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New Pearl Listing

Today, like I do on most Tuesday’s, I went to a few brokers’ open houses to look at some new listings. After viewing a new penthouse on the market, I stopped in at a nearby coffee shop. In the coffee shop were a group of real estate agents who had also gone to the same open house. These agents were not condo agents, I know because I did not recognize any of them! What I heard come out of the mouth was not surprising because they just do not understand the urban market. The penthouse that these agents were talking about was the new listing at the Crane building priced at $1,850,000. I heard on of the agents say that she has not seen any of the other penthouses in the Pearl but she thought this one was “Exceptional and priced very well!” The others with her nodded their heads in agreement. The first thought that came to my had was…REALLY?…Is this what they would say to potential buyers that they would show the unit to?

For what it is worth, here are my thoughts on this penthouse unit priced at $1,850,000. This unit was on the market one and a half years ago priced at $1,950,000 and it did not sell then. While this unit has very nice finishes, here are my reasons why I think it is priced too high. First…and most important, anything priced above $1,500,000 should not be a total fishbowl…and this unit is! Before when it was listed, you had neighbors from Avenue lofts and Irving Street lofts looking down into your 7th floor unit. Now, directly across the street to the west is a brand new office tower that takes away your views of the west hills, takes away a lot of natural daylight and also adds hundreds of office workers that can now look directly into your unit! There MUST be a discount on price for the huge lack of privacy!Crane_Penthouse_Views.png

Some of the other negatives of this unit are that it has low ceiling height and it is a pretty choppy floor plan which gives you the feel that it is smaller than its 2239 square feet. At 836 a square foot, a buyer should get way more for their money than what is offered here. In one of my recent posts I discussed the great buy my client got on a penthouse purchase at The Elizabeth. This unit closed at $2,200,000 (fully furnished) or $667 a square foot. This unit is far superior than the penthouse at the Crane building in many, many ways. It is a much higher floor, 14 as opposed to 7 so you are above most surrounding buildings and don’t have neighbors looking down on you (something most penthouse buyers NEVER want!) The floor plan at the Elizabeth was much more desirable. In addition, both units had equal deck space for outdoor living but at the Crane penthouse, the outdoor space is almost unusable because of the freeway noise that is only a block away! Even if my client would have gotten the Elizabeth penthouse at a higher price, say $2,500,000, the price per square foot would still have been much lower at $757 a foot. There is a huge difference in why the buyers at The Cosmopolitan are paying above $800 a square foot…that is the privacy that comes with being 25 floors or higher. Your odds of having another building going up next to you and blocking your views are much less, this is why buyers were willing to pay a premium. But, the Crane penthouse being only 7 floors up, there is no way it deserves the premium of pricing that it is at, especially with all of those new office workers looking down at you!. If I am the listing agent of this penthouse, I am hoping that one of those agents at the coffee shop brings a buyer and makes an offer… because, based on their comments, they truly don’t know any better!

Same agent that helped me buy?

So you’ve decided that you are ready to sell your condominium. The next step is deciding what real estate agent you should use to help you sell it. One thing I see happen over and over again are the seller’s using the same agent that helped them buy the unit originally. Is this a good or bad idea? You are thinking that when you bought the unit, the transaction was reasonably smooth so you want to use the same agent. Again, is this a good idea or bad? The answer… it depends!

The factors you should consider when selling your unit are very important because buying is very different than selling. One of the most important factors is whether or not the agent is a condominium specialist or not. Should you hire an agent that is not a condo specialist? My answer is NO! And the reason is simple… these agents just do not know the condo market! Most important, and this is a big one, their day to day marketing does NOT cater to condo buyers. As a condo specialist, my marketing is targeted to condo buyers EVERY SINGLE DAY! This is IMPORTANT! A typical agent can not just flip a switch and fill their pipeline with condo buyers. Typically, they spend one day in Beaverton and the next in Lake Oswego. It is very hard to be an expert in the entire city. Actually, it is impossible! That is why I specialize. So I can be the best that I can be and truly understand my market.

Knowing your market is very important for a listing agent. What I see often from agents that do not spend time with condos, is a lack of understanding of pricing. I will be honest, if you were looking to sell a house in the Alameda area of Portland… I am not your guy! Why? Because I don’t understand the market as well as someone that works that area. Pricing can be substantially different in that area by being 1 to 2 blocks off of certain streets. Same goes with condos. I get calls all of the time from “suburb” agents trying to pick my brain on pricing because they know I have done a lot of condos and know the market. Do I like to get these calls? Absolutely not! It is very frustrating to see a seller put their trust into an agent that does not understand the market. To make it even worse, I go crazy when I see that same agent get the listing and don’t use professional photos to market the condo! It happens EVERYDAY, and it is usually because the seller was comfortable with the agent when they bought the place. So is this the right agent to list and sell your condo? Definitely not.
Portland_Condominium_pride

If you have read my blog for any length of time, you have probably heard me say “Any agent can sell your place…but at what price?” This is so true. I am a firm believer that good marketing makes a difference. It works for NIKE, Coca Cola, and Johnson & Johnson. Why do they continue marketing like they do? Because it works! Buyer’s are willing to pay more for something that is presented in a nicer way. Same can be done in real estate. If you can make a sub par listing look better than it is, you will get more people through the door. If a lazy or cheap agent does not pay for professional photos, the chances are the condo will not look as good as it could and it will lead to less people coming through the doors to look at it and in turn, the seller will get lower offers.

Now let’s say that original agent also does a fair amount of condos. All I need to say here is look at the previous paragraph! Marketing matters!

Who says it’s a “Seller’s” market?

Elizabeth_LoftWe have all heard recently how crazy the market is lately. We have heard that it is a Seller’s market and that there are no deals to be had. Wrong!

Yesterday, my client closed on the purchase of a beautiful new Penthouse condo at The Elizabeth. Originally priced at $3,299,000, my buyer closed on this unit at $2,200,000…FULLY FURNISHED, and the furnishings were stunning! After 10 months on the market, this penthouse was most recently priced at $2,995,000. I have been in this business a long time now and I must say, this has to be one of the best purchases I have seen… and this in a “Seller’s Market”!

One reason that I want to bring up this purchase is to talk about the importance of correct pricing when you put your home on the market. It is great to try and push the price a little in this market…but there is a very fine line! There are many penthouse units in the market that right now  are becoming stale because they were priced way over the market price. The Penthouse at The Elizabeth was one of them and you may recall my blog posting when that unit originally came on the market. If you did not read about it “Luxury Condos and Portland Penthouses” in November when I wrote about it…here is what I said:

“Topping the list is the largest of the penthouse units at the Cosmopolitan priced at $3,883,000. If I had to guess, this will be the first one to sell of the three penthouses that are in the $3,000,000 price range. The other two, the penthouse at the Casey priced at $3,499,000 and the penthouse at the Elizabeth priced at $3,298,900 are very overpriced in my opinion. ( so is the one at the Cosmopolitan…but it will eventually sell very close to its asking price). The other two are priced in the $1000 a square foot vicinity. This is way too high, in my opinion!”

Now I am not patting myself on the back for being right about the pricing… (because I was VERY wrong saying the Cosmo would have difficulties selling) The reason I point this out is to let seller’s know that when you overprice a unit, it will cost you more in the end because the unit becomes stale and lowball offers will start to come…much like our offer on The Elizabeth penthouse after it had been on the market for 10 months! If you are a buyer that is looking for a luxury condo or penthouse and would like to hear our negotiation strategy for this purchase, give me a call as I would love to assist you in finding a great unit! If you are an owner that is thinking about selling, I would love to sit down with you and share my marketing program with you. I truly believe that I have the best marketing program for condos in the + $500,000 market!

If you are a buyer in the luxury end of the market and possibly looking for a penthouse, please give me a call because I believe with the sale price of $2,200,000 at The Elizabeth, ( the most recent comp) the other units in the market that are priced at $2,000,000 or higher will be getting a pretty big dose of reality and need to adjust pricing or at least be willing to accept a realistic offer!

Brad Golik is a condominium specialist with LuxuryCondosofPortland.com and Pearl District Properties. He is also a founding member of Condo10.

If you are in the market to buy or sell a Portland condominium, give Brad a call today! 503-896-8856 or pdxluxcondos@gmail.com  http://www.LuxuryCondosofPortland.com

 

New listing with awesome views!

701Blast

Tour this unit at:  http://video214.com/play/gWzpW1fiL543q18pRSmObw/s/dark

If you are in the market for a beautiful condo in the million dollar price range… This is it!

To tour this stunning unit, call Brad Golik at 503-896-8856 or send an email to pdxluxcondos@gmail.com

 

 

Selecting a Real Estate agent…part2

It is interesting the level of comments I get when posting on my blog. Sometimes I get many comments, sometimes very few. Most are very positive, some are not! When I wrote in my last post I was discussing what to look for in hiring an agent to sell your urban property. One thing I discussed was the need to hire a specialist, and avoid what I called a “suburb” agent. This apparently irritated a few people, I am guessing these few were those “suburb” agents I mentioned.  Let me flip this around a little. If you were looking to sell a home in Gresham… I am NOT your guy! I do not know the market well, I do not know pricing in the area well so I would maybe not be your best choice. Same goes for the urban market.

I would like to point out a few listings that had activity this week to make my point. One was a listing that just came on the market. When I saw it come on the market, I knew immediately that it was priced about $100,000 too low given the current inventory levels. It was a listing from a popular building in a popular part of the Pearl District and has great views. It only lasted on the market a few days. No surprise here! The other activity was from a unit that has been on the market for sometime now. This is a very nice condo in a good building. It has been on the market since the beginning of September. Consensus was that it was priced about $150,000 too high when it came on the market. Now, 5 months later, and several price reductions later, (it was reduced again this week) it is priced where it originally should have been priced.( $150,000 lower than original list price) The problem, now it has become “stale” on the market. It is now priced where it probably should have been. Now, because of it’s time on the market, it will start to get the lowball offers coming in. Had it been priced correctly from the beginning, not only would it probably have sold quickly, it may have gotten several offers and pushed the price a little!

Understanding the urban market and correct pricing is so important. An agent that is in that market everyday will absolutely have a better understanding of pricing.

Compare

As mentioned above, when you write a blog you will get comments from readers, which I always appreciate! One of the comments I got this week after my last post was from another agent. Now, I will not “call out” this agent but I will address their comments! This agent basically said that marketing is not a big deal and that she could sell homes with very little marketing! Anybody that knows me and has worked with me, understands how important I believe marketing is! ( and how irritated the comment made me) I believe it is what sets apart the thousands of agents in our business. You have those agents that are very professional and take their profession seriously, and also take the net results of their clients very seriously… and then you have those that don’t! This business if filled with many part time agents who put in very little effort. If you have followed me on my blog for any length of time have heard me say “ Any agent can sell your home, but at what price?” I am a pretty positive person and tend to focus on the positive. One thing I will always do is defend the good agents in this business who do work hard for their money. As for those that don’t, hopefully when they go on their next listing appointment the sellers will research them like I did on this agent, and see that they couldn’t even bother to spend a few hundred dollars for professional photos on their last 4-5 listings in order to present their clients home in the best possible way, which may have captured more money for their clients!

Brad Golik is a condo specialist with Pearl District Properties. Find him at http://www.LuxuryCondosofPortland.com or call at 503-896-8856.

“Hire a Specialist!”

 

 

Selling your condominium…selecting an agent

Time2Sell

When you decide that you are ready to sell your condominium, one of your biggest decisions should be who you will hire to sell your condo. You do have many options of real estate agents to hire so how do you know how to select the right one? From the very start, you would be very smart to eliminate agents whose major portion of their business are homes out in the suburbs. Why eliminate these agents? It’s simple…they just DO NOT know the condo market well enough. They do not know the intricacies of selling condominiums and they really do not understand the pricing of most units. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard these “Suburban” agents tell me “Well unit #??? Sold for $500 a square foot so that is why we are priced here!” What they just don’t understand is the difference in pricing throughout the building. Was it on the 3rd floor or the 10th floor.? Was it looking south or east to Mt. Hood? Is there potential for a building to go up in front of the unit? Is daylight blocked by another building? These are just some of the many issues that contribute to pricing a unit. You cannot just say that because one unit sold for $425 a sq. ft, that another one will.

This lack of knowledge often leads to units being under-priced, or more often, over-priced. The big problem when agents overprice a unit is that it becomes stale on the market, goes through several price reductions and then in the end, sells for less than what it should have sold for if it were priced right.

To me, the biggest reason not to hire a “Suburban” agent in my opinion, is the lack of consistent marketing everyday to condo buyer’s. As a condo specialist, my marketing is directed 24/7 toward condominium buyers. I am consistently filling my pipeline with potential buyers of condominiums. A suburban agent is in Lake Oswego one day, Beaverton the next marketing to people looking to buy a home, not a condo. I will say this, if you are looking for an agent to sell your $2,000,000 home in Lake Oswego, I should probably not be your first choice. I am not a specialist in that area. I am a specialist with condos! You should strongly consider this when selling your condo!

The other important issue to look at, and I think this is a big one, is how good that agent is at marketing. A good way to check on this is to see how good of a job they do at marketing themselves! If that agent has no true branding, or has sub par pictures on their website…if they have one, or is hard to find, this should tell you something. Most agents will not spend a lot of money on listings and I believe this is a huge mistake! Many, many agents don’t even spend the money for professional photos. Here is something I saw recently that was so funny. (but sad for the owners trying to sell) On a listing, an agent stated that you really need to come by and see the condo because the pictures do not do it justice! Are you kidding me? That is the job of the agent to do beautiful, stunning photos that draw people to come view the condo! This is the very minimum an agent should be doing. See an example of one of my listings here: http://www.PacificaTowerCondo.com

Now you know part of the reasons for hiring a condo specialist, now I want to touch on another point. I have seen many people use the agents that were the on-site agents that sold the building when it was brand new. I advise caution if you are thinking of going this route and here is why… Yes they were very nice when you worked with them before (remember, they were trying to sell you something!) While many on-site agents are in fact, very nice, most of them have limited experience in the resale markets. I mentioned above the importance of spending money on listings to make them stand out. Most of these agents have always spent the developers money to sell units, not their own!
There are many other things I believe to be important that a specialist can offer. If you have any questions, please feel free to give me a call or shoot me an email and I would be happy to sit down and discuss things with you.

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

Getting your price when you sell!

As we start the new year, one thing remains the same…low inventory! As new listings come on the market, those searching for a new place to live will want to react fairly quickly as there are more buyers than there are condos for sale! If you are looking to sell, not a bad time to push price a little! Last night I went to an open house at The Waterfront Pearl. The listing was a beautiful 8th floor unit with sweeping views of the Willamette River. Stand at the windows in your living room and you feel like you are on top of the river! This unit, priced at $989,000, featured 1729 sf. As I viewed the condo, my first thought was that I wish I had a client with me as I felt it might be under priced at only $572 a sq. ft. While this building is not The Cosmopolitan or The Metropolitan and it will not command the same prices, I do believe this unit could get closer to the $636 per sq, ft. range which puts It closer to the $1,100,000 price tag. Compare this to 2 units left at Cosmopolitan. One is 1643 sq. ft. and priced at $1,559,000 ($953 sq. ft.). The other is 1363 sq. ft and priced at $1,197,000( $878 sq. ft.). Both of these units are on the 25th floor at the Cosmopolitan. While the Waterfront Pearl unit is not on the 25th floor and does not have 25th floor type views, It does have gorgeous river views and people rarely get tired of looking at the river traffic below your windows. To me it is kind of a wash in terms of views. So then, you have to ask yourself, are 25th floor views worth an extra $300 to $371 a sq. ft.? If you were to see the river views from the Waterfront Pearl unit, I believe your answer would be “No way!” . Those views were pretty stunning!

WPViews

If you are looking to sell your condominium in the near future, be aware of current inventory levels…this is so important. While comps will give you a good starting point, placing your condo in a side by side comparison with every condo in the price range is more important! Right now, for example, there are only 9 condos in the $900,000 to $1,100,000 price range and not 1 of those units competes well with the new Waterfront Pearl listing mentioned above! Does this strategy of pushing the price work? You bet it does! You may have to also sell the appraiser on your pricing, but a good agent should be able to justify his pricing. Another example of this strategy is the Cosmopolitan! The prices they attained happened for 1 reason and 1 reason only… no to low inventory!

Brad Golik is a condominium specialist with Pearl District Properties. You can call him for a free market analysis at 503-896-8856. Email: pdxluxcondos@gmail.com

** If you would like to view this new listing at Waterfront Pearl, give Brad a call (but you better hurry!)

http://www.LuxuryCondosofPortland.com

http://www.Condo10.com

 

 

 

 

2015 Condominium Review

2015 Condo market in the rearview mirror!

If you invested money in real estate in 2015 you are a pretty happy person today! With the stock markets getting pummeled to start 2016, is real estate the place to be again in 2016?

I think the answer is a strong YES!

Before we talk about 2016, let’s review the year we just had. The real estate market in 2015 had an interesting year. In Portland, we were one of the leaders in the nation for appreciation rising 10.9% (we were #1 in October) We were tied for the lead with San Francisco and Denver with Dallas and Seattle close behind. What lead to this appreciation in Portland? Easy answer…lots of demand and no supply! Yes this is a very Econ. 101 answer but it is totally the reason. Portland lags the nation in new construction yet it is a very desirable city that continues to attract people here from all over the country. In the condominium market we had the first new construction in years, The Cosmopolitan. If you have been reading my blog all year you know that I was very wrong in regards to the pricing of The Cosmopolitan. I originally thought the prices were very excessive, trying to capture a price per square foot that was higher than new developments in Seattle. Well, The Cosmopolitan is now 92% sold out. How did they get these prices? Easy answer here…there was very low inventory for most of the year. As we begin the new year, we are still in a very low inventory situation. The condos that are on the market are still there for a reason, they are overpriced! In order for existing inventory to sell, there must be price drops so keep your eyes on units that will have to drop prices in order to sell. As we move forward in 2016 many people worry that we may be heading towards a bubble in real estate. Let’s look at that a little closer. If we did have a bubble burst, those paying the high prices at the Cosmopolitan will get crushed before they even take ownership of their units.

2015Appreciation

Not to worry Cosmo buyers… I think 2016 will be a very good year again for real estate appreciation. The reason I believe this is two pronged. First, inventory levels will remain relatively low as we begin 2016. Again, supply and demand will come into play. I was wrong in my prediction of The Cosmopolitan because nobody had any idea we would have such low inventory levels for the entire year of 2015. This could happen again in 2016. There is talk about a new condo building going up on block 20 in the Pearl, but completion for that building is way out and will not ease demand issues in 2016. The second prong I see making an impact on real estate is the stock market. It has not started 2016 on a strong note. The Chinese market is off 7% today as I write and it triggered circuit breakers to close their market trading and bringing our market down nearly 300 points on the DOW. Tomorrow could be much worse! When we see more uncertainty in the stock markets we often see the flight to quality to government bonds and real estate. People do have a certain comfort level with real estate as an investment and as time has shown, it has proven to be a very good investment.

As we look in the rearview mirror at 2015 I believe that the year ahead could deliver much of the same. We may begin to see more listings come on the market as people are no longer underwater and starting to see some gains on their equity.

If you are a condo owner and thinking about selling your unit, here are a couple things to think about. 1) In a seller’s market you may think that you could have any agent list your condo and it will sell. Well this is partially true. Any agent can sell your condo…but at what price? 2) Pricing in this market is important. A good agent will push the price but also knows there is a fine line between pushing the price high and being overpriced. You don’t want to be like the listings that were still on the market to end 2015. These listings risk being sold at prices that are lower than where they should be because they become stale on the market and begin to get many lowball offers!

 

Happy New Years to all!

Brad Golik is a condominium specialist with Pearl District Properties.
If you would like a free market valuation done on your condo or loft, give Brad a call at 503-896-8856

How does The Cosmopolitan compare?

Just like many days, I start my day at Starbucks getting a cup of coffee and checking emails. Yesterday, while in Starbucks trying to warm up, I was speaking on the phone with a client about the current condo market. A very nice lady sitting next to me had heard a few things I was saying to my client and when I got off my phone she had many questions for me. No matter where you go, people always seem to like to talk real estate! This person, who I will call Sue, had many questions but the one she seemed to have the most interest in where my thoughts on the new Cosmopolitan. I did start the conversation with her explaining that I have discussed this project many times here on my blog, and it has not always been favorable. She explained to me that she was one of buyers that have now pushed the project to 88% sold. But she was insistent that I give her my honest opinion…so I did! I did start the conversation saying it was a nice building that I believe residents will enjoy for sometime. She asked me about the pricing and I explained to her my take on the pricing. When I explained that I thought it was fairly overpriced she agreed with me and then went on to explain why she bought. The current unit she was in had it’s views blocked by a new building and she wanted something with a view. She said she had been waiting for a view unit to come on the market but got tired of waiting. This is why she said she decided to pay a higher price than she felt comfortable with. I believe this is the exact situation that most of the Cosmopolitan buyers ran into. They wanted something in a nicer building and nothing was coming on the market! They did not have many options and decided to pay a higher price instead of waiting. After discussing the pricing of the building, Sue then asked me what I thought about the building. Being a future owner, I wanted to be somewhat polite and gave her somewhat of a sugar coated answer. She saw right through my answers, looked me in the eyes and said “What do you really think?” So, I told her!

I told her that early on in the design process the developer had called on many of the top condo agents to give some feedback on the project and to make suggestions as to what they thought our clients would like, which at the time I thought was a smart thing to do. There were some very good suggestions that agents made, most were not implemented. For example, large decks. This is something all condo buyers would like to have. The final build out is nearing the end and one thing I will say, VERY small decks for a majority of the owners! Other simple things were suggested. One of my suggestions, which I had seen in buildings in Seattle and Denver, was a small area on the Mezzanine level where owners could take their dogs for a walk, and do their business. This so that owners don’t have to go down to street level and worry about safety later at night. Again, it didn’t happen. Other agents had suggested a better variety of cabinetry. While Pedini is nice, it’s not for everyone. So instead of variety, the future owners were offered super contemporary with a choice of light, medium and dark! This was something Sue said she struggled with. To me, it did not seem that the developers listened to the agents much. While I was hoping for something very special, to me it is just like The Metropolitan, just a little taller. Now don’t get me wrong, I love The Metropolitan! In fact, architecturally,  I like the exterior look of The Metropolitan much more. But for the prices being paid, I was hoping for more. For something pretty special. For these $800 to $1200 a square foot prices, I was hoping for a building with more amenities like those in the Insignia in Seattle, Lumina in San Francisco , Bellevue Towers in Bellevue,WA. Or Spire in Denver. ( http://www.insigniabybosa.com/#/tour , http://luminasf.com/amenities/ ,
http://bellevuetowers.com/#building , http://www.spiredenver.com/amenities/ )
Cosmopolitan_vs_Lumina

Now, some of these nice amenities come with a price, higher HOA fees. Part of the problem with most of our buildings is that we do not build high enough. While 28 stories at The Cosmopolitan is a good start, it is still not enough to spread the cost of amenities like those at the above mentioned buildings. When you have a building that is closer to 40 stories, it is much easier to spread the cost among more owners. When I toured Spire in Denver, CO (41 stories), I was blown away by the fantastic amenities…and then I was really blown away when I saw the owners were paying about half of what typical owners in Portland’s nicer buildings were paying for their HOA fees. While there are many people that are opposed to building higher, it is what makes the most sense if people want nicer amenities and also keeping their monthly cost lower. Imagine if you will, in the location of the current Centennial Mills, a beautiful waterfront condo building much like that of Bellevue towers. Two 40 story towers that offer the most amazing views, and to be right on the river! Sit on your large deck and take in views of Mt. Hood and the Willamette River. Between the two towers, you have a spacious, park like mezzanine level where you sit by an outdoor fire sipping wine and watching ships pass by! In the summer months, you join your neighbors at the outdoor theatre to watch movies. Perhaps you are a little more active and wish to go swim laps in the indoor pool and then relax afterward in the steam room or sauna.

 

Ok, back to reality! Big, usable decks would have been a good start!

Brad Golik is a condominium specialist with Pearl District Properties. If you would like to tour some of Portland’s luxury condominium buildings, call Brad at 503-896-8856 or visit http://www.LuxuryCondosofPortland.com

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