Monday, June 27, 2011

Philly's skateboarding scene is the real deal.

Franklin's Paine Skatepark Fund (FPSF) in Philadelphia, has been around for a few years now.

Their first and ultimate goal, was to create a state-of-the-art skatepark along the Schuylkill River Trail close to the base of the Art Museum steps (pictured above). This plan is still a goal of their's, but their sites just got even bigger.

FPSF is now working on a master plan that is set on bringing upwards of 40 new skateparks to the Greater Philadelphia area. Feel free to learn more here.

Friday, June 24, 2011

My New Broker

Hi, everyone.

I thought today would be a good day to announce that I am now officially employed with a new broker, US Spaces. Our office is located at 2043 Locust St (in Rittenhouse Square), and we welcome any and all people to stop in and say hi.

I can still perform all of the same functions I did at Brown McKinney (Buying | Selling | Investing | Renting), and will still provide the same great customer service.

If you would like to learn more about our company, please feel free to visit us here. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Unbelievable Philadelphia Photo Essay!

Brad Maule (otherwise known as B Love), from one of my favorite blogs of all time, has made a short but sweet comeback on

And he has blessed our beloved city with one of the most well-done, original photo essays I have ever seen.

Please check it out here ... and enjoy.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Foodery gets real in Roxborough

That's right. You heard me correctly.

Philadelphia's Famous Foodery (try saying that 5 times fast) is looking to make a splash in my own neighborhood; and what a splash it would be.

Ridge Avenue in Roxborough has been going through some changes over the past few years. The main drag is about to be improved through a streetscape grant, new local businesses have been opening up, and more people are seen walking in the central business district (both day and night).

As reported by Newsworks, The Foodery is in the process of moving into the building where the Roxborough Development Corporation currently resides. It's in the middle of Ridge Avenue, it offers plenty of space, and The Foodery may even offer beer-paring workshops.

Stay tuned for more details...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Will the Reading Viaduct be the next NYC High Line?

Man, I sure hope Philadelphia can bring a project like this to fruition.

It's already become a proven asset for Manhattan/NYC, and Philadelphia already has the needed infrastructure. We just need some cash, which can be a hard thing to come by in today's economy.

Here's an idea. Let Comcast pay for the whole thing and allow them to have all the advertising rights; what media company wouldn't want that. They already have so much cash that they're buying future Olympic rights (which has been known to lose money) because they don't know what to do with it all.

It could be called the "Comcast Line." I believe SEPTA made a few bucks off of AT&T when they allowed them to call the subway's stadium stop "AT&T Station," didn't they? Just imagine what kind of money could be made on this venture. The project would also bring insane amounts of development to this part of Philadelphia, just as it has in NYC.

Here's a great website to help educate you on the subject.

Monday, June 6, 2011

What is Mortgage Insurance?

For those of you that have purchased a home before, you may be vaguely familiar with this term. But for those who are looking to buy their first home, the term "mortgage insurance" may not be ringing any bells.

So what exactly is mortgage insurance? In simple terms, mortgage insurance is a premium that the buyer pays to the bank in order to insure the mortgage they gave you. In even simpler terms, you are paying an insurance premium on the bank's mortgage. Why? For starters, mortgage insurance is only paid when you are putting less than 20% down on a home purchase (or when your mortgage is greater than an 80% Loan-to-Value/LTV ratio). Please note that this may vary depending on the loan type.

Again, why? Basically, the bank has set a line of risk for itself; that line sits at 80%. If you put 20% down (or more) on the purchase of your new home, you are considered less risky in the eyes of the bank. If you put less than 20% down, you are considered more risky. In the bank's experience, those who are considered "more risky" have a higher risk of loan default (e.g. you stop paying your mortgage). Because of this default risk, the bank wants you to pay for the insurance on their loan.

Now that you know what Mortgage Insurance is (a.k.a. MI or PMI), check out this recent article that discusses how to get rid of it if the bank is forcing you to pay. Please also feel free to shoot me any additional questions.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Philadelphia gains notoriety in the Water Industry

If you read this blog on a semi-regular basis, you may remember a past post I wrote about Pittsburgh's recently noted success in the water industry.

You may also remember me commenting on why a big city like Philadelphia, with one of the largest freshwater ports in the world, has not tried to leverage the same momentum in a growing global industry.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

"What's my home worth today?"

In my own recent experiences, this is a very popular question for anyone who owns a home.

Some people feel that their home is worth the same today as it was in 2005, at the peak of the housing boom. Some people feel that their home cannot be worth less than what they paid for it, even if they bought it within the last few years. And there are some people who feel that their home is worth less than what they paid for it (or what they owe on their mortgage).

The real question is, how do you really know what your home is worth today? To keep this post short and sweet, there are 2 popular methods you can use:

  1. Get a Free CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) - A CMA is typically an up-to-date market analysis of your home that uses recent comparable sales (within a reasonable distance) to determine the estimated value. It uses prices, dimensions, and marketing statistics to analyze what the recent competition has done. This can be completed for you by a licensed agent and is typically free.
  2. Get an Appraisal - An appraisal is a report that provides an expert estimate for the value of your home. This will be more in depth than a CMA as it will go deeper into detail to determine an estimated value (i.e. exterior/interior finishes, square footage, etc.). This can be completed for you by a licensed appraiser and can cost anywhere from $300 - $600 (on average).

So, whether you are looking to rent, sell, or refinance on your current home, you should always be aware upfront of what your home is currently worth. If you need any assistance in getting either of the above 2 options accomplished, please don't hesitate to let me know.