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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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December 27, 2007

New Construction Sales Policies for Philadelphia Lofts and Condominiums – Buyer Representation

Filed under: Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:17 am

It seems to be universal that all new construction condominium sales policies here in Center City Philadelphia state that buyers must have realtor in tow, on first visit, in order to be represented by said agent.

To which I say, “Bull”. 

Ok, here is a scenario: You are my buyer (I am your realtor, a buyer representative) and you happen upon an open house in say a highrise, new luxury construction project here in Center City Philadelphia.  IF I AM NOT ATTACHED TO YOUR SIDE, AT THAT FIRST VISIT….YOU LOOSE.  I cannot represent you in that particular sale, should you decide to buy in the development.  The developer’s sales staff, at that point, will refuse to recognize me as your buyers agent.  They instead will be your agent, and represent you.

How do you like them apples?

Now… How many buyers, new to our town, are going to know that fact, right off the bat? I would guess, not many.  Even if you and I have been working together, to find a condo for the past six months, and I have been educating you, holding your hand, giving my best advice, and you are planning on naming your first born after me, I cannot represent you unless I accompany you on your first visit to that condominium building.

What kind of suggestion can I offer to such a buyer, who goes to such an Open House without their Realtor? Maybe they can tell the sales staff of their working relationship to said agent, and ask to get that agent on the phone. Maybe the sales staff will then see the commitment that buyer has with his agent, and offer a “Get Out Of Jail Free” card. Maybe that developer’s agent would say, “It’s alright, we can let you slide”.  Maybe not.

It is my opinion that developers are selling themselves short on this issue. I mean come on…you basically steal one of my good long term clients, who has their mom in town for the weekend, can’t reach me, goes to your open house, and your are not going to recognize me? Go ahead, Mr. Developer, and I promise you, I will be the bigger man, and not discourage my buyer from buying your product. You have my word on it.

But I can’t speak for the other 1,587 agents who can sell condos here in Center City Philadelphia.

If you are interested in obtaining honest buyer representation before you make a visit to a new construction loft or condominium here in Center City Philadelphia give me a call at 215-521-1523 or send me an email at

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

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