Showing Ability…Times Three


The most important thing when buying or selling a condo in Center City Philadelphia is SHOWING ABILITY!

In one urban landscape of real estate,Showing Ability...Times Three Articles known as Center City Philadelphia, it has become clear to me over the past nineteen years that the three most important things in real estate is Showing Ability (times 3). I am a Center City Philadelphia Realtor who can parallel park in any open spot presented, and I can read a buyer like reading a copy of the most recent People Magazine (with ease).

Perhaps you are surprised my assertion of the new paradigm in real estate? What were you thinking, that perhaps location was a buyer’s top concern? I laugh at your “1996” notions. Price? Maybe for those having to pay for the condo, but not to the masses of our first time buyer’s market. Resale? Again, not the highest on the list of wants and needs.

Let’s look at the facts: The average first time Philadelphia condominium buyer is in his 20’s. He or she owns no power tools, has no ability to store lumber in his home, and scarcely can find a screwdriver when the neighbor needs to borrow one. This is a young urban professional with no experience with home improvement. He or she works 60-70 hours per week, and improving the condition of a condo in Philly is just not in the cards for him or her. These folks are very different from our parents who had garages full of every tool ever made. Or had neighbors, who we actually knew, from whom we could borrow tools.

Also, being a first time condo buyer, with a limited life expectancy of ownership (2-5 years maximum), many buyers know that practicality plays second fiddle to the interior condition, or showing ability, as they “buy for today”, and want the finished kitchen with granite and stainless steel appliances.

And with the disbursement of many revitalized neighborhoods throughout the downtown Philadelphia area, there really isn’t a concentration or centralization of the “location, location, location” issue. Today, you can find Million dollar condos in Old City, Art Museum area, Queen Village, Rittenhouse, Society Hill…..on and on. Now there are many extremely desireable neighborhoods in the downtown Philly area.

And price even becomes of less importance as we see a large number of first time buyers getting considerable help from family members, if not an outright purchase of the condo by a parental figure. I wouldn’t go as far to say that there is not a cap or a ceiling, but it is sometimes easier to spend someone else’s money – the elasticity of such is a bit higher in such cases.

Condo buyers here in Philadelphia looking to purchase their first piece of real estate, don’t want it to be bricks and mortar. They, as a whole, have a tendency to focus on showing ability, and are very visual and emotional in their condominium decision making. And my motto for years has been, “If it shows well, it is going to sell well”, all other factors being equal. Take two hypothetical condos- equal in ALL factors, yet one is sparkling clean and even smells good, and the other is dirty, smelly, and has crappy fraternity furniture strewn about. The cleaner unit is going to sell for significantly more, and do so in a much shorter period of time.

In this particular case, and under most circumstances, first time buyers here in Center City Philadelphia, are forgetting the old notion of location, location, location, and are joining the band singing showing ability, showing ability, showing ability.

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Author: Piyawut Sutthiruk

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