How to make an offer on a house | 3 tips for success

Making an offer

How does the magic happen with home buying? The way they show it on HGTV it looks so easy! These 3 steps at the beginning of your search will set you up for success. You may even create your own home buying show!

As you know, today’s market is challenging, and moving rapidly. With inventory at historic lows and competition fierce, a little advance work goes a long way towards a smooth home buying process, and successful negotiations.

Top 3 tips to prepare for an offer

Whether just dreaming of possibilities or if you have a deadline to be in your new home, the following 3 steps will prepare you for success;

1) Create your team – NOW is the time to interview and hire an agent. Being represented, and securing that in writing will protect your confidentiality and strength of negotiations while you explore all options, including off-market properties. 

If you plan to finance, now is also the time to get your pre-approval ready to go. If buying with cash, your agent will need your proof of cash on file along with your buyer agency documents for your offer.

2)  Market Data – Study market trends closely. I provde market analysis for my clients to be able to track local trends, as well as detailed comparable sales analysis (‘Comps’) well in advance of making an offer.

3) Negotiation Strategies – it’s important to discuss openly with your Realtor what your negotiation style is, explore pros and cons of options, and strategize together ahead of time so that you not only will be in a position to win, but also know your “walk away” limit.

Home buying negotiation

In today’s low inventory seller’s market, it’s especially important to analyze the big picture of your win, risks you’re willing to take (or not) and your “walk away” limit before getting caught in the midst of the emotional roller coaster of a competing offer deadline.

How do I hire a Realtor?

There are 2 basic documents to hire a Realtor to represent you;

1) Consumer Notice – this is an explanation of agency, not a contract. PA law requires us to provide this disclosure to every consumer we meet.

2) Buyer Agency Agreement – once signed, this secures the privacy of your negotiations. It clarifies for everyone who you choose to represent you and protects you from agency confusion that can arise by attending open houses. 

Who represents you should be your choice, not accidental! In my agreements, I always put “on written notice” for ending the agreement. My commitment is to exceed expectations. 

If something’s not working for you, I hope you’ll give me the opportunity to correct the issue. However, please be assured our working agreement can be terminated in writing, as simply as by sending an email stating your wishes. Your confidentiality will remain protected.

Wait, do I need an attorney?

In Pennsylvania, you do not need an attorney for the home purchase process. I order title, ensure complete city certs and condo or HOA documents are delivered on time, facilitate and coordinate a smooth settlement.

You are welcome to use an attorney! It’s just not a requirement like in parts of New Jersey and New York. If you’d like referrals to several excellent local real estate attorneys, please let me know.

Many times buyers I speak to feel they might be “wasting my time” since they are early in the process. That’s so sweet! But my business model is VIP, concierge service throughout the process – from dream stage to moving in. I’m here to help!

Let’s talk! Please click on my calendar and book a no-obligation consultation at your convenience.

Bryn Mawr housing inventory – will the frenzy die down?

Bryn Mawr Homes for Sale

Bryn Mawr buyers in today’s Main Line housing market are feeling a little bit like Rocky in the 14th round, beat up by competing offers over asking, waiving of inspections, and all cash buyers. When will it die down?

Bryn Mawr Q1 Market Update

Bryn Mawr housing market results for Q1 2021 reflect the frenzy we’ve all been feeling. Inventory is at an all-time low of 1.5 months and New Pendings (homes under contract) are 150% above the 5 year trend.

Bryn Mawr Market Stats Q1 2021

Is there a glimmer of hope?

A recent national survey conducted for Realtor.com indicates a trend for 10% more homes to be listed this year and at more affordable prices. “There is a brighter light at the end of the tunnel for many weary buyers,” says Realtor.com Senior Economist George Ratiu.

How does that apply for the Bryn Mawr housing market? Surprisingly, there’s a new listing increase of 40% in Bryn Mawr for 2021 vs. 2020.

However, Bryn Mawr buyer demand outpaces today’s supply creating the 1.5 months of inventory statistic noted above.

Bryn Mawr Housing Statistics

How to win in a competing market?

We’ve been facing on average 8-12 offers on new listings within days, sometimes hours of hitting the market on the Main Line.

How to win? There are options that can help you succeed, while retaining your due diligence protections and maintaining compliance with real estate ethics and professional guidelines. Let’s start with 5 tips to help you prepare for negotiations.

5 critical steps to create a win

  • 1) Hire a Realtor – it’s important to work with a professional that you trust. The advance work preparing for an offer helps you strategize and win. Also, select an agent who will prospect new opportunities for you through networking, as well as reaching out to off-market potential sellers. Private match making with off-market sellers is one of my specialties!
  • 2) Financial Strategy – have your financial buying strategy prepared. If you’re buying with cash, your agent will need proof of cash. If you’re taking advantage of today’s low interest rates, work with both your agent and lender in advance. It’s important to know what your offer ceiling is and explore scenarios that work for you, while creating an attractive offer for the seller. You should have those conversations well ahead of time, before you see the home you love.
  • 3) Market Knowledge – be sure your agent is providing you with up-to-date market data. If you face an “above asking” offer situation, you’ll want to be informed and aware of trends to assess what level of risk this may imply for future values for the Bryn Mawr housing market. As you’ve heard me say before…
  • 4) Do your homework – there are documents needed for an offer that should be done ahead of time, to save from the frenzy of making an offer late night on a Sunday night after the first open house. If possible, I like to go over a sample offer with my clients well ahead of negotiations so decisions can be made quickly without losing the opportunity for questions and concerns.
  • 5) Know your “walk away” number – be prepared for the frenzy. Know what your walk away number is to prevent paying more than makes sense for your individual financial strategy. This is unique for every individual, but something I discuss with each client.

Recent win in Bryn Mawr

I helped my clients recently win in a competing offer dynamic for a beautiful home in Bryn Mawr. We previously lost out on 3 offers, but this time used a different, creative strategy which retained their home inspection and appraisal contingencies.

Contact me to discuss strategies that fit for your particular goals whether you’re buying in Bryn Mawr, on the Main Line, Philadelphia or New Jersey. You’re always welcome to browse at LuxLivingGroup.com.

Year-end 2020 real estate report

Year-end 2020 Market Report

Looking back on 2020 to make decisions in 2021 is a bit like driving while looking in the rear view mirror. No pun intended but you know that saying “hindsight is 2020?” While the past may not predict the future, we are seeing trends that can help navigate a quickly changing market in 2021.

To start, you’ll find an overview of the North American Luxury Market for 2020 with highlights and statistics for Main Line and Center City communities in my year-end Luxury Market Report:

Shifting markets

While a market shift was predicted as early as 2017 due to normal real estate cycles, the effects of the COVID pandemic in 2020 created quickly shifting micro-market changes no one anticipated.

The market is hot, except where it’s not. I don’t mean to be sarcastic but for sellers who were on the market in 2020 and didn’t sell – it can be painful to hear how hot the market is when that wasn’t their experience. Even in a hot market, successful selling requires an aggressive, creative strategy with targeted marketing locally, nationally and internationally.

For buyers, many have felt scorched by the heat of escalating values, competing offers and limited inventory, especially in the suburbs.

There’s no one easy answer to “how’s the market.” In complicated times it’s more important than ever to take a deep, consultative look at the specific market trends that can impact your real estate goals.

What does all that data mean?

Main Line market statistics
Click to book a private 15-minute consultation

I’ll cut to the chase and share my personal insights.

Philadelphia and communities on the Main Line survived the mortgage crisis without a dramatic bubble and burst. We’ll weather through this pandemic as well.

Do we have a bubble? Leading economists say price escalations are not a bubble but a market response to high demand and low inventory. That’s reassuring, but it also means values are likely to shift as supply and demand changes in 2021.

Philadelphia’s Center City

We can anticipate the desirability of Philly’s low density cosmopolitan lifestyle to retain value. How much and in what areas is impossible to predict.

Pied-a-terre condo

However, as detailed in my market report, the number of new contracts increased in Rittenhouse Square end of 2020 meaning buyers are taking strategic advantage of a strong buyers market, following a national trend for pied-a-terre condo purchase in metropolitan centers.

Main Line suburban communities

Many Main Line home owners who planned to downsize decided their home actually fits for them long term. However, for those who have considered selling in the near future, now is the time to take action and benefit from high demand and low inventory.

You’ll see below that New York suburban markets began cooling off at the end of 2020 with fewer sales, an early indicator of a softer market.

We cannot assume that escalated suburban market values today will remain the same throughout 2021.

New York buyers on the Main Line

From Manhattan to the Main Line was a common story for 2020. Buyer demand for suburban homes on the Main Line made a huge impact.

Competing cash offers for luxury homes that had previously languished with months, even years on the market literally flipped luxury market areas like Gladwyne with a movement you might call Billionaire’s Row to Billionaire’s Village.

Homes with pools and the ability to add a pool became a top post-COVID ‘must have’ for buyers along with work from home flex space, gyms and media rooms. Large estate homes that were seen as undesirable in 2019 started receiving competing cash offers.

What can we learn from New York’s market changes?

Much of the 2020 increase in demand and values on the Main Line was driven by post-COVID urban flight from Manhattan to the Main Line. When the pandemic hit New York city early and hard, we saw an influx of Manhattan buyers on the Main Line as early as February.

Just as New York was months ahead of Philadelphia facing the pandemic, their real estate market may serve as an early indicator for trends coming in 2021.

A recent New York Times article summarized the complex market effects of COVID-19 for New York boroughs – The Market Collapse of 2020 highlighting trends in Manhattan as well as suburban areas.

Is demand for suburban living cooling?

New York appraiser Johnathan L. Miller who covers Manhattan, West Chester, Long Island and Fairfield Connecticut sees the New York suburban demand cooling;

Suburban demand cooling

“The pandemic didn’t create a new class of suburban buyers — mostly, it accelerated the plans of New Yorkers who were already thinking of moving. And while sales remain elevated in several suburbs, compared to last year, their meteoric rise plateaued in the late summer. I think peak suburb has passed.”

While New York suburban demand is cooling, we still have a strong demand suburban living as we can see in the December statistics below:

Montgomery County 2020 Statistics
December 2020 Statistics for home sales in Montgomery County

Will the Main Line follow New York and cool off in 2021? Perhaps, but I anticipate a spring surge of buyer activity as leases signed during the early COVID urban exodus in 2020 come to an end. Buyers are making a more final decision in 2021 on where and what to call home.

We face the potential of a softening demand by summer or fall of 2021 following the trends in New York suburbs as adjustments to our post-COVID work from home realities settle in as our new normal.

Rental decline

Rents for Center City prime locations struggled in 2020 following similar challenges throughout the country in cosmopolitan locations.

For instance, the median rent in Manhattan dipped lower than 2010.

Manhattan rental trends

As reported on my blog, Paul Levy, President and CEO of Center City District spoke to the Path to Philadelphia Recovery in November. Council Member Allan Domb joined the discussion with comments about about Center City’s soft luxury rental market.

As you can see, the effect of COVID on our housing market on the Main Line and in Center City is complex, and quickly changing.

For more information about your specific market, reach out for a confidential consultation. For an instant home valuation visit HomeValuesbySusanna.com.

Does the CARES ACT foreclosure moratorium apply for my loan?

Stop foreclosure

The Executive Order by President Biden extending the CARES ACT moratorium on foreclosures until March 31st doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone. That’s critical news not effectively covered in the media.

For more info, let’s turn to consumer rights and foreclosure defense attorney Josh Denbeaux who clarified in his recent podcast it applies to your mortgage loan if it’s federally backed.

That means Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA or VA loans.

While this moratorium may feel like a safety net, it’s important to take action now! The first step is to find out if your loan is owned by a federally backed lender.

Is my loan federally backed
Who owns my loan? Is it federally backed?

Is my loan federally backed?

How would you know? Start with the following links to research who owns your loan. You’ll need your loan number and SS#:
Fannie Mae Loan Lookup
Freddie Mac Loan Lookup
– FHA requires a phone call – 877-622-8525

If it applies to your loan, you should exercise it. That means it’s time to take aggressive action such as extending a forbearance.

Use the moratorium to find a solution. To start, find more information on forbearance options at CARES ACT Mortgage Forbearance published by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau.

To benefit successfully from the foreclosure moratorium, it’s critical to take action. You have options!

Can I sell my home now?

Selling your home now may be an option. Our strong sellers market may support a successful sale to pay off your loan. But if values are under water we can negotiate a short sale during the moratorium, save your credit, resolve the deficiency and create a fresh start.

For an instant estimate on your home’s current value visit HomeValuesbySusanna.com.

How can I stop foreclosure?

In some cases, legal action could stop the foreclosure altogether depending on when and how the foreclosure was filed. Contact me for a referral to a lawyer who specializes in fighting the banks.

If you are at risk of foreclosure, have a forbearance in place or need one, this is the time to act. Start with my overview of options at FightTheBank.org.

Can short sales work?

Misinformation is stopping many home owners from getting the help they need. Check out – Top 10 myths about short sales for the truth about short sales. We can stop foreclosure and resolve your debt.

What to do next?

Contact me for help with resources and referrals. There are many options but they all require proactive action by the home owner.

If you’re interested in buying distressed properties, be sure to check out my short sale buyers guide and then let’s talk.

Should I get a radon test?

Should I get a radon test

You found the perfect home.  We schedule your home inspection and discuss the option of a radon test.  Why is this important?

Unfortunately, many buyers and even some realtors view radon testing as optional and perhaps an unnecessary addition to closing costs.

However, it’s a crucial step in your home buying journey to protect your health and safety.

Let’s go over some commonly asked questions about your home inspection and why it’s important to include a test for radon.

Home Inspection Report

Is radon that much of a risk?

Radon-related lung cancer kills an alarming 21,000 people each year, according to the EPA.  To put the risk in perspective, about 10,000 people die per year from crashes as a result of a drunk driver.

Awareness of the risks of drunk driving is much greater than radon, although radon causes more than double the deaths per year. 

Protecting your home from radon risks is an important step in the home buying process for your health and safety.

Which homes need testing?

According to the EPA, radon is found in every state.  It’s a naturally occurring radioactive gas produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. 

Because the air pressure inside your home is typically lower than the pressure in the soil around the foundation, radon is drawn into the home through cracks in the foundation. 

High radon levels occur in older homes, new construction, homes with basements and homes on a slab or crawlspace. 

Some areas typically are lower than others, however, don’t rely on rumor or neighborhood myths about low risks of radon in a desire to save costs.

What if the radon test indicates a high concentration?

The good news is that even if a home has high radon levels- anything above 4 pCi/L, radon mitigation is relatively simple. Qualified radon mitigation contractors can install a radon mitigation system that provides a permanent solution.

The system is comprised of one or more PVC pipes that run from the radon-emitting soil beneath a home up through the roof.  A fan draws air through the system so it does not encroach the living spaces.  Once installed, a follow-up radon test is completed

How to negotiate a solution

If the radon test reveals actionable radon levels, we can be ask the seller for a price reduction that covers the estimated cost of remediation or require a remediation be installed prior to closing. 

Home inspection negotiations
Negotiations to protect you from radon are part of our buyer representation service

Typical radon mitigation systems can cost between $1.000-$2,000 depending on your home’s structure and the contractor selected to perform the work.

High levels of radon are a life-safety issue, so it’s difficult for the seller to dispute as it will impact their ability to sell their home to future buyers. 

This is one of many steps in the transaction that as trusted real estate advisors, we guide and protect you through the process.

To start your home buying process, check out my Home Buyers Guide and let’s talk! Book your 15 minute consult here. We’ll review your dreams and goals, then create a customized plan for your success!

Short sale approval in 45 days!

short sale approval

How long does it take to get short sale approval? Typically lien holder approval in 90 days is an excellent result. However, it makes a huge difference who you work with!

Knowledge and experience make or break your short sale success. Who your agent is, and who is handling negotiations matter.

When I hear the stories about how short sales don’t work, it’s truly a short sale myth. The truth is those stories come from bad experiences due to poor advise and lack of support.

What if an auction is scheduled?

Facing an auction date can feel like it’s too late to get help. Not true! My clients home was scheduled for foreclosure auction on January 19th. When we met, they had given up hope and thought it was too late.

Working with Realestate Recovery Group we put the sellers short sale package together, opened communication with the lien holder, and got the property listed right away even though I had no access.

The former tenants changed the locks. It took two weeks to get permission from the asset manager to re-key the property and be able to show the home.

In the meantime, using aggressive marketing I built up buyer demand. After my first open house we had multiple offers. The first buyer canceled for personal reasons. So we moved forward with a back-up buyer and continued negotiations with the lien holder.

The buyers agent did an excellent job guiding her clients through their inspections and loan application. They were uncertain and nervous about short sales. She successfully collaborated and kept them on track. Now they celebrate their new home at a great price.

If you’re interested in buying a short sale or foreclosure, be sure to bookmark my Community Guide for instant access to distressed properties on the Main Line including off-market foreclosures.

How to get help?

For more information on how short sales stop foreclosure visit FightTheBank.org. You’ll also find information on forbearances, loan modifications and other options for home owners in distress.

If you know anyone who needs help with a COVID-19 forbearance coming due, a property ‘under water’ on values or facing foreclosure, please help us connect.

There are solutions. Short sales do work and I’m here to help.

Top 10 Short Sale Myths

Top 10 short sale myths

What are the top 10 myths about short sales? Many people give up hope facing foreclosure and believe a short sale isn’t possible. When in fact, short sales do indeed work. And in a variety of circumstances.

It’s an excellent solution for home owners who may be behind on their mortgage, stuck in a forbearance they can’t repay or just under market where the loan balance is greater than current values.

If you’ve heard that short sales don’t work, it’s usually based on someone’s bad experience who didn’t have the right resources. Or simply lack of information.

Outlined below find the Top 10 Myths about Short Sales that unfortunately stop home owners from reaching out for solutions:

1.    Short Sales are impossible and never get approved

Nothing could be further from the truth!

In the 12 years I’ve specialized in short sales, only a handful were not successful and those were in the midst of the mortgage crisis. Many fail, that’s true. But when I look into the history of those situations it’s because the right team wasn’t in place to help the home owner.

2.  Short Sales take forever

While the process is longer than a traditional sale, you can count on approximately 90 days as an average. With the right team negotiating, sometimes we can close sooner, depending on the bank.

With a strategy directed by a short sale expert, you can enter into an agreement with confidence in a smooth closing upon lien holder acceptance.

Once lien holder accepts, settlement must occur within 30-45 days depending on the bank’s terms. Within that timeframe, buyer and seller can agree on a convenient settlement date.

3. You must be behind on your mortgage to do a Short Sale

While it is true that initially some lenders wanted you to be in default (missed a payment) before they were willing to consider a short sale – this trend has almost all together reversed. Today lenders are looking for verifiable hardship, monthly cash flow shortfall or pending shortfall and insolvency.

If you meet these three requirements and are in a position where you will soon not be able to afford your mortgage, act now! Don’t wait until the countdown to foreclosure has started and you have even less time.

4.  Buyers don’t want Short Sales

This is a myth that potential sellers hear all the time.  In fact many agents are getting calls from buyers who say “I only want to look at foreclosures and Short Sales!” I personally have investors who want to help home owners, and recognize this can be a positive outcome for all in a difficult situation.

Short Sales and Foreclosures have become synonymous – not with issues – but with GOOD DEALS. International buyers specifically are interested in these properties as well.

5. Listing my home as a Short Sale is an embarrassment

It is understandable that you may have reservations about letting the world know that you owe more on your home than it is worth. However, please understand we are in the midst of a national pandemic that is affecting everyone.

It’s a national crisis, not a personal failure. You are to be congratulated for admitting you need help, taking action, and finding a professional who can work with you towards a solution.

6.  Banks would rather foreclose than do a Short Sale

We know you have heard this; you may have even heard it from an overzealous collections agent working for a lender.  The reality is that banks do not want to foreclose on your property. 

Banks do not want distressed assets on their books. It costs them less to resolve bad debt through a short sale than a foreclosure.

Luxury foreclosure in Villanova at 1425 Mount Pleasant Road. The bank would have netted much more with a short sale than through a foreclosure sale.

7.  There is not enough time to negotiate a Short Sale before my foreclosure

This is a myth that probably hurts homeowners the most.  Many don’t realize that foreclosure is a process and there is time.

The foreclosing party (in most cases a lender) can stall a foreclosure up to the final day of the auction.  Many lenders will stall a foreclosure with as little as a phone call from you letting them know that you are trying to sell.  Almost all lenders will postpone the auction date with a legitimate short sale contract in process.

8. Due to the CARES ACT, I won’t face foreclosure

Even with the moratorium on foreclosures under the COVID-19 CARES ACT, that doesn’t mean the lien holder is stopping their efforts. A foreclosure auction can happen quickly after many months, even years of no apparent action from the bank.

Taking proactive steps towards a solution before facing an auction date is the wisest choice. Don’t wait until the last minute when it might not be possible.

Unfortunately, much misinformation about forbearances has been prominent online, and from what should be trusted resources. Following bad advice about COVID forbearances has put many owners unknowingly at risk of foreclosure.

9. When I called the bank they offered a loan modification

This is one of the most confusing aspects of being in default. By law, the banks are required to offer loan modifications as an option. When home owners reach out the lien holder always says yes, even if they know it won’t apply for you. Offering this paperwork is a step in the process they are required to take, even if they know you won’t qualify.

In the short sale negotiation, our team will help you with the necessary paperwork to submit a loan modification application. To complete a short sale this is a required step.

The Real Estate Recovery Group are experts in this area, and if it’s possible they will help you get a loan modification done. However, most often this is a bureaucratic step in the foreclosure process that provides misguided hope when action towards a real solution is needed.

10. I can’t do a short sale if I have other properties or assets

I’ve helped many home owners who were given this false information. Clients who owned investment properties that were under water, luxury second and third homes and had other assets.

All of these short sale clients received debt forgiveness. As an example, one client had $400,000 in an investment account which went untouched. Another client owned 3 additional properties. Lenders cannot touch your IRA and 401K retirement accounts.

Even with additional assets, my clients did not have to contribute towards the deficiency. Debt forgiveness is always the goal with a short sale.

These can be scary and confusing situations. What’s most important to know is that help is available! Book your confidential appointment here.

Note: The information provided is for informational purposes. No legal advise is given or implied.

From “Billionaires’ Row” to “Billionaires’ Village”

150 Central Park West

You’ve heard of thousands of people moving to Philly from New York City as part of post-COVID market trends. Where are the uber-wealthy moving to? A lesser known migration is from Manhattan’s Billionaires’ Row to Gladwyne’s Billionaires’ Village on the Main Line.

What is Billionaires’ Row?

While many cities worldwide claim the address of Billionaires’ Row for their uber-wealthy, none are more iconic than Billionaires’ Row in Manhattan. Local New York luxury real estate expert, Alexander Glibbery described it as:

“I like to define Billionaires’ Row as New York City’s Monopoly board for uber-wealthy international and domestic titans of industry who come together here to work, play, and do lots and lots of shopping,”

Billionaires’ Row luxury auction

A rarely offered 3-story Penthouse opportunity at 150 Central Park South is currently available through the luxury auction service, Concierge Auctions. Bidding starts today. Offered for $40M with no reserve.

“With pre-approved, construction “shovel”-ready design, plans, and permits held by New York City’s most luxurious, professional, and high-end general contractor SilverLining and lauded SPAN Architecture, the design won the Interior Design Magazine award for the Best of Year residential project in the world for 2018 (on the board).”

post-covid luxury auction
Photos courtesy of Concierge Auctions

Gladwyne; “Billionaire’s Village”

At the opposite end of the spectrum, with large discrete estate homes in remote settings, the village of Gladwyne is home for many billionaires on the Main Line in the greater Philadelphia area.

While all communities on the Main Line have seen increasing values due to strong demand for luxury suburban living, Gladwyne has seen the most dramatic shift driven by post-COVID buyer demands.

Median sales prices for Gladwyne luxury homes are up 98.47% over the past 12 months, and up 31.36% over the past 24 months.

Unique Gladwyne Luxury Estate

An example of Gladwyne’s large luxury estates is Linden Hill, designed between 1928 and 1931 by Edmund B. Gilchrist for stockbroker Rodman Ellison Griscom. The property was owned for more than 50 years by the Dorrance family of Campbell’s Soup Company.

1543 Monk Rd; offered by Kurfiss Sotheby’s for $24M

Linden Hill’s very secluded grounds include fenced pastures and stone outbuildings, reminiscent of the quaintest of French villages. The magnificent manor house and cour d’honneur, are a majestic example of French Normandy-inspired design of breathtaking scale and symmetry.

Modern homes in Gladwyne

While Gladwyne is known for large historic stone homes, mid-century modern and new construction luxury homes are selling quickly to today’s buyers who want modern amenities and finishes.

Gladwyne Mid-Century Modern Luxury

From New York to Philly

Chief economist, Danielle Hale notes that the post-COVID trend towards suburban living has accelerated a shift from hard-core urbanite dwellers towards the suburbs;

“The flexibility to work remotely is accelerating this trend. When the commute’s not a daily thing, it’s easier to justify living farther away from work—especially when you get more for your housing dollar farther away.”

New research shows thousands of people of all incomes are moving to Philly from New York City. Whether it’s a large private estate, or a Pied-a-Terre, contact Susanna for a discreet consultation.

Be sure to subscribe below to stay in touch!

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Luxury Short Sale Success

Luxury short sale success

Do luxury short sales work? Yes indeed! As an example, it was my honor and privilege to recently help my client through a very complicated distressed property situation to successfully sell this gorgeous home, with multiple offers, and debt forgiveness.

610 S Front Street – Successful Luxury Short Sale in Queen Village

We closed successfully during our early and awkward COVID shutdown in April of 2020. What really matters is how my client feels afterwards:

“Susanna is one in a million in her field! In addition to her knowledge, her professionalism and ethics are of the highest caliber. I have been a real estate developer for over 35 years and found my self in a short sale situation. I have never been in this situation before but Susanna was able to get the lender to forgive a part of this loan. She is cool, calm, confident and very thorough. I would highly recommend her for any real estate transaction.” – R.K, Seller

Another luxury client with a complicated, challenging situation described me as a classy, demure lady who under the surface is a pit bull 🤩. When I make a commitment to my clients, I follow through and indeed hold on to their goal for success like a pit bull with a bone!

Connecting with the right legal advise, networking for maximum exposure, tailoring the marketing and sale process to fit my client’s needs and goals is what creates success.

Why do luxury short sales fail?

Sadly, I’ve seen too many luxury home owners not get the right advice. No one should face foreclosure, no matter what their situation.

I’ve helped luxury home owners with multiple properties, significant assets and who are not behind on their mortgage successfully resolve under water market values with a short sale and debt forgiveness.

Without the right help, both the home owner and the lien holder suffer. For instance this recent foreclosure in Villanova at 1425 Mount Pleasant Road shows how the bank yielded a much lower amount after taking possession through foreclosure and selling as an REO than they would have with a short sale. Both seller and bank lose in this scenario.

While the final purchase price of this property as an REO listing of $1.3M may seem positive for the buyer, there are more risks with buying a bank owned foreclosure than a short sale.

During a short sale the owner remains involved, is obligated to give a complete sellers disclosure and maintain the property.

The time it takes to legally foreclose, clear title and then offer it as an REO bank-owned listing can be from many months to a year. During that time the home deteriorates and is at risk of vandalism.

For more insights on how short sales work, and whether it’s better to buy a foreclosure vs a short sale, be sure to subscribe to this blog. Check out Top 10 Short Sales Myths for more info, then be sure to book a confidential consultation with Susanna Kunkel, Short Sale Expert.

Is it time to buy a Pied-a-Terre in Philly?

Rittenhouse Square

A resurgence of the once popular Pied-a-Terre at the end of 2020 was highlighted in the December North American Luxury Market Report. Luxury buyers who have relocated to larger homes but are still not quite ready to quit the city for good are adding a Pied-a-Terre to their portfolio.

Condos in Philly’s Center City offer strong possibilities for Pied-a-Terre living. Located centrally between New York City and Washington, DC. Center City condos offer an ideal location for water lovers who enjoy the Jersey Shore and Florida, but want to keep a place in the city.

Best Center City Pied-a-Terre locations

To start, I’ve highlighted three neighborhoods that offer a prime variety of lifestyle options for Pied-a-Terra condos in Center City.

Rittenhouse Square and Mid-Town Philly feature what has historically been the ideal location for a Pied-a-Terre condo due to amenities, shopping and nearby dining.

Condo options along the Delaware River Waterfront offer a third alternative with more open space, garage parking and waterfront views.

Rittenhouse Square

What makes Rittenhouse Square a great Pied-a-Terre location? Dining, shopping and amenity rich condo living all within walking distance to 30th Street Amtrak Station. Enjoy an easy rail commute to Manhattan or Washington DC.

Living on Rittenhouse Square starts under $200K for a studio across from the park at The Dorchester where you can also enjoy an affordable 2 bd on the 20th floor for under $300K.

Although hit hard by fears of COVID-19 and this summer’s social unrest, Rittenhouse Square remains a highly desirable place to live. Amidst the uncertainty this year, Rittenhouse retained its grace and charm for local residents.

Welcome to Rittenhouse Square

While it’s too early to call a recovery, statistics for Rittenhouse Square show an upturn since August when we had 19 months of inventory.

Currently the Rittenhouse condo market remains a buyers market at 8 1/2 months. There’s a slight switch towards a seller’s market for single family homes with 5 1/2 months of inventory.

As with all statistics, it’s not only how you look at it but what you look at. This shift also reflects 66 homes and condos on Rittenhouse that have been taken off the market in the past 90 days.

Mid-Town Philly

Perhaps the most iconic, amenity rich Pied-a-Terre luxury condo lifestyle in Philadelphia is offered by The Residences at Ritz-Carlton.

Conveniently located in mid-town Philly near Dilworth Park, regional rail, dining, shopping and Philly’s theatre district.

Currently the lowest priced offering is Unit 5 G, a 1 bd / 1.5 ba condo listed at $485K.

Owners benefit from top tier amenities and service as well as world-wide travel perks. A great asset for post-COVID luxury living.

Year-end statistics indicate a strong buyers market with 19 months of inventory. Now could be a great time to buy at The Residences at Ritz-Carlton.

Other mid-town favorites suitable for an affordable Pied-a-Terra condo include The Phoenix located a few blocks from The Ritz-Carlton, Packard Grande, The Aria and The Ellington.

Delaware River waterfront

Living along the Delaware River waterfront offers easy access to Center City living, yet a bit more remote with expansive views and parking.

Welcome to Delaware River front living

There are several condo options along the river front.

Waterfront Square is one of only 2 gated communities in Philadelphia. Amenities include 24-hour doorman, valet parking, ocean front lap pool, on site dog park, fully equipped gym and waterfront walking / biking trail at your door.

Built in 2006, different towers offer different views, but all enjoy the remote, secure location with easy access to Center City living. Or a quick commute on 95 or 76.

Photo courtesy of Waterfront Square – click for video preview of upgraded 1 bd unit

As an example of affordability, Waterfront Square Unit RR1106 sold in October for $262,500. This one bedroom on the 11th floor of The Regatta Tower featured stunning city views.

Waterfront Square Regatta Towers
Unit 1105 in The Regatta Towers – sold for $262,500

Other towers overlook the Delaware River. A strong rental history provides an option if your lifestyle changes.

RIVERFRONT Pier 3 and Pier 5 Condos

Also along the Delaware River but walkable to Old City and Society Hill, Pier 3 and Pier 5 offer unique waterfront lifestyles near Penn’s Landing, Spruce Street Harbor Park and Cherry Street Pier. Enjoy nearby shopping and dining with easy access to 76 and 95.

In addition to Delaware River views, enjoy private decks, on-site oceanfront lap pool, secure garage parking and front desk service.

Should I buy a Center City condo now?

As you can see from these trends, micro-markets are shifting quickly as buyers and sellers adjust to a real estate market driven by COVID-19 based demands.

While no one can call a market except with hind sight, this growing national trend could indicate an opportunity to invest in a Center City condo now, before values rise.

To meet your needs, the best information is detailed and specific to your goals. For a confidential consultation, book a chat with Susanna here.

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