will also keep operating costs down, not that Nuheat uses much energy to begin with.  Warming a 30 square foot room in your condominium at full power (80-90 degrees) will only use the same amount of electricity as turning on three 100 watt light bulbs in that room.  But with the programmable thermostat you can set it up so that the stone floors will warm in the kitchen while you are preparing dinner and your tile bathroom floor will warm while you are taking a shower and then the hardwood floors in the bedroom will warm for when you step out of bed on a chilly morning.  Once Nuheat is installed in your condo, you can throw your slippers to the dogs! 

If you are interested in taking a look at some lofts or condos here in Center City Philadelphia where you can install Nuheat, give Mark Wade a call at 215-521-1523 or send him an email at

Nicole Noguer
Office Assistant to Mark Wade
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®

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December 18, 2007

I Love Paying Condo Fees

Filed under: Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:44 am

After eighteen years of selling Philadelphia condominiums, I am still in awe of the common misinformation, unwarranted dislike, and general avoidance of two simple words in our English language:   Condo Fees.You would think the two words were similar to perhaps a monster from the swamps who has come to eat you, and steal your car. Generally speaking, that is not the case. Most studies have found condo fees to be harmless.

In fact, I pay condo fees and I couldn’t be happier.  These fees get me discounts on items such as a master insurance policy, yearly termite treatments, water service bills, and daily trash removal.  These condo fees also help level out some costs like exterior painting, roof repairs, and snow removal. They also enable me to put a portion of the monthly fees aside, for Rainy Day types of building expenditures.

I don’t have to do any repairs to the outside of my building, and I can have a professional management company handle all the common bill paying issues….all for less than if I had to “go it alone” and pay for many similar items on my own.

So I am happy to pay condo fees. And NO, they are not tax deductible. Is your water bill, exterior lighting bill, or your cost to remove snow from your front sidewalk tax deductible? I didn’t think so….

So, if you love the idea paying condo fees like I do, and you are interested buying a Center City Loft or Condominium so you can start paying your own, give me a call at 215-521-1523 or send me an email at and I’d be happy to help you find your dream home (condo fees included)!


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

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December 13, 2007

Deal Killers

Filed under: Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:20 pm

There are a variety of reasons why buyers don’t buy “the perfect Philadelphia condominium” when they see it. A whole host of valid reasons exist why someone would balk at the condo of their dreams. Other reasons are a bit less sane. I call these “deal killers”.

One of my favorite surefire deal killers is the clingy mother. The mom who doesn’t want her son or daughter to grow up and move away from home, so they reject everything that comes down the line.  Or the jealous friend. Buyer finds a home, falls for it, and brings a friend back for a second or third look. Buyer’s friend is jealous because her or she is not the center of attention, and axes the deal with discouraging words like, “this bedroom seems kinda’ small”, or “your potential new neighbor seems kinda’ creepy”. 

I once had a couple who desperately wanted to buy a home…or so I thought. Every time we got close to finding their dream home, the female of this couple got a really serious, almost frightened look on her face. I couldn’t sell them a home. They broke up a month later. Turned out the female realized that buying a home with her boyfriend meant a long future with him. Guess she just didn’t have the heart to tell him during the home shopping process. Fear is a real deal killer. One of the most difficult issues for a realtor to overcome is the fear a buyer has of simply buying.

Some buyers may not actually be looking for a home when they call. My favorite story is of a handsome co-worker who used to place his for sale ads, along with a photo of himself in the local gay paper.  I am not sure how successful he was with this marketing approach, but I do believe he was successful in netting more than one heavy breather kind of phone calls. Nothing more. Just some heavy breathing on the other end of the line. Funny how heavy breathing rarely translates into a sale of a Society Hill condominium.

Equally amusing is the overly supportive friend/parent, who are all too eager to help pull the trigger. They want to be so helpful and positive, that they can’t seem to find any possible downside to the house or condo. Suggestions such as “any closet is a walk-in closet if you try hard enough, Dorothy”.   Or, “do you really need a window in your living room”?  Such folks are a slick realtors’ dream come true!  Kidding.   

A good friend or good parent knows their place when looking at a home or condo with a loved one. They should be there to be supportive. Supportive in an honest, straightforward kind of way. Don’t let yourself call a hellhole a doll house, and vice versa. And if you don’t want your child or roommate moving out,  then perhaps you should just let fate take its course and get yourself a kitten like a normal person might.  Please don’t hesitate to voice your opinion, but maybe throw your opinion out for discussion, instead of presenting it like the gospel.  You will be doing much more good than you might think!

When you are ready to start looking at lofts and condominiums around town, give me a call at 215-521-1523 or send me an email at   

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


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December 11, 2007

I Love Old City!

Filed under: Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:52 am

I love Old City. And fyi…it is not Olde City….the area located in the eastern part of downtown Philadelphia is spelled Old City. Now there may be Olde city dry cleaners, but that spelling is generally for private businesses.

Anyway, it is a gorgeously sunny fall Sunday afternoon, and we had brunch with our friends at the Continental Restaurant at 2nd and Market Streets. Now mid afternoon, and I decide to take a stroll. I first head to Fosters, where I shop in their new store for kitchen gadgets. Then I stop at Gianfranco pizza for a slice and a coke. Cost me $2.50.  They had Italian Soccer on the TV. Not that I am a big fan of soccer. And the two words I know in Italian are Rigatoni and ziti. But the place is clean, and kinda’ has a European feel. It was great!   Then I stopped by Starbucks on the corner of 3rd and Arch Streets to buy two Black Bottom brownies. The ones that are calorie free, and much like eating celery. Right.  Then down Arch Street to cute little Mulberry Market which is across from the Betsy Ross House for a half gallon of cranberry juice.  I see a billboard for a Michael Yaron development, and get excited to see what kind of condominiums he is going to plant in our neighborhood. I think he does fabulous work, and that the area can only benefit by one of his additions. And I gaze into the windows of a few art dealers on 2nd Street in Old City, and try to grasp the ideas being expressed. I walk away feeling like this art is somehow smarter than me.
I did all this today, and have yet to drive my car.

And that is what I love about living in Old City here in downtown urban Philadelphia. You can walk around the block, stop two or three times, check out a new condominium open house, pick up all the items you need for that day, and walk home. Maybe bump into someone I recognize. I don’t need to say hello. A quick nod assures both parties that there is some recognition of Old City tenancy.  I stop to read yet another “stop work order” that has been posted by L&I because some goof thinks they can do work to their buildings without permits. They must be new around these parts.  Like Betsy Ross, I have been around Old City section of Center City Philadelphia for quite some time, and I love every minute of it!

(I have never been to Topeka, but I am sure it is not this bad. Props to

If you are interested in living an “Old City” lifestyle give me a call at 215-521-1523 or send me an email at  I would love to take a stroll together in my favorite neighborhoods and take a look at some new Philadelphia condominiums and lofts.

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

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December 6, 2007

Do You Smell That?

Filed under: Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:11 am

There can be no doubt that there is a link between smell and memory, smell and emotion, as well as a connection between the smell of a Philadelphia condo and how you feel about that particular Center City condominium.  The links between the two are strong, even though the smell may not be too severe. And often times, a seller of a particular, say Society Hill condo may be the worst judge of how his or her condominium may come off to a buyers olfactory sense.

I was in the basement of a new construction high rise condo building the other day. Happily showing my potential Philadelphia condominium buyer around, when we came across a community room that was located in the lower level of this new building. And wham! It hit. A really dungy, damp, almost swamp like feeling. It was not pretty. And my usually talkative buyer clammed up. Something was wrong, and it needed some attention. What was it? Did I say something offensive?

No, it was the smell. It smelled like a place that I certainly didn’t want to be, and I could read my buyer’s expression from across the room. These new Philadelphia condominiums were located in a building that had common areas that smelled like hell. It certainly did cast a pall on the potential excitement that this gym/community room could elicit. My buyer knew that this was an area she would be avoiding. And not that it expressly killed her enthusiasm about the building, but it was indeed a negative.

Seller are often too close, or too used to a smell to recognize the negativity associated with such an olfactory “turnoff”. I mean, we all know when we step in dog poop, and get into our car, or our house. It is a foreign smell that wasn’t there the day before. But if your Philadelphia loft has say a basic “dog smell” because your big fluffy dog likes to roll around on the couch when he or she is wet from going out in the rain, that could be a problem. Because though ingrained in your brain as something you are familiar with on a daily basis, Mr. and Mrs. Rittenhouse Square Condominium buyer can quickly and easily be turned off by such a foreign scent.

TO THIS DAY, I will never forget a home I toured back in the early 1990’s. A lovely condo at 19th and Spruce Streets. It smelled great. It smelled like the kind of home I would want to live in. I wanted to curl up on that couch, and stay. It was such a warm, nice, clean scent, that to this day, I still think fondly of that condominium unit. I am sure the sellers, and their smell are long gone, but the emotion that the unit conveyed was memorable. I still speak highly of that condominium.

Bad smells are turn offs. Good smells can linger in one’s brain for a long long time. And many Philadelphia condominium owners do not know the difference. Bad smell can easily spell trouble. My suggestion. Ask. Ask a friend, a potential listing agent for your condo, or a family member. And ask them to be honest, because there are few greater turnoffs than a bad odor coming from your condo unit!

Looking to sniff out a great deal? Ask Mark to help you…..give him a call at 215.521.1523 or send him an email at

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

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December 4, 2007

Philadelphia Real Estate – The Best Cocktail Party Topic Ever!

Filed under: Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:09 am

Consider this blog entry my gift to those who might find themselves at a loss for words at any given cocktail party. Just a few tips on what YOU can do to spark a conversation with that person across the room that you have been making eyes at all evening long, but are afraid to approach. Ask where they are from, mention something about Philadelphia real estate, then go off on one of the following easy to remember tangents:

1) I hear real estate in Philadelphia is still sailing along quite well. Though other cities might be experiencing the backlash from the sub-prime mortgage market, and a high foreclosure rate, from what I read, Center City lofts and condos seems to be holding their own.

2) Did you hear about the new Liberty Two condominiums they are building in Center City? I saw them online the other day at, and could you imagine living on the 58th floor overlooking downtown? The views are just fabulous….

3) Have you ever thought of moving into a Center City loft or condo in one of the new loft buildings around Rittenhouse Square? I hear that the demand is remaining fairly strong, even through what some might perceive to be a national housing crisis!?

4) Waterfront condos seem to be taking off in Center City. I saw a few of the recent buildings, including Waterfront Square condos, and The Dockside condominiums, and they  look really appealing. I was surprised at how tempting living in Center City might be…..

5) I understand the Symphony House has really brightened up Broad St. It looks like the area is really coming alive with all the cultural activities, and the area around Broad and Pine Streets seems to be very attractive.

Now certainly these are just a few of the hundreds of topics you could bring up in order to insure a receptive audience at your next cocktail party. Learning a bit about Philadelphia real estate, and say, Center City lofts, and Center City condominiums may be helpful prior to your bringing up such topics, but know that Philadelphia real estate is a topic that a lot of folks like to discuss, and enjoy hearing. So the next time you are standing in a corner by yourself, be prepared to bring up a topic on Philadelphia lofts, or say Rittenhouse Square condos. You just might be surprised at the ears you can bend with a little preparedness on your part!

Buying and Selling Philadelphia condominiums has never been easier with one of s Mark’s websites, like Look, or listen (to his Philadelphia real estate podcasts) and you too might just find yourself the person party goers listen to at your next gathering!

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

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