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.
Because I was short of time this week, I thought I would do a video post!
Recently a friend came by my office and we began discussing real estate. This friend often reads my blog post, and in our conversation, he mentioned that I hammer on the issue of agents not using professional photos. He also said that he could not believe that there were that many agents who don’t use professional photos, knowing that it has been shown that great photos help sell homes faster and for more money. So, why not hire a professional photographer? It is hard to explain.
To prove my point, I asked my friend to pick any condo building in Portland. He looked at our inventory sheet and saw that Waterfront Pearl had more listings than other buildings, so I used that building as an example. In my opinion, EVERY listing should have great photos, especially higher-end listings. In this example I will use listings priced at $750,000 or higher. Currently at Waterfront Pearl there are 6 listings above $750,000 (they are priced from $798,000 to $1,049,000) Of these 6, only 2 of the 6 listings have used professional photography! Again people, these are $800,000+ condos for sale!
To say that my friend was shocked is a huge understatement. His comment: “Why would someone hire an agent who does not care enough to do their best for their client?” Hmmm… where have I heard this before? Why would an agent not spend a few hundred dollars in an attempt to gain thousands more for the client? And if that agent is not spending money to do a nice job on the photos do you think they are going to spend money on doing a nice video, expensive print material or internet marketing? Probably not.
The National Association of Realtors has shown time and time again that homes listed with high-quality photos sell for more money. If you are an agent who doesn’t spend on professional photos, you might as well be telling your clients upfront that you just don’t care what their home sells for! Harsh? Maybe. True? You be the judge.
Brad Golik is a condominium specialist at LuxuryCondosofPortland.com and Pearl District Properties. If you would like to see any listed condo or loft, call Brad today at 503-896-8856.
Now is the time of year that buyers begin to hunt for condos and lofts in Portland’s Pearl District, Downtown and South Waterfront. When looking at these properties, please be aware of the importance of price per square foot. Most important, and I have said this before, the price per square foot can vary dramatically based on where the unit is located in the building! I often deal with agents who mostly work in the suburbs, presenting offers on listings based on price per square foot. Trouble is these units were far inferior to the one I had listed. You cannot compare a 12th floor unit with views of Mt. Hood or the West Hills to a 3rd floor unit that is looking into an apartment building. It is also difficult to compare a unit with a deck with city views to a unit that is ground floor with no outdoor living space and less security.
I specialize in condos because I want to be an expert in what I do. Today, too many agents try to be all things to all people. In the end, they become experts at nothing because you cannot understand every part of the city and the nuances of every area. If you are looking for a home in Alameda, I am not your guy! There are agents in that area who know the market very well. Why as a buyer, would you use an agent from who does not understand the delicate balance of pricing based on the difference of just a couple of blocks?
The same can be said of the condominium market. Why work with a buyer’s agent that does not understand the nuances of the condominium market or the pricing of this market? As a buyer, it does not cost you more to work with a specialist. The truth is, it pays! As for someone who is selling their condo, it becomes even more important to work with a specialist. Last year, I spoke to a seller who was told by a competing agent ( who works for a company that does a ton of marketing on TV, stating they can save their clients thousands of dollars) that they could sell their condo for 5% higher than the Zillow “Zestimate”. Problem was that the Zestimate was extremely low for this property, which is not unusual. ( Zillow has an even tougher time with comparables in the condo market than Redfin or agents from the suburbs.) Had that person only priced their condo 5% higher than Zillow’s Zestimate, it would have cost them many thousands of dollars. In addition, the same agent, whose company says it can save you money on commissions, could have cost that same client thousands of dollars because of the lack of experience.
In addition to correctly pricing a unit, sellers should consider this one thing: I am in the condo market EVERYDAY marketing to condo buyers EVERYDAY. Every week I speak with folks walking by my office on 11th Avenue who are up from the Bay area looking for a place to buy. This presents a huge marketing advantage. I have said this before, a typical agent cannot go from marketing homes in Lake Oswego one day and then flip a switch and fill up their pipeline with condo buyers overnight. It just does not work this way.
And for that same agent to understand condo pricing overnight? It does not happen.
Please visit my new website at LuxuryCondosofPortland.com. See some great aerial drone photography of many of downtown condo buildings! Just click on the Buildings page.