Inside scoop on Philadelphia real estate by Frank DeFazio.
Agent Frank L. DeFazio has been in the real estate business for seven years and focuses largely on Center City and the vicinity. We had a chance to talk to him about the current market and glean some advice for buyers and sellers. Frank built and maintains the CenterCityTeam website, which provides free access to all Philadelphia Real Estate listings, and the Philadelphia Real Estate Blog.
What’s the market like right now?
Everything in Center City is just crazy. Inventory is super-low so it’s created a feeding frenzy. The last 60 days have been nuts. Since 2008, I’ve been telling people to put in their offers about 10 percent below asking. You figure you’ll haggle to about 5 percent below asking in most neighborhoods, you’ll get the deal done, and that’s a win. In the last 60 days, it’s been: bring your checkbook, be prepared to come in at or above asking, and you still might lose it to one of four other offers.
What’s an up-and-coming neighborhood to watch?
Personally, I think Avenue of the Arts is extending south. I would say from South Street to the stadiums just off of Broad, Newbold, East Passyunk, Passyunk Square. Because Philly is limited with their public transportation, having access to Broad Street line is a huge advantage. It’s attracting hipsters and young professionals who want to spend a little less and don’t mind a 15 – 20 minute commute. There are a lot of options for these buyers just south of Washington Avenue off Broad Street. Also, the owner of the Melrose Diner recently opened the Broad Street Diner. I’m always looking at where the commercial money is going because residential development typically follows.
What do sellers need to do to get their listing noticed?
I think pictures are paramount. We use professionally quality HD photos and always make sure that the pictures show clean, bright, uncluttered spaces. Quality pictures are important because I’m going to put them on the MLS and they’re going to syndicate out to hundreds of websites. Every property is a little different but generally photos should be taken during the daytime unless the nighttime views are exceptional.
How many times should a buyer visit a house before making an offer?
I think it depends on the market. I grew up working with buyers so I think they should review listings, ask questions, go to open houses and really get comfortable with the inventory and prices before submitting an offer. I usually recommend buyers go out with their agent three times and see six to eight houses per trip. This will make sure the buyer knows the inventory and prices well enough to feel confident pulling the trigger once they see that perfect home. But, keep in mind that in today’s market if you see one you like and you don’t put an offer in right away, you may not get a second chance.
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