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January 15, 2009

Filter Square Condos

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:30 pm

Many buyers who email me about Fitler Square condos in the 19103 zip code favor a quiet neighborhood, with easy access to the University of Pennsylvania, or I-676, or perhaps strolling distance to Rittenhouse Square. Though few condos exist in this part of downtown (Center City) Philadelphia, the attraction of being near the Schuylkill River and the recent addition of the jogging trail next to the river make the Fitler Square area a destination of choice for many Philly condo buyers.

Most notably, Locust Point condominiums has recently added condominium inventory to the neighborhood. 251 S. 24th St. is a boutique style loft condo building with parking, and a relatively small association. Additionally, one will find a smattering of low rise, Brownstone styled condos in the neighborhood– each offering a unique floor plan, layout, or character specific to the particular building. The introduction of some very high end Brownstone styled condos like 2025 Spruce St, and 251 S. 22nd have added a bit of cache to the appeal of this small, yet diverse collection of condominiums that make up (sometimes) rare offerings of Fitler Square.

The one interesting bit of info I can tell you about my experience selling, and sitting open houses in the Fitler Square area is that it seems EVERYONE who is looking for a condo here, is fairly set on finding something in the neighborhood. The #1 question out of their mouths is “What else is available here?”

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

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January 10, 2008

Are My Fees Going To Go Up In My New Philadelphia Condo?

Filed under: Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 12:07 pm

Not only is this a good question, it is often asked, and it is relevant. There are many issues to consider when answering this question. Let’s assume you are looking at a new condo building here in town that has a new elevator, roof, windows, common area hallways, etc. The answer to your question can be a strong yes, or a strong no.

Yes- Your condo fees are going to rise significantly in the first year:

If an initial review of the budget reveals that the developer has artificially kept fees low, and really skewed the budget to an unrealistic level of operation, then there is no way in hell your condo fees are going to be what the developer is suggesting, in say years two and three. This introductory “teaser’ fees are bullcrap, and that is kinda’ shady of someone to pull that kind of stuff on buyers. A close examination of the condo budget can easily reveal such trickery if you know what you are looking for.

No- Your condo fees should remain stable for the first five years or so:

If your building has a new roof, new windows, a new elevator, new fire systems with a new stair tower(s), new common area carpeting, paint, etc. then you can reasonably expect that your condo fees are going to be stable for the first five years or so of the inception of your Philadelphia condo association. The key is to look at the budget again, and determine if the developer is being honest and truthful, and to see what the fees cover. Do your fees include water and sewer, or are they being billed separately? Does the master insurance policy adequately cover the replacement value of the building? Is a management fee included in your monthly dues?

Generally speaking, I think fees do remain stable in new construction condo buildings here in most Center City Philadelphia condo buildings. Just keep a sharp eye on the budget to make sure that all possible items are accounted for.  And make sure there is money set aside each month into a “rainy day” fund (aka: capital improvements fund).

I personally fell in love with Philadelphia real estate in the late 1980’s and became a resident when I bought my very first condo here in the Old City section of town.  From working with bank foreclosures on multi-unit buildings to helping developers turn apartment buildings into condominium buildings, I have pretty much carved my niche as a condominium specialist.  Today, as a realtor with Prudential Fox and Roach’s Society Hill office and once again an owner of an Old City condominium, I can say with confidence that I am intimately familiar with the lofts and condos (and their association fees ) here in Center City Philadelphia!    

Are you looking for honesty and insight into your future condo fees? Pick a realtor with a lot of knowledge and experience in Philadelphia condominiums, and you might just be happy you did!

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

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