December 20, 2017
Tags: center city condos, High rise condos in Philadelphia, Philadelphia condominiums, Philly condo building amenities
Many of my buyers ask me which buildings they should view based on specific amenities.
Here’s how I generally respond…
Best Philly Condos For Swimmers:
Two Liberty Or Waterfront Square.
Best Philly Condos For Multiple Car Parking:
Bella Vista Lofts offers stacked parking/lifts.
Best Philly Condos For Views:
Lots, but I like Society Hill Towers.
Best Philly Condos For Gorgeous Common Areas:
Ten Rittenhouse, 1706!
Best Philly Condos For Being Pampered:
Ritz Carlton, Two Liberty, The Rittenhouse.
Best Philly Condos For Gym Users:
Waterfront Square, Ritz Carlton.
Best Philly Condos For Having Guests:
One Riverside…hospitality suite on site!
Best Philly Condos For Access To Shows:
Symphony House, Center City One…can’t get any closer!
Best Philly Condos For Dogs:
Naval Square, Waterfront Square.
Best Philly Condos For Kids:
Best Philly Condos For Convenience:
Best Philly Condos For Balconies:
Best Philly Condos For Large Kitchens:
Tivoli, The Rittenhouse Plaza.
Best Philly Condo For Closet Space:
Best Philly Condos For Privacy:
Ten Rittenhouse, The Ayer, 1706, One Riverside, The Lippincott.
Want to know why I picked what I picked? Email me and we can chat!
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. #480 | Philadelphia, PA 19106
September 13, 2017
Tags: center city condos, center city condos for sale philadelphia, new construction philly condos, Philadelphia condominiums, The Avenue of The Arts
The developer of the beautiful new construction condos, One Riverside at 25th and Locust, has decided to switch the focus of his next project from a hotel/apartment project to a 56-unit condominium high-rise. We have been saying for some time now that there is a shortage of condos in town and we think this will be a great addition to the market. You can read about the switch here.
One Riverside Condominiums at 25th and Locust
The new condos will be designed by Philly architect Cecil Baker, who has also designed the Residences at The Western Union Building and the brand new ultra luxury condos at 500 Walnut Street – just to name a few. The Design Review Board approved Dranoff’s new condo plan for Broad and Pine Street last week.
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. #480
Philadelphia, PA 19106
September 21, 2016
Tags: Philadelphia condominiums, philly condos, rittenhouse square condos
In terms of value retention, resale ability and livability…Here are my latest top ten picks:
1) 1706 Rittenhouse at 1706 Rittenhouse St. – – There can be little doubt that the building shines in terms of value growth and demand. The highest of high end here in Center City. Buyers line up for these units- Who wouldn’t want to live at 1706 ??
2) Kahn Park Place at 1119-25 Pine St.– Parking, roof decks and nice interior space…at prices that I think are undervalued. Homerun! Location is key here as well. Interior condition drives the wide range of values here.
3) Washington Square West Condos on the 12xx Block of South St. – Solid investments in a high growth area. Oh, and all have parking and two bedrooms! You can’t beat these simple yet value driven condos. Boom!
4) St. James Court in Society Hill – 40 years old condos with interiors that clearly stand the test of time. Undervalued and best deals in the 19106 zip code. Most units are off street and quiet. Interior courtyard is picture perfect. You can’t beat the prices in this segment in my opinion.
5) The Coronado at 2201 Chestnut St.– Improvements to the building make the investment here a solid one in terms of value growth. And in the 19103 zip code to boot.
6) The Lenox at 250 S. 13th St.– Not unlike 2201 Chestnut Street in the fact that it is a pre-war styled condo building that has undergone many recent upgrades and improvements. Since the Parker across the street closed- are values poised for a significant bounce upwards? Probably.
7) Center City One at 1326 Spruce St. – If I had millions of dollars, I would probably spend most of them inside this building if I wanted to make money.
Try to beat the location and the floor plan of the two bed, two bath units.
No supply here.
8) The Philadelphian at 2401 Pennsylvania Ave. – Values for the larger units bounced higher and faster than any other segment in Center City. Many reasons which can be attributed to the association…and lack of supply didn’t hurt either.
9) Low Rise Condos in 19103 and 19107– Perpetual demand leads to a shortened “days on market” for many in this segment. Solid purchases and solid returns. And those near Jefferson and U of Penn have a double good whammy- which is huge rent-ability.
10) 2200 Arch St. Condos at 2200 Arch St. – Probably the quickest sales in the loft like segment here in town. Parking, close to jogging trail and in the 19103 zip code. This place is firing on all cylinders.
Honorable Mention: The Reef Building at WaterFront Square 901 N. Penn St. – Just about 6 units remain and the values are climbing faster than most other buildings around town. Expect another bump in values when the building completely sells out. Philadelphian’s are warming to the idea of living in this lovely gated community. Though I am biased…We own and live here.
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
215.521.1523 | Mark@CenterCity.com
June 29, 2015
Tags: Center City condo, center city condos for sale philadelphia, center city philadelphia condo, Center City Real Estate, condos in Philadelphia, Philadelphia condominiums
There are really three things you should consider when purchasing a Philly condo, in terms of it’s ventilation:
1) Is the fireplace vented? A lot of gas fireplaces are NOT vented to the outside in the state of PA. I have one in my house. I like it, and it certainly looses no heat via the flue. However, I do feel it is best to have a CO2 detector nearby, just in case. I rarely see the non-vented fireplaces as an issue to resale. Buyers generally don’t seem to either care, or realize the difference between a vented and non-vented gas fireplace.
2) Is the hood range vented? In most Philadelphia condos, it is not. How do you tell? Simply open the cabinet door above the microwave or hood range, and see if there is a pipe which leads up through the top of the cabinet. If you see no pipe..then the unit generally is not vented. If your unit is not vented, there are usually charcoal filters embedded into the hood range, or the microwave that will reduce the odors and smoke that arise from you burning dinner, or smelling your Old City loft up with odorous fish cooking. The range in my Philly condo is not vented, and it doesn’t bother me. And again, most Philadelphia condominium buyers are either not aware of the difference, of they don’t care.
3) Is you dryer vented to the outside? A lot of times, there is a white plastic box at the end of a six foot vent pipe. You know, the one that you are supposed to keep filled with water, which no one does, in order to reduce the amount of dryer lint/dust that will fill your condo? My condo has a vented dryer, because we insisted on buying a condo with a vented dryer. I lived in one condo that did not have a vented dryer, and I had a perpetually dusty apartment as a result. The only way to combat this issue is to investigate into ventless dryers that filter through some type of water.
It is more common than not, to have all three of the above items NOT vented to the outside of your Philadelphia condo…and none really make an impact on resale. Just a comfort issue for you, the potential buyer, whether or not all three are vented! So, let me know what you think…..post a comment or drop me an email at Mark@CenterCityCondos.com and we’ll chat.
April 20, 2015
Tags: Center City condo, center city condo philadelphia, Center City Real Estate, condominiums, Philadelphia condominiums
Here Are 5 clauses that are usually inserted into your Center City condo mortgage papers that you may not have known about…
1) Acceleration Clause
2) Defeasance Clause
3) Prepayment Clause
4) Due On Sale Clause
5) Compliance Clause
All these clauses are standard-whether you are buying at The Hopkinson House
, or say the Academy House….in most residential mortgages. What is the bottom line here? In my opinion…pay your mortgage and no one gets hurt….Similar to any other obligation, but in the case of a mortgage lender, they will provide clauses and provisions that are generally immutable and do go to the heart of protecting their own interests.
Your best defense? Ask. Then ask again. And get a Real Estate Lawyer if you are signing something you don’t understand….
April 6, 2015
Tags: Center City condo, center city condo for sale, center city condos, Center City Real Estate, condos in Philadelphia, Philadelphia condominiums
The goal should be your own Use and Enjoyment
with a side of Value Retention
There is no such thing as a Sure Thing..no surprise there. In most instances, condo owners upgrade for their own Use and Enjoyment- but some do improve with the goal of a higher resale value. Here are some common upgrading mistakes that I see in the Center City Condo marketplace:
1) Wall to Wall Carpeting in a Living room.
2) Installing a Huge soaking tub/ Jacuzzi like monstrosity
3) Replacing closet doors with Mirrored closet doors
4) Adding a Roof Deck (very subjective on this one)
5) Adding Hi-Hats and / or track lighting
Now certainly there are exceptions to every rule, and in some instances, these additions can add value. But from my experience- the value added is nominal. And in some cases- can actually detract from value. Really depends upon the unit. If you have some of these features in your condo, I would NOT suggest you remove them. But spending money to add them to your existing condo may not provide you with the expected return. Instead, I suggest you throw some money into what buyers seem to always remember:
1) Rework your Closets- You can buy off the shelves at Home Depot or Lowe’s. I call it the faux California Closet look. Never underestimate the power of good closets in Center City condo value. One of the first things condo buyers do is they check out the closet space- like the walk ins at Waterfront Square Condos
2) Repainting- Want some Kick-A** ideas? Visit www.Houzz.com
for some fab fab fab visuals. Remember, focus on two main colors and highlight with decor pieces as the third. You needn’t paint every wall in a room one color.
3) Recaulk and Regrout Your Bathroom- This is huge, and doesn’t cost a lot. Email me and I can send you references to
make your bathroom look 1000% better- and can be done in a day. Don’t underestimate this upgrade, please.
4) Replace all the knobs and pulls in your kitchen and bathroom. And try Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware. This is a huge and inexpensive way to really put “icing on the cake” in two of the most important rooms in your home. And if you want to take it a step further- after you do the above 4 Upgrades- think about replacing interior door knobs. Again , a small visual cue that can really set the tone and feel of you condo.
Want my input? Call me, and I will come over and do a quick assessment of your place…No biggie. I have been on HGTV for the decorating I did in my own home, and I won Philly Mag’s Kitchen of the Year contest back in 2005. Not to be a big brain or anything…
August 25, 2014
Tags: center city condos, Center City Real Estate, condos in Philadelphia, Philadelphia condominiums
-Dranoff is holding a VIP Realtor Sneak Peek on 9/3/15
for his new condos in Fitler Square named “One Riverside”
to be built at 25th and Locust.Watch these condos fly off the shelf
-The Hopkinson House is getting ready to do some pretty
heavy cosmetic changes to its lobby starting any month now
-Center City One Condos at 1326 Spruce continues to beautify
its premises with the completion of hallways- And are giving
owners the option of changing out their windows- fabulous!
-A plethora of small low rise condo buildings around Old City have sprung
up recently including 109-11 Church St. and 142 N. 2nd St- Nice infill
into a nicely established neighborhood.
-220 W. Rittenhouse – Once mentioned by Philly Mag as the least
attractive lobby on Rittenhouse Sq. is in the midst of adding
substantial visual appeal to its lobby area.
-Resale values at Ten Rittenhouse have shown to be strong in terms of value growth
over the past 3-4 years since first becoming occupied
-The Ritz-Carlton is selling like crazy. I mean really well….
-In my opinion, the most difficult segment in terms of little or no inventory
would be a two bedroom in 19103 under $600k. Hell, even
a really sweet one bedroom under $500k for that matter.
over the next year as sales have spiked as the building has been
assessing and upgrading. Bravo.
August 4, 2014
Tags: center city condos, condos in Philadelphia, Philadelphia condominiums
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.
June 23, 2014
Tags: center city condos, condos in Philadelphia, Philadelphia condominiums
Not all 1500 sq ft condos are created equal-
Even within the same building and same time frame
There are so many factors which affect value in a Center City condo that “comps” may not always tell the entire story.
Many buyers try to justify their low offers with square footage calculations….which CAN be horribly erroneous. How best to compare apples to apples?
1) Ask to see EVERY sale in the building in the past 2 years. Ask for the public records and MLS records.
2) Find a map of the building, and see which units face “The Park” and which overlook the DUMPSTERS – Positioning within a Center City condo building plays a role in value!
3) Inquire as to seller concessions that may have resulted in a higher recorded sales price for comps in newer buildings. And ask “did that unit include any extras like free parking?” If it did, it is going to distort the comps.
4) Floor height value- may or may not play a part in comps/ comp value. Newer Philadelphia condos are GREATLY based upon floor height.
5) Know that ALL pictures in the MLS look good- they don’t show dirt, clutter, or a poor showing ability (generally speaking). And know that “Fact Sheets” and MLS sheets are like Resume’s- full of bullsh** and dog doo. Never take that info for granted- you must confirm!
6) AND THE BIGGEST factor to warp comps- Interior condition. Hugely huge in comp valuation. Here is a good example of “Not All Space Being Created Equally”…Equally sized two bed units IN THE SAME BUILDING can vary in price from $400k- $700k. Condition, and view have huge impacts on value and pricing.
Clearly Center City condo comps can be deceiving – if you don’t know…ask me.
April 14, 2014
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Tags: Center City condo, Center City Real Estate, Philadelphia condominiums
It can make you a big winner or a big loser…
When big money is flying around here and there, the door opens for many folks to get bitten by the A-Hole bug. Which make sense…emotions are running high, deadlines need to be met, etc. etc., and I have seen some folks get seriously burned by playing their cards at the wrong time in the wrong place.
I think you need to look seriously at a few circumstances that may surround your transaction to know the power or leverage you have to throw your weight around. To begin with, the first thing you should look at is
“substitute-ability” of the Philadelphia condo. If you are fishing in a big pond of buyers or sellers, then of course you can bounce from one to the other without much risk to your goal of buying or selling a condo. Want to buy a condo at Locust Point in the spring? Watch your P’s and Q’s and zip your lip. Ditto for say a two bedroom at the Hopkinson House. If you are buying, you need to put your best foot forward and tie it up with a pretty red ribbon because demand almost always outweighs supply in those instances. Playing hardball as a buyer in these circumstances probably isn’t going to play in your favor. Owner’s can feel free to play any cards they pretty much like under those circumstances.
Two Quick Examples:
I sold a Center City condo in early 2010 to a buyer who had a real F You attitude to me, the seller, and the man on the moon for that matter. I have a lot respect for this buyer, and I like him. But I knew early on that if he didn’t get his way, he was going to walk. He may have been trying to save a dime for the sake of a dollar, as this was an exceptional deal, but his hardball play worked for him. I represented the buyer in this case, so I gave him all the ammo I could find. With a little homework, I could easily deduce that a lowball offer was warranted (thank you google) then was accepted by the seller. Winning.
On the other hand, back in the early 1990’s, I had a seller who was a real pr*ck, and his hardball tactics seriously misfired. He got his price, but wanted to keep his prized
Westinghouse Washer and Dryer…that were like 12 years old. Buyers told him to keep his used basement appliances, and walked. Seller sold the property six months later, for $40,000 less. The proverbial $40k washer/dryer, if you will.
Are you going to be a big winner, or perhaps a big loser? I dunno. But if you are going to play the A*hole card, you better be willing to stick to your guns when the heat rises. I just hope I can give you solid, if not a hint conservative information so you can make your own decision. And if you are being a butt-head, be my guest.. Then we’ll see how the deal is going to go down 🙂