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June 2014

June 23, 2014

Many Comps Are Just Plain Horse Sh*t

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 8:51 am
Not all 1500 sq ft condos are created equal-
Even within the same building and same time frame
There are so many factors which affect value in a Center City condo that “comps” may not always tell the entire story.
Many buyers try to justify their low offers with square footage calculations….which CAN be horribly erroneous. How best to compare apples to apples?

1) Ask to see EVERY sale in the building in the past 2 years. Ask for the public records and MLS records.

2) Find a map of the building, and see which units face “The Park” and which overlook the DUMPSTERS – Positioning within a Center City condo building plays a role in value!

3) Inquire as to seller concessions that may have resulted in a higher recorded sales price for comps in newer buildings. And ask “did that unit include any extras like free parking?” If it did, it is going to distort the comps.

4) Floor height value- may or may not play a part in comps/ comp value. Newer Philadelphia condos are GREATLY based upon floor height.

5) Know that ALL pictures in the MLS look good- they don’t show dirt, clutter, or a poor showing ability (generally speaking). And know that “Fact Sheets” and MLS sheets are like Resume’s- full of bullsh** and dog doo. Never take that info for granted- you must confirm!

6) AND THE BIGGEST factor to warp comps- Interior condition. Hugely huge in comp valuation. Here is a good example of “Not All Space Being Created Equally”…Equally sized two bed units IN THE SAME BUILDING can vary in price from $400k- $700k. Condition, and view have huge impacts on value and pricing.

Clearly Center City condo comps can be deceiving – if you don’t know…ask me.

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June 16, 2014

These changing times….

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:25 am

What was once valued can easily become passe. Though many elements listed below are still of interest to many buyers and prevalent in our marketplace, many Center City Condo buyers are now asking for the following:
What’s In?                                           What’s Out?
Wallpaper in Bathrooms               Painted High Gloss Walls
Mixed Counter Top Surfaces                                       Corian
Wireless Alarm Systems                        Window Grates/Bars
Freezers On the Bottom                                         Side By Side
LED Lighting                                                 Halogen Lighting
Oversize Kitchen Sinks                            Double Kitchen Sink
Balconies                                                             Roof Decks
Solid Interior Doors                                  Hollow Core Doors
Dark Hardwood Flooring              Honey Colored Hardwood 
Painted Brick                                                   Exposed Brick
One Level Living                                  Multiple Level Living
Home Theaters                                                             Dens
Frosted Glass                                                         Glass Block
Full Door Closets                                     Bi-Fold Closet Doors
Quartz                                                                        Granite
Walk-In Showers For Two                     Jacuzzi Tubs For Two
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June 9, 2014

Renegotiating After A Home Inspection?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:30 am
Think you are going to get a $10,000 price reduction after your home inspection?
Everyone should get a home inspection. There is no such thing as perfection and every Philadelphia condo- be it new construction, or a clearly used up old condo- almost every condo that I have come across needs some kind of maintenance or attention.
  But how do you go about protecting yourself without pissing off a seller to a point where he or she no longer wants to deal with you? Well, that can be a thin line….but here is what I suggest:
1) Focus on the big ticket items. Try not to be too nit picky about the small stuff. Sellers can become easily fatigued…so instead of asking for a plethora of small items to be corrected, ask for (say) one or two big issues- If warranted. One that can be backed up by the home inspection. Sellers are sometime less worried about the money and more worried that they may not have the time to fix every little issue- sometimes sellers will negotiate on convenience- as opposed to being consumed by trivial matters.
2) If you have the option of taking a credit, or having the seller repair items- GO FOR THE CREDIT. Because more often than not, you or your contractor may not like the way the seller does the repair. Then we all have a problem….
3) I don’t think it is logical for a buyer to ask for a credit or a repair on items they clearly knew were previously broken. For instance,  if you make an offer on a condo that has a cracked window pane or clearly unused/broken dishwasher – the seller may be less apt to fix it- because you clearly knew of this shortcoming prior to making an offer….and of course you made your offer accordingly, one would assume.
4) Electrical issues are huge….and you can almost always hit a seller up for making such a repair. Electrical issues are scary for most buyers and something most buyers cannot and probably should not fix themselves.
     I usually coach my buyers to think this way: If the amount of the needed repairs impacts your perception of the value of the Center City condo, then you should probably back out of the deal or go at the seller at full force. However, if you are just looking to rake the seller over the coals for the hell of it- that should be done during the time you make your offer. Not at a later date where you are just looking to perhaps get something for (almost) nothing. Just my two cents…
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June 2, 2014

Screw “Location, Location, Location” In Center City It Can Be All About “Condition, Condition, Condition.”

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:41 am

When enthusiasm drips from a buyers mouth-
Every “Ohh” is worth $5,000
and every “Ahh” is worth $10,000
Location is always going to be a determining factor in price as well as long term value retention. But there are mitigating factors in the Center City condo market that are going to dilute the power of a strong location in driving prices over the long haul. That major factor would be interior condition and the visual impact of any given Center City condo.  Here are a few factors that may help the power of a condo’s condition to play a huge role in determining value:
Disbursement Of Wealth- Twenty years ago, if you had $1,000,000 you bought on Rittenhouse Square-period. Today, we will find that every neighborhood has broken the $1M barrier.  And it is getting much easier for buyers to find high end condo product in some locations that might have been unfathomable even five years ago.
First Time Buyers and Empty Nesters- Clearly the dominate driving forces in the Center City condo buying segment. AND what do they both have in common? They both want a strong interior condition as neither seem to favor the condos that need work. Trying to get either to buy a fixer upper is an uphill battle (generally speaking).
Everything is out the window when buyers fall in love- You would pretty much have to be new to this planet to not know that concept. I have found that most buyers buy with their eyes. More often than not, buyers will forego the strength of the location in order to buy the condos that really strike a visual chord.
In no way should this argument be a vote for a weaker location than perhaps what you have in mind. However over the long haul, you might be surprised to find just how important condition is to the overall value retention of your condominium here in Center City.  Ugly is an 800 pound albatross that can and will drive down your value like no other condominium attribute- And it may not matter if you are sitting in the perfect location. To underestimate the value of strong interior and visual appeal would be to underestimate the overall value of any given  
Center City condominium.
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