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Portland’s best condominium blog?

“One lousy word, you call this a blog?” This was a response I got from my most recent, one word blog post about a new listing that came on the market at $2,100,000.

In actuality, I got several emails about this which I find very interesting. In this recent post I stated that this new listing priced at $2,100,000 was ‘under whelming”. I felt this was all I needed to say at the time I wrote. A friend of mine suggested that it was because I stood a better chance of making less punctuation and grammatical errors if I kept it to 1 word. Ouch! …but the truth hurts sometimes.

So at the request of several readers, I will elaborate. I believe that when you walk into anything in the Portland market that is priced in the $2,000,000 range it better have the “Wow” factor. When I walked into 625 11th Ave (the beautiful brick town homes on 11th in the Pearl) my first thought when I walked in the door was “That is a very cool dining set”. It was not a “Wow, this place is amazing!” While staging is important in showcasing a property, you know it is a problem when someone notices a dining set instead of the unit itself! Is this the problem of the stagers that were hired? No I don’t believe so as the staging was pretty low key. The problem was, in my opinion, expectations. That’s right expectations. When I go into a place with a $2,100,000 price tag I want to be WOWED! Simply put, I was not. In fact it was the opposite. When I walked into this town home, nothing yelled out to me that this was a $2,000,000 home, including the marketing materials. As I had mentioned in a previous blog, one of these town homes recently sold for $1,850,000. Same square footage, same location. At the very least, my expectations for this new listing (priced $250,000 higher) were that it was going to be more impressive than the one that sold for $1,850,000. Unfortunately, it was not! I don’t believe that the finishes were at the level of unit 618 or 633/637 (the combined unit for sale). The most impressive thing in this unit was the feature wall in the dining area that was  stacked railroad ties from somewhere in Asia. Other than that, it was reasonably forgettable.  In contrast, when I walked into the combined unit 633/637 it had the wow factor! It had the finishes and design elements that were worthy of a $2,775,000 unit.

So to those of you who did not like my 1 word post last week, I am sorry. I hope this helps

If you are a buyer in the +$1,000,000 market and would like to see some condos that do have the “Wow” factor, give me a call and we can set up a tour to view some amazing units. If your budget is under the $1,000,000 mark, don’t worry. You can still find units with lower prices that also have a certain “Wow” factor to them. It might be the views that it has or an amazing floor plan. Whatever it is you are looking for, no matter your budget, I can help you find your Portland condominium!

Call the condo specialist, Brad Golik at 503-896-8856.

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Portland Condo Specialist

Today I toured 625 11th Ave. priced at $2,100,000…

Underwhelmed!!!

Brick Townhomes on 11th

Brad Golik is a condominium specialist with Pearl District Properties. If you would like to tour this unit for sale or any other condominiums or townhomes, call Brad at 503-896-8856. Brad can also be reached through his website http://www.LuxuryCondosofPortland.com

I was only kidding!

In my last post I was discussing the high prices of some units that have come onto the market recently, in particular, I mentioned #617 11th. This is one of the iconic brick townhomes on 11th. When it sold at $1,850,000 I jokingly said “ Next thing you know some silly agent will price one of these units for $2,000,000!”  Well guess what? While not in the MLS, I got an email for a pocket listing for #625 and it is priced at…… $2,100,000! Are you kidding me? As I mentioned before, let’s look back just 13 months ago when #621 sold for $1,390,000. This is a 51% increase! The market is NOT up 51%!  Now I have no connection to the sellers of the combined #633/#637 unit priced at $2,950,000, but that price just got way more attractive! Especially when you consider the higher level of finishes and design that it has compared to #625.

625

With all joking aside, this market is a little scary to me. While very different than what we saw in the last bubble, it still is not the type of market you want to see.  I have made many comments about the pricing of the Cosmopolitan. It is priced higher than Seattle’s Insignia Towers( and because of our job markets, this NEVER happens), and yet it is now 80% sold. Many things are not making sense in this market. This is why I feel a little nervous about the market. As a buyer, it pays to be a little cautious and fight for the very best deal. Be ready to walk away from the negotiating table if it just doesn’t feel right. If the market were to turn right now, those paying a premium WILL get hammered, no question! In the higher end of the market, even with low inventory, it pays to be smart with your money. As a seller, I always push for a high price for my seller with the idea of not being too greedy. Also, when pushing for a higher price, make sure you have some reasonable comps to support your pricing because after all, it still has to appraise!

Photos

As a seller, keep this in mind, ANY agent can sell your place…but at what price? I have always been a strong believer that better marketing, and more marketing brings in a higher sales price. If you are selling (and asking for a premium price), you should have PREMIUM condo marketing to help you get that higher price! That means great photos, great print material, good videos and all done in a classy, well done format. If an agent is not going to do these things at a minimum, you should look for another agent that will. Will an agent sell a condo with bad photos? Yes! It happens all the time. But don’t you wonder if the photos were better and you had better overall marketing, it would have driven more buyers to the property which in turn helps you get a higher price? Good marketing works! It works for Coca Cola, it works for Apple and it works for selling real estate!

Not always right!

When writing in a blog, it is sometimes difficult because you put yourself out there to occasionally be wrong. When I get feedback from readers it is often appreciated. It is not always positive, but that is ok! After my post the other day about the $2,975,000 unit that I felt was actually under priced, I got an anonymous email from someone that wanted to call me out on a comment a made a short time ago about a unit right down the block I thought was overpriced. That particular unit was another one of the iconic townhomes on 11th that was priced at $1,899,000. That unit was recently sold for $1,850,000…a number I still think was too high. Remember, this townhome had a neighbor that sold about a year ago (with virtually the same high end finishes) for $1,390,000. Do you really believe the market is up 33% in that time span? It’s not! But let’s take a closer look.

11th st townhome

The listing agent did get a good price for the seller but this opens up a whole different issue because the agent also represented the buyer. While it could be said that he got the sellers a good price for their unit, the buyers, who he was also representing, overpaid! I am not a big fan of agents representing both sides in a transaction. Have I done them before? Yes, but it is with full and absolute disclosure. Do you think this agent told the new buyers it was overpriced? Now the market value is what someone is willing to pay. I agree with that but, buyers come to us for guidance and our experience and knowledge in pricing. You cannot be telling one party it is a great selling price and then at the same time be telling the buyers it is a good purchase price. As an agent, my duty to the seller is to get them the very best price that I can. In doing so, I will not put my integrity at risk just to get both sides of a transaction. This is where a good agent must step away from both sides of a transaction and focus on his or her duty of getting the best price for the seller. To be fair to the other agent, maybe this agent did disclose to the buyer that they were overpaying for the unit and they were ok with it. Do I believe that the agent said to the buyers “This unit is priced over 33% from it best comp that sold a year ago and the market is certainly not up 33%”.  I doubt it seriously.

I do not have a problem with an agent handling both sides of a transaction when something is reasonably priced and full disclosure has been made. When something is selling at 33% over its best comp…that is a whole different story.

As a buyers agent, I would not have advised my clients to pay over $1,750,000 for this unit( still over 26% from comp). If the buyers loved it and were ok overpaying for it, this is ok as it is their choice.  But if they are receiving guidance from an agent whose main responsibility is to maximize the sales price for the seller…? I wonder what that same agent would have thought it was worth working as a buyers agent only for someone? Unfortunately, it is sales like this that will mislead inexperienced agents into false pricing. The next thing you know is we will see some agent trying to price one of these single units for $2,000,000!

As for the person that wanted to call me out for being wrong, that is ok! It is people like you that keep me on top of my game so I actually appreciate you and thank you for your comments. I will not always be right but you will always get my honest opinion. Also keep in mind though, it is always good to have a good understanding of the whole picture before making comments, and this is something I always work towards. So in closing, yes, I still think 617 was in fact, overpriced!

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Not everything is overpriced!

Recently, in my blog post you have read about my comments on the Cosmopolitan. You have heard me say that it is overpriced and that it has raised prices on many resale units that are hitting the market.  One of those is the richly priced penthouse at the Elizabeth selling for a whopping $1000 a square foot ( and yet only 14 floors above the ground!. At least for $1000 a foot at the Cosmopolitan you are getting a 26th floor view that helps jusify it’s pricing in comparison…sort of! In the land of overpriced units, I wanted to touch on one listing that I think is underpriced! That’s right, I said underpriced in this market. This unit is one of the iconic brownstone like townhomes on 11th. The one that I like is the double unit #633 and #637 priced at only…$2,975,000! Now I know this is still a pretty big number but lets look at the numbers.

Pearl District

#633 Is a double unit offering 3,888 sq. ft. ( and for you Asian buyers, that 888 is a pretty good sign, right!) With this much square feet and priced at $2,975,000, the price per square feet is only $765! This is $304 a sq. ft less than the Casey penthouse priced at $3,499,000 and $235 a sq. ft less than the Elizabeth penthouse priced at $3,299,000. Add the Cosmopolitan into the mix and you have an absolute steal! The one thing I will say about the double unit townhome priced at $2,975,000 is that none of the other units mentioned, Cosmopolitan included will have better finishes! Hands down, this Jeffrey Lamb designed unit is far superior with substantial custom work throughout! The money spent on the unique and high quality custom finishes, including iron, stone, glass, stainless steel and a 2.5 ton travertine clad swinging door is something you are not likely to see anywhere else. Now some of you may be saying that the other units are higher up and have views. Well let me tell you this, I get a fair amount of buyers that do not like being high up in a high rise and do not put value on that. Some of these same people put more value on space. I also tend to put much value on quality, something your not going to get in a new high rise unless you do your own custom finishes. If you were to do that at the Cosmopolitan, you will be talking $1500 a sq. ft.

Pearl_District_Townhomes

In this market you will not hear me make many comments about a unit being underpriced but in my opinion, this one is! When it first came on the market it got an offer in several days and that offer fell through. I don’t believe this unit should stay on the market long at this price. If you are a person that is not interested in a view and prefers a more neighborhood feel, this may be the right place for you. If you are in the market for one of  the Pearl Districts finest homes with some of the finest finishes, give me a call today and we can set up a tour of this unique place.

Brad Golik is a condominium specialist with Pearl District Properties. You can find him at http://www.LuxuryCondosofPortland.com and http://www.Condo10.com . Give him a call at 503-896-8856.

Elizabeth Penthouse for Sale!

Yesterday I went and toured a number of  new listings in the Pearl. One of them was one that I had mentioned in a previous blog post, a penthouse listing in The Elizabeth. When I wrote about it the first day it came on the market, my comments were that it was way overpriced. This may have been a little premature now that I have seen it in person! At the time, I was basing it on the fact that it is a NW corner, not a SE or NE corner. The deck while reasonably spacious, looks into, not over 937. It is in The Elizabeth, not The Metropolitan, The Casey or the new Cosmopolitan. And finally, when I looked at the pictures of the unit, which were/are terrible, they did nothing to suggest that this was a $3, 299,000 listing! More on the photos later.

After viewing the unit I am changing my price opinion, if anybody cares. On a scale of priced rightfairly overpriced to way overpriced, I am adjusting my opinion to fairly overpriced from way overpriced.  Why the change? When you walk into this unit it is stunning! You get something that the unprofessional photos don’t give you, a little bit of the WOW factor. This is a big reason you may have heard me talk over and over about great pictures. The agents current photos do absolutely nothing in terms of me saying “Wow, I have to see this place!”

Elizabeth Penthouse

Now the reality of the pricing. While this unit is stunning when you walk in, part of the wow factor comes from some of the owners furnishings and their sense of style, which is very nice! But, once you take away all of the beautiful furnishings, it would be hard for anyone to walk in and envision a $3,000,000 price tag. (which is $300,000 less then asking) At $3,000,000, you are looking at $909 a square foot. $900 a square foot puts you on about the 24th floor of the new Cosmopolitan. The 14th floor at the Cosmopolitan comes in around $650 a square foot. Now obviously, you would not price the Elizabeth penthouse in the $650 a square foot range because it is a penthouse, so there is a premium to factor in. Now, rumor has it that the seller’s of the The Elizabeth penthouse are selling because they bought two units to combine on the 23rd floor of the Cosmopolitan, which sells for about $850 a square foot! So, they were willing to pay more to be on a higher floor? Why do you pay more to be on a higher floor? The two biggest reasons are that you get better views and the second is that the chances of your views getting blocked by a new building are much lower. The chances of getting your views blocked at The Elizabeth at some point in time are very real because it is only on the 14th floor. Does it deserve a price per square foot of $1,000? No way! Does it deserve $850? If I am the buyers agent, I would be pushing for something in the $800 to $850 range in today’s market.

If I were the listing agent and trying to maximize my clients value, I would be giving them the very best marketing available so that they could try to achieve  a premium price over the true market value! This starts with GREAT PHOTOS and great marketing that give the listing the wow factor before a buyer ever walks in the door. Photos that make the buyer say “Wow, I have to see this place!”

If you would like to view this penthouse unit or any other unit, call Brad Golik today to set up a tour. Brad is a condo specialist doing business in the Pearl District, Downtown and South Waterfront. If you are thinking about listing your condominium, call Brad and see why he believes that great marketing can play a big roll in the price you get when you sell your Portland condominium!

Can condo buyer’s find deals in this crazy market?

The answer is YES! Many times throughout the year I will see condos come on the market that may not be priced correctly. Most of the times it is because the agent does not know the condominium markets well and do not know how to price them correctly. Sometimes they over price them, sometimes they under price them…and create good buys for a buyer! This weekend. An example of this happened. It was at a very high price point, but still a good buy for the new owners! Last week I wrote about a couple of new listings that were coming to market. One was one of the beautiful townhomes on 11th. It was the combined unit that I thought would be priced at about $3,200,000 to $3,500,000 ( I believe I said low to mid 3 Million range). The agent that got the listing is a well known luxury agent that is known for high end homes, not condos. The listing came on the market at a surprising sub $3,000,000 price ( $2,975,000).  As I said, YES, buyer’s can find deals in this market! 11th st townhome To me, this shows a good example of working with a specialist. While the above…not mentioned agent, has a decent reputation for higher end homes in the west hills, this agents expertise is not in the condo market. I am not sure why the owners selected the agent but I have my suspicions!  Some agents will try to sell their companies “wide global reach” in a sales pitch to get a listing in the high end of the market. To me, this is a little bit of smoke and mirrors because of the internet. With the internet, an agent with a good bit of knowledge of marketing on the internet, can easily get their listing “worldwide”. Keep in mind, condo specialist market to condo buyer’s everyday and maintain a pipeline of qualified buyer’s. Sometimes local, sometimes international. The point I want to make here gets back to today’s topic: Finding deals in this market. As long as you have agents that do not fully understand the condo market, you will always be able to find a deal because those agents will not always understand how to price a unit. Many don’t understand the difference between being on the west side 3rd floor vs 13th floor on the east side. Some don’t understand the difference from having a protected view vs an unprotected view and many of the other issues that come into play when pricing condos. Bottom line if you don’t want to be one of those seller’s that is creating a great buying opportunity for a buyer, make sure you interview a condo specialist!

More inventory!

I recently wrote about the Portland penthouse market. When I last wrote, inventory was very low as it has been for sometime now. Just recently we are starting to see a few more things come on the market. In the Portland penthouse/ Luxury condo

market a few more are coming to market. Not on the market yet, but coming soon will be the beautiful #1602 penthouse at The Casey. Priced at $3,499,000 with 3273 square feet ($1069 sq. ft.), this unit is certainly priced at The Cosmopolitan price levels.  Also coming to market soon is another one of the iconic Pearl District townhomes on 11th. Unit 637/635 is a combined unit that will be offering over 4,000 square feet and I am guessing the pricing here will be somewhere in the low to mid $3,000,000 range. This is the second of the Pearl District townhomes to recently come to market. The other was 617 11th that is priced at a pretty steep $1,899,000 and still on the market.

Portland_Penthouse_July

With this said…it is time for all of us to come to terms with prices, they are going up! Earlier I wrote about the effects of the Cosmopolitan prices. The Cosmopolitan is now 68% sold at prices I have said seem to be pretty inflated. But, because of the lack of inventory, people are taking the bait and swallowing it whole! This in turn is causing seller’s in the resale market to increase their prices. Now this is certainly good strategy…to a point. $650 to $800 a sq. ft at the Elizabeth are not unrealistic numbers. $1,000 a sq. ft…not so much! And a word of advice to seller’s. If you are going to try and capture a premium price on your unit… make sure, at the very least, your agent does professional photos! Again, as many of you have read before, this is a huge pet peeve of mine.

Now, two condos that were previously the two highest priced condos in town look to be bargains, like http://www.FountainPlazaCondo.com with 3873 sq. ft, priced at a VERY reasonable $579 a sq. ft.  Or the Eliot Tower unit, priced at $2,388,000 or $555 a sq. ft. Hey, why not save a $1,000,000 and pick up an additional 500 to 1000 square feet of living space?

The best way to find out the true value of these units is to call Brad Golik at 503-896-8856 and go tour these units. If you are in the market for a new Portland luxury condominium, Brad is the go-to-guy for luxury condominiums in Portland, Or.

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Top 5 Portland Penthouse Condominiums

A couple times a year I like to write about the state of the Portland Penthouse market. I thought today would be a good day because of a new Portland penthouse that just went on the market yesterday. A while back you may have seen a graphic I had on the blog showing you the average price per square foot of the top 30 most expensive condos sold in 2014. If you can recall, the average price per square foot of those units was $579 per foot. Now this was not only penthouse’s but all condos priced above $1,000,000. In talking about Portland’s penthouse market we must start with the most expensive. That would be the 2 28th floor penthouse condo’s at The Cosmopolitan priced at $3,883,000 and $3,757,000. While very nice, I don’t believe our market supports a $1,199  price per sq. ft. (see last weeks comparisons to the Seattle Penthouse unit). Coming in at #2 is our newest penthouse to the market priced at $3,299,000. This 14th floor penthouse in a 10 year old building is, well… just flat out overpriced! With 3,300 square feet of living space it is priced $1,000,000 higher than our number #3 and #4 penthouse condos that have much more square feet ( 4377 & 3834).  How can that be you ask? Our #3 Penthouse is #1601 at the Eliot. This beautiful condo offers 1,077 more square feet and is only priced at $2,388,000. And for what it is worth, this penthouse has been on the market for 11 months at this price so it is not like they are giving it away! Penthous in Portland Our #4 condo is actually not a penthouse but deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as other Portland Penthouse condominiums. On the 27th floor of KOIN Tower, this unit offers some of the most stunning views in the city. Mountain views, river views and city views. ( see the views at http://www.FountainPlazaCondo.com ). This unit also has it’s own large gym! What is interesting here is that condos #3 & #4 have much more protected views than that of the $3,299,000 unit at #2 on our list. What is the value of a protected view? At only 14 floors it is easy to say that the future views could be impaired more easily than some of our higher up penthouses. Why is this unit priced so high? It is hard to guess why. The listing agent is not a condo specialist, this may have a little to do with it? The owners may have chosen the price by trying to play off of “The Cosmopolitan Effect” that I wrote about in an earlier post. “If the Cosmopolitan is selling at $1200 a sq. ft than we should be able to get $1000 a ft” At #5, our old favorite at  The Envoy. Still on the market and still priced at $2,249,500. I have said it before on this one, it will take a very specific buyer for a sale to happen here. The other option…a drastic price reduction! There you have it, the top 5 penthouse condominiums in the Portland market. If you would like to view any of these units just give me a call and we can arrange a showing. Give me a call at 503-896-8856 Brad Golik is a condominium specialist with Pearl District Properties and LuxuryCondosofPortland.com Disclaimer: Pricing opinions of Brad Golik are just that…his opinions! More often than not, Brad will not say a unit is overpriced or not. ( If a seller is trying to push for a higher price a little…good for them!) But, when something is priced way out of wack like a few recent listings, Brad may run the risk of voicing his opinion. ( yes he is running a risk because if something sold at a silly price he would look like an idiot for saying it was priced too high!). He is however, willing to take on that risk!    (In the case of the Cosmopolitan, only time, and resale will tell!)

Penthouse Condominium at Marshall Wells

When people think of the Pearl District, often they think about living in one of the iconic town homes on 11th ( see last week’s blog post). Others think about a new shiny high rise like the new Cosmopolitan while others think about a cozy loft style condo in a building like Marshall Wells, Irving Street Lofts or Avenue  Lofts. If you have been thinking about one of these loft style condos in the heart of the Pearl, now is your chance!

Penthouse- Marshall Wells

Coming to the market tomorrow will be a beautifully done penthouse loft at Marshall Wells. The owner of this spacious loft (2771 square feet) spared no expense in creating a wonderful living space in this historical building. From it’s designer kitchen to the beautiful chandeliers, this one is a “Must See”!

Priced at $1,399,000, it is reasonably priced in the low $500 sq. ft. area. (remember, this is entry level at the new Cosmopolitan).  For those looking to downsize from a larger house, the 2771 square feet makes for an easier transition.

If you would like to see photos of this beautiful loft, please visit http://www.MarshallWellsLoft.com and click on the photo gallery button. When you are ready to take a look, give me a call at 503-896-8856

Brad Golik is a certified condominium specialist in Portland and works primarily in Portland’s Pearl District, South Waterfront and Downtown. If you are thinking about selling, Brad has simply one of the best condo marketing programs in Portland.

Brad is a founding member of http://www.Condo10.com

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