Philadelphia Real Estate Blog

Center City Philadelphia
Condos and Lofts


Subscribe To Receive
 Blog Updates By Email


August 2013

August 26, 2013

Minimizing Risk in a Condo Purchase

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:40 am

Mick Jagger once said “It’s alright letting yourself go, as long as you can get yourself back”.   I like that…and think the phrase is apt when considering a condo purchase. I bought in a building that was perceived to have a hint of  risk (in terms of value retention)-

but I snagged the condo at such a great price, I know that if I ever want to move to the moon– I can sell my condo without losing money.

But you do have to be wary of the units I call the “HOTEL CALIFORNIA” condos- meaning you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave- because you simply can resell the damned thing.

Here are 5 things to consider when determining the risk of a condo purchase:

1) The Cost of the Condo- If you buy a Center City condo at half the price similar condos are selling for- then most of the risk is removed. It gets back to one issue- NOT OVERPAYING.

2) Owner Occupancy Ratios can be an issue in SOME buildings- as a lack of Fannie Mae Warrant-ability can be a sign of a risky condo purchase. BUT by no means is this the only factor- it may just be a factor in assessing the risk.

3) Reputation and Resale History- There are buildings in town where NO CONDO has resold for 5 years. Not as rare as you might think. If no one else is buying in the building- you need to start asking me questions as to why.

4) Deferred Maintenance– I can name two buildings off the top of my head that need HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of dollars of repair, upkeep and maintenance work just to put them on par with their competition. I generally would avoid, unless of course you can just steal the condo outright (at a killer price). Otherwise, future assessments may wreak havoc on your investment dollars in that Philadelphia condo.

5) Buying within the Price Frames of the building- Buying a $2M condo in a building where the average price is $250,000 and is overwhelmingly populated with say studios may not be in your best financial interest, and may be a risky purchase.

Tags: , , ,

• • •

August 19, 2013

Flipping Condos For Profit

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:30 am
Between 1995 and 2005, my brother and I flipped over WELL over 100 condos in town
Here are a few secrets that I discovered:

can't keep a Secret

1) You can screw up any decision, but the one thing you can’t do is overpay at the start. If you do, then the whole venture is doomed. You have to let value be a top guiding priority.

2) Don’t Get over your head.
Cosmetic flips are much much much easier than those needing a full scale rehab. BUY UGLY!

3) Make sure the Philadelphia condo is in a building that is solid, and is fanne mae warrantable. If you cant sell it on the back end, then your efforts will be for naught.

4) I cant stress ENOUGH about the importance of visual appeal. You MUST make your finished product stand out in terms of emotional impact. Finishes purely off the shelf from Home Depot aren’t going to cut it. Hire an interior decorator to decide paint colors, finishes, and even the how the unit will be staged- Please!
Tags: , ,

• • •

August 12, 2013

Half Way Through 2013- Condo Update

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:30 am


OK…here is how 2013 will be remembered:  Buyers got their mo-jo back



I have recently seen many more multiple offers and buyer competing with each other, a shortened “DOM” (days on market), sales over asking price and clear inventory reduction throughout the entire Center City condo market.


The next logical step is an across the board price increase. We are already seeing some segments of the market experience sizable gains in the first half of 2013- And now I think the rest of the market is catching up….expect to see those gains really show their face in the spring 2014 market.


From a Realtor’s perspective- the upside is that more comparable sales are now in the MLS- and many within segments where no prior relevant comparables existed (recent ones anyway).

This is going to be huge for further price escalations as Appraisers now have something concrete to base their values upon.



Tags: , ,

• • •

August 5, 2013

You Want A Side Of Parking With That Condo?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:47 am

Philly condominiums offer a wide variety of parking options. From on-site rental, to deeded parking, many Center City condo buildings do offer an array of possibilities.



Rental parking- Most buyers will tell me that AS LONG AS there is guaranteed rental parking on the block, then this option is an acceptable substitute for actually owning a Philadelphia parking spot. I like the flexibility here, and such an approach will GREATLY add to the number of options you have when we are searching for your new condo.

Deeded Parking- If available, this arrangement has you purchasing a physical piece on property in which you have the rights to park. Means you have a separate tax bill as well. Usually you may buy or sell this parking spot with or without an accompanying condominium unit.

Assigned Parking: You pay for this too, but you do not get a deed. You are basically granted the rights to the use and enjoyment of a parking parking spot, usually located on-site. You may not separate this parking spot from your condominium unit, and such assignment is recorded somewhere in either the condo docs, or your deed.

Street Parking- For approx. $35 a year, you can purchase a Street Parking Sticker, and then be able to NOT have to feed parking meters, or move your car every two hours for the AREA in which your parking sticker is valid. IF you get one for the Old city area, because you live in Old City, this will not give the ability to park for free around Rittenhouse Square. I guarantee you that.

Parking does play a role in the value and desirability differently in almost every condo buying situation here in Center City.

Call me at 215.521.1523 or drop me an email at, and let’s discuss how parking may affect you!


Tags: , ,

• • •


530 Walnut Street, Suite 480
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Direct: 215.521.1523 ~ Office: 215.627.6005
Fax: 215.627.3142
Copyright Mark Wade | All rights reserved.
Site Admin | Log Out