Posts Tagged ‘Philly Living’

Living in Philadelphia: Philly Homeowners Can Receive Tax Relief Today

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Longtime Philadelphian homeowners will get rewarded for their patience. In December, Mayor Michael Nutter unveiled the PHL Tax Loop plan, which will allow homeowners to receive some property tax relief as a result of property value increases around the living-in-philadelphia-homeowners-receive-tax-reliefcity. The new Philadelphia administration has set aside $20 million for its long-tenured homeowners.

The previous mayoral administration had raised property taxes, partly due to rising home values throughout the state. With the induction of the PHL Tax Loop, many of those living in Philadelphia for a decade will be rewarded for their tolerance and payment through those years. Those approved through this one-time offer will have their tax bill reduced for ten years, contingent on continued success with requirements.

PHL Tax Loop Requirements For Those Living in Philadelphia

In order for residents to be eligible for the PHL Tax Loop, they must fill out these requirements by no later than February 17, 2014:

  • - The property must be the homeowner’s primary residence from at least July 1st 2003
  • - The inquiring homeowners must reside in a single-family or a multi-unit property (with as many as three residential and one commercial units).
  • - The owner must meet the income requirements for the building’s household size.
  • - The owner must be in a structured payment agreement in which his payments are up to date and the real estate taxes are current.
  • - The property must not have ever had a tax abatement.


The program seems like a no brainer for Philadelphia residents to apply for and see if they qualify. Meanwhile, the early-year deadline will allow the city to formulate payment plans before the end of 2014. If you’re living in Center City, Northern Liberties, or South Philly, all longtime homeowners are encouraged to apply. Don’t miss out on the tax relief that those living in Philadelphia have been pining for.

Northern Liberties Real Estate

Friday, September 27th, 2013

A thriving neighborhood located north of Philadelphia’s Center City, Northern Liberties is a truly up-and-coming neighborhood. What was once a thriving area for manufacturing, mills, and foundries in the early 20th century has been revitalized to become the home for a group of eclectic and vibrant young professionals in Philadelphia. Progressives, artists, and hipsters have all been assembling in Northern Liberties since the early 90’s due to cheap rental costs, which has created a large network of eccentric bars, restaurants, and businesses in the area. A hotbed of excitement and entertainment, Northern Liberties has slowly become one of the most popular sections of Philadelphia to live in. Northern Liberties Real Estate by Philly Living

The Reef Condominiums in Northern Liberties Philadelphia

Situated on the northern edge of Penn’s Landing is the Reef Tower, which is part of the Waterfront Square community. This condo building has recently seen a big surge in sales of their luxury condos as they have one of the best amenity packages dollar for dollar in the whole city. Offering some of the best views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and the Delaware River that Philadelphia has to offer, living in the Reef Tower feels like living at a seaside resort. Waterfront Square is comprised of five different buildings totaling 780 condominiums and occupies 1.3 million square feet. These condominiums are the perfect place for any first time home buyer or the family that isn’t ready for the complete hustle and bustle of the city. Located right outside of Center City, Northern Liberties has a suburban feel with unrivaled walkability.

This unit 901 N Penn St. #F1608 in the Reef Tower perfectly exemplifies the Northern Liberties Neighborhood. At a reasonable price of $340,000 it is right below the average of $350,000 usually found in Northern Liberties. All available units in the Reef Tower have beautiful hardwood floors, marble bathrooms, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and plenty of other amenities.  The number of 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom units available at the Reef Tower on 901 N Penn St. is perfect for the crowd currently living in Northern Liberties, where the number single 20 and 30 year olds outnumber the married couples significantly. Philly Living has a number of units available in the Reef Tower ranging from $769,000 to$250,000 fitting the price range and life style of everyone in Philadelphia. Offering a 24 hour concierge service, valet parking, and a shuttle service that drops off residents in the heart of Center City, the Reef Tower is in perfect location and available at the perfect price for the young eccentric crowd in Northern Liberties.

Philadelphia’s Hottest Neighborhoods in 2013, Part Two

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

best-philly-neighborhoods-to-buy-a-houseIn our last post, we began our look at the top ten hottest neighborhoods in Philadelphia as forecasted by market trends seen in the first quarter of 2013. Today, we continue our journey through Philly’s fastest-growing neighborhoods and look at a few areas where properties barely hit the market before they are sold.

Demand in some of the neighborhoods below has many surprised and bodes well for the continued recovery and growth of the Philadelphia housing market.

The Big Five of Philly’s Top 10 Hottest Neighborhoods

Cedar Park – Cedar Park is home to historic architecture of the Queen Anne style. The westward expansion of University City has put this Philadelphia neighborhood on the map of many knowledgeable house-hunters. This Philly neighborhood sports a great variety of cafes and restaurants whose menus span the globe. The efforts of its neighborhood association are drawing investment in preserving its historic buildings.

Northern Liberties – Take a look at Northern Liberties and gaze at the future of Fishtown about a decade from now. The youthful hipsters of the Bush era took over Northern Liberties, revitalized it, and were slowly driven out by the rising prices. Now, young and established professionals alike are drawn to Northern Liberties, enjoying its thriving restaurant scene and almost small-town charm.

Avenue of the Arts – Property values are skyrocketing in this once fallow neighborhood thanks to the construction of new apartments, condos, and townhouses. Avenue of the Arts is drawing young professionals who enjoy its shopping, restaurants, bars, and nightlife. Proximity to public transit and a fashionable reputation ensure Avenue of the Arts will remain a hot neighborhood for some time.

Washington Square West – The locals call it the “Gayborhood,” and yes, there is a sizable gay and lesbian population in Washington Square West. This influx of single professionals and dual-income-no-kids (DINK) couples has likely been key to this neighborhood’s complete rebirth. With thriving businesses and rising property values, Washington Square West is drawing all manner of young professionals and young families who appreciate its amazing restaurant scene and bohemian feel.

Rittenhouse Square – In the middle of it all, Rittenhouse Square offers shopping, restaurants, parks, and access to all that Philly has to offer. This neighborhood is seeing an influx of investment from the more established, including empty nesters, professionals from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and those who can afford its higher property values. Price, it seems, will never be enough to keep Rittenhouse Square from being one of the most popular neighborhoods in Philadelphia.

Pros Say “It’s Never Been Easier” to Sell Philadelphia Real Estate

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013
Students seeking affordable housing have stimulated a wave of renovations across the city and made selling Philly easy.

Students seeking housing have stimulated a wave of renovations across the city, filling newly rehabbed and converted apartments and supporting higher rents.

This past Thursday marked the 11th annual RealShare Philadelphia, a meeting of over 500 real estate professionals. More than two dozen industry experts spoke at the event, which took place in the Crystal Tea Room at the historic Wanamaker Building.

One topic of discussion at RealShare was why, as Robert Fahey, executive vice president at CBRE, said, “It’s never been easier to sell Philadelphia.” The panel of experts pointed to many different reasons for the city’s current developer appeal. Philadelphia is lower profile than nearby cities like Boston and Washington and less subject to “wild cyclical swings,” according to Chris Terlizzi, senior vice president and regional manager at First Niagara Bank.

Experts also referred to a younger demographic which is currently pouring into Philadelphia’s many renovated apartment buildings. David Dolan, senior managing director with Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, said that nearly 6 million square feet of older office space in Philadelphia has recently been converted to apartments, attracting major owner/developers. The city’s high livability factor is due in part to the so-called “meds and eds” sector, according to Timothy Proctor, senior vice president at TD Bank. However, the experts cautioned that recent 6-8% rent increases may not be able to sustain the 1,500 to 2,000 new units which will come on the market next year.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the thousands of newly renovated apartments in Philadelphia will likely attract college students, regardless of the rent increase. Universities across the country are facing a shortage of student housing, and with aging dormitories in dire need of upgrades, The Journal estimates that colleges in the U.S. are short between 1.5 and 2.15 million beds. Even after the housing crash, parents and student loans continued to pay the increasing rent for student apartments. These are a few of the reasons why major developers are buying more and more student housing in Philadelphia.

Will Closing 23 Philadelphia Schools Really Produce Huge Savings?

Monday, March 11th, 2013
School closing protests

The School Reform Commission claims that closing 23 underused school buildings will save more than $22 million annually. Pew Charitable Trusts research suggests the estimate may be overly optimistic.

Thursday night, the School Reform Commission (SRC) voted to decide the fate of 27 Philadelphia schools, more than 10 percent of the schools in the district, in an attempt to improve the district’s dire financial situation. This year the commission was forced to borrow $300 million just to make ends meet, and an almost $1.4 billion deficit is projected for the next five years without a major overhaul. Community members worry that consolidating schools will lead to longer walks for young students, often through dangerous neighborhoods.

Despite community protests, including a massive rally which resulted in over a dozen arrests, the SRC voted to close 23 of the 27 schools, and planned to vote on two more schools at a later date. Officials say that the downsizing will save the district about $24.5 million annually. The closures will take effect after classes end in June, in addition to an unspecified number of layoffs, including principals, building engineers, and maintenance workers, according to district spokesman Fernando Gallard. Gallard does not anticipate any teacher layoffs because the student population should remain the same.

The School District of Philadelphia currently has 12 vacant schools on the market, six of which have been approved for sale by the SRC. A recent study indicated that urban school districts often have trouble unloading closed schools because of poor real estate markets, undesirable locations, and bad building conditions, among other reasons. Researchers at the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Philadelphia Research Initiative say that urban school districts tend to overestimate how much they’ll save from closing schools, and how much they’ll make from selling the empty buildings. Philadelphia Research Initiative Director Larry Eichel, who led the study, says that the longer a vacant school sits on the market, the harder it is to sell. The old Roberto Clemente Middle School building in North Philadelphia was recently sold to a local community group for only $1, after sitting empty for nearly a decade, and falling into disrepair.

SRC Chairman Pedro Ramos said in a statement that the decision to close 23 schools was difficult, “but it focused on our goal to provide safe, high-quality seats while being fiscally responsible.” Ramos said that the commission’s next step is to focus on making the transition a smooth one. “The responsibility now shifts to make sure everything we’ve talked about the past few months gets done.”

Stimulate Your Taste Buds at the Philadelphia Wine and Food Festival

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013
The annual Philadelphia Wine and Food Festival brings fine wine, creative cuisine and lovers of both together.

The annual Philadelphia Wine and Food Festival brings fine wine, creative cuisine and lovers of both together.

Friday, May 10, 5:30 – 9:30 p.m.
Lincoln Financial Field, SCA Club
1020 Pattison Ave., South Philadelphia

On May 10, you can sample fine wines from all over the world at the Philadelphia Wine and Food Festival, sponsored by Philadelphia magazine. At this year’s expanded program, you can taste over 600 wines while you enjoy signature dishes prepared by some of the region’s best restaurants. Purchase your favorite wines from the on-site Fine Wine & Good Spirits Store, which will be open until 10 p.m. You can even get hands-on access to top winemakers and chefs through special demonstrations, educational sessions, and intimate tastings. This luxurious evening of fine dining and spirits will be topped off by a fantastic silent auction benefiting The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Grand Tasting and VIP Access
The Festival opens for the Grand Tasting at 7 p.m. at Lincoln Financial Field’s SCA Club Lounge. General admission is $125. Special VIP tickets are $250 and include early entry with exclusive access to winemakers and wine representatives. VIP guests will have the opportunity to taste rare wines not available at the Grand Tasting, and each VIP will receive a $20 gift certificate for the on-site Fine Wine & Good Spirits store. The early VIP tasting begins at 5:30 p.m.

Young Friends’ Tasting
This year’s festival will feature the first ever Young Friends’ Tasting, only for younger (but still legal) wine enthusiasts, aged 21-40. This unique experience is the perfect introduction to wine tasting, designed to excite and educate young professionals about the wonderful world of food and wine. The evening will begin with a 30-minute Wine 101 Session at 7:30 p.m., led by a Fine Wine & Good Spirits expert. Young Friends’ Tasting tickets are only $75.

Foodies and oenophiles alike will love this delicious, informative, and fun festival. Order your tickets at A portion of the ticket proceeds will benefit The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

How to Find the Best Moving Company When Moving into a New Home

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013
moving van

Now that you’ve found your new home, you want to make sure all your stuff gets there safely. Use this checklist to find a professional mover who will see to that.

Now that you have finally closed on your new home, the real fun begins. It is time to find the best moving company to take your belongings from your existing home to your new property. Because you treasure your possessions, you will want to put a good amount of thought and research into your search. That way you can be relatively sure that everything will get from point A to point B in good shape. Here are some tips to help you find the best moving company to help you transport your belongings to your new home:

1. Start by talking to friends and family. Word of mouth is the best way to find a quality local or national moving company to move your possessions to your new home. After all, your friends and family can tell you exactly how their experience with their mover went. If they were quite pleased with their mover’s service, chances are good that you will be happy with their mover as well.

2. Get at least three quotes from three different moving companies. The more quotes you get, the better able you will be to find the best deal. Furthermore, talking with representatives of each company can give you a good idea as to how they compare with one another in regards to customer service.

3. Have each company give you an in-person estimate. The first time you contact most moving companies, they will give you an estimate over the phone. You will get an estimate that is more accurate when moving company representatives come to your home and actually see your stuff.

4. Ask about insurance. Most moving companies offer to insure your possessions during the move in case of damage, but you need to know exactly what the coverage amounts are. Often, your homeowner’s policy will have moving insurance built in, or it will offer better coverage at a lower cost.

5. Check into transfers. If you are making a long-distance move, the mover you choose will likely transfer your possessions from one truck to another at least once. The more transfers there are, the greater the chance that your belongings will get lost.

6. Be clear about any extra fees. Many moving companies will charge additional fees depending on whether there are stairs in residence, the ease of access, and more. Get a list of these possible fees up front, and you will be able to compare different moving companies more accurately.

7. Look into ratings from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). You can save yourself a lot of headaches if you check out each potential company and its service rating with the BBB.

8. Make sure the moving company is registered with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Your mover should be able to give you its DOT registration number. You can use that number on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website – – to investigate its history, customer service ratings, and more.

9. Visit the offices and warehouses of your mover. A clean, well-organized office and warehouse is a sign that the mover is probably a good one. A dirty, disorganized office and warehouse tells you the opposite.

10. Find out about any relationship with subcontractors. Many moving companies subcontract different parts of their moves to smaller movers. Get the names of these subcontractors, and research them to make sure they provide quality service as well.

Finding a mover takes some thought and research, but it is not a difficult process. Follow these tips to locate the best mover the next time you are moving to a new home.

-David Shapiro

David Shapiro is an Internet marketer working with moving companies and other small business owners to help them generate more leads/sales online. If he’s not working, you can find him enjoying the mountainous terrain of the Southwest or spending time with family.

Photo by Dwight Burdette from Wikimedia Commons, used under a Creative Commons license

Taste Something New at Philly Cooks Week

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013
Sample plates

Can’t get enough of Philly’s sizzling restaurant scene? Philly Cooks Week lets you experience the best of it all in one place with a series of tasting events.

Starting February 25, Philadelphia magazine presents Philly Cooks Week, a 4-day celebration of the flavors of Philadelphia, filled with culinary delights, famous chefs, and creative cocktails.  Tickets are on sale now for the all-new tasting tours and “The Big Event.”

New!  Tantalizing Tasting Tours

February 25 through 27, take a tasting tour of some of Philly’s best restaurants.  Get an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at some of Philadelphia’s top kitchens, meet the chefs, sample some of each restaurant’s best dishes, and even help prepare some dishes of your own.  Each tour visits the kitchens of three restaurants in a different Philly neighborhood, including Rittenhouse, Old City, Fishtown, South Street, North Broad, and many more.  Sample charcuterie with Marc Vetri, hang with Jose Garces, go into the kitchen with the chef at Stateside, and make kebabs with Michael Solomonov at Zahav.  Tickets are $110, and they are selling out quickly!  Visit to buy yours today.

The Mouthwatering Main Event

On February 28, join Philadelphia magazine for “The Big Event” at the historic Strawbridge Building at 801 Market Street.  Sample dozens of delectable dishes from 40 of Philly’s most popular restaurants, hand-picked by Philadelphia magazine Food Editor Jason Sheehan.  Meet some of Philly’s most celebrated chefs, and enjoy cocktails made by the city’s best bartenders.  Featured restaurants include Alla Spina, Continental, El Rey, Fette Sau, Fork, Fountain Restaurant, Hot Diggity, and many more.  Tickets are $85 per person, or $75 per person for 10 or more tickets.  Buy your tickets today at

Philly Cooks Week Cares

Proceeds from Philly Cooks Week benefit The Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House, a charity that helps the families of seriously ill children.  Their two locations on Chestnut Street and Front & Eerie, conveniently located near pediatric hospitals, provide the comforts of home and the support of their well-trained staff and volunteers.  Families staying at The Ronald McDonald House have the opportunity to relate to other guests while providing their children with the best possible care and support.  Visit to learn more.

Looking for real estate info? You now have a ‘License to Inspect’

Thursday, January 17th, 2013
License to Inspect screenshot

A new map-based tool gives users access to L&I data and historical information all in one place.

Want to know the whole story behind a Philadelphia address? You now have a way to find out everything you want to know in one click.

It’s a new map-based search engine called “License to Inspect.” This new tool, developed by Plan Philly and Azavea, lets you search Licenses & Inspections permit data for every address in the city – zoning, construction, use, the whole shebang. There are links to full documentation and zoning info as well. But wait! There’s more! You can also look up historical photos of the address from the database.

Did we mention That site, our favorite repository of images of the city’s past, was also developed by Azavea, the company that grew out of the pioneering Cartographic Modeling Lab at the University of Pennsylvania.

Plan Philly is backed in part by the University of Pennsylvania School of Design’s professional practice arm, Penn Praxis. If we haven’t noted this before, we’ll note it here now: the city’s colleges and universities have evolved into agents of change in their own right and contribute mightily to this city’s economic vitality and forward momentum. And that’s good for the Philly real estate market too. We will no doubt spend many pleasurable hours burrowing into this database as we do our work – and just for fun.

5 Do-It-Yourself Tips to Help Your Home Sell

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013
Kitchen cabinets

Updating your kitchen cabinets can work wonders for your home’s sales appeal, and you don’t need to hire a contractor for the makeover.

The experts agree that giving your home a fresh, updated look is a great way to appeal to potential buyers.  Completely redesigning or remodeling your home is costly and time-consuming.  You don’t have to break your budget to help your home sell.  Try making some of these 5 simple changes that make a big impact on potential buyers.

Modernize Kitchen Cabinets and Drawers

Replace Hardware
While you may not have the budget to replace all of your kitchen cabinets and drawers, you can easily give them a new look by replacing handles and knobs.  Clean, modern-style hardware will give even old fashioned cabinets an updated look.  Remove one handle and bring it with you to your local hardware store to find perfectly-sized replacement hardware.

Paint Cabinet Doors and Drawers
Remove cabinet doors and drawers and add a few coats of spray paint for an easy new look.  Choose a light, neutral color like white or beige.  Hand paint the area around the cabinets before reinstalling the doors and drawers.  The new paint job will easily freshen up old wooden cabinets without emptying your wallet.

Update Tile Floors

Replace Broken Tiles
If the tiles on your kitchen or bathroom floor are damaged, discolored, or missing, replacing them is an easy way to update the look of your floors.  If you’ve recently re-tiled, you most likely have a few extra tiles you can use to replace the old ones.  If not, bring a photo of your floor to the hardware store to find the closest match.

Use Vinyl Flooring
To easily re-tile your whole kitchen or bathroom floor, try vinyl flooring, which comes in a roll that you can cut to size and stick right to your floor.  Interlocking faux wood vinyl flooring is a quick and easy way to get the look of hardwood flooring without all of the maintenance.

Brighten Up Lighting

Replace Old Fixtures
Update old light fixtures by replacing them with simple globe lights.  Get rid of rickety old ceiling fans or dusty chandeliers.  Replace sticky light switches or light switch covers for an even quicker fix.

See New Light
In rooms with no overhead lighting, try a hanging lantern.  Plug it into a wall socket and add ceiling hooks to keep the cable in place.  Add floor and tabletop lamps for extra task lighting.

Add Area Rugs

Quickly cover stained or damaged floors by adding colorful area rugs.  Contrary to popular belief, you can place an area rug over carpeting.  Use them on threadbare or discolored areas of carpeting.  Add area rugs to warped damaged hardwood flooring for an updated look without replacing your floors.

Make these simple changes to give your home a modern, updated look that potential buyers will love, and you can sell your home even on a limited budget.

- Jen Heller Meservey

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