August 31, 2011
Do you HATE condo fees? You could be an Goof….
I hear buyers say “I don’t want to pay condo fees” all the time. Of course we all want our elevators to run on magic pixie dust, and we want our doormen to work for free. And I want
a new shiny Bentley in my driveway too. You get what you pay for. Period.
Here is the scoop:
In high rise condos, fees can appear to be excessive. But NO ONE is profiting from the fact that you pay condo fees. Fees can cover:
Master Insurance Policy
Amenities (parking, pool, trash removal, water and sewer, etc).
I understand you may not want those services. Perfect….then a high rise condo isn’t for you. No problem. But I hear buyers say they don’t want to pay any condo fees- not even in a low rise condo. those buyers are seriously misguided. Low rise/Brownstone/Lofts style condos have minimal fees- and those fees are simply fees that you would have to pay if you lived in a SINGLE FAMILY TOWNHOUSE . Get it?
Like paying your own:
Master Insurance Policy
And putting some $$ away for a rainy day-which condo associations generally do
August 23, 2011
Tags: buy philly loft, center city lofts, philadelphia lofts
I have been selling real estate in exclusively in downtown Philadelphia for twenty-three years. I have done some stupid things in my career, and I have witnessed many buyers and sellers making equally stupid moves. I often see buyers and sellers either pinching a dime for a dollar, or just doing some absurd moves that are much more trouble than the expected payoff. And I am sure this is not limited to just Center City buyers…I have no doubt the scenarios play out in every real estate community:
Scenario 1: Having the Last Word
Seller asks $499k for a condo
Buyer and Seller go back and forth, and after a few days, buyer say $480,000 is my
“Highest and Best” offer for this parcel. And then seller comes back and says $480,001.
Really? You really want to be a douche bag and say that? You are pissing the buyer off,
and it will probably cost you much much more in terms of anxiety, anguish, and animosity within
the transaction as you are locked into a legally binding contract with this buyer for say the next 60-90 days. Perhaps you should just zip your lip and take the freakin’ $480k instead of having to have the last word. Don’t forget, buyers still have to perform a home inspection.
Scenario 2: Can’t See the Forest For the Trees
Seller asks $499k for a condo
This property is a bank-owned sty that should be selling for $800k if it weren’t so dirty, missing
all the appliances, and listed with Susy Bag O’ Donuts out of Erie, Pa. (it happens…bank foreclosures are often listed by those with no connection to the area). And as a buyer, you get the Big-Brain idea to come in at $400k…because after all, the market is slow, weak, and uncertain. OK….you are an idiot. If you can’t recognize such an overtly strong bargain, and
see that the huge upside is the fact that the condo is grossly underpriced at $499k….then maybe
you need to do a little more homework on prices and values here in Center City.
Scenario 3: Why Aren’t you Using a Magic Wand?
Sellers asks $499k for a condo
As a buyer, you top out at $480,000 and the seller will still not accept your offer. And recent “comps” suggest the seller is correct as no other unit in the building has sold for under $500k.
You then turn to your Realtor and complain that you can’t get the property for $480k. And you are relentless. Even in the face of the facts. But you persist. You dump your Realtor because he or she refuses to wave their magic wand and make this deal happen. You then drive down the road, and see your Realtor Singing and Dancing in the middle of the intersection of Broad and Walnut.
No one likes a whiner. Not even in this “slow, weak, and uncertain” market place.
There are bargains to be had and deals to be made. Opportunity exists in all market conditions, and the current state of affairs in Center City- which has weathered the overall real estate storm fairly well- should indeed be taken into account when negotiating the purchase or sale of any parcel in Philadelphia. But knowing when you have crossed the line and driven right into
Crazy Town Pa. might be helpful when finding the right piece of Center City real estate. And help
you negotiate the best possible, realistic terms. Mark Wade CenterCityCondos.com
I welcome feedback!
August 17, 2011
I have seen some pretty cool decorating ideas in many condos throughout the Center
City Philadelphia condo landscape. And I have seen some mistakes as well. Here are
just a few ideas off the top of my head…decorating mistakes that don’t play well in the
1) Putting a shiny clear coat of varnish of exposed brick walls
2) Installing carpet in a lower level area- be it a kitchen or bedroom
3) Using florescent lighting anywhere when trying to sell a condo
4) Hollow core white doors with brass knobs and hinges- Try painting a neutral color
5) Vertical Blinds. Need I say more?
6) Colored carpet. Any color of the rainbow in terms of carpeting is bad. Stick to neutrals or dark
dark dark low pile brown.
7) Less is more. Condo by definition are usually limited in size. Get rid of the crap that has been
piling up- aka: Clutter.
8) The Matchy Matchy Look- curtains match the tablecloth, the carpeting, and bedspread. Ick.
Here is a GOOD idea….
If you have some exposed brick, try painting it a really cool light color (like grey) and finish it with matter finish (flat). You can thank me when you see the appeal it can have with buyers.
Lovely Painted Brick adds huge emotional impact
August 10, 2011
Tags: 10 Rittenhouse, Hopkinson House Condominiums, Ten Rittenhouse, the Dorchester Rittenhouse Sq
Biggest Misconception – Buying a Condo in Center City
1) You are going to find a condo where you don’t have to pay condo fees!
Of course you are, dear. Perhaps the common elevator runs on magic pixie
dust, the doormen are happy to work for free, and the swimming pool needs
no maintenance or upkeep. Aka- Rub a Lamp….all condos have condo fees.
2) You are going to move into Center City and walk everywhere.
I love it when buyers tell me this. Like the giant soaking tubs in many 1980 styled bathrooms this notion will wear out quicker than you might believe. You will walk at first- then you will drive or take a cab everywhere after year 1 of moving into town
3) You need a 3 bedroom condo so that you can have a spare bedroom. Very often- not
the case. Friends or relatives will stay at a hotel that is two blocks away.
4) Since you have a gym within my building, you are going to work out more.
Good One. And good luck with that- let me know how it works out for you.
5) You need a large kitchen, because you like to cook. Ever wonder why there are
so many restaurants in Center City? You will probably find yourself eating out a LOT
more, and cooking a lot less.
Certainly these rules don’t apply to all, but do apply to most of those looking to make a
move into the Center City condo lifestyle.
August 3, 2011
Some Center City condo buildings boast amenities like a gym. In actuality, they are nothing
more than a converted maids closet. Small, cramped, and stupid would be the best way to describe what some developers will pass off as a gym. Here are the best gyms in the city that are inside of condo buildings, in my opinion:
1) WaterFront Square: The best of the best. Huge, clean, great views, and always really well air-conditioned. Nice assortment of free weights and machines. Even an on-site vendor to serve up protein shakes when you are done. The Pool is unrivaled in terms of size and views. Hot tub, sauna and steam room complete the package. A-1
2) The Ritz Carlton– Huge, super clean, and well furnished. Of course the pool and hot tub don’t
hurt either. Bottled water at each treadmill awaits. Great Views overlooking City Hall!
3) The Murano– Similar to the Ritz Carlton…but a bit smaller. Huge pool…no hot tub or sauna- but a fairly large dressing room/shower area. Kept in mint condition…very clean.
4) Liberty Two– Large clean gym with lots of equipment, and the views from the 36th floor are stunning. A great way to pass the time while you are on the treadmill. Pool is small, but it is one of those endless pools that means you swim in place- against a current.
5) Locust Point– Not really all that large, and no pool, hot tub or sauna. But floor to ceiling glass…so you can lookout to the Schuylkill Riverpark jogging trail. Or just head out to the trail and skip the gym. This nod to Locust Point is more about the fact that you are right at the Riverpark…and gives you an option that few other condo buildings can brag about.