Archive for June, 2010

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Topping Off at the Shops at Schmidts


We were very excited to hear that the topping off ceremony for the Shops at Schmidts is finally here. After all, we work right next to the construction site and watch the progress happen every day from our office. It’s been quite entertaining and we’ve seen how quickly the Shops have gone up.

On Monday, June 28 at 2:30 pm, Bart Blatstein of Tower Investments will top off the 100,000 square foot retail center at 2nd St. and Girard Avenue, which will add a large Pathmark supermarket, retail outlets, and new residential units to the Northern Liberties neighborhood. Completion and opening is scheduled for December 2010.

As always, we’ll keep you posted as we hear about the Shops at Schmidts details. We know how important it is to buyers that they have a variety of shopping and grocery stores when researching an area to move to. A Pathmark that will serve Northern Liberties and Fishtown is another valuable neighborhood feature that will benefit all of us.


Update on the Shops at Schmidts in Northern Liberties

The Shops at Schmidts: Two Months In

Originally Posted on The Philadelphia Real Estate Blog

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Twice is Nice: Second Annual 2nd Street Festival

2nd-st-festivalHow about seconds? The 2nd Street Festival is back for a second time and if you remember last year’s event, you know that Northern Liberties business owners and residents took over the busiest street in the neighborhood for the day. Traffic was closed off as vendors and musicians, and even a skateboard ramp were lined along 2nd Street. On Sunday, August 1, we’ll do it all again. The NLBOA is currently accepting vendors for the festival, so if you’d like a space, download an application at the site or contact They also need volunteers, if you’d like to be a part of making the festival happen.

We’ll see you in August!

In the meantime, check out photos from last year’s fest.

Originally Posted on The Philadelphia Real Estate Blog

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

5 Things To Do in Northern Liberties Before Meeting Twilight Star Jackson Rathbone

eclipseThe Twilight Saga: Eclipse hits theaters on June 30, and we can’t think of a better place to be than an ice-cold movie theater.

Except maybe the Piazza at Schmidts for Twilight star Jackson Rathbone on Saturday, June 26. Philadelphia is one of the lucky cities to host Twilight Night right here in Northern Liberties.

Rathbone plays Jasper, one of brooding Edward’s adopted brothers in the hit saga that has teens (and adults, too) everywhere fang-obsessed. The actor will also star in M. Night Shyamalan’s upcoming The Last Airbender.

Starting at 6 pm, the free event will begin, with a Q&A with Rathbone set for 7:30 pm, and a showing of Twilight: New Moon at 8 pm. So if you notice a bunch of fans camping out in the Piazza early on Saturday, don’t question it.

For those attending and making a day of it, here are some activities to get you in the mood.

  • Rathbone has three tattoos, so you could head over to Northern Liberties Tattoo at 823 N. 2nd Street and get the most obsessive Twilighters ink you can think of.
  • Nana Petrillo’s has opened in the Piazza and after scoping out the Capogiro Gelato flavor list, we can tell you that vampiest picks are the Amarena (a fior di latte base with sour cherries) and the Rabarbaro (rhubarb sorbetto). Sticky and sweet…
  • Order a pitcher of red sangria at Bar Ferdinand in Liberties Walk. Nobody will think you’re a cheesy fan, they’ll just think you have good taste.
  • Have your makeup done at Tenshi Beauty Bar in the Piazza. They can nail the pale complexion and look of longing.


What the Piazza Needs Now: Capogiro Gelato

Now Open in the Piazza at Schmidts: Tenshi Beauty Bar

Originally Posted on The Philadelphia Real Estate Blog

Friday, June 25th, 2010

RE/MAX ACCESS Welcomes Alicia Leone !

2alicia-bioWe are proud to announce that Alicia Leone has joined RE/MAX Access.

Alicia Leone is a consummate professional. As a dual-licensed realtor in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and a member of the National Association of Realtors for more than six years, Alicia has a unique and comprehensive knowledge of the local real estate market.

Alicia brings an award-winning sales record to RE/MAX Access and was the recipient of the 2008 RE/MAX All Pros Executive Club Award in recognition of exceptional sales performance and achievements in the real estate profession.     

She is thoroughly committed to the needs of her clients and has conducted seminars to familiarize first-time buyers with market updates, loan information, and the requirements of purchasing a home.

Clients can be confident that Alicia will listen to their requests, be straightforward with them about every aspect of their real estate transaction, and will simplify the process every step of the way. She strives to continually exceed her clients’ expectations and is an outstanding addition to our team.

Please welcome Alicia Leone to RE/MAX Access! If you are thinking of buying or selling property in the Philadelphia area, be sure to contact Alicia Leone by phone at 267-495-6814, via her website, or through email at


Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Ecological Sustainability is Just a Trend!

going-greenSustainability – a word whose meaning borders on being an ethical term that encompasses the concept of living in harmony with the natural laws of the environment without depleting resources.

Eco-friendly – a loose term overused and misused in marketing that implies a product or action has minimal to no effect on the environment.

Some trends have really stuck, like jeans and democracy. Others, thankfully, have not stuck such as mullet haircuts and the Atkins Diet. Right now, words like green, sustainable, and eco-friendly are oh so very trendy, but it is inevitable that this “trend” will eventually become ingrained into our society and culture. Children are being taught the meaning of these words in elementary school. When I was a child growing up in the Philadelphia elementary school system some 30 years ago, we were still hiding under desks and building bomb shelters!

As educated consumers we will either make responsible decisions to participate in sustainable behaviors now or the Earth will force it upon us when she stops yielding to our demands. The implications of this reality on our economy is staggering and the effect is global. This trend has serious implications. If an elementary school student can understand that we all can.

On the subject of Real Estate and “green” trends in Philadelphia, rehabbers have an opportunity to create a revolutionary movement toward sustainability and eco-friendly development. We have so many opportunities to recycle homes with sustainable and eco-friendly trends as part of our rehabbing strategy. Even implementing one sustainable design element or system upgrade is a step in the right direction. It takes many little baby steps to eventually walk like a man or woman.

What rehab trends have you seen in your area? Have you had any success stories of retrofitting an existing home to implemented any “green” trends? Tell me about them.

Related: Read more about ways to green your home and green building.

Originally Posted on The Philadelphia Real Estate Blog

Thursday, June 24th, 2010


14Where? 514 Buxmont St, Philadelphia, PA 19116

When? Sunday June 27th

Country Living in the City? Experience that here in Beautiful Somerton. This Charming Split Level sits on a Large Lot. Can You feel the Energy Costs Savings with these Home Owner Upgrades ? New Insulated Windows Through out including a beautiful Bow Window in the Living Room, New Vinyl Siding, New Insulation in the Walls, New Insulated front Door. This homes has unique charm with hardwood floors in the Dining Room, Original Hardwoord Floors are under plush wall to wall carpeting that is through out the house. This Home also boasts 3 Brs, 2 Full Baths, Ceiling Fans in all rooms, Central Air, A great Kitchen with a perfect Layout to the Dining Room or Finished Basement. Here’s the Bonus, The Basement has been finished and the Garage has been converted into this space giving you additional Square Footage for a 4th Bedroom, Man or Woman Cave, Office, Play Room, Etc. This Bonus Room also has a Full Bathroom making it the Ultimate Family Room. All this in a Prime Somerton Location.

Contact  Frank Ratka With Any Questions!



Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

A New Look for Frankford Avenue


This week, if you’re wandering around Fishtown, you may notice a few changes taking place. That’s because Frankford Avenue is currently undergoing some streetscape improvements. The major street, known as the Frankford Arts Corridor, will still be open to traffic, but some parking lanes will be closed. From Palmer Street to York Street, $3 million of city and federal funds will be spent to improve the lively arts mecca. New trees will be planted and sidewalks and lighting will be repaired to make your leisurely strolls a bit safer. We’re quite familiar with the one-of-a-kind bike racks that Frankford Avenue is known for, but they’ll be adding even more to encourage the many bike riders that populate the Avenue.

One notable change to the area that will bring some attention to the Berks El Station and Frankford Avenue in general, is the completion of New Kensington Creative and Performing Arts High School, which Brownstoner Philly has reported will open this fall. What this means for local teenagers is that they’ll have another high school to choose from that focuses on creative development. Many Fishtown teens currently travel throughout the city to their secondary schools – now there’s an option that will mean less time en route to their academic destinations. The school building will also meet LEED standards, which we could all learn from.

Explore more about Life in Fishtown. Ready to search for Fishtown properties?


A Walk in Fishtown: Changes Abound

Originally Posted on The Philadelphia Real Estate Blog

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

2010 Liberty Lands Summer Movie Series

admit-1What makes watching a movie outdoors so much better than being cooped up inside? We can’t say. While there’s something nice about the chill of a dark theater on a sticky day, or cozying up on the sofa to watch a flick when it’s pouring outside, there’s also quite a bit of spontaneous adventure when gathering with your friends and neighbors to catch a movie in the open. The NLNA just announced the schedule for the outdoor movies at Liberty Lands Park in Northern Liberties, which has been a summer tradition for many years. You can view the schedule here.

Every Tuesday, starting June 22, movies will begin at 9 pm, with rainy or windy nights to be rescheduled on Thursdays. Blind Side will be first up in the series, and other movies to be shown throughout the summer include: Transformers, Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist, and Dirty Dancing.

Originally Posted on The Philadelphia Real Estate Blog

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010


13Open House!

Richport Homes
(Almond & Indiana St Philadelphia, PA 19134)
Sunday June 27th from 1-4pm

Lavish 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath NEW CONSTRUCTION in the heart of beautiful Port Richmond with Central Air, finished basement and garage. Nothing was spared in this house. Eat-in kitchen features ceramic tile flooring, granite countertops, stainless appliances, dishwasher, and disposal. First floor living area is very spacious and features hardwood floors. Powder room is also located on the first floor. Upstairs you will find 3 large bedrooms and 2 full baths. Large master suite has its own bathroom with his and her sinks and closets. Separate bathroom for the other two rooms. Fully finished basement can be used as a game room or as another entertainment room. Property also features ceiling fans,and rear yard! Don’t forget about the 10 year tax abatement! $10,000 Builder Assist for closing costs !

Contact Steven Osiecki for more information


Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Flip That House! Tips that will sell your investment faster and at a higher price.

Flip That House! Philadelphia Style!

Tips that will sell your investment faster and at a higher price.

We help a lot of investors Buy, Rehab and Sell homes in the up and coming neighborhoods in Philadelphia . Flipping homes is not as easy as it looks on HGTV.  Flipping a property takes A) knowledge of the neighborhood, B) knowledge of the Real Estate Market, and C) know how as far as orchestrating the contractors, permits and particulars.  Oh and most important of all, D) Flipping requires MONEY.  “Cash is King” as we always say.

In this post I have included before and after pictures of one of the most recent successful flips  of a New Kensington Row Home that we were involved with. I would like to highlight some of the finishing features that will make your rehab not only stand out from the rest, particularly for investors flipping homes in the up and coming Philadelphia neighborhoods, but will also increase the chances of selling faster and at a higher price. This Subject property is just shy of $200,000 and needed a full renovation.  For some of you reading you may not be flipping a home or your renovation may ne be as extensive as this one. Nonetheless, the tips below can be applied to any home that you are upgrading or updating, applicable to not just the Philadelphia Real Estate market, but to any local market that you are in.

The features that will get your Philadelphia Row Home sold at the best price:

First Floor: Your first floor needs to deliver the most features such as Hardwood floors, an open layout, side staircase vs a center staircase that can divide a small space making it look smaller, a powder room, plenty of natural light, and recessed lighting.  All of these suggestions will provide the “BLING” factor that many buyers look for in a home.



Kitchen: Don’t be cheap and ordinary. Don’t skimp on the counter top or appliances, particularly the range and refrigerator. The trend in remodeled Philadelphia Row homes is definitely leaning toward the contemporary designs over traditional.  Even in older homes with outdated features, adding some contemporary touches makes a huge impact on the sell-ability of the home. Some examples of these features includes: islands for extra storage and seating (if the space allows). Choose flat panel cabinets vs the traditional styles and avoid  “starter kitchens”.  Wood stains can vary but hardwood flooring flowing into the kitchen unifies the space and makes it look larger.  Exposed brick or a trendy back-splash adds character and will add to the “bling” factor” I mentioned above.



Other rooms in the house: Features such as high ceilings give small rooms a Big Feel. Light colored carpeting in the upper bedrooms and hall is less expensive than hardwood and is certainly a good option if you need to save money.  Light colored paint is a must on the walls with bright white trim particularly when it comes to smaller rooms because white expands a room along with good lighting. If a room is dark add light.

another-room-before another-room-after1

Bathrooms: Always maximize the space in a bathroom by choosing a vanity that properly fits the room. In the bathroom below, the room was very narrow but a carefully chosen vanity offers storage without overwhelming the room. Below the natural pebble floor in the shower is complemented by a faux wood grain tile, and white subway tiles.  The feel is luxury spa.  Who does not love that ? Get the most bang for your buck by contemplating the “bling factor” for the powder room and master bath. Guest baths can be more basic.




To wrap it up: Always make the first floor an eye catcher and the “bling factor” can be carried into master baths and powder rooms. Open layouts will sell faster and at a higher price than layouts that are formal, modular, or divided by a staircase.  Don’t skimp on the kitchen appliances. Invest in the hardwood floors and recessed lighting for the first floor.  Make smaller spaces look larger with bright white trim and plenty of light.

(A shout-out to Universal Building & Construction Inc. for this fab rehab !!  For more info call Cindy at 215-399-6251. Mention Stephanie )

Look at my live video below of the interior of this New Kensington Row Home and catch some other tips that wil sell your property fast and for the highest price.

Originally Posted on The Philadelphia Real Estate Blog