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September 2012

September 28, 2012

The Dying Art of Open Houses

Filed under: For Buyers,For Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:58 pm

Remember the olden days when the Sunday paper would arrive and you would get our your red felt tipped marker, then circle the open houses you wanted to see?

That was so 1997….

Those days are all but gone- having been replaced by the advances in internet marketing for Philly condos. Additionally, more and more buildings around Center City are forbidding agents to hold Open Houses- ever.

It is said in Real Estate circles that open houses are NOT for sellers- they are for agents trying to pick up buyers. To a degree, I agree. More so with the fact that videos, virtual tours, podcasts, blogs, multiple photos, etc are easily found with a quick Google search. And most Realtors’ websites can give you a lot more than you can learn at an open house- think neighborhood stats, crime reports, etc. not to mention the gossip and dirt you can pick up on your neighbors house.

If someone is seriously in the market for a condo, they are going to view your listing if they are interested- Open House or not.

I usually find that Open Houses tend to cut down on the weekly traffic- the more people who see it at an open, the less weekly appointments one will find in terms of buyer traffic.

And of course, we are all aware that Open Houses usually beget nosey neighbors, passersby, and the like.

With overall traffic down on Open Houses over the past decade (in my experience)- how long before Open houses will go the way of print advertising for Real Estate?

Probably not long.

FYI-Center City Open Houses are usually ONE hour only- Get in, then get out. Suburban agents can spend 3-4 hours at one open house. How utterly boring. I think I’d rather drink bathwater than to sit in a house on a Sunday for four hours.

Mark Wade
Prudential Fox and Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. #260 Phila., PA 19106


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September 24, 2012

Never Piss Off Your Doorman

Filed under: For Buyers,For Sellers,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:52 am

What are to these parts?

If you want your packages and your guests to come and go without being tortured or be put through a lengthy inquiry, then listen up-
Folks who live in Doorman buildings quickly learn that the way to get anything done through the building is through the doorman. Unless perhaps you live in Society Hill Towers (a polite jab at one of the best run buildings in town) and they quickly learn to always be polite and friendly to all doormen at all times.

From fetching your car, to walking your dog- doormen can make your life easy and they often will go the extra mile for Philly condo owners they like. And being greeted each time you come home with a smile is a nice thing. Having a doorman who doesn’t like you is not a walk in the park.  Believe me, I learned the hard way back in the late 1980’s  by being rude and pushy. I no longer live in that building, and I now treat doormen with respect. You should too. Your life will be made much easier if you never piss off your doorman. They are great for learning of building gossip too…they seem to know everything. Oh, and tipping? Should be done if they go the extra mile. AND during the Holiday season.

Mark Wade
Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. #260, Phila., PA 19106

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September 21, 2012

8 Ways to Piss off a Buyer

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Sellers,Of Interest To Sellers,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:48 pm

The market generally still favors buyers, in my opinion, and has since 2007 or so. No big surprise there. Since it is overall still a buyer’s market (that fact is changing, I believe), I think it’s best not to piss off a buyer who can be described as “Ready, Willing, and Able”. Pissing a buyer off who is under agreement on your Philadelphia condo can seriously backfire, and cost you more in the long run. I have been selling condos for 23 years in this town, and I see it ALL the freakin’ time. So sellers, listen up…..

1) Fail to disclose the condition of your condo.
If  say, an outlet doesn’t work, Disclose it.  Ditto for say the leak in the kitchen faucet. You may end up being sorry if you don’t disclose all you know.  Trust me…not doing so honestly can be quite costly and time consuming.

2) Neglect to tell buyer of impending assessments-
They can be found in the condo docs- usually in the budget section. You gotta’ fess up about this. Talk of an assessment may not be  the same as  an assessment that has been voted on, approved, and is being collected.  Talking to a Real Estate lawyer would be a good idea here if unclear.

3) Nit-pick every detail of their offer.
Check your ego at the door, swallow your pride, and move forward.  I see a TON of sellers who like to moan about the most miniscule BS- Remember, this is a business transaction…nothing here is personal.  Perhaps best if you just “dummy up” and don’t let the little things become HUGE.

4) Insisting on having the last word
Akin to # 3 above, don’t nickle and dime the crap out of a buyer.  If buyer says their highest and best is say $535,500, and you come back with $535, 600, I would suggest you are doing more harm than good for yourself. Remember, they still have the home inspection to knock you over the head with.  A little sugar can help a lot.  Just smile.  Be the best actor you can be.  You can thank me at the closing table for this advise. Or buy me a Martini. You pick.

5) Leave  a Pig Sty  for the buyers walk-through
Sure, the contract says that you need to leave the condo in “Broom Swept Clean” condition upon exiting/moving out. You want to put a smile on the buyers face? Have your condo professionally cleaned. It is one heck of a nice thank you. And can put the buyer in a good mood for closing.  Priceless!

6)  Don’t complete Punch Lists per home inspection
This is fabulous. Don’t be a goof. Do what you say you are going to do. And do it prior to settlement. No buyer wants to inherit your problem(s).   This is one sure way to irk the sh*t out of a buyer.  Urg…

7) Not allowing them to come in and measure
Nothing in the contract says you have to, but if you don’t , the  buyer will think you are hiding something. Keep an open door policy without being taken advantage of, when the buyer wants to revisit to measure.

8)  Remove the blinds  or surreptitiously replace the dishwasher with a cheaper model prior to settlement and after the home goes under agreement.
This should go without saying but sometimes does need to be said. Read your contract. Then read it again. You can’t be pulling those hi-jinks. I know 99.9% of my sellers would never ever dream of such a thing….

Mark Wade
Prudential Fox and Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. #260 Phila., PA 19106

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September 18, 2012

Heat and AC in Center City Condos

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 11:00 am


Having lived in many many Center City Condos over the years, here is what I believe to be the case in terms of costs to heat and cool a condo- Generally, you have someone living above you, below you, and on perhaps both sides of you, so your exposure to the elements is limited. It is not like you are living in a McMansion on the side of a hill in Ardmore. You follow me?

And heat has a tendency to emanate into your condo- you will probably be surprised how little heat you actually use. The fact that the majority of condos in town are one-level, your AC bills tend to be on the low side as well- It is not like you are trying to cool three floors. I live in a 1450 sq ft. condo in a newly constructed building here in town. My average electric bill is about $100 a month. I pay no gas, no water- both covered by the condo fees. When I lived in a 2200 sq ft converted loft, my bills were about twice that- but lower than I could have ever paid in a single family home somewhere….

Mark Wade

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September 14, 2012

Condo Talk Around Town….

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:54 pm

The Packard Grand Condos at 111 S. 15th St: Condo Assoc recently acquired the top floor of the building from the developer. It is a 3,300SF space (on the 27th floor) with fitness center, large west-facing outdoor deck, party room, meeting room, and large capacity laundry machines. This was a great move by the condo board for a building that had lacked amenities. The new fitness center is now open and the rest of the amenity floor will open by September.

Center City One  at 1326 Spruce St.: Responds well to its broken water meter. The association took quick action and repaired and replaced everything with swift action.

Toll Brothers: Approx 160 new units right on 24th street! Expect delivery late July 2013. Based upon the success at Naval Square- look for these units to sell at a pretty good clip. 8 out of 22 sold in Phase One and ground hasn’t even been broken. Stay tuned for more details…

WaterFront Square: A trail runs through it- The Penn Street Trail – a section of the Central Delaware waterfront trail that will connect Spring Garden Street with SugarHouse Casino’s portion of the trail – is expected to open next spring.

Murano: 2101 Market St.- Sale prices doing exceedingly well post auction. They just re-listed all high floor units with Pru Fox Roach. Look for the remaining units to sell fairly quickly!

Penns Landing Square at 130 Spruce St: Spending money to better manage water run-off and to be more efficient at being able to segment water shut-offs in order to better serve homeowners. Touche!

Mark Wade
Prudential Fox and Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. #260 Phila., PA 19106

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September 13, 2012

Its Not the Size of Your Unit- It’s How You Use It

Filed under: For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:12 pm

I now know firsthand…

We just sold our summer vacation house of 2200 sq ft and bought a really nice 458 sq ft condo up on Cape Cod….and in all honesty- we have never been happier.

The benefits?

Easier to clean
One Level living
Financially- It is a no brainer
I honestly feel like I can breathe a sigh of relief…hard to explain.

When you get to an age where you are looking to downsize to a Philly loft or condo, I am here to tell you that less really is more. More peace of mind…and more to smile about. I feel I shed about 700,000 pounds of fat- and I am feeling free as a bird. Size isn’t everything- especially when you know how to use it. We want for nothing, and aren’t looking back…

Mark Wade
Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. #260 Phila., PA 19106

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September 11, 2012

Rising Values in Center City 2012

Filed under: For Buyers,For Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums,State of Marketplace — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 12:42 pm

A LOT of  the recent talk in Center City Real Estate circles has been about the number of multiple offers on various parcels, and how some places are sitting on the market for a only a week, and being sold in short order. This is clearly a change from the previous four years. Maybe not be true in all segments, but certainly becoming more and more common this year.

I think what most buyers in the Philadelphia Real Estate market have to come to terms with is that they may need to make their offer as attractive as possible on those homes that are in short supply, and in heavy demand.  Even a gradual shift from a buyers market to a sellers market is difficult for buyers to grasp. Those in the know are going to fare much better than those who perhaps think they can come in at super low offers like perhaps that might have done in 2009.

As demand increases, and supply decreases, we will see the gradual escalation of values here in town. But remember, Philadelphia Real Estate values generally don’t skyrocket…they meander up or down depending upon market conditions. This certainly lends  strength to the fact that
“All in All”, the Philadelphia housing market is relatively stable…relatively speaking.

We have not seen the peaks that perhaps NYC, Miami, or parts of Southern California have seen over the years, and in turn, we are not seeing the loss in value as many other big cities have seen over the years.

Be happy you live in Philadelphia.

Mark Wade
Prudential Fox and Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. #260 Phila., PA 19106

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September 7, 2012

What Would Sell Really Well If Introduced to the Center City Condo Market?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:28 pm

Here is What I think:

Two bedroom, one bath new condos about 850 square feet in a reasonably sound neighborhood for $300k-$325k.

Closet space would need to be well organized, parking optional, washer/dryers in each unit, with some sense of security – be it a virtual doorman or a  security cameras/ systems.

Add minimal private outside space per unit, and I believe these units would sell like hot cakes in today’s Center City Condo market.

Mark Wade
Prudential Fox and Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. #260 Phila., PA 19106

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