R5Realty News and Notes

Market Snapshots and Commentary on Value and Quality of life along the former Main Line of the Pennsylvania Rail Road, up until recently called the R5 Line, and now officially known as the Paoli /Thorndale line. R5Realty runs from Center City Philadelphia through the walkable, Westward outlying Towns & Townships.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Downtown Philadelphia Condo Prices February 2011

Tomorrow: R5Realty.com updates Lower Merion 2011 Prices.
Chart includes Downtown Philadelphia area condo prices paid up to 1 Million from late Jan to late Feb 2011. The "Offered At" price below reflects each unit's asking price at the time a deal was contracted.  Frequently the Initial  "Offered At" price was significant higher when property was first listed and was reduced over time to what you see below. For details, questions, inquiries, we'd like to hear from you. Email Us info@R5Realty.com

Condominium BedsBathsOffered at Sold ForPhiladelphia
2001 Hamilton St PKG31300$33,000 $32,200 Art Museum 
813 N 16th St C11$78,500 $78,000 Art Museum 
2001 Hamilton St 92611$209,900 $192,000 Art Museum 
1527 Fairmount Ave 2R21.1$229,900 $200,000 Art Museum 
1531 Fairmount Ave 2R21.1$209,900 $202,500 Art Museum 
1533 Fairmount Ave 2R21.1$209,900 $205,000 Art Museum 
1531 Fairmount Ave 2F21.1$239,900 $239,000 Art Museum 
1531 Fairmount Ave 121.1$319,900 $267,000 Art Museum 
2001 Hamilton St 92521$299,900 $284,700 Art Museum 
2103 Green St 3R22$299,000 $290,000 Art Museum 
1535 Fairmount Ave 2R21.1$209,900 $209,900 Art Museum
315 Arch St 60911$189,900 $169,000 Center City
2101-17 Chestnut St 71011$215,000 $193,500 Center City
2101-17 Chestnut St 181711$199,900 $199,900 Center City
604-36 S Washington Sq 100401$215,000 $200,000 Center City
130-36 N Bread St 40211$219,000 $219,000 Center City
113 A Cuthbert St11$255,500 $240,000 Center City
1420 Locust St 20R11$259,900 $240,000 Center City
1500 Chestnut St 13E11$244,000 $240,000 Center City
1600-18 Arch St 120811$269,900 $240,000 Center City
1919 Chestnut St 262421$265,000 $250,000 Center City
2020 Walnut St 9K11$280,000 $250,000 Center City
2302 Spruce St 211$274,500 $261,500 Center City
1600-18 Arch St 91511$299,900 $299,900 Center City
1420 Locust St 24F22$349,900 $300,000 Center City
2301 Cherry St 3C22.1$360,000 $320,000 Center City
224-30 W Rittenhouse Sq 171611$349,000 $340,000 Center City
23 S 23rd St 2B22.1$439,900 $370,000 Center City
2101 Market St 80411$399,000 $399,000 Center City
200 Locust St 17F&G22$649,900 $622,500 Center City
210 W Washington Sq 2SW11.1$725,000 $687,500 Center City
2200 Arch St 120322$749,900 $785,000 Center City
233 S 6th St 230122$890,000 $848,000 Center City
224-30 W Rittenhouse Sq 320122.1$1,000,000 $925,000 Center City

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Some Narberth Homes Selling Faster Roy Halladay Heater

Two attractive Narberth homes went swiftly under contract this week, as did a promising center-hall colonial in Bala Cynwyd's College Park section. Each of these properties had their own distinct charms, but what they share in common is they each were quickly plucked off the market faster than a Roy Halladay fastball whooshes past a hapless New York Met!.
 218 Forest Ave. Narberth $469,000

The past couple years, most Main Line homes have tended to have their time "on market" measured in months, but 218 Forest Avenue  ($469,000 Prudential) was posted "under agreement" * less than two-weeks after the 4-Bed, 2.5 Bath Narberth home made its debut on the market. I toured the home and found it handsome but was most impressed with its location on quiet, tree-lined Forrest Avenue, which gently slopes upward just blocks from downtown Narberth and thusly sees relatively little traffic or owner turnover.

339 Dudley was offered at $384,900
A smaller 3-Bed, 1-Bath at  339 Dudley Ave. (Long & Foster) in Narberth was listed "under agreement" on February 22, just 23 days after hitting the market. Like the home at 218 Forrest, the 1862 sq. foot Dudley Avenue house had a prime location, nice updating, but indicated no central air conditioning.

$450,000 was list for 515 Oxford Rd.
This week's winner in  R5Realty's Rush-to Buy Sweepstakes was  the air-conditioned, stone and brick colonial at 515 Oxford Rd. in Bala Cynwyd, which lasted just over 72 hours before having its "Active" status modified on the Realtors' multiple listing service.

While each of the above homes is currently "under contract" to be sold, all have contingincies related to their accepted offers. This is completely standard, and it is possible one or all may eventually return to market for lucky future homeowners. You can check the latest status with Prudential (R5Realty's) Buyer-Agents Ted and Heather Gross via email or phone, 610.348.7972.

Bottom line is the Home-Buying season is here, and despite national malaise, the most attractive, smartly-priced and well-located homes are still awarded to the buyers/bidders who work with a full-time Realtor that knows the local market and who is poised to help buyers act intelligently and swiftly.

*(Update 2.25- Since this original posting the agreement for 218 Forest Ave. has been negated and this home is once again Active and up for grabs). 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Ardmore home rehabbed sold for nearly twice cost

Rehabbed Ardmore Single sold for 265K
This 4BR/1.5 Bath   1300sf Lower Merion/Ardmore single - near Spring & Holland Aves. was purchased at its list price of $150,000 approx 1/1/2010. I toured the 1400 sf home at the time and was impressed with its potential, especially given the attractive price. It needed a lot of updating but had solid bones and was snapped off the market in 3 days at the above state price.

By May 2010  the rehab, including Central Air, was complete and the home was put on the market for 299k. Approx. one year after the Jan 2010 purchase, this home was purchased in early 2011 for $262,500 after sellers assist. I  think the proud new owners got a great deal for a handsome renovated single-family home in the Lower Merion School District, just  steps from the hallowed greens of Haverford College and vibrant downtown Ardmore. I sincerely hope the rehabbers/sellers did as well on the flip as their lucky buyers.

A home in a diverse, transitioning neighborhood was handsomely restored, reasonably priced, and ideally a win-win for the buyers, sellers and neighbors. This home was perhaps priced so well prior to rehab because it was a guardianship/estate-type of situation.

Full-time Realtors such as Ted and Heather Gross, 610.348.7972, scrape the multiple listings service daily for outstanding values, and our services as your Buyer's Rep come at no charge as we earn commissions via the sellers. Don't hesitate to email us or call us direct if you are looking for a home in R5 Rail country, including Lower Merion, Radnor, Philadelphia townships. Call or email  info@R5Realty.com .

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lower Merion Rentals in R5 Country including Philadelphia and Delco.

Our aim in this and all R5Realty posts is to educate and demistify the process of buying and renting Real Estate. Helping people buy, sell, rent homes is what we do for a living, but in the interest of full disclosure, I dont believe a Realtor is the answer to every home-buying/selling situation and am not afraid to say so.
There are; however, exceptions to every rule. We're here to Help and be a Resource for home finders/sellers in the Western suburbs & Philly, so please dont hesitate to call, 610.348.7972 or email info@R5Realty.com.  

There are instances when using a Realtor to find a rental is a good idea, especially when you are looking in an unfamiliar area,  but I truly believe Craig's List is the best resource when looking for a house or apartment to rent. Yes, Craig's is chock-full of scammers and folks who  have been ripped off. But the same thing is true of say, car dealerships, yet people successfully buy cars from dealers all the time with wonderful results.

Some "Pros" of using a Realtor to find you a rental:
1- Having a Realtor involved introduces an element of professionalism and a code of ethics into the process of entering into a rental agreement. A Realtor can be of great assistance in protecting your rights as a renter and act as a buffer for any negotiations.
2- Realtors also have access to properties which can only be found only on the Multiple Listing Service and not accessible to the general public.
3- Realtors are generally compensated by the Landlord and it usually costs you nothing to have a Realtor help you find a rental.
4- If you dont know that much about the area/region/town in which you wish to rent, have a Realtor helping you can have enormous benefits in making sure you make a good decision about where to rent.

Some "Cons" of having a Realtor find your rental:
1- Many landlords do not compensate Realtors for delivering a tenant. Practically, there is no incentive for a Realtor to help you find a place when there is no commission reward. For many many available rentals there is nothing monetarily in it for the Realtor - so a Realtor may have an interest in showing you just a fraction of what is available.
2-Some landlords prefer to have a Realtor manage the process of finding a tenant, but very many feel they can do it just fine by themselves via a free craig's list advertisement. There is no law or rule of thumb and everything is negotiable, but typically I see that Landlords pay a commission of one month's rent when employing a Realtor to handle the renting. If Realtor A is the Listing Realtor and Realtor A also brings the renter to the table, the money involved isn't bad. But when Realtor A (the Listing Realtor) gets the tenant from Realtor B (the renter's realtor), the commission money is split between Realtor A and Realtor B. Once each Realtor's Broker takes a cut, there is very little cash left on the table to make it worth either Realtors time.
3- Bottom line is most Realtors (with significant exceptions) can't put food on the table with  rentals. Motivation is low and effort expended is rarely met with worthwhile rewards. And since a preponderance of landlords don't wish to pay Realtors a commission, Realtors are likely only going to show you a small slice of the available, commission-backed, rental market.

NEVERTHELES - Go ahead and give a Realtor a try if your are looking for a rental. While most Realtors inventory of available rentals that pay commissions may be small, you just might find a diamond in the rough. Some excellent rentals and apartments are Only advertised via the Realtor network and not findable anywhere else. So if looking for a rental, contact a local realtor and see what he or she can do for you. But definitely do let the Realtor know you will also be doing your own search via newspaper or CraigsList.

BY ALL MEANS, never EVER pay a fee to anyone, especially anyone on CraigsList in order to find a rental in Philadelphia or its suburbs. And of course always use common sense when meeting a stranger. Ideally, don't go alone when responding to a CraigsList ad and consider calling a friend when you meet the landlord. Make sure the prospective landlord overhears you describing where you are, who you are with, and other vital facts to discourage any nonsense. There are creeps on CraigsList, but I have also found it to have  the most comprehensive, diverse list of available rental homes. And most of CraigsList advertisers are good folks like you and me.