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Is Blondell Reynolds-Brown Full of Lead?

Blondell Reynolds-Brown introduced a bill that will require landlords to pass a lead-base paint inspection test before being able to lease their property.  As both a Realtor, an owner of a real estate office and a landlord of twelve properties, I find this bill to be ridiculous and unnecessary.   If anything, I would question the motives of  her campaign contributions and who would benefit from this bill and why it was introduced in the first place.

As a Realtor and Owner of RE/MAX Access, I have personally been involved with thousands of settlements where people Is Blondell Reynolds-Brown Full of Lead?have purchased homes all over the City of Philadelphia.  In not one instance, have I ever seen one person test for lead base paint.  If a buyer is not going to test for lead base paint and is paying anywhere from $50,000 to $500,000 for their new home, why are we forcing this upon landlords?  The purchasor obviously did not see the benefit and it is obvious why.  The majority of properties have been painted 10 times over if not more since 1978!!!!! 

As an investor, all of my properties are completely rehabbed and updated.  When I have a tenant move-out, I typically have the place repainted again.  Why in the world would I need to call someone from the City to inspect a property for lead-base paint and pay them some fee - which will probably be expensive - walk in and out of my property - every time I have to rent it out?  It makes no sense!!!  And this is the case with the majority of investors!  And then there will be the logistics of having to schedule and meet with someone - always a pain in the neck.  And who will be conducting these tests?  Another nightmare.

Most importantly, there will be the unintended consenquences if this bill gets passed.   The real estate market is on fragile ground as it is.  It is being supported by investors!  With more regulation and red-tape, some investors just might say screw it and not buy any more properties in the City.  Or other investors might just decide to sell.  If this bill is passed, what will be next?  A radon inspection by the City?  A termite inspection?  A made-up inspection by the City?  We cannot afford a slow-down in this real estate market.  If anything, we need incentives for folks to purchase, not penalties that make no sense.

What is most laughable is that the only properties where this might make an iota of sense is Section 8 properties since rent is subsidized by the City of Philadelphia.  I found out yesterday that these properties are exempt as well as PHA homes.  Hypocrisy at its best!  Let's just do a money grab of the landlords, right, Mrs. Blondell Reynolds-Brown!  My suggestion is stay in "education" or get more educated about real estate before introducing any bills in real estate and do not mask bills "for the children" when they are more in line with something else.  When in reality, they may have something to do with your Ethics violations and this settlement agreement as a result.

So yes, I believe this bill is full of lead.  As is Blondell Reynolds-Brown.

If it passes, it would be a loss for the real estate market.  And outright tragic for common sense.  We do not need money-grabs from the City of Philadelphia.  We need incentives for investors to buy properties and provide quality products for housing.  And we need people on City Council to "Get It".


Some Much Needed R&R at First Friday in Fishtown

R&R? That'd be Rebecca Jacoby and Robert Solomon, and you can check out their latest work this Friday, November 2nd in Fishtown. Check out more First Friday in Fishtown events here and add our favorite pick below to your list!


Location: 1816 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125                                                                                       

Reception and opening will be on December 2nd, 2011 from 5pm to 8pm. The show will run until the end of January and is open by appointment. 

1816 Frankford Ave is pleased to present the work of artists Rebecca Jacoby and Rob Solomon.

Rebecca Jacoby's abstract work on paper in acrylic, pen, marker and collage relies on process, impulse and a love of mark making.  Jacoby says, “My goal is to possess a range of skills, avoid limitations and challenge myself intellectually, emotionally and creatively”.

Robert Solomon’s background is in sculpture, installation/assemblage and architecture.  His artistic journey has taken him from a conceptual and intellectual bri-coleur approach to a physical alchemy of substances (wax, oil, water) on paper, canvas and fabric.  His recent work involves ideas, constructs, memory and time using and abusing art-based materials and tools.

[image via Rebecca Jacoby]


Shop, Save, and Search Homes for Sale in Northern Liberties!

If you didn't get a chance to shop this past weekend (we totally respect your willpower) or simply prefer to shop local, why not check out the NoLibs Holiday Shopping Spree next weekend in Northern Liberties? As extra incentive, NLArts will provide childcare and holiday arts for kids who are 3 years old and up (must be potty trained) both days of the event from noon to 4pm at the Northern Liberties Community Center, 700 N. 3rd Street. $5/hour per child to cover supplies.

If your wish list happens to include a new home, we also invite you to contact us for a tour of some amazing properties in the Northern Liberties neighborhood during your shopping spree/precious kid-free afternoon.  We have some really great deals for you!

Details on the Spree, from Art Star:

The more you shop, the more you save!

Saturday, 12/3 & Sunday 12/4, 11-7pm
The NoLibs Holiday Spree is a progressive sale – customers get increasing discounts the more they shop.

Here’s How it works:
1st Participating Store: Customer receives 10% off their purchase + a spree card w/ one sticker on it

2nd Store: Customer shows spree card  w/ 1 sticker & gets 15% off their purchase + a 2nd sticker

3rd Store: Customer shows spree card w/ 2 stickers & gets 20% off their purchase + a 3rd sticker

Once the customer’s spree card has 3 stickers, they will receive 25% off at any additional participating store that they shop at throughout the event.

Participating Shops Include:
(shop in any order you choose!)

819 N. 2nd St
Art Star
623 N. 2nd St.
1001 N. 2nd St.(The Piazza, Suite 20)
Colors by Padmini
906 N. 2nd St.
Concrete Polish
716 N. 3rd St
Duke & Winston
633 N. 2nd Street
1050 N. Hancock St. (The Piazza)
1001-13 N. 2nd St. (The Piazza)
Once Worn Consignment
910 N. 2nd St.
Swag Boutique
935 N. 2nd St.

Light refreshments & tons of  holiday cheer at each participating location.

Some must-see homes to browse:

912 N 2nd Street, Unit B

919 N Front Street, B

828 N Hancock Street, 3D

1136 and 1146 N Orianna Street

837 N 2nd Street, 309

429 Poplar Street

1223 N Howard Street

1137 N Orianna Street

314 Brown Street, 306

800 N Lawrence Street, F

Contact the Somers Team to book your tour!


New Park at Lardner’s Point in Tacony

Lardner's Point in Tacony got the green light for a new 4.5 acre park on the way. According to PlanPhilly, the project broke ground on November 21 and will include greenery, wetlands, benches, picnic tables, solar lighting and a composting restroom facility. Get ready for picnics and a fishing pier as part of the makeover to the site, which sits next to the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge.

That's great news for our homes for sale in Northeast Philadelphia. Come check out these listings that will put you near the city's next outdoor oasis.

Contact the Somers Team to book your tour!


Selling Your Philadelphia Home? Think Twice Before Listing With Your Best Friend

Selling your Philadelphia Home is a big decision.  Who are you going to list with? Your best friend? A good friend? Someone you know or a premier listing agent that services your area? These are the questions to ask yourself whether it be your primary residence or even an investment property that you own.  Too often I hear after the fact, "Well I gave the listing to so and so because I thought he would do a good job." This sale is going to bring in proceeds for you, or perhaps save you from a foreclosure.  It is a big decision.  You need expert advice from someone that is independent and who is an expert in the marketplace.  You need someone that you can trust, but not someone that is going to "yes" you to death and not someone that is going to tell you what you want to hear.

Selling Your Philadelphia Home?

Or perhaps your friend is only in the business part-time and not up to all the changes in real estate or does not provide maximum exposure for listings (video, blog, enhancing listings) or is just an outright crappy negotiator?  Or even if your friend is a great agent, they may be soft with you in terms of where your listing price should be, thus you question why your property is not selling?  I have heard one too many times that these friendships can get soured through these real estate trials and errors.  So why even bother in markets like these?  List with the friend during the seller markets when the friend does not have to do too much and do your research to list with someone who goes the extra mile and stands above the crowd in these tough markets.  What sellers need now (more than ever) are the best agents that are honest, that are not afraid to tell the truth, that are the best negotiators for their clients and who excel in giving them the maximum exposure for their listing - to get it SOLD.

Not for nothing, we are easy to find.  You already know where to find us.


Real Estate Negotiation – What We Can Learn from the “Super” Committee and Occupy Philly

I love to negotiate.  I love to sell real estate.  Day or night.  Weekday or weekend.  It is what I do.  And I am one of the best in Philadelphia.  It is a skill.  Part of that skill is to know when to stop and to know when to recommend a deal to your buyer or seller client and NOT TO OVER-NEGOTIATE.  That is when it becomes an art.  And that is when you become a true deal-maker.  Over-negotiation can be a deal-killer.

Philadelphia Real Estate Negotiation

Two recent examples outside of real estate that come to light where it puts things into perspective are:

  1. The "Super" Committee
  2. Occupy Philly

The "Super" Committee

Here is a case where twelve politicians clearly tried to over-negotiate from Day 1 refusing to back down on anything or compromise on points that could have brought a deal together.  Clearly, there were a lot of options that both sides could have compromised on that a deal could have been crafted, but beliefs, politics and plain old being stubborn got in the way.  When this happens, it is a detriment to both sides (and to the country as a whole).  We already can see the after-effects in the stock market in the last week since the debacle and there will be more ripples to come.  In my view, all twelve of these "politicians" are on my "wall of shame" but that is another story.  The point here of the blog is that over-negotiation gets you nowhere!

Occupy Philly

Same with Occupy Philly.  They held firm with the City of Philadelphia with their stance "We will not leave Dilworth Plaza." That stance and over-negotiation lost them leverage to work out a deal over the last several weeks to have both a better plan of an alternative site as well as logistics of overnight privileges.  Now they are left with very little options besides going across the street but with no tents and no overnight options.  At the most recent General Assembly (November 25th), it was utter chaos with Occupy Philly split in several different groups, in complete disarray, no direction, and being completely lost with their direction.  It all gets back to over negotiation several weeks ago.  And what gets me is that they have been so obsessed about this negotiation with the city that their movement has lost its original foundation and message, but again I digress... And I am still pissed from being censored on their Facebook page, which does not allow civil discussion.

Real Estate

I am sure everyone can relate to this story.   I can guarantee this happens all over the country every week.  It happened to one of our sellers about two months ago.  An offer came in on their property.  Instead of being happy like most sellers, they were agitated by the sales price and held firm on their listing price.  We were able to negotiate the offer where it was only $5K from their listing price.  Here was their chance to get it sold!  Nope...they just did a reduction.  Holding firm!!!!!   I strongly recommended to take the deal and said that they were "over-negotiating and reminded them it was a buyers market.  My recommendation was not heard.  We did not hear from the buyers agent for a few days.  Sellers call a few days later, "Okay, Chris, we will take it."  We follow up with the buyers agent "Buyer found another property".

Conclusion:   Be careful of over-negotiation.  AND, listen to your Realtor!

What are your thoughts?  And by the way, please subscribe to our blog!


Holiday Gifts for the High Brows, HEivas, and Homebodies!

Holiday Pollyanna dead-line closing in on your calendar? Got a "difficult to shop for person" on your gift list? Plagued by the the person who has everything, needs nothing, the scrooge, or just plain running out of inspiration for gift ideas this Holiday?

Well, we feel ya. So, we came up with a few cool gift ideas that you can shop for online on Black Friday, Cyber Monday or any time your heart desires. If these gifts don't work for you, then they will certainly inspire new ideas that will make your Holiday shopping a huge success this year!

The Imelda Marcos Wannabe

Zappos - Just say the word "Zappos" to me and I get that warm fuzzy feeling all over! Why not give the gift of Zappos in the form of warm and fuzzy slippers to your favorite guy or gal on your Holiday gift list? Here are two slippers under $50 but there are many under $30. The Zappos return policy is the best, too!

The Acorn Slipper Sock

The Acorn Polar Moc

The Drinker

Silicon Ice Cube Trays- This is a fantastic idea for the Cocktail Mixologist on your Holiday gift list. Silicon ice trays make fabulous ice cubes for the perfect drink. They come in all shapes and sizes. Many of these trays are  under $14.00. Here are a few I love.

Williams Sonoma
Cocktail Kingdom

The High Brow

Monogrammed Stuff - Try His and Hers bath towels or a monogramed pillow. Nothing says "I bought this just for you" quite like a monogrammed gift. West Elm has a monogram shop that is really convenient and offers a variety of gifts and prices.

The Locavore

Farmers Market Baskets - These are the coolest containers ever. In Philadelphia we have several great Farmer's Markets like Headhouse Square and the Rittenhouse Square Farmers Market. I am sure there is a market junkie on your holiday shopping list that will absolutely flip over this gift. Check them out at Jayson Home. They range from $20-$38 each.

The Old Schooler

The 7 Year Pen - Who even writes any more these days? These cute and anything but old-fashioned pens will inspire you to go back to the old days and write a note by hand! This is a great non-tech gift perfect for stocking stuffing or to give alone in a set of 3! At $7.50 each, you can buy a set for all of the people on you Holiday Gift List!

The Diva or The HEiva
(we don't discriminate)

Handbag Flat Iron
- For the vain and beautiful I have found one of the smallest flat irons sure to keep your fringe, waves and your straight locks looking perfect all of the time, $35.

The Desk Diva

Aphrodite USB Dock - This is the gift I want this holiday season. A fun USB dock, $46.

The Homebody

House Numbers - Ever drive by a house with really cool looking house numbers and wonder where they got them? Well, Chiasso has a few different styles on sale right now! What an awesome gift idea for an apartment or a house, or even as an interior decorative item. Buy them now at Chiasso for only $14.

The Nice Sado-Masochist

HIMALAYA Mat - This is NOT your girlfriend's YOGA mat, boys. This is literally a "Bed of Nails" and perfect gift for the one on your gift list that may be, shall we say difficult to shop for or just plain difficult! But seriously, this mat when used frequently is known to give relief of pain in the body as well as promote overall health. For under $30 on Amazon, it will make an interesting conversation piece and I will bet everyone at the party will want to try it. Namaste, my friends!

Tell us what the coolest gift idea on your shopping list is this year.

And here are few of our favorite shops in our own neighborhood, Northern Liberties. Don't forget to check out their Black Friday sales!

Arcadia Boutique

Swag Boutique

Art Star Gallery & Boutique

[images via Zappos, Jayson Home, Cocktail Kingdom, Seltzer, Fred Flare, Chiasso]


The Somers’ Version of A Realtor’s Thanksgiving Prayer

Inspired by the original Realtor's Thanksgiving Prayer, we decided to give this poetry thing a go. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Give us patience
With all nosy neighbors,
And clients who lower
Our commission as a favor.

Grant us peace
During Home Inspection stress,
And give us super natural powers
To negotiate the mess.

Let it be
Our Lock Boxs never jam,
Our keys never stolen,
Inboxes kept free of SPAM!

For Lord, we are just Agents.
Humble souls. That's right!
Hanging on to every deal,
With all of our might!

Ok! We admit
We use the internet to vent,
And Facebook, Twitter,
Endless text messages we’ve sent!

We are still so thankful
For all of those little things.
So, please let our Smart Phones
Never forget to ring!


What’s on Sale for Black Friday 2011? Lots!

This Black Friday and holiday shopping season, make a real investment. You'll get lots for your money! Yes, that's right, lots...2 of them!

Check out these two great lots for sale in Northern Liberties at 1032-34 N Leithgow Street.

These lots can be sold together. Each lot is approximately 13.25 wide and 33.50 deep. The photos attached are renderings for 1036 N Leithgow (not included in this sale) which is a 20'x30', 1,700 sf artist depiction of possible construction. These lots are zoned R10A. All building and building plans are subject to zoning approval at buyer expense. But, WOW, what an opportunity for development. With a walk score of 97 this location is considered a "Walker's Paradise".  Extremely desirable opportunity.

$150,000 for both or $75,000 each. We welcome all offers.

Contact the Somers Team for more information!


Fresh Address: Live and Work at 150 Cecil B Moore!

Calling all creatives! This week's Fresh Address is an impressively large 10,000 SF building in an arts-driven neighborhood...

This is Where It's At: 150 Cecil B Moore is a creative space in Old Kensington, a zip code with art studios and live/work spaces, galleries, and more.

Come On In: We welcome you to our new listing at 150 Cecil B Moore.  This 10,000 SF Warehouse, converted and approved as 4 Amazing Factory Loft Style Live/Work Spaces with commercial zoning. Secure wrought iron gated parking on Cecil B Moore with 4 deeded parking spaces is included. Reminiscent of the Steel Factory condos and the Cigar Factory on N 4th Street in Northern Liberties, each floor has factory size windows and solid wood beams, timber ceilings and hardwood floors. Every floor is its own space with beautiful original timber ceilings, massive solid wood beams, and solid hardwood floors. Each space offers 2,500 SF. There is a walk-out fire escape for each floor that leads to the parking lot. The 4th floor has 12+' high ceilings. Full unfinished basement with 6' head room, each floor has separate utilities. Plumbing and electric is roughed out already on each floor and exposed duct work is in place. This project can be transformed into artist workshops, dance studios, offices, etc. Must see.

Contact the Somers Team to book your tour!

[srp_profile lat="39.9759611" lng="-75.13665789999999" address="150 cecil b moore" city="philadelphia" state="PA" zip_code="19122"]




Phone: 215.253.6818