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.
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!
Cosmopolitan on the Park
Since my last post on The Cosmopolitan, my tune on the project has changed dramatically! Why is this?
Several things actually. First and foremost is pricing!!! This project is almost like a tale of two cities. You have the city of $600 a square foot and then the city of insane pricing of $700 to 1199 a square foot!
When I wrote my first post on this project it was directly after the Cosmopolitan had their grand opening. After the first week and a half they had 32 sales, which is pretty typical with the euphoria of any new project. As of Monday morning of this week….they are at just 33 sales!
Let me start with my main issue and that is their pricing… It is higher than the new building Insignia in Seattle! Seattle’s condo prices have always been higher than Portland’s and I know that condo market very well up there. The first tower of this dual tower project is only 60% sold after a year and a half of marketing. This is a building that offers stunning Elliot Bay views. Speaking to my fellow www.Condo10.com friend and condo specialist Jim Stroupe of the Stroupe Group, he said the downtown condo market in Seattle is being driven by Amazon (a downtown headquartered company) that will be bringing in over 50,000 jobs to the downtown area. My point here? Isignia has not been a huge sellout ( only 60% of tower 1), even with the awesome amenities being offered (see tour below) and the downtown job force. In addition, many of the sales at Insignia have been Chinese investors, something we don’t have a lot of in Portland.
The Cosmopolitans pricing up to about the sixteen floors for two bedroom units is very high in my opinion, but above the sixteenth floor it just gets ridiculous! When Insignia, which I believe will be a superior building, is selling for $700 to $800 a sq. ft and The Cosmopolitan jumps to over $800 a square foot for the NE 19th floor unit, something is wrong! On the SE corner units the pricing is at $1,507,000 for unit #2015. This is $850 a sq. foot! And it quickly jumps to over 900 a sq. ft. Pricing from the 19th floor jumps $88,000 per floor! Crazy!
For comparison sake, if you go back a year and a half and look at Portland’s best, most expensive condo sales, you only have 2 condos that sold in the $800 a sq. ft. range and one of those was the penthouse at 937 which was $805 sq. ft. The penthouse PH3 at The Metropolitan sold for $690 sq. ft.! Most of the top 20 sales were in the $500 to $700 range…and these are some of the best units in some of the best buildings like The Metropolitan, The Casey, 937 and The Henry!
My second issue with this project is the marketing of the project itself. I believe it has been very thrown together and not very well thought out. The developers have not been overly agent friendly (they are paying buyers agents 1% less than Insignia is paying the agents in Seattle) They have not presented this project in the most professional manner. They currently do not even have a website up and running that shows buyers what they are getting for their overpriced units. Going back to Insignia (who has hired the Mark Company to do their marketing) they show buyers in many ways what they are getting, from aerial views from each floor to a video like tour http://www.insigniabybosa.com/#/tour . These are things that should be done before you start selling a multi million dollar project! I would be much more inclined to drop down $1,500,000 if I could get a visualization like this instead of just a few samples in a showroom. Once again Hoyt has chosen to use their in house sales force. In addition, they are forcing buyers to get pre-approved with an individual at Wells Fargo… who, as I understand, happens to be married to the Sales manager at The Cosmopolitan… no conflict of interest here?
What am I doing with my clients? If they are looking at units in the $500 to $600 a sq. ft. range I think that is marginally ok to make a purchase because if the market runs up, they will eventually be at market price…a risk though. Anything that is above $700 a sq. ft… I will be telling them to wait or I will find a unit at The Metropolitan,937, The Casey or one of the other very nice buildings in town. Here is a thought. Instead of paying $1,950,000 for a 1773 sq. ft. non -penthouse unit at the Cosmopolitan, you could spend $1,700,000 for a penthouse at the Waterfront Pearl that has great water views and night city light views and 3300 sq. ft.! One more thing to add here. The developer is asking $3,757,000 and $3,883,000 for the 2 penthouses with amazing 28th floor views. If you remember a while back, the penthouse at The Westerly that was priced $1,000,000 less, had the most spectacular views in the city (4 mountain and city view) and it didn’t sell at that price!
Bottom line….In my opinion, this building is way overpriced and I will be telling my clients…and others to wait. They will have to bring their prices way down! For those who have already put down earnest money, I feel bad because there are no escape clauses in the Hoyt Street in-house contracts that allow for them to bail if the developer reduces prices. I especially feel for those 6 buyers out of 33 who paid $800 to $1000 a sq. ft. With any luck if the developer does reduce prices maybe, just maybe if they have a heart, will reduce your prices as well!
For me personally, this is a tough situation because I believe with correct pricing I could easily sell $10,000,000 to $15,000,000 of this project and it would put me in a nice situation when the project closes in mid 2016. Instead, I would rather protect my clients best interest! I believe that if buyers held tough, over time the developer MUST reduce the prices to something in the realm of Portland condo pricing!
Brad Golik is a condominium specialist in Portland and has sold condos in both Portland and Seattle.
You can find him at http://www.LuxuryCondosofPortland.com
Here is a partial list of condo sales from downtown, Pearl to South Waterfront:
Sales for the month of May continued in an upward trend from the previous month by 16% for condo sales in our covered area which includes Pearl District, Downtown and NW and the South Waterfront area. In this area ( $200,000 and above) 71 sales were recorded with the highest being a Penthouse unit at Waterfront Pearl that sold for $1,650,000. Speaking of Waterfront Pearl, it recorded the most sales for the month with 9 sales brought on, I believe by their new spring pricing that was released (as well as the extra 1% that was being paid out to Realtors for selling this property over other properties!). Of those 9 sales, 8 were priced above the $600,000 price point. So if you are wondering if condos in the upper price range are selling… the answer is yes! For the month, there were 3 condos that closed for over a $1,000,000 including a purchase by my clients of a beautiful waterfront condo at The Strand. One of the others was the one I mentioned above, the penthouse unit at Waterfront Pearl. This is a unit that I had mentioned before in my blog. With 3185 square feet, this unit sold for $200,000 off of the list price. While from the outside this may appear to be a decent bargain, only the future will tell. This was a fantastic floor plan with a ton of space but the downside is the lack of privacy with the north building looking right into your unit! Typically, when prices start getting over the $1,500,000 range, buyers want more privacy for their money!
Other buildings that recorded multiple sales include The Meriwether with 3 sales, Atwater Place with 2 sales, The John Ross with 2 sales, and also with 2 sales was 937. While inventory levels still remain low, we are starting to see more units come on the market that last few weeks. For buyers, this will be a good thing to give you more options in your search for a new condo. For sellers, the lack of inventory has been a good thing and while more units are starting to come on the market, inventory still remains below the norm.
Yesterday, while picking up my open house signs that I had in front of Encore, a person came up and asked me if it was a good time to be selling. My answer was yes but I also went on to explain to him that for patient sellers, it was a good time to push the price a bit if they were not urgently trying to sell. When the market lacks inventory, especially in similar price points, you can get away with pushing the price a little. This can change quickly however when several new units come on the market in your same price range.
If you are thinking about selling your condo in the near future, give me a call at 503-896-8856 to discuss pricing, and also, options available to you from a condo specialist that you won’t get with a typical real estate agent.
The condo market is still experiencing low inventory levels even as spring arrives. While we are beginning to see more condos come on the market, it is still well below what we normally see in this time of the year. Part of the problem… negative equity is still a problem for many owners, even after the nice appreciation we had in 2013. Please click on the link below for more information!
If you are in the market to buy a condo, call Brad Golik, the Portland condominium specialist!
As a real estate agent, it always hurts to be interviewed for a listing and not get it. Today that happened to me on a condo that I know I could have done a great job of marketing on. The reason I did not get the listing over the other agent is that the seller was told by the other agent that because he had a few recent transactions in the sellers building, he knew the building better! It was certainly disappointing to hear that I did not get the listing for this reason. This is not the first time I have heard this from a seller as there are many agents that live in many of the high rise condos throughout Portland. In fact there are several agents living in the building mentioned above and those agents “Know” the building much more than the other agent does. The point I want to make here is that when selling a condo, knowing the building is NOT going to get the condo sold… good marketing will! I often tell sellers to search the internet like buyer’s do and see if those agents that “know” the building, show up anywhere? So if that agent says he knows the Atwater really well, search like a buyer would on that building. Go to Bing and search for “Atwater Place condominiums”, go to Google and search “Atwater Place amenities and HOA fees”. One thing I can tell you for certain is that those agents that say they know the building don’t show up on these searches…anywhere! Who does show up? Well, my websites show up on almost all of these searches. You will also find a couple of other agents that specialize with condos that show up on a regular basis as well.
The difference with my marketing is that my “Search Specific” websites show up and these are websites where I will be featuring YOUR listing and it shows up… and stands out in front of the buyer’s, which I call serious buyers that are searching for the above keywords we mentioned above. In my opinion, If I where a seller, I would much rather hire an agent that knows how to market the building and the condo, not someone that “knows” the building!
As the buyer of a condo, you want your purchase to be the very best possible deal that you can get. More often than not, going in with a super low ball offer is not the best suggestion. In a recent transaction I had, in which I was the listing agent, the condo sat on the market for some time as the seller just did not want to drop their price. After awhile, the rising market did catch up with our price and not only did we finally get an offer, we got 3 in the same weekend. For an example, we will use fictitious numbers.
The condo was listed for $575,000. The first offer came in at $510,000. This was a ridicules number based on recent comps available to us. We sat on the offer with no real intention of giving a counter offer as it was just not a serious offer. We told this to the other agent and just as we did, we got another offer that came in at $550,000. We told the first agent that his buyer needed to step up with a serious offer if interested. He came back with an offer also at $550,000. In these situations, we often go back to the buyers and let them know we had identical offers and if they wanted the home then they needed to put their best foot forward. As this was taking place, a third offer came in. As it played out, the second offer that came in at $550,000 came back with an offer of $557,000. This was very close to the number where the sellers were willing to sell at. The final offer that came in made their offer at $559,000. The first offer that came in…the one that was originally the $510,000 offer came in at $560,000, the highest of the three.
After reviewing the offers, my sellers choose to go with the offer of $559,000. Mostly, they did not want to deal with the person that gave them such a low offer originally, even though they came in at the highest price. In the end, my buyers choose the middle offer because they thought the buyers were nice people, they were expecting a new child and they had fantastic credit!…and the guy that offered them $510,000 originally, made them mad!
A lesson to learn: If you are going to give somebody a lowball offer, make sure you understand the possible consequences. Also, know your numbers! If you are going to make any low offers, make sure you have comps in your hand that justify a low offer! The comps can at times provide an upside potential for you the buyer if you can buy it right! That happens when a buyer is prepared by knowing the comps or if there is a situation involved that forces a sale at a low price.
When looking to buy a new condo, it pays to work with a specialist that knows the market! In my next blog posting we will discuss if there still any deals in the Portland condo market. Hint: Yes!
This week I was at a coffee shop in the Pearl and was sitting outdoors while doing a little work. While checking emails, a lady at the table next to mine, after seeing some real estate marketing on my table, asked if I was a realtor. After I said yes, she told me that she lived in a nearby building and that she had a friend that was thinking about selling their condo. Naturally, I asked if her friend had an agent selected to sell it? She said that she was thinking about using one of the “Building” agents. What she meant by this was that she was talking to one of the “on site” agents that works for the developers. She mentioned that she was going to use them because … in her words, “They really know the building!” It turns out that this agent also lived in the building.
While speaking with this very nice lady, it was interesting because she kept asking me some very good questions. One of the first things she asked me was whether it was really important or not to really know the building? My answer was NO! As a condo specialist, I make it my business to really understand and get to know each building but when selling a condo it is way more important to know how to market that building. With that said, I got out my tablet and showed her what I meant. I asked her to think like a buyer and then asked her a few questions. When we did some searches I pointed out many of my websites that showed up in those searches. I also pointed out that when we did some searches in regards to her building, this other agent that “really knows the building” was no where in site. More importantly, none of her listings showed up either! This is not uncommon with the onsite agents at these newer buildings. You will not find one of them that shows up with high rankings on Google or Bing. Most of these onsite agents don’t do a very good job of marketing. Part of the reason is that they typically don’t have to as the developer pays for all the marketing for new sales. When it comes to using one of these agents for resale, they are not the best choice for selling your condo.
Agents that specialize in selling condos (some…not all) spend much time, energy and money to insure that they show up on Google and Bing because that is where condo buyers are looking. I personally have many websites that show up because that is how I get my clients listings in front of buyers. When a buyer knows they like the Metropolitan, they will do some research on the building. They will check to see what the amenities are, what the HOA fees might be. This is where my listings show up. In front of serious buyers! You will never find an “onsite” agent show up here nor will you ever find their listings. You can read more about whether you should hire an onsite agent on one of my websites at : Should I hire an onsite agent to sell my condo?
You have many options to look at when selling your condo. To me, the most important two things to look at when hiring an agent to sell your condo should be that the agent is a strong negotiator and second, they should have a strong marketing program that focuses on condominium buyers! How well you know the building does NOT put buyers in front of your listing!
If you are thinking about selling your condo or loft in the future, or know of someone who might be, please keep us in mind. We would love to sit down with you and share our very unique marketing program with you. Feel free to visit us online at www.LuxuryCondosofPortland.com
Today, like every day, I get notified of any new Portland condominiums that come on the market. As a condo specialist, I feel it is important to know every condo on the market and when it comes on the market to check to see if it priced right. Today I was once again surprised to see a +$1,000,000 condo at Eliot Tower come on the market where the listing agent did not use professional photos! OK, so I was not surprised. Why? Because I see it all the time. This got me thinking about how many condo listings in the +$1,000,000 range actually get put on the market without good, quality photos. In my research, I had my assistant go back and review the condos that were sold over the last year, and the current pendings and active listings. Altogether, there were 54 condos of which 29 were sold. Of these 54, 26 DID NOT have good quality photos! To me this is astonishing. How can a real estate agent take a million dollar listing and not use a professional photographer? Really? On a transaction where the listing agent may make $25,000 or more and they can’t spend a couple hundred dollars to do the best job for their client. To me, I believe these agents are not deserving of such listings. Many times, the listing agent was the same one that helped them originally purchase the condo.
I am a big believer in good marketing to do the best job for my clients and it all starts with great photos! Good marketing tries to create the “Wow” factor, something that gets people to really want to see a property. If that agent can’t spend a few bucks to do a good job with the photos, how do you think that the rest of the marketing will be? Will they spend money to make sure it is being seen in the best light in the most likely places like the internet in a way that inspires people to go see it?
When selling your home or condo, you have a choice. A choice to select a typical real estate agent or a real estate professional. What is the difference? A professional takes the time to be better. A professional goes above and beyond what is expected. (A professional uses professional photography) Many people select an agent that may have been referred to them. Is this the right person to help you? It may or may not be. If you are selling a condo and this person usually sells homes in Lake Oswego, they are probably not the right agent for you even if they were referred to you. Often I see condo owners use the person that helped them purchase their condo. Is this the right person to use for selling your condo? It depends. Does this agent focus on marketing to the condo market and potential condo buyers everyday? Usually not. There are only a handful of condo specialist that I consider to be real professionals. I have said it before… a typical real estate agent cannot flip on a switch and become an expert at marketing to condo buyers overnight. It just doesn’t work this way.
If you are selling your Portland condominium and would like additional information on our marketing program, please give us a call. If you are a buyer and have some general questions such as “What are the prices of condos in the Pearl District” give us a call and we would be happy to sit down and show you how we might be able to help you.
Condo and loft sales for the Portland area from The Pearl District down to South Waterfront decreased slightly over last month with 41 sales in the +$200,000 market. In July we were expecting more closed sales as there were over 90 that were in a pending status last month. Delays in short sale and bank owned closings are most likely the reason we did not see more. In the upper end market, last month there were no sales in the $1,000,000+ market, this month we had 4!
Leading the way in condo sales for the month of July was Encore with 6 sales priced from $305,000 to $1,234,500. August should be another good month for Encore Condominiums as they currently have 8 units in a Pending status. Following Encore in number of sales for the month is Atwater Place in South Waterfront with 3 sales and Marshall Wells Lofts also with 3 sales in the month of July.
The sales of $1,000,000+ condos this month took place at The Casey, The Metropolitan, Encore and the townhomes on Riverscape near Pacifica Tower. 21% of sales this month were in the $750,000 and up market
If you are looking to buy a condo or loft in the near future we suggest using a condo specialist!
If you have plans on selling your Portland condo or loft or know someone who is, we feel our condo and loft marketing program is second to none and we would like to sit down with you and show you our program. After all, condo buyers are smarter than ever and you can no longer afford to have an agent who will just put your condo in the MLS and wait!