In many urban condominium markets like Philadelphia, the adage of Location, Location, Location may not be as important as Condition, Condition, Condition. And many segments of any Philadelphia condo market will often attract buyers that have no special home renovation skills, no tools, and no time to perform routine upgrades.
I grew up in a house with a garage and a basement filled with tools. My father had the knowledge and ability to add crown moldings, a tile backsplash, and new, update looking set of kitchen appliances. As a Philadelphia Realtor, I find many of my condo buyers are consumed with 60+ hour work weeks, own nothing that even resembles a garage or basement, and are ill-equipped to move out old harvest gold-colored appliances by themselves.
There seems to be a great deal of demand and desire for condos that are visually emotional, and show like a gem. Premiums are paid for many of these units, and the time they sit on the market seems to be severely lessened. Many neighborhoods are seen as substitutes for one another, and the primary concern seems to be focused on interior condition. Like buying a new car, a condo with a new kitchen and living room are undeniably appealing, especially in the first time buyers segment of the Philadelphia condo market.
Another reason, beyond the lack of time or skills necessary to upgrade any given urban condo may be the overall duration of ownership. Many first time buyers do not buy a one bedroom condominium with the thought of the unit as their final purchase. Rather, a right of passage, or simply someplace to hang their hat, as they spend the time and energy focused on their careers, or finding their future mate. And the first condo for such buyers needs to be somewhat of a “showcase” as younger buyers find that the prestige, look, and interior condition are paramount. Many first time buyers are motivated by what their friends, family, and potential mates might think. They wear their first condo like they wear a new outfit, and see their identities wrapped up in their new stainless steel and granite kitchens.