Selling your Portland condo?
Spring is here and it is a great time for those who have been thinking about selling to move forward. How do you go about selecting an agent to list your condo or loft? Here is what I see happen quite often. Many people will use a the agent that helped them originally purchase the condo. Others will get referrals from friends or family based on the job that they had done with them. Here is the problem with this, either of these agents may have done an ok job assisting you or your friends with a home out in the suburbs, but they are not a specialist. When selling a condo or loft in the city, it is VERY important to work with someone who specializes with condos… and here is why:
As a condo specialist, my focus everyday is on condos, condo buyers and condo marketing! The biggest consideration you should give to an agents is how well does he/she do with internet marketing. After all, there are no yard signs with condos and lofts. The internet is were a majority of the condo buyers are coming from. If an agent does not have a strong internet presence … your listing also won’t have a strong internet presence either! One thing you will find out very quickly is that EVERY agent on the planet will tell you they will market your condo on the internet.
I have been at this for some time now and the one thing I can tell you with 100% accuracy is that a typical real estate agent who is selling residential homes in Lake Oswego one day and then Beaverton the next cannot flip a switch on and become an expert overnight at marketing to condo buyers, it just doesn’t work this way. If you know even just a little about internet marketing, you will know this to be true! As a condominium specialist, I have spent much time and money developing an internet marketing program that gets listings in front of serious buyers. And when I say serious buyers, I don’t mean someone that gets on Google or Bing and searches Portland Condos. These are buyers who may be in the very starting phase of research and not really very serious… it took me sometime to realize this! Serious buyers are those who are researching things on the internet… and ALL buyers are doing this now! They go to Bing and Google and begin to research on specific buildings they think they may like. They begin to search to see what the amenities are at the building, they search to find out about the HOA fees at the building. Many buyers are doing this well before they hire a buyers agent to work with. Buyers are smarter than ever before and as your listing agent, our goal is to make sure that YOUR listing is in front of these serious buyers and when it is, to make sure it is presented in a special way that makes it stand out from the other hundreds of condos in the market! At LuxuryCondosofPortland.com , we have close to 80 Portland condominium and loft websites that we use to attract serious buyers. We use these websites to “cross market” to buyers and our websites currently generate over 2500 visitors a month who are looking for specific condo information.
Most typical agents say they will market your home on the internet and this is what they usually mean. They will place your condo on their corporate website, the MLS, Realtor.com, Trulia and Zillow. Now don’t get me wrong, it is important to have your listings on these websites and yes, I do feature all of my listings on these websites as well. But… it is not nearly enough! When someone gets on Google to search for “The Henry HOA fees” or “What amenities does The Casey have” these websites don’t show up! What does show up? Usually not just 1 of our sites, but typically 5-6 of our websites on page 1 of a search and 1 of these websites will be featuring your condo! Go ahead and check: Search Google for “Benson Tower HOA fees”. What do you find? One of our current listings at the top of the list!
If you are selling your Portland condo I encourage you to work with a condominium specialist at the very least! There are a handful of agents who specialize with condos. Of these agents, there are only a few that really do have a strong internet presence. These few agents are getting between 1500 to 2500 condo visitors a month to their websites. This alone should put these agents way ahead in the marketing department compared to a typical real estate agent that wants to sell your condo. Again, a typical agent cannot flip on a switch and become an expert overnight at marketing to condo buyers! And this includes agents who may have been referred to you.
At LuxuryCondosofPortland.com we would like to interview for the job of selling your condominium or loft and show how we are different.
In real estate, it is remarkable how much mediocrity people will live with, maybe it is because they don’t realize what else is out there. I believe that average is NOT acceptable and I want to show you what else is available to you when it is time for you to sell your condo! Don’t settle for mediocrity!
Serving buyers and sellers in all price ranges in the mid to high rise condominium markets.
Economics 101: Supply and Demand
How’s the Portland condominium market? If you are waiting for lower prices in the condo market… that train has left the station! A year ago would have been the best time to purchase. But, like picking the bottom in any market, timing is difficult. Let’s look at where we are now and where I think we are going… again, these are my opinions only but they are based on the research of many others.
Like many parts of the country, we are now in a situation of low inventory and buyer demand has picked up tremendously. Again, getting back to the basics of supply and demand. When you have limited inventory being chased by multiple buyers in the marketplace, prices will go up and they have already started! Will we see the huge appreciation of past years? I don’t believe so. I believe we will see steady, healthy growth moving forward. National levels are expected to see growth of 3-5% a year for the next several years. I believe Portland will be just slightly higher in the 5-7% range.
What’s happening in our markets. For Portland’s condo markets, same thing… no inventory! Why is this? Well, I think it is a couple of things. Many people are still underwater on their condo and waiting for a little appreciation before they can sell. With no inventory this is what will happen. Prices will begin to start going up and as they do, more condo owners will be able to sell. The other issue in the condo market that I am seeing is that the rental market has been so strong and rentals are at a premium, thus keeping more condos out of the market place.
With that said, many condo owners live in buildings where there is a 30% rental cap… and guess what? They are all at the cap! In fact, some buildings like Streetcar Lofts have a long waiting list (Streetcar has 21 people on the waiting list!). These are the owners who are waiting for some appreciation so that they can sell, because they can’t rent their condo.
If you are a condo owner who is thinking about selling, give us a call and we will be happy to do a market analysis for you to see where you might be and to see what other units like yours are selling for. We have put together what we believe is the best condo marketing program in the city and we would love to share this with you. It is remarkable how much mediocrity we live with when it comes to selecting an agent to help sell your condo. If you want top dollar for you condo, average should not be acceptable, you deserve more for your hard earned money…and this is something we truly believe!
For the last several years we have heard from so called experts that we have hit a bottom in the housing market. Those who made that call a couple years ago were very wrong. But today, I think we are very close! While very much like the stock market, it is very difficult to call a bottom. All the signs are starting to point to a true bottom and leading indicators to me are the decreasing inventory and the reappearance of…multiple offers!
A recent story in the Wall Street Journal stated that “Economists aren’t always right, but on this at least they agree: A new Wall Street Journal survey of forecasters found 44 believe the housing market has reached its bottom; only three don’t.
I personally don’t always have the most faith in economist, in fact, I used to say that you could switch all the economist with all weatherman and no one would know the difference! Times have changed…weathermen now have doppler radar!
Selling your Portland condo or loft can be very difficult in todays marketplace. The most difficult thing perhaps, is accepting what the value of your home may actually be. When you do decide to sell your condo, you must remember that as a seller you do NOT control your homes value or the market conditions. As a seller, what you DO control is the price that you ask (which may or may not be close to the offers that you will get) and the condition of the property.
In our previous post, we discussed the benefits of proper pricing. Again, you want to lead the market…not chase it down! Also, keep in mind what current inventory levels are at. Now is a good time to sell you condo or loft because the inventory levels are way down and you may now be able to capture the best price that we have seen for sometime. And remember this… are the inventory levels in my own building high or low. If you live at The Elizabeth Lofts in Portland or The Westerly in Northwest Portland and neither building has many listings, you may be able to push the price a little because buyers who want to be in your building will not have as many choices. On the other hand, if you are living at Benson Tower in Portland or The Gregory Lofts and they both have many units for sale, your competition may force you to price your unit a bit more aggressively to stand out and get it sold. The key words here are “Stand Out”. With hundreds of other units on the market, the most important thing to do when selling your condo is to make it stand out from the others. Call LuxuryCondosofPortland.com to see how we make YOUR condo or loft stand out! ** 503.896.8856 **
Many condo sellers will want to push the pricing on their condo or loft when they go to sell it… many times even when their Realtor advises against it. What often happens is that the seller will usually end up chasing the market down! A case in point, a beautiful Jeffrey Lamb http://www.jlambstudio.com/ designed condo, one of my favorites, at Park Place in Portland finally went Pending after 440 days on the market. This fantastic condo was originally priced at $1,195,000. The listed price when it went pending was $997,000. So the best case scenario…it sells at list price. Even then it will have sold for more than -16% from it original list price.* While it may appear that the sellers were getting $198,000 less than they were hoping for, let’s look at the real numbers. If the sellers would have priced it closer to market value at the time, maybe $100,000 to $150,000 less, it would have had a very good chance of selling in 3- 6 months somewhere in the $1,050,000 range, instead, it will sell for (again best case scenario…$997,000) The sellers would have made about $50,000 more than what will be the reality. What is often overlooked though is the cost of carry! The sellers had this condo at Park Place on the market for over 15 months. Now let’s say they put a couple hundred thousand down when they made their original purchase. This would have given them a monthly mortgage payment in the $5,000 a month range. The HOA fees were about $705 a month and taxes were about $850. So the actual cost to carry for the 15 months was about $98,000. Had they sold in a 6 month scenario like mentioned above, their cost to carry would have only been $40,000. In the end they could have netted an additional $110,000 or more than what will actually happen.
( ***This unit actually sold for $945,000 or -21% off of it’s original list price)
So what does all of this mean?
As a real estate agent, my job is to try to sell your condo for the highest possible price and do it in a reasonable time period. Time and time again we see sellers trying to “test” the market with an overpriced listing and having it come back to hurt them in the long run. Here are a couple of thoughts to think about when selling.
Lead the Market… don’t chase it! The end result, unlike the above example, it will result in a quicker sale saving you on mortgage payments, HOA fees and taxes. Also, a home that is priced correctly will attract more serious buyers who are ready to pull the trigger and make a full price offer for fear of losing a “decent” value.
Increased Response… When agents see a new listing come onto the market that is priced correctly, they will make special efforts to tell their buyers about the unit. The end result will be more showings with qualified buyers.
Less Inconvenience… Let’s be honest here. Nobody enjoys having strangers walking through their home. In addition, it takes much time and energy to keep your home in “Show” condition as well as constantly having to make arrangements to leave for showings.
Great Internet Marketing… Do NOT underestimate the importance of this one fact. 93% of buyers begin their search on the internet. Work with an agent that is a condo specialist and most important, one that has strong internet exposure! If you own a mid to high-rise condo in Portland and plan to sell, do some research. Think like a buyer and search on Bing and Google and do searches like serious buyers do. Search for “The Casey Portland” , “Encore condo HOA fees” , “Atwater Place amenities“. What do you see show up on these searches? What you will see is a couple us agents who specialize with condos. This is where you want YOUR LISTING to show up …right? What you won’t find are agents that are usually selling homes in Beaverton or Lake Oswego!
Bottom line… if you are selling your condo or loft, work with someone who has marketing that is targeted to condo buyers EVERYDAY!
I believe that marketing is the most important thing when selling your condo. But remember, on overpriced condo can easily have you selling your condo for far less down the road than if you would have had it priced correctly from the beginning!