Archive for the 'Condo Knowledge' Category
The trend of people wanting second homes is trending upward. The demand is solid and the supply is low. This is the case in all areas where people are looking. Purchasing a condo is the way to go for 98% of second home owners. Prices are trending upward over last year.
A second home buyer needs to do his or her homework so they will know the one when it comes on the market. Since most second home buyers are not local they cannot see the condos as they come on the market daily and sell within a few days. One major change I am seeing is that a lot of the buyers are “near local” from places like Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Houma, Mandeville, Mobile and even some from Metairie.
Second home buyers will need 20% down as a general rule. Rates are at 3.5% or there abouts right now. Best to have a pre-approval letter from a local lender once the decision is made to purchase a condo. Your addition expenses are taxes, HO6 Insurance policy and the condo fees which may be a little different depending upon the condo association.
Second Home Buyers should be open to several areas unless they are completely set on a specific area. Many times buyers do change their minds once exposed to other areas of town. Other areas may have cheaper prices and larger condos.
Once a purchaser decides on what area of New Orleans he wants then the buyer has to decide on the type of condo he wants. The complex that has a lot of amenities. The Small association with a lot of historic features. Want a certian area and are not concerned with the style. There are few complexes in the French Quarter. There are few small associations in the Warehouse District. You see both in the Garden District, Uptown and along St. Charles.
What you seldom find is that larger complex uptown with that historic feel. Knowing what to expect is the first step where a realtor schooled in all the areas can really help your search. My focus is on the resale value of your purchase. I will know the plus and minus of each unit and will share my knowledge with you as we search.
Let your keyboard do the searching and I can answer most of your questions as you begin the search. If I do not know the answer I can find it out. One of the most asked question I get is ” Did the condo flood during Katrina” 99% of the time the answer in no. The popular areas for condos are in the older areas of town located on high ground. Most had little damage and suffere little or no damage….
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The market has been very strong for condos in the city of New Orleans so far in 2013. The market is good as it has been since 2007 when things were going really well. One of the main differences is the number of second homers who are interested in all areas of the city. This coincides with people paying high rents and want to take advantage of the low rates currently around 3.5%.
When you have very few units for sale in all categories you see the prices rising. The prices are above the same time as last year. However it has to be within reason when you price your condo or else it will sit on the market missing many buyers that would otherwise be viewing it. When I see something overpriced I tell my clients to wait for the price to drop. Buyers are much more educated with all the information on the Internet. They know right off its too expensive…..
The agent should be able to give the seller a price range that they will likely get factoring in the past years and the up market. With fewer properties you will get the condo more showings. The agent may not know the numbers or the seller is just being unrealistic. It could be both. Some agents push the number to just get the listing so ask to see the track record of their listings.
The Condo Becomes Stale on the Market
Many sellers just want too much and are not motivated til the condo gets harder to sell. They miss too many buyers when they are listed 10% above the market. Its much eaier to see in condos as the comparisons start with comparing sales within the building and the chosing like complexes. In the end the appraiser will do the same thing. Lets just call it being too greedy….
I tend to take a different approach and go much closer to the price we will end up getting. If I think the condo is worth $205,ooo the we can list at 209,000 as fewer condos are priced in the category. My last couple of listings prices and sale prices were much closer….255k-250 sales price, 249k-245 sales price, 209k-sales price 205k, 189k sales price 185k , 279k and sales price of 275k and so on. No reductions were needed and all the units were shown a lot. Purchasers are going to give you a lower bid but it is much easier to strike a bargain in this market…
Telling your client what they are going to get as a sales price makes the process go smoother and makes the agent review the figures and fully explain the market to his or her client. The majority of agents that are top of there game do this…
Keep the Gap between the selling price and sale price closer.
You get the condo sold Faster and for a Better Price…
The condo seels faster and at a better price because you not miss the season are a group of buyers that would be your buyers. People will look but will not take out the check book and as it gets stale people will want an even better deal….
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The Federal Fibre Mills Condos in the New Orleans Warehouse District, New Listing in a favorite building… Condo #413
The Federal Fibre Mills in the Warehouse District located at 1107 South Peters has always been a favorite of mine. Its a block from the Convention Center, several blocks to St. Charles Ave. and a longger walk to the French Quarter. Today I parked there and walked to French Quarter Fest at Jackson Square. The building is becoming a favorite for second homers because you get a lot and can get all over town quickly.
The association features some of the nicest tropical courtyards that you will send in the Warehouse District. The grand lobby is second to none. The staff and management are all top notch. You have the spa and pool in the courtyard. The gym and rest rooms are just across the way. The grounds are always kept up and used by the residents to grill and just hang out. You need not go outside the building. Pets are welcome and people take care of them as well.
The Condos all have some common features. Exposed Beams, Exposed Brick, Large Warehouse Windows, Lots of natural light, high ceilings, exposed metal supports and wood ceilings that were oonce forming boards for the concrete between the floors. All the condos have a gated parking spot in the lot half a block away. Its a large lot that is rarely ever fully used. All the units have their a/c from a central chiller system that is very efficient. The condo fees are higher as your ac is include in them. But the electric bills will be very low…
The Warehouse District Condo #413 is offered for sale for $249,413. Its about 900 sq. ft of living with a loft bedroom. You can see the updated kitchen and bath. Bamboo floors are on the main living area with tile in the kitchen. The city views form the 4th floor are top notch day and night. There is a decent amount of storage on the lower and upper level. The unit has been freshly painted down.
All appliances stay with the unit including the washer/dryer that is in the kitchen closet. The elevators are right down the hall to the lobby and in the rear to the courtyard. The condo fee is $461 per month but does incluse the a/c which is easily $100 per month in New Orleans and the parking comes with the unit. Water, Insurance, Exterior upkeep, staff and management are in the fees. The condo association is currently well funded.
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The real estate market in the New Orleans French Quarter is as strong as it was before Katerina. Lots of buyers and fewer properties by half than just over a year ago. I had a client in early Spring last year who could have bought 4-5 nice properties in her price range. The sales were just beginning to pick up then in 2012. Three of the ones I showed her sold before she left and returned to Canada. Today she may have one nice choice at higher prices.
The higher end properties are few and far between as are the almost all the categories as well. You have to be ready to act when a unit does come up because if it is nice it will sell quickly. We are seeing many more Louisiana people buy places than ever before. I have had a number of clients from Kenner, Slidell, Mandeville, Baton Rouge and Lafayette searching for their weekend place.
They all use it more than they thought as they are not that far away. They live close by and didn’t even know how many things there were to do.
The vaste of the condos in the French Quarter are second homes for people that love to come to New Orleans because there is always things to see and do. I have pictured a few below but there is always much more.
Drink in some of the oldest bars in the United States…
Eat in Five Star Restraunts that are short walks from your Condo
Enjoy Sidewalk artist and their clorful displays…
You like Music then New Orleans likes you… Something going on..
People Having fun, it wears off on you and you get in to it…
Shopping in unique stores and shops, You can still bargain in New Orleans
Always a festival going on in or around the French Quarter
Always a great walk along the Mississippi River
Historic Buildings one right after another, block after block…
Street Musicians play on many corners, Some are quite good….
You can Just hang out and decide what you are going to do next….
Historic Tours, Let the guide talk as the mules have the route memorized….
Take the River Front Street Car to the Warehouse District….
Unique Hotels and Bed and Breakfasts are all “one of a kind”
A sky line of short building looking towards Canal Street…
This is just a few reasons that people visit the French Quarter…
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One of the questions I am commonly asked is that I want a condo in the Warehouse District with a balcony or gallery. The immediate answer is that they are far and few between. There are 3-4 condo associations that do have them. The are all larger units in smaller buildings.
The three pictured here are within a block of each other on Tchoupitoulas and Girod. The 711 Tchoupitoulas, 633 Tchoupitoulas and the red building on the corner of Girod. Its most likely that these structures were office-warehouse combinations. Most of the other warehouse were much more industrial and larger.
The only other one that comes to mind is Mills Row which also happens to be on Tchoupitoulas behind the Federal Fibre Mills. Mills Row is a brand new structure that was built in 2006.
The other question I am often asked is why there are so few high rises. The only 2 Warehouse High Rise condos are One River Place and 625 St. Charles. Both of these buildings were built as condo complexes. We are overdue another one.
The Tracage was going to be a 25 story building that was cancelled in 2008 during the financial crisis. It is rumored to be back on the drawing board. Since the pre-sales reached almost 70% it would be a success this time around.
It did not make sense for the 1900′s building to be too tall and most were industrial and basically built by hand.
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One thing is pretty clear as we enter the new year in 2013 is that buyer have to act much quicker than they did in 2012. There are fewer properties for sale and more eager buyers. If the condo is nice and is priced right then it will sell quickly. That is why doing your homework is so important in a market like this. Rates are 3.5% and rents are getting higher so now may be a good time to start.
It’s foggy in Jackson Square but its clear to myself and many buyers that decisions have to be make faster these days. You just need to be clear on what you are looking for, have a good idea of financing, and be ready to look when I call you. It’s Like that saying…”You Snooze you Lose“…
Being Prepared in this market means we have to do our homework as we beginning our search.
1. Have a good idea by contacting a qualified lender who can make the process happen and give you the best advice on terms, type of loan, downpayment, taxes, insurance and expenses of that loan. This will give you an idea of your note and cost. They should be able to have you a qualifying letter when we present the offer so you are in a better position to obtain an accepted offer.
I have had only one loan for my buyers in the last 100 sales not go through. My client was using an out of town lender that someone had advised him to use. It cost him time and money to find out that he could not qualify. It cost the seller selling time and he ended up with a lower price. Sometimes it is odd how it works out. I sold that condo to another client that got a great deal. I am currently selling the same client another condo a year later and he is using a capable lender that I would recommend to anyone.
2. Study the market by seeing the complexes so you can know what will suit your needs. Recently I am showing units in various complexes so the people can get an idea of the complex so when one does come up they will be ready. Its OK to see overpriced units as it will still give you a good idea of the buildings and units. I then send the clients all the sales from 2012 that will match what they are looking for. The last couple of time I have done this, its been about 10-12 units at most. Sometimes its much fewer as clients add more criteria.
You do not have to depend on the library for your information as your real estate agent should be able to send you all the information that you need. You can use the Internet to find out a lot of good information on your own that is very valuable.
You put that together with a capable real estate agent and experienced New Orleans lender then you are ahead of the game and can expect much smoother sailing. I know the lenders who can get it done as you may use 3-4 different ones in a year depending on your situation.
Just stay away from large banks and out of town lenders as they know little about the New Orleans Market and take much too long to process a loan. Louisiana may be backwards in some areas but this is not one of them…..Lets just say its a very competitive market these days for agents that work for purchasers. Let get stated by sitting down and going over the process….
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The one great thing that condos on St. Charles Ave. offers is Location, Location and Location regardless of style and type. Being on one of the most famous streets in Louisiana plus just having a lot to do on the oldest running streetcar line in America is just two of the neat things about living on the Avenue.
You are just so close to so many things as New Orleans is really a compact city. Ride downtown, walk to Magazine, play golf at Audubon Park, view historic homes aand mansions, and eat and drink to your heart is content. The excercise the next morning.
Lets talk about the variety of styles and what to expect up and down the Avenue.
This is a 5 unit complex that was once an old home. It was converted more than likely inot apartments then into condos. Here you get the balconies and historic features that you can get from these old homes. The last sale in the building was the balcony unit which sold for $428,000. It was a totally updated 2/2 condo of about 1300 square feet. This is not an everyday find.
This 6 unit condo complex at 2600 St. Charles Avenue is actually new construction a couple of year old. They are large unit that sold for well over a million a piece several years ago. These are residensce and most likely not second homes. They sure do seem to fit in and look old. That is what makes them so special.
The 3201 St. Charles Avenue is a 1970′s apartment complex turned into condos surrounding a reaally nice courtyard. The 71 unit building is well managed and every unit has parking in the rear. Not much historic about these units but then the prices are one of the mmost reasonable on the Avenue. The 8 foot ceiling keep them in the apartment anywhere USA feel until you step ino the tropical pool and courtyard.
The 4219 St. Charles Avenue is a 1920′s apartment home converted into condos. These apartment style condos of which there are about 15-20 of thesescattered around this area of town are really cool and unique. Most are small complexes 12-20 units. They tend to have a lot of windows, wood floors, 9-10 foot ceilings, parking, and secure entrances. The units are structured like 4 plexs have lots of doors to the common areas which are generally a central courtyard.
The 7044 is another example of a 1920′s complex near Audubon Park and close to Tulane University. Often this is a great place for students and second homes. Just love this style.
The 3823 St. Charles are large unit that were meant for full time living. Residences and they are much larger than most condos with each unit over 2000 sq. ft. of living. These units have little turnover so you never see a lot of this style on the market. There are several of this style on the Avenue and several now for sale.
This may be one of a kind in that it is a very recent conversion at 1224 St. Charles Avenue several blocks from Lee Circle. It was an old folks home turned into small condos. Priced from 150-180. They all have parking. The bottom floor is commercial. There is a courtyard, gym and other common areas to enjoy. All utilities are included in the condo fees which is not the norm but still reasonable since the units are small.
The condo documents say the units cannot be leased for periods less than a year which is not the norm either. The prices are good so they sold oout in about 18 months in a bad market.
You can also view many of the other New Orleans Condo Complexes on St. Charles Avenue on a special page that I am constructing. Not yet finished but will show you even more variety of what you can expect to find in this segment. No shortage on variety.
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The conversions of 1920′s apartment into condos has always been fascinating to me. Thay all seem to have some neat features that make them ideal conversions into condos. The majority of the complexes are one bedroom with a few two bedroom units. Most of the condos are in the uptown area near or on St. Charles Ave, See St. Charles Ave. Condos. I think it was to be close to the streetcar line as many did not have cars of their own in those days.
All seem to have multiple entrances into hallways that have the units off of a large foyer. Many have 4-6 units in a pod with their own entrance. I think was happening at a time when women were beginning to work outside the home and needed places that were well protected and safe. The all have enough windows that allow for a lot of natural light. The best views are of course the views that look out on St. Charles Ave.
The one that I have pictured below are all on St. Charles Ave. but they will be scattered in the Uptown neighborhoods. They all have special details that do set them apart from each other as you can see by the variety of looks shown below.
Many now make excellent second homes and great places to be for students going to the local schools as they are close to Tulane, Loyola and the Medical Schools of Tulane and LSU. There currently almost none of these on the market right now. The student population tends to make them seasonal in nature. Everyone that bought 4 years ago will be in the plus column if they bought in 2009-2009 time frame.
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Its only natural for purchasers to look at the areas of New Orleans that they know the most about. A lot of time people will change their minds and look at other areas of town once they become educated as to what they will find. There are some who will not change their mind and keep looking in the area where they had their heart set on being.
One of the best examples is that many second home purchasers start in the New Orleans French Quarter. Its a great place to start but prices are high for what you get and parking is harder than most areas. A certain percentage of these buyers once exposed to the Warehouse District will consider that area as well. Its across Canal Street and they may find a condo more to their liking.
Many second home buyers start with the one area in mind. Once exposed to multiple areas they go where the better buys happen to be. Some start in the New Orleans Warehouse District and see they cannot get something that matches their budget and desires. They go Uptown, Garden District and in the Lower Garden District Condos to see what is available at lower prices.
I tend to call this a natural affordability progression of neighborhoods. The areas on the edge of the more popular neighborhoods tend to develop this way as people are priced out of a certain areas. In addition to pricing they become more educated to the various choices of New Orleans Condos. This makes the edge area expand out until it meets the more popular areas again. This happens in homes as well, the the condo market follows. Condos on Saint Charles Ave. in New Orleans is another area where buyers may start or end up.
This does not happen to everyone but to at least half of my clients. Many think about it and become open to other areas. In some ways we come a tour guide in order for the client to get the extra exposure. Its part of the job and tends to be fun…Our job is to expose clients to areas they may not have considered as they just did not have enough information to know. Doing this everyday I tend to know what you will find in each of the New Orleans Condo Marget Segments and Neighborhoods.
The buyers that can spot these trends often get a condo thaat appreciates more as the area becomes Hot. Once the trends are more evident then the prices tend to rise. It just takes experience and time to watch these trneds develope. You however cannot make a trend where there is not one.
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I sell a lot of second homes to clients from all over the country. I am now selling a lot to people that do not live that far away like Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Jackson, Miss and such places. They tend to know New Orleans is much more than Bourbon Street and there is a lot of things to do. You can eat and drink at some of the most historic places and enjoy yourself to no end.
Some of the best things are free however. There is really no need for a car so just leave it at the condo and take the streetcar or cab to your favorite spots. The weather has been great and its like Spring in reverse.
You can write a book on all the great Christmas decorations this time of year. Below is just a small sample of what I have seen this past couple of weeks. From simple decorations the the elaborate ones like at the Roosevelt Hotel few do as good a job as New Orleans. They may just need practice for Mardi Gras and as a filler from Halloween. People just like to do such things and then they become memories of years past.
The weather is still mild. These ducks found New Orleans recently and come all the way from South America to enjoy the season at Audubon Park. The trees are just beginning to change color. These crepe myrtles do show up well among the oak trees which will stay green all winter. They have to leave their leaves soon as they need to bring new leaves out in March…
The window shopping trips are something that has moved to the malls in most of America but you can still window shop here for the most unusual things. This is just the tip of the iceberg but wanted to let you knwo there is so much to do, it is worth planning a trip. Plan as their is a lot to see. See a few scenes below and multiple it by 50 and it will fill up several days. Bring your walking shoes…..
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