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June 25, 2009

Fireplaces, Huge Soaking Tubs and other useless Amenities

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:23 pm

…that are pointless in a Philly High Rise Condo.

I love it when some dumbass developer takes up a large chunk of a 20th floor condo with a huge soaking tub.  Always good for a laugh. Pointing out the foilbles of some newbie condo builder is one of my favorite pasttimes. Under the theory of “When In Rome….” fireplaces and those giant soaking tubs are soooo out of place in a high rise Philly condominium.

I know of NO ONE who actually uses those giant oversized tubs. I am not talking about a regular bathtub….I am referring to those big dumb soaking tubs that can fit an army of regular sized people. NOTE TO DEVELOPER- grow a brain. Such an amenity is a huge waste of space. I always point to them and tell my buyers- You will use this on the first day you move in, then you will never use it again. They ALWAYS agree.
And wood burning fireplaces here in  Rittenhouse Square 19103 condominiums? Now where the heck is my buyer going to store the wood needed to fuel such a spectacle? Better question- where the hell is he going to get the firewood? It is not like there is some lumber jack who lives at 9th and Spruce Street who chops down trees and sells split wood.

Developers installing such amenities are spending money, and taking up valuable space for items that are really a negative to many Philadelphia condominium buyers. Trust me, this ain’t suburbia. This is urban downtown Philly, and such amentities don’t fly with the condo buying set.

Mark Wade
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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May 5, 2009

Pending Home Sales Jump 3.2%

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:57 pm

Yippee – Increase in sales contracts signed during March. 
I am generally not a big fan of NATIONAL real estate news, but here is one good sign….

Pending home sales rose in March for the second consecutive month and are up year over year. The Pending Home Sales Index from the National Association of Realtors showed a 3.2% gain to 84.6 from February, when it was 82. The index stands 1.6% higher than a year ago.

The consensus forecast of industry experts polled by had predicted no increase in the index.

It may still take a while before the market gains enough momentum to firmly state that the downturn has been reversed, according to Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. And, the upturn may have been boosted by the first-time homebuyers tax credit, a temporary measure that will lapse in December.

A ray of sunshine, in a storm of dismal housing news!

Mark Wade
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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April 7, 2009

Strickland Row Condominiums

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:07 pm

Strickland Row condos are named after William Strickland, who was a noted architect in 19th century Philadelphia, and is made up of a collection of six similar mansion-style homes, plus an adjoining approx. 8-story rear elevator building with about 68 individually owned units. It was declared a condominium in 1981. There are many variations between the units in detail and size. The largest is a massively gorgeous condo that is nearly 4000 sq. ft. All buildings surround an interior swimming pool and gracious green open space that few know of.

Characterized by a variety of sizes, styles, and layouts, Strickland Row offers some very competitive pricing for the Washington Square West area, and many of the units retain a high degree of original detail and charm. Incorporating some of the largest townhouses in Center City, the Strickland Row condos stretch from 1008-1020 Spruce St.

Parking can be rented about a block away at 11th and Clinton Streets, and easy access to Whole Foods, as well as Super Fresh on South St. makes living at these Washington Square West condos very convenient. You will find numerous neighborhood restaurants, as well as local video stores, and hardware stores with a block. This well known piece of Philadelphia real estate is valued for the low dollar per square foot, and many units have off-street settings which provide privacy, and a quiet setting.

Mark Wade
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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April 2, 2009

Six Degrees of Center City Parking and their impact on value and perception

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:30 pm

I have a number of buyers come at me on a daily basis, each with their own wants and needs, who all have varying degrees in their need for parking. Some potential buyers don’t own a car, some have two cars, and some wish they didn’t own a car. I have some buyers who will not consider, NOT FOR ONE MOMENT, a condo building that does not have on-site parking.  Here is what I know about parking here in Center City Philadedlphia:
1) On-site deeded parking. This is where you always are guaranteed the same parking spot every day. Heavenly, but costly-and not always an option.

2) Valet parking that is on-site and a rental situation. And that usually costs you a buck or two everytime you greet the valet dude.

3) Valet parking that is licensed- meaning you pay a lump sum for the rights to a parking spot in the garage, and probably pay some additional condo fees for that right to park on site.

4) On-site parking, that is not deeded, but referred to as “limited common area”. Often self park. You don’t own the space, but you have full use and enjoyment of that spot.

5) A parking spot as a condo. As in the Park-O-Minium, or a few lots in town (rare).

6) Street parking. You pay $40 a year, and get a parking sticker which allows you to park on the street in your neighborhood.

7) Rental parking in a garage, within 50 feet of the front door of your condo building.
My two cents is pretty easy to explain- If substitutable, open up to the idea of option #7 and you just might find that the world is your oyster, as far as the number of different buildings that you now may consider. There are a high number of fine Philadelphia Condos that don’t offer on-site parking, but say across the street in a public garage.

Feel free to leave a comment or drop me an email at and let me know your thoughts!

Mark Wade
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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March 2, 2009

Large Center City Condo Buildings

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:55 pm

Because I have nothing better to do in my life than to find out and report on everything that has to do with condominiums in Center City Philadelphia :-), I thought I would post the following facts about some of the large buildings here in town:

The Murano: Located at 21St and Market Streets, this new gorgeous high rise has 302 units. And killer views! Floor to ceiling windows don’t hurt either!

The Dorchester: At 224 W. Rittenhouse Sq., this large condo building has a rooftop pool, garage rental parking, and a whopping 526 units!

2601: On the corner of 26th and Pennsylvania Ave. is this very large 550 unit building with some really cool rooftop penthouse units with large patios!

The Academy House: Locust and 15th Streets, this super large condo building has a ton of amenities, and a total of 576 units.

Society Hill Towers: Comprised of 3 tall high rise buildings, with garage parking and a cool outdoor pool has a total of 670 units

The Philadelphian: The Grand-Daddy of all Pennsylvania condo buildings with a whopping 676 units, and 306 rental garage spots!! Wow!

IS BIGGER BETTER? Give me a call at 215.521.1523 or drop me an email at, and let’s chat!

Mark Wade
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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January 8, 2008

Not All Hardwood Floors in Philadelphia Condominiums and Lofts Are Created Equal

Filed under: Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:04 am
This lovely Philadelphia condo has hard wood floors throughout….

How many times have we heard a Philadelphia realtor bark those words at a buyer during an open house, or say an advertisement in the real estate section of the Inquirer? I like to think of hardwood floors as being in three classes or categories. Each class can be defined by cost, look, and wear.

The first class is what I call the faux class. These floors really have the look and feel of a laminate, but are often incorrectly called hardwood floors by the mistaken masses. The name most often associated with these floors is Pergo. Often times called a floating floor, this surface often has a bit of a hollow sound when you walk. Easy to identify, I discover most buyers, even young first time Philadelphia condo buyers recognize a Pergo floor when they see one. Durable, inexpensive, and easy to install, the benefits do suit a specific type/price range of Center City condominiums.

The second class is the roughly 2 ¼ inch- 4” wide planks sold in either unfinished, or in an array of finishes baked on at the manufacturing plant. Newer construction Philadelphia condominiums abound in these floors. From bamboo to Brazilian cherry, and dozens of hues of oak, this flooring surface is popular in many Center City condos because they tend to be a bit more expensive than faux hardwood floors, and can be re-sanded, sometimes more than once, over the years. Rarely, would  one have to remove these hardwood floors to improve their look. They simply would refinish. In my experience, oak is the most durable. I have seen many a bamboo floor with puncture marks from high heels, etc.

Lastly, original 200 year old random width pine floors, with varying widths of 2”-14” – the latter being in the oldest of Philadelphia real estate attics and such, finish what I believe to be the three most relevant categories of Philadelphia condo flooring.  As the name and description above imply, these floors are the most expensive and rare. Seen in many old Philadelphia townhomes, these floors, with their glowing orange hue, and rough patterns of unevenness, are generally only seen in old lofts throughout Old City and Society Hill condos. You can’t buy these floors, outside of some who salvages old homes for a living. Softer in nature than the store bought oak, and generally about an inch thick in nature, make these floors the Grande Dame of Center City condominium flooring!

And you can check them out for yourself right inside some of my new listings.  Just give me a call at 215.521.1523 or send me an email at and we can set up an appointment.  I hope to hear from you soon!  

Mark Wade
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106


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