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August 12, 2013

Half Way Through 2013- Condo Update

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:30 am

 

OK…here is how 2013 will be remembered:  Buyers got their mo-jo back

austin

 

I have recently seen many more multiple offers and buyer competing with each other, a shortened “DOM” (days on market), sales over asking price and clear inventory reduction throughout the entire Center City condo market.

 

The next logical step is an across the board price increase. We are already seeing some segments of the market experience sizable gains in the first half of 2013- And now I think the rest of the market is catching up….expect to see those gains really show their face in the spring 2014 market.

 

From a Realtor’s perspective- the upside is that more comparable sales are now in the MLS- and many within segments where no prior relevant comparables existed (recent ones anyway).

This is going to be huge for further price escalations as Appraisers now have something concrete to base their values upon.

 

-Mark

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August 5, 2013

You Want A Side Of Parking With That Condo?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:47 am

Philly condominiums offer a wide variety of parking options. From on-site rental, to deeded parking, many Center City condo buildings do offer an array of possibilities.

 

 

Rental parking- Most buyers will tell me that AS LONG AS there is guaranteed rental parking on the block, then this option is an acceptable substitute for actually owning a Philadelphia parking spot. I like the flexibility here, and such an approach will GREATLY add to the number of options you have when we are searching for your new condo.

Deeded Parking- If available, this arrangement has you purchasing a physical piece on property in which you have the rights to park. Means you have a separate tax bill as well. Usually you may buy or sell this parking spot with or without an accompanying condominium unit.

Assigned Parking: You pay for this too, but you do not get a deed. You are basically granted the rights to the use and enjoyment of a parking parking spot, usually located on-site. You may not separate this parking spot from your condominium unit, and such assignment is recorded somewhere in either the condo docs, or your deed.

Street Parking- For approx. $35 a year, you can purchase a Street Parking Sticker, and then be able to NOT have to feed parking meters, or move your car every two hours for the AREA in which your parking sticker is valid. IF you get one for the Old city area, because you live in Old City, this will not give the ability to park for free around Rittenhouse Square. I guarantee you that.

Parking does play a role in the value and desirability differently in almost every condo buying situation here in Center City.

Call me at 215.521.1523 or drop me an email at Mark@CenterCity.com, and let’s discuss how parking may affect you!

 

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July 15, 2013

Welcome to the Hotel California…

Filed under: Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:55 pm

You can check out anytime you like… but can you ever leave (sell) that condo ?

What is the Achilles heel to resale and value? Key fatal flaws in a condo may prove difficult to resell a condo.

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I asked around the Real Estate Community, and here is what most Realtors believe to be a tough sell:

1) A very expensive unit in a low rise building without an elevator – On a high floor.  Meaning $1M for a 5th floor walk up. Though some of the best deals in town can be found on the 3rd floors of many blgds.

2) A Three story tall cheap metal spiral staircase that screams “death” ?  Yeah, that isn’t easy to overcome.

One flight of spirals in town is a great space saver. Three flights can be visually daunting.

3) Condo fees over over $1 per sq ft per month without a doorman, parking, pool, or even a gym. An inverse relationship can exist between condo fees and resale value. Add the burden of non- fanne mae warrant-ability, and you have on tough sale on your hands.

4) Buildings that just look like sh*t- from the exterior, to the lobby, elevators, and hallways. Where ongoing maintenance is clearly not a priortiy.

NOW….there is one possible upside to buying a condo in a building that may possess some of the above characteristics – And that would be price. An exceedingly well priced condo can be forgiven for its many attached sins.

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June 17, 2013

The Best Neighborhoods in Philly

Filed under: For Buyers,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:17 pm

If you’re thinking of moving to Philadelphia, or already live here but are in the market for new digs, your neighborhood will make a huge difference in your enjoyment of the city. Even in Center City, there are various personalities in different blocks. Depending on you, your budget, and where you are in life, you’ll probably have a pretty strong opinion about what you’re looking for.

For example, if you’re a single income w/no kids, you probably don’t care much about the quality of schools in the district. On the other hand, if you’re buying a home as an investment and not renting, the school quality will matter because it impacts the value of the property. Here are a few of the best neighborhoods in Philly to consider.

Avenue of the Arts
Located on Broad Street, this barrio is just what it sounds like. The Theater District is nestled here, close to City Hall, and there are a number of galleries and cultural sites nearby. The general vibe is creative.It runs from Broad and Locust to Broad and Lombard and hosts many of the area’s theaters. If you’re looking for some inspiration and a neighborhood that likely won’t diminish in value, this is it.

Old City
Close to Delaware River, Old City is a historical downtown niche. Independence Hall is located here as well as the Betsy Ross House, Elfreth’s Alley and a number of other historical sites. It’s bordered by Vine and Walnut streets and is favorite area for history buffs or those who prefer a peppering of culture in their lives. After work hours, it’s known for having some of the best nightlife, lounges, dive bars and mom and pop restaurants in the city.

Society Hill
Society Hill is an architecture lover’s dream realized. There are more original buildings constructed in the the18 and 19 century than anywhere else in the U.S. It boasts cobblestone streets, a charming vibe and row homes bound by Front and 7th Streets. Federal and Georgian style reign supreme here.

Midtown Village                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A new neighborhood that’s part of Washington Square West, Midtown Village is highly desirable, trendy, and full of boutiques and shops. Antique Row is here and both medical and educational institutions are abundant, and it’s a popular area for those looking for the best in life (and homes).

There are many personalities in Philadelphia, so make sure you consider them all. Just like car and mouse trap reviews, you want to make sure you do your research before you start home hunting. Are you more Old City or Midtown Village? Only you can decide.

 Michelle Rebecca

Michelle is an aspiring writer with a passion for blogging. She enjoys writing about a vast variety of topics and loves that blogging gives her the opportunity to publicly voice her thoughts and share advice with an unlimited audience.

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April 2, 2013

Guest Post: Why Living in the Center of Philly is Better than Suburban Living

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 11:02 am

Personal circumstances such as your job, family and lifestyle preferences determine whether or not city life is a good fit but for many, the center of Philadelphia is the place to be.  The City of Brotherly Love, a big city with a small town feel, is known for its friendly residents and if you love the vibrant life in cities Philly condos have a lot to offer. Trees and parks offer a refreshing contrast to its museums and shopping centers. Philadelphia is, quite literally, the best of both worlds. Decide for yourself if it’s right for you.

 

Less Reliance on Automobiles
Philly has a terrific public transportation system. It runs in a timely manner and can get you almost anywhere you want to go in the city or the surrounding areas. Commutes are quick and, if you prefer walking, almost anything is within reach. Shopping, entertainment and a wide variety of restaurants are within reasonable walking distance. In the suburbs, you will likely have to run a car, adding significant expense to your monthly budget and never mind the time spent commuting.

Wide-Ranging Culture
Philadelphia is known for its vibrant art scene. It’s not uncommon to see used forklifts moving sculptures, paintings and other pieces of art into a building. Museums, the zoo, and popular sports teams also bring entertainment to the city. If you’re a shopaholic, you’ll enjoy a large variety of boutiques, larger department stores and small specialty shops.
Even better, Philadelphia is one of America’s oldest cities and is full of historical significance. Its architecture is second to none. You can find a multitude of different cuisines; the city has many ethnic restaurants if you’re up for new experiences. There are diverse neighborhoods and Center City condos with distinct cultural offerings, so you’re never bored and without something to do.
Philadelphia is also home to some prestigious educational institutions, such as the University of Pennsylvania, which add to the vigor and excitement of one of America’s favorite cities. All of this can be right outside your door.

Real Affordability
Compared to living in some cities like New York and Chicago, living in Philadelphia is quite affordable. Rent is cheaper and because public transportation is plentiful, saving on getting to and from work is easy. Cars require maintenance and upkeep; you don’t have to worry about those costs if you live in the city center. Even purchasing a home is more affordable in Philly than it is in comparable cities in the United States.

If you’re looking to move to Philly, don’t just settle on the suburbs. Instead, think about everything the City of Brotherly Love has to offer you and your family.

 

Michelle is an aspiring writer with a passion for blogging. She enjoys writing about a vast variety of topics and loves that blogging gives her the opportunity to publicly voice her thoughts and share advice with an unlimited audience.

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May 8, 2009

Hard vs. Soft Lofts

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 12:13 pm

Almost any Center City condominium, with a smattering of exposed brick, attempts to pass itself off as a loft. Often sought after as an expression of one’s own style, loft living has taken off in downtown Philadelphia. Lofts vary in look, layout, and location throughout downtown Philly. Some loft condos impress mightily, and others are cheap imitations of highly unique, urban treasures hidden in pockets of Old City, Bella Vista, and of course, The Loft District around 13th and Vine Streets.

The best example of a hard loft in Center City might be The Old Shoe Factory at 314 N. 12th St. From an unadorned cavernous lobby area, up to the eighth floor via a converted oversized warehouse lift, the units are characterized by hugely oversized windows, exposed brick, minimalist kitchens, and bedrooms that are open to the living area. Fantastic city views, high ceilings, and a few units with polished cement floors. Minimalistic at best, these condos truly tag at the definition of a live/work open space where room size is valued over room count.

A fair example of a soft loft might be BridgeView Place at 315 New St. in Old City. With the prerequisite high ceilings, and touches of exposed brick, these condos have been compartmentalized to include bedrooms, walled off kitchen areas, and walk-in closets. Some units at BridgeView do indeed have a loft bed perched above the living space, but those units are few and far between. The conversion to condominiums in the mid 1980’s at 315 New St. is a good example of a reasonable living space, with a bit of “lofty” flair.

A Center City Philadelphia loft can come in a variety of sizes, styles, and locations throughout downtown Philadelphia. Some more true to their “lofty roots” than others, loft living of all proportions is gaining popularity amongst the empty-nester set moving into town from the suburbs and elsewhere. Many of the available loft condos today didn’t exist in the early 1990’s when the very first empty nester/baby boomer began trickling into Center City. And judging from the success of many loft and loft-like sales throughout the area, buyers are finding individuality can be expressed through the (loft) style in which they choose to live.

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

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April 21, 2009

Finding the right Philadelphia condo…is like playing 20 questions

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:39 pm

It is really simple. I show you a condo. Then I ask…is this too small? What do you think of the view? The closet space? The layout?

Then we visit the 2nd condo, and the questions are: What do you think of this building? How do you like the location? Is the kitchen big enough?

Then we go to the 3rd condo, and I ask: How do you feel about rental parking being around the corner, as opposed to on-site? Do you like the bathrooms? How adverse are you to paying higher condo fees (for things like doormen, and elevators)?


 
Finding you the right (say) Rittenhouse Square flat, or say Old City loft is a function of how well you can verbalize your “dream condo”, and me being able to interpret what you say, and match that to the current Center City Philadelphia inventory of condos.

It is not rocket science. However, I am a fairly quick study, and I know the Philadelphia real estate market better than most (if you don’t mind me being a big-brain)….

So give me a call at 215.521.1523 or drop me an email at Mark@CenterCity.com. Let’s play 20 questions, and let’s see if I can come up with your dream Philadelphia condo!

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

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April 14, 2009

How much noise can you expect to hear from your Philly condo neighbors?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 11:02 am

Some is to be expected. Keeping you awake is beyond reasonable.


 
I know one new Philadelphia condo conversion project here in town where the occupants say you can hear your neighbors’ alarm clock go off and phone ring. I know other buildings that have exposed ceiling timbers, with no insulation, in which you can hear every footstep of your upstairs neighbor. I live in a converted warehouse condominium, and steps were taken to reduce the possibility of hearing my neighbor upstairs. And though I am aware when he is home, I am seldom bothered or annoyed. (Except when Tammy, his high-heel wearing friend comes over and does a clog dance of some kind- directly over my living room. 🙂 )
    
There certainly  has to be some degree of forgiveness when living in close proximity of other folks. Be it noise from above, below, or through an adjoining wall, you may become aware of the fact that you have neighbors. However if the racket from others is driving you crazy in (say) your Rittenhouse Square condo, I would suggest the following:
 
1) Make sure your common hallways are carpeted. Aside from quieting footsteps, carpeting will prevent the hallways from becoming an echo chamber.

2) Find a condo building in which the developer has “stacked” the bedroom. Having a bedroom above you is generally better than having a living room above you, especially in some of the converted loft/warehouse lofts in Old City.

3) Should your bedroom be adjacent to your neighbors living room (more common in newer construction), have a layer of soundproof sheet-rock added to that wall.

4) Make sure you have a high quality door sweep on the bottom of your front door to keep out hallway noise.

5) Make sure condo rules are enforced. Many condo docs state that 70% of each condo unit must be carpeted. Rarely enforced, but an option.

Concerned about living too close to others? Lets discuss more options!

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

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February 24, 2009

Inflexible Sellers of New Construction High Rise Condos

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:11 pm

Do they, or do they not negotiate?

Sometimes developers of new condo buildings here in town will negotiate price. Sometimes they won’t. At times, sales staff will casually “leak” a phrase like- “make us an offer”, or “the seller is getting motivated”.

   

As someone who sells a fair share of new construction condos in Philadelphia, I can pretty much tell you that each seller is different, and each offer varying, disguised degrees of flexibility.

Here is how I describe the range of seller flexibility in new construction:
 
1) Seller will not budge an inch. This approach protects the values, for those who have already purchased in this piece of Philadelphia real estate.

2) Seller will not budge on price, but may throw in some free upgrades- from hardwood floors, to a Smart Car, to a free parking space.

3) Seller is very flexible on price. Make an offer, and perhaps a quick settlement, without interior cosmetic alterations, will do the trick

4) Seller is very flexible on price, and if you want changes to the interior, plus free parking, then make the offer.
 
Every seller is a different. And many factors may be pulling the seller into one camp, or another. Consider-
 
1) Does the seller have really deep pockets?

2) Is the seller perhaps nearing the very end of the sales in that building, and is that a motivator for him or her?

3) Is this project fresh off the drawing boards, and does the seller need to establish a predetermined number of sales, in order for him or her to get bank financing to build the building?
 
Give me a call at 215.521.1523 or drop me an email at Mark@CenterCity.com if you might like some help in finding your new Center City condo!

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

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February 20, 2009

What are your priorities when buying A Philadelphia condo?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 11:01 am

Some buyers favor space. Others location. Some buyers want only the BEST city views
 
All home buyers priorities are like snowflakes- no two are ever the same.

Are you strickly looking for a highrise, or a brownstone styled condo? 

Do you desire a gorgous, modern new construction piece that shows like a dream?  

           

How about proximity to your work, or your play areas of Center City?    
 
My job as a Philadelphia realtor is very simple: Discover your priorities (via casually looking at some properties together), until I can identify exactly what you seek in a Center City condo, then take you two that home, or group of homes. I am pretty adept at matching condos and people. The key for me is getting good feedback from my buyers.

I need to learn about what you like and don’t like….and why. I am not going to be offended if you really
dislike Mr. and Mrs. Seller’s living room. I just have to know why you dislike what you are seeing, so I can
put the pieces of the puzzle together to find you your perfect new home!
 
Call me at 215.521.1523 or drop me an email at Mark@CenterCity.com…let’s chat about your priorities in a Center City condominium!

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

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