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May 2013

May 28, 2013

Move in Dates for New Philadelphia Condos

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:23 pm

I always find it interesting when developers or REALTORS advertise a spring 2013 delivery for Center City condos and the project has yet to break ground. I’m thinking, it’s summer 2013 and your project isn’t even started!

Or, how about those large signs in the ground announcing a new development that got axed nine months ago? Look around town, you can see a few.construction_sign

I don’t know why delivery dates for new construction Philadelphia condos are so wrong sometimes but I do have my theories.

Perhaps these developers are unaware of what it takes to get Philadelphia condos approved and built. Maybe its a bit of wishful thinking on the part of the REALTOR: will and early delivery date increase the traffic through their site?

More likely, it’s a bit of both.

Any buyer looking at pre-construction projects should be told of the inherent delays in new construction. Buyers must be aware of the countless pieces of the puzzle that need to fit into place in order for a project to come together. And they must be told the truth- that often, developers have zero control of the puzzle pieces. (Think city and state permit requirements for example.)

I think it would be difficult in most cases to adequately predict, some nine months in advance, an exact settlement date for your new condo. To me, promising a delivery date that clearly isn’t within range is a mistake. REALTORS and developers of new Philadelphia condos lose credibility when they do this.

I started thinking about all this remembering a mistake I made. (I know, I know. I, of all people should know better!) When I was moving I actually messed up my calculations on a new construction piece. I ended up in corporate housing for six months. (You can imagine what a pain in the ass that was. Two extra moves…)

If you’re considering Philadelphia condos in a new construction project, be wary of the advertised delivery date. Allow for some grace time with your lease. Don’t make completely firm plans with your moving company. You’ll avoid a lot of headaches brought on by unforeseen construction delays.

Stop trying to comprehend today’s complex real estate market all alone. Give me a call today at 215-521-1523 or drop me an email at Together, we’ll find your perfect Center City Condo or sell your Philadelphia condo… and ave fun doing it!


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May 20, 2013

Buy That Condo That Smells of Dog Pee

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:11 am

And has dirty orange shag carpeting. And faded purple painted walls. Really!

I have been preaching this mantra for some eighteen years now here in Center City Philadelphia. And it has worked! Our little group of seven REALTORS ( at Prudential Fox & Roach REALTORS sell over 160 Philadelphia condos and Philadelphia townhouses every year to very happy owners.

One distinction that we can brag about is the fairly sizable profits a lot of our buyers make when they call us a number of years later to resell their Center City condos. Now granted, a lot of that has to do with the market conditions, and the fact that Philadelphia real estate has been on an upswing for the past dozen or so years. But, a significant reason many of our Philadelphia condo buyers make money is because we guide them to properties that are diamonds in the rough.


Buyers are probably going to find the smelly, ugly Center City condos severely discounted (disproportionately) lower than one might expect… because few other buyers are emotionally attracted to these “dogs”.  My goal is to get buyers to see past the simple outdated or unattractive cosmetics that are inherent in a number of downtown Philadelphia lofts, condos, and townhomes.

I feign deafness when I hear a buyer tell me that the “place is perfect, except I don’t like the carpeting”. Or that the appliances are old and the inside of the refrigerator smells like the inside of their gym bag. Those issues are what I call PHONE CALL UPGRADES. You pick up the telephone, you dial the local Home Depot or Lowes and you set an appointment for them to cone out and replace the appliances and carpet. You place one call to a painter who repaints all the faded purple colored walls. These are one step-one call upgrades. This isn’t brain surgery. We are not moving the kitchen which would involve moving gas line, water lines, replacing flooring, redoing baseboard moldings on and on and on. Simple stuff…”One Phone Call” Stuff.

And that is where many buyers see a huge increase in their resale price: simple, light cosmetic work. The kind of work that takes a pee smelling, dirty orange shag carpeted piece of ick, and adds significant emotional value through the use of good decorating skills, cleanliness, and minor cosmetic upgrades that are readily visible to the eye.

Buy ugly. Buy smell. And sell oohs and aahs… Then sing and dance all the way to the bank.

Ready to discover your own diamond in the rough? Give me a call today at 215-521-1523 or drop me and email at We’ll smell out those “dogs” and find you a real ooh and aah buy!

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May 13, 2013

Do You Really Know What You Are Buying When You Buy A New Philly Condo From Plans?

Filed under: For Buyers,For Sellers,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:29 am

I get the shivers when I think of people investing in new Philadelphia Condos that are still on the drawing board. Do these people have some kind of condominium ESP I lack?

After almost 3 decades selling Center City condos, I know one thing is for sure: there’s a big disparity between finished condo projects and the drawings that started them.

Let’s take a couple of Philadelphia condo projects as an example. Any two projects… line them up side by side in terms of resale ability, quality of finishes, the overall fit, the light views, etc.

In both instances, buyers are asked to plunk down money, site unseen. It’s quite a gamble, isn’t it? Doesn’t it just make sense that there will be winners and losers? Some people will get the Philadelphia condos of their dreams; other people will get a nightmare.

You also have to ask yourself about the resale factor. Some Philadelphia condos simply do not resell well. Other Center City condos are at the opposite end of the spectrum- buyers are reselling for a good deal more than they originally paid a few years ago and have little trouble doing it.

So do we really know what we are getting into when we buy Philadelphia real estate that is not yet built? Unless you have condominium ESP, you can never know for sure. But, it does help to know a bit (or a lot) about condos and Philadelphia and buyers in general. That’s the best way I know of to determine whether un-built Philadelphia condos will ultimately be successful. Learn more about Center City planning for growth.

Ready to stop relying on condominium ESP? With my years of experience representing buyers and sellers of Philadelphia and Center City condos, I can guide you through today’s real estate maze and help you come out a winner! Give me a call today at 215-521-1523 or drop me and email at



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May 6, 2013

I too LOVE model homes

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:24 pm

There is something to be said about model homes. I love them.  I want to buy everyone I see.  Brand spanking new model homes-versus-character laden, gorgeous, historic homes- which do I choose? The great thing about Philadelphia real estate is that there are fantastic properties at both ends of the spectrum.

While I am a veteran home flipper (my brother and I have bought, rehabbed, and resold 140+ Philadelphia condominiums and town homes)  I have to admit I am intensely attracted to the pretty residential faces of model homes.

It really is an occupational hazard! I want to move every week. This is in spite of the fact that the Philadelphia loft condo I currently share with m other half has been featured on HGTV.

We rehabbed our circa 1813 Old City condo (with three-car parking inside a really cool private gated courtyard) from scratch. We chose every material and item in it ourselves. Okay, we grossly overspent. But, we also won the 2005 Philadelphia Magazine’s Kitchen of the Year Contest.

But like a lot of you who love historic Philadelphia real estate, I also love model homes. I used to preach the mantra of “With a town the brought you Betsy Ross and Ben Franklin, historic homes sell-well!” And although I do throw that line out there to buyers from time to time, the truth is I’m a sucker for Philadelphia’s new construction model homes.


Am I a hypocrite? Should I not utter what I covet?

When you see what’s available in terms of model homes, you can’t help seeing the benefits of owning one of these properties.

I am telling you, give me a new construction ranch house, with a driveway, garage, patio, and 1/4 acre yard in Old City-And I am willing to bet that I would go directly into the intersection of Broad and Walnut Streets, and dance a bit… right there in the middle of the street. Honest.

Of course, that ranch house has to be “Model Home” gorgeous. You know, with all the latest designer furniture, wall coverings, hip features, new paint, etc.

It’s all about life style. Getting into a house or Philadelphia condominium that doesn’t require any work so you can sit back and enjoy your new property is a big bonus. I know I would love that type of lifestyle with all my heart. And never, ever, ever want to leave. That’s right, never.

Until, of course, the next time I was out showing a buyer a new construction penthouse condominium with gorgeous outside patios. Slowly but surely all closet doors are being slid open, rooms explored for the first time, kitchens ogled and bathrooms admired, that feeling will come over me again.

I’ll be struck with the itch to own one of the amazing model homes available on the Philadelphia real estate market. And you’ll find me back in the intersection of Broad and Walnut Streets doing my own crazy version of the model home dance.

Whether you want to buy a new construction or historic beauty, I can help you get the best price and terms. ( I can even help you choose between the two.) Give me a call today at 215-521-1523 pr drop me an email at


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