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!
When you write in a blog, sometimes you will make statements that are right and other times you may be wrong. This is the risk that you make when you put yourself out there. At times I will mention that I think a unit that comes on the market might be overpriced, underpriced or priced just right. In the case of the new Cosmopolitan, the market has spoken! From the very beginning, I have said that I felt the Cosmopolitan was overpriced. Was I wrong? Well, the Cosmo is now about 85% sold out. The market has absorbed those high prices, prices that I mentioned were higher than Seattle’s Insignia development. How could I be so wrong? For the developer, Hoyt Street Properties, their timing was the perfect storm, in a good way. Not only did interest rates not go up as many have feared, they actually went down. The biggest reason the developer was able to capture these high prices… LACK of INVENTORY. This is where I was dead wrong in predicting what would happen in the market. I don’t believe anybody would have guessed we would have continued with the low inventory that we have continued to have.
Typically, as prices rise, owners who were underwater begin to see some equity and sell as prices begin to go up. This time around, it has not happened! This was the perfect storm for Hoyt. In regards to pricing, it really is the market that determines the price. Because buyers had no other options, they were forced to pay the high prices at The Cosmopolitan. In doing so, the developer never had to reduce prices like I thought they were going to need to do. So was I wrong in my saying they were priced too high? I am sticking to my guns in terms of my opinion on pricing. Again, I don’t determine prices nor does the developer, it is the market. Is Portland ready for $1000 a square foot prices? I still don’t believe so. Several agents have tried pricing a couple nice penthouses in town at the $1000 a ft. level and they are not selling. The real determination of pricing will come when these units go into the resale market. This has been my biggest fear in not wanting to put my clients in this building. While some are certainly willing to take that risk, it is hard to determine what the market will do between now and then. What I do believe though, is if the market were to turn around, I believe it will be very difficult to get the $800 to $1200 a sq. ft that the buyers paid. When things aren’t shiny and new it is more difficult. Will the extra height of the building justify those prices then? I am not so sure. The new Overton apartment building, which is slated for 26 floors, takes away some of the theory of not getting views blocked by being in a 28 story tower.
So was I wrong on pricing? Like I said, the market has spoken and the developer has won! However, somebody asked me the other day if my parents moved up from San Diego, would I sell them a unit there? My answer… NO! I would do exactly what I said was an option early on. I would rather find them a nice unit at The Metropolitan, Park Place, The Henry or The Casey at $600 to $800 a sq. ft and have them put $100,000 to $150,000 into it. That way they would have the dream kitchen they want (which is not ultra contemporary) and they could do some other things to make it exactly how they want it. They could have a unit that I believe would far exceed, in terms of finishes and design, what they would be getting at the Cosmopolitan. And not that the ultra contemporary finishes at the Cosmopolitan are not nice, Pedini cabinets, your only choice, are just not for everybody’s taste.
To finish up I want to add just one thing. Everybody that is buying at The Cosmopolitan is not just buying an investment, they are buying their new home that they plan on living in for many years. So for those people who don’t have plans or need to sell anytime soon, they will be living in a very nice building in a very nice part of the Pearl District. They will be in a building that offers many nice views and a building near several close by parks…it will be a nice place to call home!
Brad Golik is a condominium specialist with Pearl District Properties. I you are thinking about listing your Portland condominium, give Brad a call and learn about Portland’s best condo marketing program.
503-896-8856 l WWW.LuxuryCondosofPortland.com
As we settle into 2015, let’s take a look back at 2014. For the state of Oregon, prices were up about 7% for the year. In the condo market, in the main downtown, Pearl and South Waterfront areas, the number of sales were down to 755 sales compared to 2013’s 978 condo and town home sales.
In the Pearl district, a new building began to take shape ( see: Overpriced Cosmopolitan ) and is the first new project, other than apartments, to take place in a long time. The biggest surprise of 2014 in my mind has to be the interest rates. If you can recall, last year all of the experts were calling for much higher interest rates for the coming year with most predicting 5% to 5.5% by the end of the year. The facts…. Rates on the 30 yr closed at 3.875% for the year end. As you may have heard me in the past when I mentioned that you could replace all of the economist with all the weatherman in the world , nobody would ever know! Well “they” were way off this last year! The next chart shows you the projected appreciation for the next several years. As you can see, they were off a little in their 2014 appreciation projections!
While condo sales were down for 2014, luxury condos priced $1,000,000 and higher were up for the year with a 25% increase in the number of sales over 2013. While the number of sales for 2015 is expected to be higher, the appreciation is predicted to slow to the normal 3 to 5% range. Which building had the most sales in 2014? Well this was an easy one…Waterfront Pearl led all buildings with sales as they continued to convert the building back to ownership condos from rentals. Encore came in second as that building finally sold out it’s new construction project.
What should we expect from 2015? Stay tuned and check back here often to be updated in the Portland condo market!
If you have plans to buy or sell a condo in 2015, remember it pays to work with a condo specialist! Call Brad Golik and let him assist you with all of your condo needs!
Certified Condominium Specialist
The other day I was at meeting with many other fellow real estate agents and overheard one of the agents talking to a group of other agents. Here is what she said: “I am so tired of people not considering us as professionals and viewing us 1 step above a car salesman!” I found this to be very interesting and only supported a belief that I have, and that is the fact that many agents are not very professional! As I looked at this person, one thing instantly came to my mind. Here she was at a “professionals” meeting and she was wearing jeans and looking anything but professional, as were about 3/4 of the agents there.. ( Have you ever watched House Hunters on HGTV? Many times you will see the same thing!) The second thing that came to my mind was the fact that I had just taken my car for an oil change at the Cadillac dealership. While there, I noticed the salesman. Every one of them had a suit and tie on!
The point I want to touch on here is if you want to be considered a professional, then act like one. No, wearing a suit does not make you a professional, but it is certainly a step in the right direction. The funny thing about the real estate business is that you have many different types and quality of real estate agents. The true professionals (usually dress everyday like they may meet a potential client that day) make a point to learn the business. They understand contracts, learn strong negotiation skills, have strong marketing skills. In other words, they take the time and make the effort to become a true “Professional”. Last week I went to view a million dollar condo for a client. I was pretty shocked when I showed up to see the listing agent in jeans who was trying to sell a million dollar condo. Again…a suit does not make you a professional but come on people. You want people to consider our profession as professional, start acting like it. You do have cultures within companies like Nike and Intel where it is appropriate to dress more casual, but we are not Nike and Intel.
There are over 8,000 real estate agents in the Portland area. Many more are becoming agents because they think it is an easy profession to make money in. (and they will soon learn how wrong they are.) Many of these agents are part time agents ( though you will NEVER hear that from their mouths!) It is very difficult to be a professional at anything unless you are giving it a majority of your time and you are spending that time to improve your skills.
If you are a seller or a buyer of a new home… hire a professional! If you are looking to buy or sell a condo, I would love the opportunity to interview for the job! If you are in the suburbs and looking for a “Professional” agent, give me a call and I will gladly direct you to a true professional.
Here is my take on professionalism in the real estate business. Professionals are good at what they do and they are worth every penny they charge! The ones who are not, and I believe that is a majority, can cost you plenty in a transaction.
It pays to hire a true professional!
Portland Condominium Specialist
If there is one thing I have learned from writing a blog, it’s that you can’t please everybody! When I started writing my blog originally, the purpose was to give good, objective advice so that potential buyers and sellers could be assisted in making solid decisions when it came time for them to buy or to sell their Portland condominium. Over the last couple years I have gotten tremendous positive feedback and at times, not so positive feedback. Most of the negative feedback will come from someone in a building in which I made a comment that does not support a price of a listed unit in that building. ( after all, everybody would love for any unit to sell above it’s market price in their building) Earlier this year I wrote about a unit in the Casey that I thought was way overpriced. (and I am not going to mention the unit #) In my blog I mentioned that when a unit like this gets overpriced it will sit on the market with no traffic or offers. After some time the owners will drop the price $100,000 to try and get traffic. After dropping the price and still not getting traffic, the owners will drop it another $100,000. Well guess what has happened to this unit? The unit has had 2 price reductions of $100,000 each and still no sale. What has happened though is another unit in the building came onto the market that was correctly priced at $1,375,000 and it received an offer in 42 days and is currently pending. While this unit was 230 square feet smaller, and $124,000 less, it was also on the 15th floor looking due East…fantastic views! It was very fortunate for the listing agent of this unit that he was able to use the other unit on a lower floor to help sell his Casey listing!
If a buyer is out looking at condos and is a frequent reader of my blog, I feel they will be able to pick up some very valuable advice and be able to make a better informed purchase when the time is right. Again, my comments in my blog will not always make everyone happy but I think the majority will get much more of a positive experience than negative.
What looks good out there right now? Well it depends on your price point. There are still some pretty good deals being had over at Waterfront Pearl, in fact, last month they sold a considerable number of units in the higher price points. What about Penthouses? My favorite listing on the market right now is the penthouse unit #1405 at The Elizabeth…this is a fantastic unit! (and no…this is not one of my listings! ) With a recent price reduction of $100,000, I will say I was a little surprised that the penthouse unit over at Park Place sold first! That unit, originally priced at $1769,000, dropped it’s price to $1,650,000 and received an offer a month later. If you would like to schedule a time to view the beautiful penthouse unit at The Elizabeth, give me a call today and we can get it arranged.
If you are looking for a value in a luxury condo with great river views, you might want to check out unit #209 at Pacifica Tower. Because of the surrounding construction going on, this unit is priced under $600,000. You will not find anything like this unit in the Pearl for under $600,000. Not only does this unit have a spacious deck that looks out onto the Willamette River and has amazing bridge views, it also has a huge master suite…something very rare in condo living!
There are more units that are now starting to hit the market. If you are in the market for a new condo, give me a call and we can set up a tour of available units. If you are thinking about selling your condo, we truly believe we have some of the best, if not the best, condo marketing around and we would love to sit down and share with you how we are very different than the typical real estate agent out there!
Brad Golik is a Portland Condo Specialist!
Please visit: http://www.LuxuryCondosofPortland.com
Recently I was asked by a fellow Realtor why I spend so much money on my listings. My answer was simple… I told her “because they pay me to MARKET their home!”
If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you will know by now that I am a huge believer in doing a great job of marketing. You have also heard me say that “Any agent can sell your condominium… but at what price?” Everyday I see new listings come onto the market where I see that the agent has done a less than professional job of marketing someone’s condominium listing. To me, this is a big frustration as I still do not understand why? Sometimes the sellers choose the agent who helped them purchase their condo, sometimes sellers are referred to an agent (often to agents who rarely sell condos and do very little marketing). You have often heard me say that a real estate agent who does not pay for professional photos on a million dollar listing does not deserve to “Market” a million dollar listing! (Honestly, I feel the same about $250,000 listings as well) Today a new listing came on the market that was priced over $950,000. The listing agent did not use professional photography! I have a buyer that wants to see this particular building and is in this price range. I had to tell my client to disregard the photos and that we should still take a look at the unit. If they were just judging the unit by the bad photos, they may have never looked at this unit!
In past postings on my blog, we have played a game called… guess the $1,000,000 condo! Today we are going to do it again… just to make a point! Below are two links to 2 different condo listings. Although one is on a Windermere site, it is not a Windermere agent ( we do not want to disrespect the agent by posting their name). When you click on these links, do not look at the text, only the photos. Which one has better photos? Which one makes you want to see the listing? Which one looks like a million dollar condo?
Which one looks like a million dollar condo? Well if I’m being honest, neither of them do. Which is really too bad for the one that is because it is a nice unit. As for the $305,000 studio condo, It may not look like a million dollar condo either but we do everything we can to make it look like a million… including professional photos!
If you plan on listing your condo in the future, give Brad Golik a call to see a full marketing program that will be designed just for YOUR condo!
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!
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.
Once again, condo sales are up over the previous months sales. September sales for the downtown, Pearl District and South Waterfront areas were at 61 sales for the month, nearly an 11% gain for the month! Leading the way once again for total sales for the month was Atwater Place, representing 10% of total sales. The lower end of the market was very active this month with 67% of sales being sold for under $400,000. We saw only 2 condos sold this month in the $1,000,000 and up price range. One was a townhome in The Pearl and the other a condo in Uptown.
Are you looking to buy a condo or loft?
If you have been watching our blog, you probably saw the post about the accuracy of websites. If you want to find the most accurate search results, you will be best served if you stick to using a brokerage website. As an advertiser on Trulia, I get a majority of calls from this website from people looking to buy something that is no longer active. Remember, on Trulia and Zillow that 37% of the condos shown on these websites are not even on the market any longer!
The best path to take is to work with someone who specializes in the condo and loft markets. I will not only send you listings that are active, but I can also point out to you, homes that I feel may be undervalued and not stay on the market very long.
Do you know someone that is thinking about selling their condominium or loft?
If you do, please let them know about us and our unique marketing program. We truly believe we have the best condo marketing program in town and we would love to sit down and share with them what makes us different!
Forbes announces America’s Best Hipster Neighborhoods