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Old 05-18-2016, 05:58 AM
 
Location: Chicago
5,559 posts, read 3,842,332 times
Reputation: 2183

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My wife and I are retired contemplating moving to Philadelphia. No children. No pets. We will be visiting Philly several times for longer stays. Would appreciate any advice about particular neighborhoods and/or buildings we may focus on. Also any recommendations where we might stay for our extended stays would be appreciated. Thank you.

When are you moving?
Flexible

Where are you coming from?
Stamford CT. Grew up in Brooklyn. Lived 40 years in Lakeview, Chicago.

Why are you moving?
Looking for slightly lower COL.

Will you buy or rent?
Initially rent. Possibly buy one floor condo. Move-in ready. 1300+sq ft. W/D. One indoor parking space. Rent < $2800. Buy < $550000. Biggest concern about condos is dictatorial, unresponsive Boards.

Do you prefer bustling activity or calm and quiet?
Prefer quiet but within walking distance of downtown area with coffee shops, organic grocery store.

Do you want to live with people of a similar age, race, religion or sexual preference or do you prefer a diverse neighborhood?

Diverse neighborhood.
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Old 05-18-2016, 09:02 AM
 
10,273 posts, read 5,934,396 times
Reputation: 3628
Quote:
Originally Posted by richrf View Post
My wife and I are retired contemplating moving to Philadelphia. No children. No pets. We will be visiting Philly several times for longer stays. Would appreciate any advice about particular neighborhoods and/or buildings we may focus on. Also any recommendations where we might stay for our extended stays would be appreciated. Thank you.

When are you moving?
Flexible

Where are you coming from?
Stamford CT. Grew up in Brooklyn. Lived 40 years in Lakeview, Chicago.

Why are you moving?
Looking for slightly lower COL.

Will you buy or rent?
Initially rent. Possibly buy one floor condo. Move-in ready. 1300+sq ft. W/D. One indoor parking space. Rent < $2800. Buy < $550000. Biggest concern about condos is dictatorial, unresponsive Boards.

Do you prefer bustling activity or calm and quiet?
Prefer quiet but within walking distance of downtown area with coffee shops, organic grocery store.

Do you want to live with people of a similar age, race, religion or sexual preference or do you prefer a diverse neighborhood?

Diverse neighborhood.
Lots of new city rentals coming soon or are already available. For example, The Divine Lorraine, on N. Broad St., near Center City, which is currently going through a massive rehab/conversion. It's an historic building that might work for you in the short run. Units will be available in the Fall and probably will go quite quickly. Googling it should give you some good info and floor plans. It's been a real journey for the developer to get this project off the ground. Now it's a reality. The surrounding area will only benefit when it's done.

I'm retired and live in Spring Garden which is just north of Center City proper. The adjacent neighborhoods are Fairmount and Francisville. They're all somewhat more quiet than CC but easily accessible to it either by walking or public transportation.

Other neighborhoods to check out are the ones directly in Center City: Rittenhouse(may be a bit pricey for you), Logan Circle/Square, Fitler Sq, Midtown Village/Washington Sq West, Society Hill, Old City.

It's also worth your while to look at S. Philly neighborhoods like Passyunk Sq or near the Univ. of PA area, aka University City.

Extended stay hotel? Check out Roost Midtown.
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Old 05-18-2016, 09:05 AM
 
Location: Chicago
5,559 posts, read 3,842,332 times
Reputation: 2183
Quote:
Originally Posted by kyb01 View Post
Lots of new city rentals coming soon or are already available. For example, The Divine Lorraine, on N. Broad St., near Center City, which is currently going through a massive rehab/conversion. It's an historic building that might work for you in the short run. Units will be available in the Fall and probably will go quite quickly. Googling it should give you some good info and floor plans. It's been a real journey for the developer to get this project off the ground. Now it's a reality. The surrounding area will only benefit when it's done.

I'm retired and live in Spring Garden which is just north of Center City proper. The adjacent neighborhoods are Fairmount and Francisville. They're all somewhat more quiet than CC but easily accessible to it either by walking or public transportation.

Other neighborhoods to check out are the ones directly in Center City: Rittenhouse(may be a bit pricey for you), Logan Circle/Square, Fitler Sq, Midtown Village/Washington Sq West, Society Hill, Old City.

It's also worth your while to look at S. Philly neighborhoods like Passyunk Sq or near the Univ. of PA area, aka University City.

Extended stay hotel? Check out Roost Midtown.
Thanks much. Gives me a lot to work with.
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Old 05-18-2016, 09:10 AM
 
10,273 posts, read 5,934,396 times
Reputation: 3628
Quote:
Originally Posted by richrf View Post
Thanks much. Gives me a lot to work with.
Philly is bursting at the seams with millenials which is good and bad. Mostly good. But there are sufficient numbers of middle-aged and older adults in most of the places I suggested. You won't feel out of place.
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Old 05-18-2016, 09:11 AM
 
657 posts, read 306,487 times
Reputation: 524
Well, I'm not retired but my wife and I are empty nested. We moved to philly from Rochester, NY about a year ago and it's been the best decision we've ever made. Absolutely love it here. We chose Old City and its been perfect - far enough away from the action but close enough. We live in a 1700 Sq ft 2 bed/2 bath loft and paid well under your number. If you're looking to buy eventually, I'm not sure I'd wait a year. Prices are going nowhere but up.

I will say, though, that your concern about HOA boards is a very real one. Our experience has been horrific with our board. They are totally unresponsive and seemingly make decisions for no other reason than to jerk you around. We'very had two terrible issues in our condo that we'very been trying to resolve since we moved in in July and are no closer to resolution than the day we requested board review. We are, however, $2000 lighter in the wallet from engineering plans (from their own building engineers)that were denied. It's been a total nightmare.

We're in the process of trying to take the board over (in a hostile takeover vote) and it seems like since there's such a unanimous hatred for the current board, we have a pretty good chance.

It's spoiled an otherwise great experience in a great apartment and is a major concern especially when coming from a house where you can do whatever the hell you want, whenever you want to.

Last edited by Redddog; 05-18-2016 at 09:19 AM..
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Old 05-18-2016, 09:25 AM
 
Location: Chicago
5,559 posts, read 3,842,332 times
Reputation: 2183
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redddog View Post
Well, I'm not retired but my wife and I are empty nested. We moved to philly from Rochester, NY about a year ago and it's been the best decision we've ever made. Absolutely love it here. We chose Old City and its been perfect - far enough away from the action but close enough. We live in a 1700 Sq ft 2 bed/2 bath loft and paid well under your number. If you're looking to buy eventually, I'm not sure I'd wait a year. Prices are going nowhere but up.

I will say, though, that your concern about HOA boards is a very real one. Our experience has been horrific with our board. They are totally unresponsive and seemingly make decisions for no other reason than to jerk you around. We'very had two terrible issues in our condo that we'very been trying to resolve since we moved in in July and are no closer to resolution than the day we requested board review. We are, however, $2000 lighter in the wallet from engineering plans (from their own building engineers)that were denied. It's been a total nightmare.

We're in the process of trying to take the board over (in a hostile takeover vote) and it seems like since there's such a unanimous hatred for the current board, we have a pretty good chance.

It's spoiled an otherwise great experience in a great apartment and is a major concern especially when coming from a house where you can do whatever the hell you want, whenever you want to.
My experiences with Condo Boards are similar. Usually there is collusion between the Management and the Board, forming a mini political fiefdom that is involved with all kinds of problematic deals. The bigger the condo the bigger the problem because of the cash flow, though , I've seen the same stuff on smaller condos. It seems the only way to clear the problem out is when an owner attorney gets riled up and provides free legal assistance. Sometimes it works.

The fundamental problem is a very weak PA Condominium Act. Maryland's laws offer much greater protection for owners.

Last edited by richrf; 05-18-2016 at 10:00 AM..
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Old 05-18-2016, 09:55 AM
 
10,273 posts, read 5,934,396 times
Reputation: 3628
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redddog View Post
Well, I'm not retired but my wife and I are empty nested. We moved to philly from Rochester, NY about a year ago and it's been the best decision we've ever made. Absolutely love it here. We chose Old City and its been perfect - far enough away from the action but close enough. We live in a 1700 Sq ft 2 bed/2 bath loft and paid well under your number. If you're looking to buy eventually, I'm not sure I'd wait a year. Prices are going nowhere but up.

I will say, though, that your concern about HOA boards is a very real one. Our experience has been horrific with our board. They are totally unresponsive and seemingly make decisions for no other reason than to jerk you around. We'very had two terrible issues in our condo that we'very been trying to resolve since we moved in in July and are no closer to resolution than the day we requested board review. We are, however, $2000 lighter in the wallet from engineering plans (from their own building engineers)that were denied. It's been a total nightmare.

We're in the process of trying to take the board over (in a hostile takeover vote) and it seems like since there's such a unanimous hatred for the current board, we have a pretty good chance.

It's spoiled an otherwise great experience in a great apartment and is a major concern especially when coming from a house where you can do whatever the hell you want, whenever you want to.
OT. I'm still on our condo board as VP. Good luck with your plans. We avoided a lot of what you are going through because we fired our management company years ago, are self-managed and hired a terrifically responsive and competent property manager who works for the board and unit owners.
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Old 05-18-2016, 10:04 AM
 
10,273 posts, read 5,934,396 times
Reputation: 3628
Quote:
Originally Posted by richrf View Post
My experiences with Condo Boards are similar. Usually there is collusion between the Management and the Board, forming a mini political fiefdom that is involved with all kinds of problematic deals. The bigger the condo the bigger the problem because of the cash flow, though , I've seen the same stuff on smaller condos. It seems the only way to clear the problem out is when an owner attorney gets riled up and provides free legal assistance. Sometimes it works.

The fundamental problem is very weak a very weak Condominium Act. Maryland's lemme much greater protection for owners.
Yep, we had similar problems. I won't bore you with the details but what you state seems quite familiar. We basically decided that we would never let a "management company" near our financials again.

PA's condo act is quite robust. Plus my board also hired a great lawyer well versed in the current condo laws(that's all he does) so we're in pretty good shape financially and legally. Took ages to fix.
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Old 05-18-2016, 10:19 AM
 
Location: Chicago
5,559 posts, read 3,842,332 times
Reputation: 2183
Quote:
Originally Posted by kyb01 View Post
Yep, we had similar problems. I won't bore you with the details but what you state seems quite familiar. We basically decided that we would never let a "management company" near our financials again.

PA's condo act is quite robust. Plus my board also hired a great lawyer well versed in the current condo laws(that's all he does) so we're in pretty good shape financially and legally. Took ages to fix.
In Illinois there was one massive lawsuit against a Board but it hardly deterred the Boards and the Management companies. It takes aggressive action by the owners themselves. Congratulations on your success!
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Old 05-18-2016, 10:51 AM
 
657 posts, read 306,487 times
Reputation: 524
Sorry for the derailment! Just wanted to reinforce your wise decision to consider the HOA issue when choosing living arrangements.
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