Waterfront Square condos and Philly Skyline at dusk

Ten things you really should know if you’re buying a condo in Center City Philadelphia

1.) Do I need a lawyer?
Legally, no you do not. However, I suggest you hire a REAL ESTATE attorney as they can be helpful. What I do NOT suggest is that you hire your brother’s neighbor, and is a personal injury lawyer. That could really do more harm than good, in my opinion. Get a Philly REAL ESTATE lawyer.

2.) Can I move in prior to settlement?
Uh…no. Never. Sorry.

3.) Can I change the settlement time or date at the last minute?
Usually not. The title company, the seller, the mortgage company, the listing agent all would need to clear with their schedules. Best to decide early upon a settlement time and date and stick with the plan.

4.) Do I have to pay a Capital Contribution and what is it?
Yes, you do, IF your condo association requires you to do so. Almost all collect two months of condo fees from the buyer at the time of closing. This does not go to the seller. This helps add to the “kitty” of your condo association. You are more or less paying yourself. Some buildings like 1830 Rittenhouse Square condos do not require one…but that is rare.

5.) Can I move in at any time, or do I need to plan ahead?
You need to plan ahead, especially in larger buildings where you would need to reserve the elevator. Those details will be available in your condo docs and/or resale package. Best to read them!

6.) May I BBQ on my patio or deck?
99% of the time, the answer is NO. Some 1st-floor units with outside space may be granted permission by the association. More and more, many buildings are installing BBQ areas.

7.) Does the seller have to repair nail holes in walls where his/her artwork once hung?
Not nail holes in the wall. You bought the condo with the holes already in the walls. Unless you believed the artwork magically floated on that wall, you can assume there are nail holes, and yes, they transfer with the title.

8.) Which utility companies do I need to call?
Depends upon your condo association. Usually just PECO and maybe the gas company. IF water is included in your condo fees…do NOT call the water company. Ditto for Comcast.

9.) Why do I have to pay transfer tax?
Because the City says so. Transfer tax is split between buyer and seller and each pays 2.14%.

10.) Do I have to have a home inspection?
Legally, no, but the smart answer is yes. Do it and learn how your condo functions and operates. A good way to learn how to shut the water off if you have a leak.

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