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January 2013

January 29, 2013

Guest Post: Tips That Will Help You Get The Most Of Your Condo Rental

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:54 am

Follow these tips to make your Philadelphia condo truly feel – and look – like home.

1. Chances are, your condo isn’t as huge and spacious as you would like. Luckily, you can easily make your space look and feel larger than it is by keeping clutter away, creatively organizing and strategically placing mirrors around the apartment.

2. Sometimes, life just gets in the way of a lease. Don’t be scared into staying in an condo you no longer want because of the apparent lease penalty. You can smartly break your lease without spending all of your savings. Know your rights and don’t hesitate to negotiate with your landlord.

3. There’s no such thing as the perfect landlord and some are downright awful. That doesn’t mean you should have to deal with a leaky faucet or pest problem by yourself. Try a few different communication techniques until you find one that gets you the response you need.

4. Few condo dwellers are lucky enough to have a washer and dryer in their home. Minimize trips to the laundromat by using a bath sheet instead of a bath towel. This is especially helpful if you often use two towels after a shower – one for your body and one for your hair.

5. Living alone is great, but it’s not the safest option. Amp up your at-home security by keeping it under wraps that you live solo. You don’t have to lie, but don’t advertise that you don’t have a roommate or live-in boyfriend.

6. If July and August is brutal where you live, you’re probably used to holing up inside with the air conditioning on full blast for eight weeks during the summer. This is a huge expense, though. Cut electricity and costs by using the AC’s other settings, like the fan and the timer.

7. Think you smell a rat? Deal with it! Pushing the problem off until you can’t mentally handle the rodent isn’t going to get rid of it and the problem will only get worse.

8. When you can, fix your own run-of-the-mill apartment problems. If you really want your landlord to be there when you need him, don’t bug him if a light bulb blows or the toilet clogs.

9. When you have the heat on, set your ceiling fans so they turn clockwise, which will help warm the house and cut your heating costs.

10. If things go truly wrong between you and your landlord, you can turn to online dispute resolution.

Annabelle Smyth

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January 22, 2013

Guest Post: Renovating Condo Units

Filed under: For Buyers,For Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 11:36 am

Renovating a Philadelphia condo unit brings with it challenges that homeowners simply don’t face. Unit owners must comply with condo rules and regulations, consider how noise affects neighbors and work within the building’s larger electrical or plumbing systems. Careful planning before renovations helps prevent problems with the condo association and staff.

Unlike a house, when you purchase a condo you only own what lies within the unit’s walls. You cannot renovate public areas, other people’s units or the building’s utility infrastructure. This is necessary, in part, to ensure the building maintains its overall feel and appearance.

Check Everything

Well before you commit to any condo renovations, read over the condo association’s condo docs to find out what types of renovations are permitted. Different condo docs have different restrictions. You’ll probably need to submit a plan of renovation, in writing, to the condo association.

Generally, most condo agreements allow you to paint, install new appliances, replace lighting and plumbing fixtures and replace flooring. More complex renovations such as rerouting plumbing or electrical wiring and knocking down walls require approval by the condo association.

Renovations requiring work in adjourning units are least likely to be approved, as this inconveniences other residents. Extensive plumbing and electric work may fall into this category.

Working with Contractors

Renovating a condo often means working several stories up, rather than on the ground. This complicates materials delivery, heavy equipment transport, waste removal and even contractor parking.

Ask your condo association if they can recommend contractors with experience in condo renovations. Contractors need experience working in the tighter confines of a condo unit, and keeping noise to a minimum for the sake of your neighbors.

Renovations will go smoother if you coordinate with condo staff. Doormen and other staff need to know when contractors will be on-site, when they will be moving heavy items and your renovation schedule. Early planning and frequent updates help prevent miscommunications and hard feelings. If your renovations require access to the building’s plumbing or electricity, arrange for access well ahead of time.

Considering the Neighbors

When renovating a house, contractors usually work late into the evening, so the job will inconvenience you as little as possible. In a condo, you have to consider how renovation noise and dust affect your neighbors.

Most condo associations have strict noise regulations and limit the hours during which contractors can work. These are reasonable restrictions; your neighbors share walls, ceilings and floors with you, and don’t want to be disturbed late into the evening.

Let neighbors know your renovation plans well in advance so they don’t get blindsided by unexpected noise. Be polite and understanding–after all, you’re inconveniencing them, not the other way around. When renovations are done, express your thanks to neighbors for their patience.

Byline: Michelle is an aspiring writer with a passion for blogging. She enjoys writing about a vast variety of topics and loves that blogging gives her the opportunity to publicly voice her thoughts and share advice with an unlimited audience.

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January 17, 2013

Guest Post: Five Essential Steps to take Before Moving to a New Country

Filed under: For Buyers,For Sellers,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:53 pm

Whether you have been offered a job in a new country or are simply looking for a change of scenery in your life, moving to a new country can be a very exciting experience. Still, before you make such a drastic change, there are five major steps that you should make sure that you take in order to ensure as smooth a transition into your new life as possible.

Do plenty of research.

Depending on the specific country you will be moving to, the culture there may be very different than what you are used to here in Center City Philadelphia and may take some adjusting. By researching the culture, norms, and languages of the country ahead of time, you can avoid culture shock upon your arrival.

Learn the language.

If you are moving somewhere that has a different official language than what you are used to speaking, you may want to invest in some language classes or language-learning software. After all, the last thing you will want is to be unable to communicate with others upon your arrival in the new country.

Research immigration laws and requirements.

If you plan on living in the country long term, then you will likely need to establish residency and citizenship. Countries vary regarding how long you have to do this and what specific steps you need to take, so be sure to research this ahead of time and bring the necessary documentation and paperwork with you to make this happen.

Decide where you will live.

Consider hiring a real estate group to assist you with locating a home, apartment, condo, or other property to live at once you move there. For example, you may wish to consider the LWP Property Group, which is a reputable real estate company that can assist you in finding the perfect new place to call home. Keep in mind that living quarters can vary greatly from country to country, especially in terms of their average square footage and the amenities offered.

Plan a moving budget.

Moving to a new country can be quite expensive, which is why you should set a budget and do your best to stick to it. This is especially true if you do not have a business or company that will be paying for your move. Price different moving companies and related services to find the best deals in order to save money.

By following the above steps, you can ensure a successful move to a new country. Good luck!

About the Author: Madyson Grant enjoys spending time with her family and blogging about her experiences in her new home. Feel free to find out more!

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January 10, 2013

Guest Post: Feng Shui Secrets for a Tranquil Condo

Filed under: For Sellers,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:48 am

Certain homes or Philadelphia Condos seem to exude a feeling of tranquility and wellbeing, and the root of this overall sense of harmony has a lot more to it than the pretty slipcovers or antique armoire.

Western designers, interior decorators and architects are increasingly turning to an ancient Chinese study of natural elements called Feng Shui to create serene and comfortable environments. Spaces which have been arranged according to the basic tenets of Feng Shui are believed to be very auspicious, bestowing upon their inhabitants health, wealth and good fortune.

Feng Shui strives for balance between yin and yang, and between the natural elements of fire, water, earth, metal and water. There are practical steps which can help to achieve a balanced, calm living space which will allow the mind and body to find its own inner balance and peace.


Get rid of clutter – an unrestricted path from the front door and throughout the house is first and foremost in creating positive energy. Dispose of clothes, knickknacks, and possessions which are no longer meaningful or essential.

The Bedroom

To create a Feng Shui ambiance in the bedroom, dedicate the bedroom solely for relaxation, sleep and love – that means keeping electronics to a minimum and no treadmill or office desk. Situate the bed (preferably one that is slightly elevated) against a solid wall away from the door to promote relaxation, and adding symmetric bedside tables add a sense of balance. To achieve Feng Shui in the home on a budget, a rent to own store is an option to consider if replacing or adding furniture in any room.


Arrangement and placement of furniture is key to energy flow. If your living room furniture is oversized, blocking passageways, tattered and torn, or mismatched, then it’s time to rearrange, move out, fix up, and beautify! Start by walking into the room in question, and look around, what’s the first thing you see when you walk in? Can each chair/couch be accessed easily? You want your furniture to be accessible, make it so no shins will be knocked on that coffee table, that the room it inviting and organized, and that every piece of furniture is compatible with Feng Shui principles.


Lots of fresh air, natural light, natural materials and accents such as bamboo, chimes are also recommended. Adding a strategically placed mirror in the bedroom and elsewhere in the house can multiply the calming effect of a meaningful ornament or a beautiful window view. But there are basic rules for mirror placement; the mirror is to never be broken, never to be placed adjacent from one another, and never placed in front of a window or door.


Color is an important component of Feng Shui, think about balancing the color wheel – not too hot and fiery and not too cool. As a rule of thumb, try red as an accent color in the bedroom, but definitely not on a full wall, yellow for a family room and kitchen, blues and blacks for work spaces and greens in the bathrooms.

Melisa Cammack

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