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Center City Philadelphia
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November 3, 2016

Ten Pitfalls to Avoid when buying a Center City Condominium…

Filed under: For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:24 am


Being a veteran Center City Realtor (26 years), I often see buyers making some repeated mistakes.  At least in my opinion, I use the word mistakes.

Here are some common pitfalls:

1) Paying Points on a short term hold.
Many buyers know they will only own their condo for 3 to 5 years. Paying Points may not be advantageous- Talk to your lender. Do your homework here.

2) Saying “No” to a “Betterments and Improvements ” rider on your home owners policy. This covers items like floor, appliances, cabinetry, doorknobs, etc etc. Might be worth considering.

3) Glossing Over Building Issues – You are given 5 days to read your condo docs. If you don’t want to do so, then hire a lawyer. A Real Estate Lawyer.

4) Using a Mortgage Lender because you have a Savings Account at that bank, and have had for 23 years. That doesn’t mean crap, in my experience. Nada. Nil. Zip.

5) Using a relative to be your Realtor, Mortgage person, or otherwise to play a huge role in your buying process. These arrangements can go up in flames quickly. Not always…but…

6) Not Vetting Your Philadelphia Realtor – “When in Rome” is pretty good advice.. Interview him/her to decide if you two make a good team.

7) Over-buying : Do you really need a three bedroom and den unit? Or will a two bedroom and den suffice? Same story with one vs two bedroom units- If you don’t need the space, why pay for the space?

8) Not Reading Your Sales Contract – 99% of the questions you may have about a transaction here in PA can be answered by reading your Agreement of Sale (The Contract). Read It. I beg you.

9) Expecting Perfection: Yes, the seller is going to vacate your new condo in a dirty and somewhat used condition, with holes in the walls where their art once hung. IF that is the biggest bump in the road during our journey, then we should all g o sing and dance in the middle of the street with joy and glee :-). Nothing in life is perfect so a hint of forgiveness along the road can be helpful.

10) Relying on the Square Foot calculations on Condo Flyer. Or even relying on info provided by some sources. Best to do your own measuring/ fact checking.

Just Ask Me.
Let’s find the answers together to help you make the best decisions possible.

Mark Wade
BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors

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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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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 Let’s play 20 questions, and let’s see if I can come up with your dream Philadelphia condo!

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

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