Yesterday morning I was at a coffee shop reviewing new condo listings that just came on the market. I noticed that the lady next to me was looking at my laptop watching what I was doing. After not too long, she asked me if I was a real estate agent. I said that I was…and then she unloaded with a recent experience she had had in buying a condo. The woman, whom I will call Jan, told me she had such a frustrating experience with the agent she had used. To make matters even worse, this agent also happened to be an agent that was referred to her by a friend of hers. As I dug a little deeper to how this agent was referred, it turns out the friend referred her because she was a very nice person! Now I have been in this business for almost 15 years and the one thing I can say is there are MANY nice people in the business. But, I can also say that many of these same people are not agents that I would hire knowing what I know! Jan told me that it was very frustrating during the searching period because this agent knew very little about the condominium market. She said she spent so much time walking around buildings looking for lockboxes…and this was her first clue that she did not deal with condominiums very often. The second thing that she said was frustrating was that whenever she asked her about the pricing of a condo they looked at, the standard answer was “It seems fairly priced!”
This is a very typical situation that I see all of the time in the Pearl District, South Waterfront and Downtown. Many buyers may get referred to an agent that a friend suggest…maybe an agent they had used or heard about out in the suburbs. The condo market is very different than dealing with homes out in Lake Oswego or Tigard. I have often written on the importance of working with a specialist. If I were selling a home in Lake Oswego, you can bet that I would want to use an agent that sells there often and knows the pricing and other aspects of selling in that area or at the very least, someone that is VERY good with marketing! Same goes with condos and lofts. I have often said to sellers that a typical agent cannot just flip on a switch and be great at marketing to condo buyers when 99.5% of their time they are marketing to buyers of suburban homes…in several different areas!
One of the reasons you hire an agent is for their expertise and knowledge, or at least it should be! An agent can be nice, but they also need to know what they are doing. Being nice is fine but when it comes to negotiating, that agent needs to be tough and always put their clients best interest first and not “cave” with another agent that is tougher with negotiating! When the time comes for a person to sell their condo, a condo specialist is even more important! Having an agent that is constantly marketing to condo buyers is important. Hiring an agent that spends most of their time marketing to buyers looking in Tigard, Gresham or Wilsonville may not be the best way to go…even if that agent is a very nice person!
Jan said the last straw was when she got to closing she was surprised that she had to pay a Move-in/Move-Out fee that was close to $400 and also was shocked to find out she had to pay a 1 time capital contribution fee equal to 2 months HOA fees… 2 things her agent never mentioned because she did not know about. (this is disclosed in the HOA documents) I felt bad for Jan but it is something I see all of the time.
Every week as I look at new listings, as I was doing in the coffee shop, I am amazed at the number of new listings that come on the market that are listed by agents that don’t deal with condominiums. The one thing that always amazes me is I never get a postcard or an email about their condo listing! As a condo specialist, I make sure that every agent that deals with condos and lofts gets a video about my new condo listing. Why? Because I know that the other agents that deal with condos often have their pipelines filled with CONDO buyers!
I enjoyed my conversation with Jan and in the process met a new friend over a cup of coffee! In time, hopefully Jan will refer me to a friend. But hopefully, it will not be because I am nice. Hopefully it will be because I am nice…with knowledge!
Brad Golik is a condominium specialist with http://www.LuxuryCondosofPortland.com and Total Property Resources in the Pearl District. You can reach Brad at 503-896-8856
Welcome to the condo of the week. This week we feature one of the best in the Pearl!
Brad Golik is a condominium specialist with Total Property Resources and LuxuryCondosofPortland.com You can reach Brad at 503-896-8856 or at email@example.com
Follow us on either Instagram ( #pearlcondos ) or on our condo blog ( TheCondoPulse.com ) and get your chance to win a $100 gift card to Brix Tavern in the Pearl District! Winner will be drawn the end of April…don’t miss out on a chance to dine at one of the Pearl Districts “Favorite” places to eat!
Brad Golik is a condominium specialist in downtowns Pearl District and South Waterfront. It does not cost you to work with a specialist…it pays!
The tallest condo building in the Pearl! Welcome to The Cosmopolitan. Breathtaking views are the highlight of the Pearl Districts newest condominium in the North end of the Pearl Distict.
Brad Golik is a condominium specialist with Pearl District Properties and LuxuryCondosofPortland.com
You can contact him at 503-896-8856 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
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!
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!
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 email@example.com
When writing in a blog, it is sometimes difficult because you put yourself out there to occasionally be wrong. When I get feedback from readers it is often appreciated. It is not always positive, but that is ok! After my post the other day about the $2,975,000 unit that I felt was actually under priced, I got an anonymous email from someone that wanted to call me out on a comment a made a short time ago about a unit right down the block I thought was overpriced. That particular unit was another one of the iconic townhomes on 11th that was priced at $1,899,000. That unit was recently sold for $1,850,000…a number I still think was too high. Remember, this townhome had a neighbor that sold about a year ago (with virtually the same high end finishes) for $1,390,000. Do you really believe the market is up 33% in that time span? It’s not! But let’s take a closer look.
The listing agent did get a good price for the seller but this opens up a whole different issue because the agent also represented the buyer. While it could be said that he got the sellers a good price for their unit, the buyers, who he was also representing, overpaid! I am not a big fan of agents representing both sides in a transaction. Have I done them before? Yes, but it is with full and absolute disclosure. Do you think this agent told the new buyers it was overpriced? Now the market value is what someone is willing to pay. I agree with that but, buyers come to us for guidance and our experience and knowledge in pricing. You cannot be telling one party it is a great selling price and then at the same time be telling the buyers it is a good purchase price. As an agent, my duty to the seller is to get them the very best price that I can. In doing so, I will not put my integrity at risk just to get both sides of a transaction. This is where a good agent must step away from both sides of a transaction and focus on his or her duty of getting the best price for the seller. To be fair to the other agent, maybe this agent did disclose to the buyer that they were overpaying for the unit and they were ok with it. Do I believe that the agent said to the buyers “This unit is priced over 33% from it best comp that sold a year ago and the market is certainly not up 33%”. I doubt it seriously.
I do not have a problem with an agent handling both sides of a transaction when something is reasonably priced and full disclosure has been made. When something is selling at 33% over its best comp…that is a whole different story.
As a buyers agent, I would not have advised my clients to pay over $1,750,000 for this unit( still over 26% from comp). If the buyers loved it and were ok overpaying for it, this is ok as it is their choice. But if they are receiving guidance from an agent whose main responsibility is to maximize the sales price for the seller…? I wonder what that same agent would have thought it was worth working as a buyers agent only for someone? Unfortunately, it is sales like this that will mislead inexperienced agents into false pricing. The next thing you know is we will see some agent trying to price one of these single units for $2,000,000!
As for the person that wanted to call me out for being wrong, that is ok! It is people like you that keep me on top of my game so I actually appreciate you and thank you for your comments. I will not always be right but you will always get my honest opinion. Also keep in mind though, it is always good to have a good understanding of the whole picture before making comments, and this is something I always work towards. So in closing, yes, I still think 617 was in fact, overpriced!