Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Brewerytown plan wins at international competition

Although OLIN's plan is very forward thinking, and would take considerable amounts of time and energy to see it through, it still won at the International Living City Design Competition.

This article will explain more, and the link to the project is here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

University City is still thriving

$2 Billion worth of thriving.

Penn Park (which was just completed), and the upcoming Wistar Institute project (which adds another $100 Million), are just two of the pieces in a very large development puzzle.

Need I say more?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Philly is the "3rd Least Polluting" major US city

I know there are a lot of different reports these days that say a lot of different things, but I thought this one was a cool moment for Philadelphia.

As big, busy, and crazy as our city may sometimes seem, we actually don't pollute the environment as much as cities like Miami, Portland, or Seattle. I was a little surprised, but it's true.

Feel free to read more here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Philadelphia's "underdog" start-up scene

Philadelphia is truly a city of firsts for the US (and even the world): 
  • Grammar School - William Penn Charter, 1689
  • Botanical Garden - Bartram's Gardens, 1728
  • Public Library - The Free Library of Philadelphia, 1731
  • Hospital - The Pennsylvania Hospital, 1751
  • Electricity - Big, Bad Ben Franklin, 1752
  • US Capital - For a short time ... 1790-1800
  • Zoo - The Philadelphia Zoo, 1874
  • Modern Skyscraper - PSFS Building, 1932
  • Computer - ENIAC, 1946
  • We were even the first "Planned City" in North America; and that same, simple grid system still works unbelievably well today.
I've only scratched the surface; this list literally goes on and on. The funny thing is, almost every one of these "firsts" is still thriving today in most major US cities.

In order to carry on this entrepreneurial tradition, Philly Startup Leaders (PSL) has been helping local businesses get started right here in the City of Brotherly Love.

Please read this article to learn anything and everything about Philadelphia's local start-up scene to date.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Center for Culinary Enterprises

Something cool is brewing at 48th & Spruce in West Philadelphia. The expected completion date is Summer 2012.

Learn more about this project here.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Toll Brothers looks to build in Society Hill

That's right. "America's Luxury Home Builder," headquartered in the Philadelphia area (Horsham to be exact), is looking to embark on another large urban project in Center City, Philadelphia.

If you are not familiar with TB's Naval Square project, located in Graduate Hospital, you should take a few moments to learn more; it's a really cool development. After a slow start due to the real estate meltdown, which hit even worse in new construction, this project has fared quite well for its location and price; which is probably why they are now looking for another big Philadelphia project.

Nothing has been confirmed yet, but without too much neighborhood opposition this project should go through.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Philadelphia Neighborhood Spotlight: Passyunk Square

Welcome to another edition of "Philadelphia Neighborhood Spotlight."

If you do not live in Philadelphia, but visit the city occasionally for work, dinner, or historical sights, you probably frequent the city's more popular areas: Center City, Fairmount, Manayunk, etc. But if you're looking for a cool, new neighborhood to see, Passyunk Square is a must.

Up until I started my new career in residential real estate sales, I had never really seen (or heard) of this unique neighborhood. Not only does it symbolize what neighborhood/business associations and community involvement can do to help revitalize an area, but it also becomes a blueprint for other aspiring urban neighborhoods to follow.

The next time you visit Philadelphia, or look to buy/rent a home in our great city, make sure you save some time for Passyunk Square.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Are you looking to buy a home, but you're short on cash?

What a coincidence.

I just happened to run across an article (from Tara at Trulia) that shows "5 Creative Ways" to make your goal of home ownership more real than ever.

They are achievable, and not complicated. Feel free to read more here.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

"Rent vs. Own" - Another Real Life Example

Just last week, I had the privilege of listing another beautifully rehabbed property in South Philadelphia: 1915 Fernon St (shown above). Please feel free to click here to view this property's website, pictures, and video.

I had written a similar article back in February, where I analyzed a listed property for sale against settled/pending rentals in the area. The purpose of the analysis was to compare and contrast the "Pros & Cons" of renting versus owning; from both a financial and a preferential perspective.

Let's look at a "Rent vs Own" comparison for 1915 Fernon St and the surrounding area:

Option #1 - Rent (Similar homes around 1915 Fernon St)
  • Average Rent: $750
  • Upfront Costs: $2,250 (First, Last, & Security)
  • Monthly Payment: $750 (Rent) and $25 (Renter's Insurance) = $775
  • Is this considered an investment? No
  • Are there any tax benefits? No
Option #2 - Own (1915 Fernon St)
  • Sale Price: $100,000
  • Upfront Costs: $3,500 (Down Payment, FHA), $5,100 (Closing Costs, Estimate) = $8,600
  • Monthly Payment: $489 (Principal/Interest), $93 (Mortgage Insurance), $14 (Taxes), and $50 (Homeowner's Insurance) = $646
  • Is this considered an investment? Yes
  • Are there any tax benefits? Yes
Just like last time, I also went over some non-financial factors that can also either persuade or dissuade someone from buying a home when they have always rented.

Here are some Pros/Cons of "Renting vs Owning":

Option #1 - Rent
  • Pros: It has cheaper upfront costs, you are not responsible for repairs (unless you break it), and you can usually decide to leave after staying for about 1 year.
  • Cons: It's not your own home, you can't make changes/upgrades, you're subject to a landlord/landlady, your money is not invested in anything, you do not get any tax benefits, your rent can increase, and you're not really interested in what happens to this property in the long run.
Option #2 -Own
  • Pros: You are investing in a neighborhood/community, you own a tangible asset, you have the ability to hold/sell/rent, you can make changes/upgrades, you get tax benefits, you can fix your principal/interest payment, and you could potentially gain appreciation.
  • Cons: You're not sure what price is fair, you cannot predict the future, and you may not want to stay for a few years.
Again, based on the numbers above, it's cheaper to buy than it is to rent for this scenario. But as you can see, there is more that goes into it than just stating the obvious. It's really a matter of wanting to make an investment and a commitment, or not. There are those out there that feel like renting is a complete waste of money, time, and resources. But there are also those who feel the same way about owning.

If you have any questions about renting versus owning, please feel free to give me a call or send me an email; I handle both kinds of situations. So for me, it really comes down to what's best for you.