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April 2009

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

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April 21, 2009

Finding the right Philadelphia condo…is like playing 20 questions

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:39 pm

It is really simple. I show you a condo. Then I ask…is this too small? What do you think of the view? The closet space? The layout?

Then we visit the 2nd condo, and the questions are: What do you think of this building? How do you like the location? Is the kitchen big enough?

Then we go to the 3rd condo, and I ask: How do you feel about rental parking being around the corner, as opposed to on-site? Do you like the bathrooms? How adverse are you to paying higher condo fees (for things like doormen, and elevators)?

Finding you the right (say) Rittenhouse Square flat, or say Old City loft is a function of how well you can verbalize your “dream condo”, and me being able to interpret what you say, and match that to the current Center City Philadelphia inventory of condos.

It is not rocket science. However, I am a fairly quick study, and I know the Philadelphia real estate market better than most (if you don’t mind me being a big-brain)….

So give me a call at 215.521.1523 or drop me an email at Let’s play 20 questions, and let’s see if I can come up with your dream Philadelphia condo!

Mark Wade
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:

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

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April 7, 2009

Strickland Row Condominiums

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:07 pm

Strickland Row condos are named after William Strickland, who was a noted architect in 19th century Philadelphia, and is made up of a collection of six similar mansion-style homes, plus an adjoining approx. 8-story rear elevator building with about 68 individually owned units. It was declared a condominium in 1981. There are many variations between the units in detail and size. The largest is a massively gorgeous condo that is nearly 4000 sq. ft. All buildings surround an interior swimming pool and gracious green open space that few know of.

Characterized by a variety of sizes, styles, and layouts, Strickland Row offers some very competitive pricing for the Washington Square West area, and many of the units retain a high degree of original detail and charm. Incorporating some of the largest townhouses in Center City, the Strickland Row condos stretch from 1008-1020 Spruce St.

Parking can be rented about a block away at 11th and Clinton Streets, and easy access to Whole Foods, as well as Super Fresh on South St. makes living at these Washington Square West condos very convenient. You will find numerous neighborhood restaurants, as well as local video stores, and hardware stores with a block. This well known piece of Philadelphia real estate is valued for the low dollar per square foot, and many units have off-street settings which provide privacy, and a quiet setting.

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

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April 2, 2009

Six Degrees of Center City Parking and their impact on value and perception

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:30 pm

I have a number of buyers come at me on a daily basis, each with their own wants and needs, who all have varying degrees in their need for parking. Some potential buyers don’t own a car, some have two cars, and some wish they didn’t own a car. I have some buyers who will not consider, NOT FOR ONE MOMENT, a condo building that does not have on-site parking.  Here is what I know about parking here in Center City Philadedlphia:
1) On-site deeded parking. This is where you always are guaranteed the same parking spot every day. Heavenly, but costly-and not always an option.

2) Valet parking that is on-site and a rental situation. And that usually costs you a buck or two everytime you greet the valet dude.

3) Valet parking that is licensed- meaning you pay a lump sum for the rights to a parking spot in the garage, and probably pay some additional condo fees for that right to park on site.

4) On-site parking, that is not deeded, but referred to as “limited common area”. Often self park. You don’t own the space, but you have full use and enjoyment of that spot.

5) A parking spot as a condo. As in the Park-O-Minium, or a few lots in town (rare).

6) Street parking. You pay $40 a year, and get a parking sticker which allows you to park on the street in your neighborhood.

7) Rental parking in a garage, within 50 feet of the front door of your condo building.
My two cents is pretty easy to explain- If substitutable, open up to the idea of option #7 and you just might find that the world is your oyster, as far as the number of different buildings that you now may consider. There are a high number of fine Philadelphia Condos that don’t offer on-site parking, but say across the street in a public garage.

Feel free to leave a comment or drop me an email at and let me know your thoughts!

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

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