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Atwater Place Penthouse

Everyday I bring up the Portland condo list to see any new listings, see if anything has gone pending and to see if old listings have expired or were canceled. Sometimes what I see just makes me shake my head in disbelief. No question, this is a pretty hot market and I do see people paying more than they might normally do. And, while I do not believe we are at a peak yet, it is certainly not a time to let my buyer’s grossly overpay for a property either. Today, a new penthouse came on the market. This is a penthouse at Atwater Place in South Waterfront. The price is $2,700,000 and it is priced at $1000 a sq. ft., the same as what you are seeing at the brand new Cosmopolitan on the Park. Except that at the Cosmo, $1000 gets you up to the 27th floor in a brand new building!

Atwater_Place_Penthouse

Awhile back I wrote about three penthouse units that were priced in the $3,000,000 range. The first was the 3.8M penthouse at the Cosmo, which I thought would be the first to sell ( it just went Pending again this week). The first one to sell was actually the penthouse at The Elizabeth that was priced at $2,995,000. I represented the buyer on the purchase. You might have read in my blog “Who says it’s a seller’s market?” about the great price my buyer got for that unit… $2,200,000 fully furnished. The third one, and it’s still on the market, is at The Casey and still priced at $3,249,000.

I mention these three units because all three tried to push the $1000 ft barrier. I mentioned I thought the Cosmo would be the first to sell for a few reasons. First, it is a brand new building and brand new buildings always get a premium. Also, at 3.8M this is a property where the buyer can afford to “overpay” and are ok in doing so in order to have “The Best”. The penthouse at the Elizabeth was actually the first to sell and it sold for under $700 a ft.

In mentioning these three units, it helps clarify the pricing on the new Atwater Place penthouse. For one, it is not a new building…so no premium here. 2nd, it is not in The Pearl District…again, no premium here! (While I do like South Waterfront, the Pearl always gets a premium!) Also, keep this in mind, Unit #2403, a NE corner penthouse at Meriwether just went pending at $1,675,000 (598 sq. ft.). It was slightly larger and on a higher floor! At $1000 a sq. ft. the Atwater penthouse is just priced too high. Sure, being a penthouse with nice river views does justify a high price… and a high price would be more like $885 a square foot or a price of $2,392,000, but over a $1,000,000 more than the Meriwether unit? Interesting note here, the same firm and co-agent with the Casey listing that has been on the market almost a year now, now has this high priced listing? Remember in one of my previous post where I mentioned the practice of buying listings? ( if not, you should scroll back and read some of my previous posts).

Many seller’s just do not understand the negative affects of pricing their condo too high. The Elizabeth penthouse was a prime example. Again, it is fine to try pushing the price high in a seller’s market but just downright overpricing will hurt you in the end!

625

Another listing that was recently brought to me that is not in the MLS is one of the iconic townhomes on 11th in The Pearl. Before I mention this one…I want to show you a few of the comps first. Two units, with 2698 sq. ft. recently sold. One for $1,850,000 the other for $1,900,000. A third sold ( 2 units combined with 3888 sq. ft) for $2,425,000 , or $623 a sq. ft. The third had many high end custom finishes and was designed by the exceptional designer, Jefferey Lamb. Ok, drum roll please…. The new listing , #621 which is 2698 sq. ft… is priced at $2,600,000! Are you kidding me? When I questioned the agents pricing, he mentioned that all three of the comps were going through substantial remodeling. Ok, lets use the combined unit that sold for $2,425,000. Let’s say the new buyer decides he wants to put in an additional $400,000 in remodeling. This would still put this unit at $726 a sq. ft. , or $237 a sq. ft. less than #621 which is at an absurd $963 a ft!

Now you know why I just have to shake my head sometimes in the mornings while looking at new listings!

My purpose of writing about some of these overpriced units is not to beat up on them, but only to help educate buyers so that they don’t overpay for a unit. If you are a buyer in the market for a Portland condo, I know this market inside and out, especially the high end of the market. I would love to help you find your next dream condo so please, give me a call and we can begin to turn your dream of owning a luxury Portland condominium, into a reality…for the right price!

Brad Golik is a condominium specialist with Pearl District Properties. His area of focus is The Pearl District, South Waterfront and Downtown Portland. Brad is a founding member of Condo10 and an expert in internet marketing. You can reach him at 503-896-8856 or at pdxluxcondos@gmail.com ,  www.LuxuryCondosofPortland.com

 

 

 

Feedback on The Cosmopolitan!

As The Cosmopolitan nears completion, the feedback is…?

As the Cosmopolitan nears completion, it reminds me of the night when the developer invited many top agents to get their input on what their condo buyer’s wanted in a new “Luxury” condo development. Here were some of the suggestions from agents that night: Bigger decks, high end finishes, spacious master suites, spacious feeling units, fireplaces, and my input…a small artificial grass “potty” area for pets on the mezzanine level so that owners did not have to go down to street level late at night. Now, lets take a look at how they did in these areas: High end finishes. Well this was a given considering the prices charged. But is everyone happy? The truth is, Pedini cabinets are very nice, but they are a little over contemporary for some. All in all, a decent job here! Bigger decks? Well, apparently after the meeting, the developers ran to the architects…and told them to do the total opposite! The deck space on a majority of these units is terrible! Add the exterior door swing and they become even smaller!

Cosmopolitan_Decks

Spacious master suites. A majority of the master suites remind me of Waterfront Pearl. (and this is not a compliment!) Most masters at The Cosmopolitan have a width of 10 feet (and only one place the bed can go) So with a King bed and headboard/footboard you are looking at about 2.6 feet or less of space to walk around your bed! And remember people, as an example, the SW corner units (E4 Plans) are $1,000,000+ condos! Fireplaces…we are good here! Pet area on the Mezzanine level…not happening! And not saying it was a great idea just because it was my idea…but? And finally…and I want to spend some time here, spacious units. This is where I think there will be the biggest amount of disappointment amongst buyers when they move into their new units. (and from people I have spoken with that have seen the units, it seems to be pretty accurate.) The problem in a number of floor plans is the actual usable living space. In a number of units there is an excessive amount of hall space. To use an example, let’s go back to the E4 plan in the SW corner…or the 14 stack (1314,1214,etc..) This unit is a 2 bedroom unit with 1,592 square feet. If you calculate in the amount of hallway space in this unit, it equals about 225 sq. feet or approx. 14% of the total square footage… this is a lot! ( if you take away that amount it makes the actual living areas closer to 1,367 sq. ft.) At 14% it comes in a close second to the worst unit which is the 2 bedroom units on the NE corner (the D6 Plans or the 17 stack…1817,1717 etc.) these have approx. 14.5% of the square footage in hallways. Others in the building are the 15 stack in the SE corner below the 14th floor at 13.5%, the 12 Stack in the NW corner at 12%, and the best in terms of actual usable space is the 15 stack in the SE corner above the 13th floor as the number there represents only 7.3% (and remember, these are approximate numbers, not exact!) For a little perspective here, let’s look at the D6 plan (NE corner below 19th floor) At 1,350 square feet, if you loose about 200 square feet that puts you at 1,150 square feet. In the world a spaciousness in condos, 200 square feet of space is a lot of space.

So are there other buildings in town with hallways taking up livable space? Of course (but none that you ever paid $600 to $1200 a square foot for!) The point I am trying to make here is that if you walk into your new unit at The Cosmopolitan, and it feels a lot smaller than you were thinking it was going to be… depending on which floor plan you bought, this could be part of the reason.

Some of the other feedback that I have heard has to do with customer service, or from what I have heard on a number of occasions, the lack of. Have spoken with several that have not gotten great service in working on the design aspects of their purchase…even one who paid over several million! Hopefully there will be more people with positive comments than negative ones as we move closer to closings!

Agents that tell you what you want to hear!

Today I lost a listing for being honest! One thing you will always get from me is my honest opinion. Whether it is my opinions that I write about in my blog, or my opinions in what it takes to get a condo sold for top dollar. The key words here are “TOP DOLLAR”. You have heard me say many times that “Any agent can sell your condo…but at what price?” To get the highest price in the sale of a condo, I have a pretty good feel for things that need to be done to get that top dollar. First and foremost… top notch marketing! Yes, even in a hot seller’s market it is important.

I mentioned that I lost a listing for being honest. This condo would have been priced in the 1.4M range. This particular condo had amazing river and bridge views. However, the furnishings (many antiques) were not the type that would “Wow” a buyer when they walked in the door. In fact, I believe the opposite affect would take place. I have often said, in the higher end of the market, buyers want the “Wow” affect when they walk in the door. This was a unit that had potential for a huge “Wow” factor that, with staging, I believe would have captured a very good price for the seller’s… if marketed correctly.

Telling sellers what they want to hear to get a listing is nothing new in our industry. I see it happen all of the time with agents that “Buy Listings”… in other words, they tell the seller it is worth more than what another agent said what it was worth because they know the seller will choose the agent with the higher price. Then, the condo stays on the market because it is priced too high and then the agent eventually beats up the sellers to drop the price ( the price the other agent had honestly told the seller’s) Then, because the unit becomes stale, the lowball offers begin to come in. My point here…be careful of agents that tell you what you want to hear. You should be more open to an agent that is honest and not just telling you what you want to hear just to get the listing. The listing above, well I believe the listing above will net the seller’s about $100,000 less than what it could get by staging and using good marketing. This is a lot of money! I felt so strongly about it in this case that I offered to pay for the staging.

DIY

The sellers made the comment to me that these were expensive antiques. One thing I have learned in this business is that the cost of something really has no relevance as to how it adds to the value of something. I have seen wallpaper, for example, where an owner spent a fortune and thought it was the most beautiful thing in the world… but everybody else hated it! In the unit above, I truly believe the sellers would net close to 100k more by staging this unit. In addition, the staging will help buyers focus on the beautiful unit…and take their eyes away from the kitchen! Remember the wallpaper above? Well the owners of this unit painted over the cabinets (DIY) in an un- attractive color that shows the wood grain through the paint. They also ripped out beautiful slab granite and replaced it with a inferior artificial product (blue speckled ) that is just not at the level expected for buyers in a unit like this in a building like this.

In the end, the sellers went with an agent that agreed with them and said what they wanted to hear. As a seller, do you want the most that you can get in the sale of your condo… or do you want to work with an agent that is being nice and says what you want to hear?  The sellers choose an agent with inferior marketing to what I offer… and the truth is on this unit, to get top dollar, they are going to need great marketing!

I believe an agent should be nice… and tell you what you NEED to hear!

The Dianne – Pearls Newest 14 story Building

The Design Commission has approved the newest 14 story tower in The Pearl District. The Dianne, will be 153′ tall and house 102 residential (apartment) units…Yes, ANOTHER apartment building! The positive here, the developer, John Carroll of Carroll Investments, whose previous projects in the neighborhood include The Gregory Condos, The Edge Lofts, The Chown Pella Lofts, The Elizabeth Lofts and the McKenzie Lofts. His buildings offer a great sense of character… unlike what we are seeing with The Cosmopolitan and other Hoyt properties. For more info go to: http://www.nextportland.com/2015/11/04/the-diane-2/

The_Dianne

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!”

 

 

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