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October 9, 2009

Appraised Values are Bullshit

Filed under: General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:50 pm

…how do you not understand that?

I have long contended that appraisals are not worth the money. Sure, they are a necessary ingredient into any mortgage or refinance situation, but just how real is an appraisal for any given Rittenhouse Square condo for example?

It has been my general experience that an appraisal is any given mortgage or Re-Fi situation is a question of “Meets”….does the appraised value meet or exceed the sale price. If yes, then great…deal goes through. If not, big problem. But I have seen COUNTLESS appraisals magically come back at exactly sale price. Now how does that happen?
Here is what happens: Appraiser finds out sale price, then finds comparable sales to meet that sale price.  It is the tail wagging the dog.

But my bigger complaint is that appraisals do not take into account (or for the most part, discount) interior condition. IF Mr. or Mrs. Appraiser is looking for comparable sales to either meet or exceed the value of the subject property, but he or she has not been inside the comparables, how can they account for the huge fluctuations in the sale prices of supposedly similar units? Does the emotional impact of a unit not count for anything?  And are they getting their insight/knowledge about the interior condition, or the emotional impact of a condo from 5 or 6 crappy photos of a Center City Condo added to the MLS by some realtor with a $20 camera??
I would love to hear some feedback on my assertion that appraisals are Bullshit. What do you have to say?

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

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October 7, 2009

No Lack of Condominium Buyers In Center City Philadelphia

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

….for distressed properties, that is. Interesting note for Fall 2009.

There was a really nice 1500+ Sq ft. two bed/two and a half bath condo with parking at WaterFront Square that went on the market a 12 days ago.

The unit was being sold by a bank, and from what I hear, had 4 cash offers. Asking price was $389,000.  Clearly, this unit sold in no time. I even told a buyer that I easily could have sold that unit at least twice, providing no one else knew of this gem.

Whats my point? There are no lack of ready willing and able buyers in Center City Philadelphia. However, there is a lack of severely distressed inventory to satisfy the bottom-feeder buyers.

And I am casting no judgement on those buyers- more power to anyone who is smart enough to be prepared to make such a move. I wish I had more buyers like that! There are still 3 places in town that I think are similar in nature- two in Old City (which is rare) and one in Washington Sq. West. Bottom feeders- Call me. Lets chat.

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

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July 10, 2008

Lofts at Bella Vista

Filed under: Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:51 pm

Bella Vista Lofts is a nine story condominium building located on the corner of 11th Street and Washington Avenue. I visited the other day, intruigued by the Pods they have built onto of the building, which they refer to as Villas. My curiosity was not only satisfied, but I was really amazed at what I saw. The lobby was done in a hip modern style, the units themselves clearly were priced well, and the Villas were unlike any other Penthouse condos in Philadelphia. I was impressed, to say the least. All units in the building offer indoor parking, and get this- for an extra $10,000 or so, you can purchase a lift, and turn your parking spot into Two car parking!

That was a really nifty idea, as many Center City condo buyers have more than one car, and the cost to garage both cars was easy, assessible, and not too expensive. What a great idea! The ceiling height in the garage allowed for such a novel approach. In fact, the ceiling height throughout the buiding was nothing short of phenomenal.

The dollar per square foot asking price on the two bedroom units was around $277 per square foot…and this includes parking! Again, I was very impressed with not only the finishes, but the hip, kinda’ modern and urban feel of these Philadelphia condos! With polished cement floor, and oversized windows, fantastic ceiling height, and the level of finishes throughout make the units very appealling. And it appears that the developer didn’t scrimp on the finishes either. The kitchens and baths were not only modern, but unlike the run-of-the-mill contractor grade stuff that we see in similar price ranges.

With a front doorman, extra wide hallways, and again, fantastic ceiling height and oversized unit windows, it was hard NOT to get excited about what I was seeing. The Penthouse units were a great mix of the Hard/Soft loft as the space was open, generous, and even the closets were of good size. The Villa Units (which I like calling POD units) were really amazing. If you are in the $1M plus price range, and you are looking for a different style of luxury Penthouse condo living here in Center City, then you are going to want to make sure you at least see these units, as there really is no substitutability anywhere around town for these homes. Two and a half story living, with three (count ’em…three!) outside spaces- each one bigger than the next! And the finish level was admirable! The Lofts at Bella Vista are now going to be #1 on my showing adgenda to new buyers whom I introduce to the Philadelphia condominium market.

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

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