August 25, 2014
• • •
August 18, 2014
TRENDS in the Center City Condo Environment Over the Past 25 Years
1) The Disbursement of Wealth – In the mid 1980’s, if you had a million dollars to buy a condo, you landed on Rittenhouse Sq. and probably in 1820 or 1830 Rittenhouse. Today- your imagination and money can take you to far away exotic places like- Old City, Bella Vista, and the Loft District. Large high-end condos have spread around town to almost all neighborhoods.
2) The introduction of “High End Low-Rise/Brownstone” styled condos- The defeat of many a high end brownstones over the years was the lack of an elevator. Anyone looking to buy high end in a brownstone probably isn’t going to be fond of stairs. From 1030-2 Spruce (Knightsbridge Condos) to the lovely 1904 Spruce and 2138 Lombard, the high-end market is finding its way into groovy Brownstone and soft loft conversions- with elevators.
3) No trend in Co-op growth- No new ones since before the mid-1980’s. They fly well in NYC, but never really caught on here in town in terms of their growth in numbers. 1901 Walnut is the premier co-op building in town…a lovely pre-war on the north side of the square. Very handsome building…and I fail to see how the fact that it is a co-op has diminished its value.
4) Lower Than Expected Conversion Projects- Yes…we saw the Grande, The Ellington, The Phoenix and a smattering of other re-used office buildings. But with the inventory and location advantages some of these older places have- I am surprised we haven’t seen more conversions. I would look for more conversion projects in the next wave of construction.
5) Zeroing in on condos near Jefferson and U of Penn- The growth of small and large size condominium buildings around Jefferson Medical for example has proven to be one of the easiest, sure-fire ways for many condos to find buyers. Like shootin’ fish in a barrel. Ditto for U of Penn area. Builders are filling a market need, and there are some smart buys in both areas. Huge growth segment.
• • •
August 11, 2014
Converting a Brownstone to Condos in Center City?
As the market begins to heat up, so does the demand for smaller associations like brownstone styled condos that tend to have lower condo fees, and a hint more character than say a high rise may possess. Here are a few hints a developer may want to keep in mind:
1) Make sure to carpet the common areas. No one wants to hear the owner of say unit 2R clomp his or her way through the halls with their high heels. Keep noise to a minimum in common areas- hardwood floor and or tile is not appropriate. Carpet these areas. Please.
2) Think about splitting your water bills up- meter each unit separately. Many buyers may be part timers or weekend city warriors, and may benefit from not having to pay for water that they don’t use on a daily basis.
3) If the city allows, and you have space in the basement, put up two by fours and chicken wire storage units. And buy a dehumidifier for the association. The minimal cost will pay for itself in terms of marketability.
4) Common Area paint should be done in a low gloss finish. And spend a few extra dollars on front door security and hallway lighting. Again, a small cost, but huge in the minds of many Center City brownstone styled condo buyers.
5) When you are done building the condos, take a step back, and put in another $2500 into each unit in terms of groovy paint, wallpaper, and lighting. You will no doubt be able to recoup every penny of that visual investment (and them some) and the condos will sell quicker. Much quicker.
Remember, your competition is going to be at least a decade or two old- so modern up to date cosmetics are exceedingly important for marketability. I find that what kills a developer in terms of profitability, is the time it takes to market a condo. A vacant condo is simply just p*ssing money down a drain. I would suggest there is a fine line between over-improving, and hitting the market just right- in terms of pricing and your final product. Need some more advice?
Call me, Let’s chat. Mark Wade
215.521.1523 / 215.627.6005 www.CenterCityCondos.com Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox and Roach Realtors
• • •
August 4, 2014
I too LOVE model homes
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 Mark@centercity.com.
• • •