We have been hearing over and over again how hot the market has been. Well, that is changing! While normally this is a slower time of the year, what is happening now is a little bit of a surprise when you listen to the national news and hear how crazy the market is (Seattle, San Francisco).
If you have ever walked past my office (717 NW 11th) in the heart of the Pearl District, you have probably stopped to glance at all the listings featured in our display window. What has changed in the window since last week? PRICE REDUCTIONS! And many of them. Is the market tanking? No, I believe it is a combination of things starting with what is always a typically slow time from the week before July 4th to the beginning of the school year. The reductions are not so much a depreciating market but more of a whack on the head for listing agents that overpriced many units. Sometimes when inventory is low and things are slow, an agent will “buy a listing”. What does this mean? If an agent is competing with another, there are some who will give the seller an unrealistically high value in hopes that will be enough to sway the seller to choose them… a VERY bad practice, but I see it all of the time. In fact, I just lost a $975,000 listing partially for this very reason. (The other part was the agent told the seller that his firm is stronger internationally and that they could attract “Chinese buyers.”) This is so 2015! Those days are pretty much past and in reality, there have been very few Chinese investors buying in Portland. In addition, when you have a strong internet presence like I do, you get seen around the world. The whole thing about their firm being better internationally is really smoke and mirrors!
Back to price reductions, here are a few examples:
In the Casey, a one bedroom unit on the 8th floor was originally listed at $729,000. Now a year and five price reductions later it is priced at $619,000…and it still has not sold.
A penthouse at the John Ross originally priced at $2,350,000 was just reduced $355,000 to $1,995,000.
Several units at Fountain Plaza have had huge reductions. One unit went from $2,295,000 to $1,895,000. Another went from $1,995,000 to $1,695,000 and a third went from $1,350,000 to $999,000 with none of them selling yet. What is moving in this market? While it is taking longer, the units that are priced correctly, or at least somewhat reasonably priced, are still being sold.
Here is a great example of what I have mean. A penthouse just came on the market today in downtown Portland for $3,250,000. I had shown this unit about four years ago when it was priced at $2,200,000. (It had been on the market for 5-6 years) Back then I told my buyers they should not pay more than 1.6-1.7 million for this unit. My reasoning was the neighborhood was deteriorating, it was an inferior building compared to a neighboring building (The Eliot) that has much higher quality finishes, the highest sale in that building in the last 3 years was $760,000, it had the two slowest elevators in the city… and this was a big one, there was no garbage chute! I do not often make guarantees, but this is one I am comfortable in predicting, “You will see some big price reductions on this unit moving forward!”
And on top of that, if you have read my blog you have heard me mention that if you want to try to capture a premium over the market value of a unit then you MUST have very good marketing and dare I say it… professional photos at the very least! And no, this $3,250,000 listing, if you can even believe it, does not have them!
Brad Golik is a luxury condominium specialist in Portland, Or. If you are in the market to make a purchase of a Portland penthouse or luxury condominium, call Brad today!
Want to know the value of your condo or loft in todays market?
Brad Golik is a condo specialist with Pearl District Properties and LuxuryCondosofPortland.com
If you have read my blog for any length of time you know that I think it is inexcusable for an agent to list a property without using professional photos! This is one very simple thing an agent can do to make a very big difference. I would say this to anybody thinking of listing their home. If the agent you are thinking about hiring did not use a professional photographer in any one of their last 3 deals, I would not hire that agent! It’s simple, they only need to spend $100 to $500 to make your listing look better and stand a better chance of getting better offers.
I bring up the subject of photos again because it is a part of the overall marketing package that I believe is so important when selling a home. Now we have all heard that Location, location, location are the 3 most important words in real estate. Well that is great if you have a beautiful place in the perfect location, but what if you don’t? If your home is not the perfect place in the perfect location, but you still want top dollar, what do you do? Well I believe good marketing certainly helps! Good marketing usually starts with good photos. Good marketing, I believe, also tells a story. As an example, I am listing a 1 bedroom/2bath unit at McKenzie Lofts tomorrow. The unit is actually large for a 1 bedroom condo at 1233 square feet. Even though this is a large 1 bedroom unit, 1233 square feet is still small for someone who might be downsizing from a 4800 square foot home in Lake Oswego. When I talk about telling a story, this is a good example of what I try to do. Because you can only have so many photos when marketing a condo this size, I try to also sell the idea of where they might be living as well. In this video
I really try to sell potential buyers on living in the Pearl District as much as I am trying to sell the condo. Additionally, I will ask buyer’s where they spend most of their time in their 4800 square foot home? The answer is almost always Kitchen, Family Room and Master Bedroom. Well, this is pretty much the condo, so really they will be able to adjust to the size issue pretty well. And when you paint the picture of their new lifestyle of living in the Pearl District, the size issues usually go away. There is so much more to selling a condo then sticking it in the MLS and waiting. To me, marketing a condo or loft and painting an “emotional” picture for potential buyers is what helps a unit sell for top dollar!
Brad Golik is condo listing specialist with Pearl District Properties and http://www.LuxuryCondosofPortland.com
I recently had a conversation with a seller about the value of the Zillow Zestimate. I think this graphic just about says it all!
Bottom line, don’t trust a Zestimate!
I have yet to see “Zillow” walk into one of my listings to verify the many upgrades that a home may have… or into a home that may be totally trashed!
Just yesterday I was having a conversation with two other agents who do a fair number of condo sales. The topic of conversation was the market and the consensus was that it has definitely seen a slowdown in pricing. With the increase in inventory, we are noticing a slowdown in terms of appreciating prices. In some cases, the pricing could even be slightly less than what we have been experiencing for so long.
And then this happens! Just this morning, on the MLS, a penthouse unit at The Casey went from pending to sold. The unit never hit the market. The sold price, brace yourself, $4.5 million cash! Unit #1503, is a 3667 square foot condo that faces the West Hills. Consider these numbers for a moment. At $4.5 million, this is $1227 per square foot! Let’s compare this to the recent penthouse sales at The Cosmopolitan. Now keep in mind, for comparison sake I will use the penthouse units from the 27th and 28th floors at the Cosmo. The combined unit on the 27th floor sold for $5,441,294, or $1216 a square foot. The two top floor penthouses on the 28th floor sold for $1215 and $1225 a square foot. These units are 13 stories higher and have superior views of the Mt. Hood, Mt St. Helens, the city and the Willamette River.
I will say, The Casey has always been one of my favorite buildings… but really? Is this unit worth nearly a million more than a 28th floor, true penthouse that is 13 floors higher? While the Casey unit does have around 400 square feet more space, (which does not really mean that much once you get over 3,000 square feet) the potential for having views blocked are much higher for a unit that is only 15 stories compared to a unit that is 28 stories. After all, one of the reasons people paid such a premium for these Cosmo units is the fact that the views will be protected much more by being that high up.
What is even more interesting is when we compare the sale of this unit to one that just recently sold at the Casey, unit #1602. This true penthouse unit one floor above has similar views. It has 3273 square feet and sold for $2.75million or $840 a square foot….WOW!
Contact Brad Golik at 503-896-8856 or at email@example.com
Visit us at www.LuxuryCondosofPortland.com
See Cosmopolitan views here: http://www.luxurycondosofportland.com/thecosmopolitanportland
“Vista at a glance”
The Vista North Pearl is underway, the first new project since The Cosmopolitan. What will this new building have in terms of units?
The developer recently released some numbers for the 20 story building:
- 153 Total units
- 22 One Bedroom
- 24 One Bedroom + Den
- 47 Two Bedroom
- 38 Two Bedroom + Den
- 6 Luxe Suites
- 6 Penthouses
- 10 Special Live/Work, Retail,Office
To see video of the site location, including drone video shots, go to http://www.VistaNorthPearlPortland.com
Brad Golik is a luxury condominium specialist in Portland, Or. You can reach him at 503-896-8856 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
One debate I often hear is whether a real estate agent should represent both sides of a transaction. The question lies on whom you represent. I have been in real estate for 13 years and have done transactions where I represented both sides. I have guidelines that I personally use when deciding whether or not I would feel comfortable in doing so. Here are the things I consider:
1) Is it a win-win situation for both parties? In other words, is the seller getting what they wanted or maybe a little bit more? Is the buyer happy with the price and it is reasonable?
2) Did the listing stay on the market long enough to give the sellers an indication of demand, or lack of?
3) Are there good comps that support the price that the buyer is paying? If not, and I am selling for a record price in the building, I would not touch dual agency with a 10-foot pole! This is where it gets very tricky. If I am a listing agent, and I am selling for a record price, and there are no comps that justify my pricing…I just hit a grand slam for my selling clients! If the buyer’s agent allowed their client to pay that amount, well let’s just say I don’t want to be THAT agent! Especially as a dual agent! NEVER! Now I will say there have been times where I represented clients that had so much money they just did not care about the price, they just wanted the condo. In that situation, you make sure that you document that conversation.
Regarding #3, this is where representation comes into play. As a dual agent whom do you represent? You should be representing buyer and seller equally. But how is this possible when you have a situation like above? If you are getting a record price for your sellers, and there are NO COMPS to support the price, how can you be the buyer’s agent and say “I did a good job for my clients”? The answer: You can’t!
If this same agent acted only as the buyer’s agent, you can bet that he would be hammering on the seller’s agent that the unit is at a record price and might be overpriced? Now, records are meant to be broken. So how much of a record price is it? Is it $10 to $30 a square foot more? That is reasonable. Is it $50 to $100 a sq. foot more? This is when you have real problems. For one, the property would most likely not appraise. But what if the buyer is paying cash and an appraisal is not required? Well then the buyer is really at risk. This is when they REALLY should have a separate agent. ( and for peace of mind, the cash buyer might still consider getting the property appraised).
In multiple-offer situations, if an agent is representing both sides, he or she better make sure that their buyer’s client is the best offer! If it is, the listing agent and the seller are making the final decision as to which offer to select. In this situation, there is no problems in representing both.
So bottom line: If both parties are happy and well educated on pricing, and there are good comps to support the purchase and sale, there are no problems.
On the flip side. If there is a big difference in price from the comps, especially if it is a record price in the building for the seller or huge discount for a buyer. This is when you need two agents fighting it out for their client’s best interest. I would never do dual agency in this situation!
Brad Golik is a luxury condo specialist with LuxuryCondosofPortland.com and Pearl District Properties in Portland, OR. You can reach him at one of his websites including http://www.LuxuryCondosofPortland.com and www.PortlandPenthouse.com or by calling him at 503-896-8856
Upcoming Penthouse listings
A short time ago I wrote about the possibility of a $6 million penthouse listing that might be coming on the market. The owner loves the unit and is waffling a little whether he should sell it or not. As of this time, the owner is still undecided so I will post more as I hear. If you are looking for a full-floor penthouse in this price range, contact me and I can fill you in on the details.
Today I am writing about another penthouse that will be coming on the market soon. I was originally interviewed to list the property but unfortunately, the owners did not like the numbers I explained to them . I will say, I am usually right more often than wrong on pricing a condo and for this unit, I feel my numbers were very accurate as I have sold 7 of the last 14 units in the building. Of more importance, I sold the unit directly below this unit less than a year ago. The floor plans are identical! The one coming to market is a penthouse unit, so you would pick up about 12 inches of ceiling height. The unit I listed sold was for $1.1 million, and sold for over asking price. The $525 per square foot sales price tied a record of another unit in the building I had sold. For the penthouse listing, I told the owners I was going to push for another record price for the building and gave them my number. They were not satisfied with the number and thought the number should be MUCH higher! Their reasoning was not unusual from what I hear from others…they thought their unit was much better than the unit I sold below theirs and they also thought their unit was way better than another unit that sold in the building for $1.35 million.
From an agents (and a buyers) standpoint, the $1.35 million unit had better river and bridge views. In addition, it had 650 square feet more, and it had a third bedroom. Yet the sellers of this penthouse thought theirs was better and the price should correspond to their thinking. Now the owners did have a couple upgrades in this unit that the others did not. Let’s look at these. The TV was hidden behind a mirror and appeared with the touch of a button…kind of cool in a James Bond kind of way. Another upgrade was a white wood-like tile floor that the sellers really liked. The problem here is that I believe that 90% of potential buyers would rip up the tile and replace with something else, so it’s not really an upgrade. So what are the true values of these “upgrades”? The James Bond hidden TV was probably $3,000 to $5,000. Other than these two things, the unit was essentially the same as the unit that I sold below for $1.1 million. What is the extra 12 inches of ceiling height worth to someone? $50,000? So now we have a premium of $55,000. I told the owners I could sell it for around $1,200,000, maybe a little more. That’s an additional 5% over the number of $1,1550,000. It was not enough!
Now, because I don’t have the listing, I would love to find the buyer because I do love the unit and it’s views, (the photo above is views from the unit) but, at the right price for my client! I am not sure what price the listing agent will come out with, but I know it will be high. As your buyers agent, I will fight to get you a good price on this unit. If you are looking for a beautiful penthouse with amazing views, (The above photos are the views from this unit!) this could be the one! But, only at the right price. I will work to negotiate a good price for you and I know this building better than anyone. If we can’t get you that price, walk away!
If you are looking for a great penthouse unit in Portland, give me a call at 503-896-8856
Brad Golik is a luxury condominium specialist at Pearl District Properties and LuxuryCondosofPortland.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or by phone at 503-896-8856.