The Design Commission has approved the newest 14 story tower in The Pearl District. The Dianne, will be 153′ tall and house 102 residential (apartment) units…Yes, ANOTHER apartment building! The positive here, the developer, John Carroll of Carroll Investments, whose previous projects in the neighborhood include The Gregory Condos, The Edge Lofts, The Chown Pella Lofts, The Elizabeth Lofts and the McKenzie Lofts. His buildings offer a great sense of character… unlike what we are seeing with The Cosmopolitan and other Hoyt properties. For more info go to: http://www.nextportland.com/2015/11/04/the-diane-2/
Today, like I do on most Tuesday’s, I went to a few brokers’ open houses to look at some new listings. After viewing a new penthouse on the market, I stopped in at a nearby coffee shop. In the coffee shop were a group of real estate agents who had also gone to the same open house. These agents were not condo agents, I know because I did not recognize any of them! What I heard come out of the mouth was not surprising because they just do not understand the urban market. The penthouse that these agents were talking about was the new listing at the Crane building priced at $1,850,000. I heard on of the agents say that she has not seen any of the other penthouses in the Pearl but she thought this one was “Exceptional and priced very well!” The others with her nodded their heads in agreement. The first thought that came to my had was…REALLY?…Is this what they would say to potential buyers that they would show the unit to?
For what it is worth, here are my thoughts on this penthouse unit priced at $1,850,000. This unit was on the market one and a half years ago priced at $1,950,000 and it did not sell then. While this unit has very nice finishes, here are my reasons why I think it is priced too high. First…and most important, anything priced above $1,500,000 should not be a total fishbowl…and this unit is! Before when it was listed, you had neighbors from Avenue lofts and Irving Street lofts looking down into your 7th floor unit. Now, directly across the street to the west is a brand new office tower that takes away your views of the west hills, takes away a lot of natural daylight and also adds hundreds of office workers that can now look directly into your unit! There MUST be a discount on price for the huge lack of privacy!
Some of the other negatives of this unit are that it has low ceiling height and it is a pretty choppy floor plan which gives you the feel that it is smaller than its 2239 square feet. At 836 a square foot, a buyer should get way more for their money than what is offered here. In one of my recent posts I discussed the great buy my client got on a penthouse purchase at The Elizabeth. This unit closed at $2,200,000 (fully furnished) or $667 a square foot. This unit is far superior than the penthouse at the Crane building in many, many ways. It is a much higher floor, 14 as opposed to 7 so you are above most surrounding buildings and don’t have neighbors looking down on you (something most penthouse buyers NEVER want!) The floor plan at the Elizabeth was much more desirable. In addition, both units had equal deck space for outdoor living but at the Crane penthouse, the outdoor space is almost unusable because of the freeway noise that is only a block away! Even if my client would have gotten the Elizabeth penthouse at a higher price, say $2,500,000, the price per square foot would still have been much lower at $757 a foot. There is a huge difference in why the buyers at The Cosmopolitan are paying above $800 a square foot…that is the privacy that comes with being 25 floors or higher. Your odds of having another building going up next to you and blocking your views are much less, this is why buyers were willing to pay a premium. But, the Crane penthouse being only 7 floors up, there is no way it deserves the premium of pricing that it is at, especially with all of those new office workers looking down at you!. If I am the listing agent of this penthouse, I am hoping that one of those agents at the coffee shop brings a buyer and makes an offer… because, based on their comments, they truly don’t know any better!
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!
We have all heard recently how crazy the market is lately. We have heard that it is a Seller’s market and that there are no deals to be had. Wrong!
Yesterday, my client closed on the purchase of a beautiful new Penthouse condo at The Elizabeth. Originally priced at $3,299,000, my buyer closed on this unit at $2,200,000…FULLY FURNISHED, and the furnishings were stunning! After 10 months on the market, this penthouse was most recently priced at $2,995,000. I have been in this business a long time now and I must say, this has to be one of the best purchases I have seen… and this in a “Seller’s Market”!
One reason that I want to bring up this purchase is to talk about the importance of correct pricing when you put your home on the market. It is great to try and push the price a little in this market…but there is a very fine line! There are many penthouse units in the market that right now are becoming stale because they were priced way over the market price. The Penthouse at The Elizabeth was one of them and you may recall my blog posting when that unit originally came on the market. If you did not read about it “Luxury Condos and Portland Penthouses” in November when I wrote about it…here is what I said:
“Topping the list is the largest of the penthouse units at the Cosmopolitan priced at $3,883,000. If I had to guess, this will be the first one to sell of the three penthouses that are in the $3,000,000 price range. The other two, the penthouse at the Casey priced at $3,499,000 and the penthouse at the Elizabeth priced at $3,298,900 are very overpriced in my opinion. ( so is the one at the Cosmopolitan…but it will eventually sell very close to its asking price). The other two are priced in the $1000 a square foot vicinity. This is way too high, in my opinion!”
Now I am not patting myself on the back for being right about the pricing… (because I was VERY wrong saying the Cosmo would have difficulties selling) The reason I point this out is to let seller’s know that when you overprice a unit, it will cost you more in the end because the unit becomes stale and lowball offers will start to come…much like our offer on The Elizabeth penthouse after it had been on the market for 10 months! If you are a buyer that is looking for a luxury condo or penthouse and would like to hear our negotiation strategy for this purchase, give me a call as I would love to assist you in finding a great unit! If you are an owner that is thinking about selling, I would love to sit down with you and share my marketing program with you. I truly believe that I have the best marketing program for condos in the + $500,000 market!
If you are a buyer in the luxury end of the market and possibly looking for a penthouse, please give me a call because I believe with the sale price of $2,200,000 at The Elizabeth, ( the most recent comp) the other units in the market that are priced at $2,000,000 or higher will be getting a pretty big dose of reality and need to adjust pricing or at least be willing to accept a realistic offer!
Brad Golik is a condominium specialist with LuxuryCondosofPortland.com and Pearl District Properties. He is also a founding member of Condo10.
When you decide that you are ready to sell your condominium, one of your biggest decisions should be who you will hire to sell your condo. You do have many options of real estate agents to hire so how do you know how to select the right one? From the very start, you would be very smart to eliminate agents whose major portion of their business are homes out in the suburbs. Why eliminate these agents? It’s simple…they just DO NOT know the condo market well enough. They do not know the intricacies of selling condominiums and they really do not understand the pricing of most units. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard these “Suburban” agents tell me “Well unit #??? Sold for $500 a square foot so that is why we are priced here!” What they just don’t understand is the difference in pricing throughout the building. Was it on the 3rd floor or the 10th floor.? Was it looking south or east to Mt. Hood? Is there potential for a building to go up in front of the unit? Is daylight blocked by another building? These are just some of the many issues that contribute to pricing a unit. You cannot just say that because one unit sold for $425 a sq. ft, that another one will.
This lack of knowledge often leads to units being under-priced, or more often, over-priced. The big problem when agents overprice a unit is that it becomes stale on the market, goes through several price reductions and then in the end, sells for less than what it should have sold for if it were priced right.
To me, the biggest reason not to hire a “Suburban” agent in my opinion, is the lack of consistent marketing everyday to condo buyer’s. As a condo specialist, my marketing is directed 24/7 toward condominium buyers. I am consistently filling my pipeline with potential buyers of condominiums. A suburban agent is in Lake Oswego one day, Beaverton the next marketing to people looking to buy a home, not a condo. I will say this, if you are looking for an agent to sell your $2,000,000 home in Lake Oswego, I should probably not be your first choice. I am not a specialist in that area. I am a specialist with condos! You should strongly consider this when selling your condo!
The other important issue to look at, and I think this is a big one, is how good that agent is at marketing. A good way to check on this is to see how good of a job they do at marketing themselves! If that agent has no true branding, or has sub par pictures on their website…if they have one, or is hard to find, this should tell you something. Most agents will not spend a lot of money on listings and I believe this is a huge mistake! Many, many agents don’t even spend the money for professional photos. Here is something I saw recently that was so funny. (but sad for the owners trying to sell) On a listing, an agent stated that you really need to come by and see the condo because the pictures do not do it justice! Are you kidding me? That is the job of the agent to do beautiful, stunning photos that draw people to come view the condo! This is the very minimum an agent should be doing. See an example of one of my listings here: http://www.PacificaTowerCondo.com
Now you know part of the reasons for hiring a condo specialist, now I want to touch on another point. I have seen many people use the agents that were the on-site agents that sold the building when it was brand new. I advise caution if you are thinking of going this route and here is why… Yes they were very nice when you worked with them before (remember, they were trying to sell you something!) While many on-site agents are in fact, very nice, most of them have limited experience in the resale markets. I mentioned above the importance of spending money on listings to make them stand out. Most of these agents have always spent the developers money to sell units, not their own!
There are many other things I believe to be important that a specialist can offer. If you have any questions, please feel free to give me a call or shoot me an email and I would be happy to sit down and discuss things with you.
Brad Golik is a condominium specialist with Pearl District Properties. You can find him at http://www.LuxuryCondosofPortland.com or by giving him a call at 503-896-8856
As we start the new year, one thing remains the same…low inventory! As new listings come on the market, those searching for a new place to live will want to react fairly quickly as there are more buyers than there are condos for sale! If you are looking to sell, not a bad time to push price a little! Last night I went to an open house at The Waterfront Pearl. The listing was a beautiful 8th floor unit with sweeping views of the Willamette River. Stand at the windows in your living room and you feel like you are on top of the river! This unit, priced at $989,000, featured 1729 sf. As I viewed the condo, my first thought was that I wish I had a client with me as I felt it might be under priced at only $572 a sq. ft. While this building is not The Cosmopolitan or The Metropolitan and it will not command the same prices, I do believe this unit could get closer to the $636 per sq, ft. range which puts It closer to the $1,100,000 price tag. Compare this to 2 units left at Cosmopolitan. One is 1643 sq. ft. and priced at $1,559,000 ($953 sq. ft.). The other is 1363 sq. ft and priced at $1,197,000( $878 sq. ft.). Both of these units are on the 25th floor at the Cosmopolitan. While the Waterfront Pearl unit is not on the 25th floor and does not have 25th floor type views, It does have gorgeous river views and people rarely get tired of looking at the river traffic below your windows. To me it is kind of a wash in terms of views. So then, you have to ask yourself, are 25th floor views worth an extra $300 to $371 a sq. ft.? If you were to see the river views from the Waterfront Pearl unit, I believe your answer would be “No way!” . Those views were pretty stunning!
If you are looking to sell your condominium in the near future, be aware of current inventory levels…this is so important. While comps will give you a good starting point, placing your condo in a side by side comparison with every condo in the price range is more important! Right now, for example, there are only 9 condos in the $900,000 to $1,100,000 price range and not 1 of those units competes well with the new Waterfront Pearl listing mentioned above! Does this strategy of pushing the price work? You bet it does! You may have to also sell the appraiser on your pricing, but a good agent should be able to justify his pricing. Another example of this strategy is the Cosmopolitan! The prices they attained happened for 1 reason and 1 reason only… no to low inventory!
Brad Golik is a condominium specialist with Pearl District Properties. You can call him for a free market analysis at 503-896-8856. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
** If you would like to view this new listing at Waterfront Pearl, give Brad a call (but you better hurry!)
Pearl District prices are rising fast! To get the TRUE value of your condo instantly for FREE, go to:
Condo Sales for March
Portland Condo sales for March were strong considering how low our inventory is. In the month of March there were 63 sales in the area that I cover, which is from Pearl District, Uptown, Downtown to South Waterfront. This includes all condos and town homes priced above $200,000. To compare, February had sales of 37 in that same area. What is very interesting though is not the increase in sales of 70%, which is not unusual for this time of year, it is that there are currently 122 pending sales. Now 122 pending sales is nothing unusual, however, what is unusual is that this is the first time since I started writing in my blog that the pending sales actually exceeded the Active listings! Currently there are only 110 Active listings in my designated coverage area.
With numbers like this it could increase the numbers for appreciation in our area. While it was expected to see growth slow down some, the numbers may be higher than expected. It is certainly a sellers market with the low levels of inventory we are seeing. What will be important is the number of units that normally hit the market this time of year. As I mentioned, being a sellers market, this has been a huge windfall for the developers of The Cosmopolitan as they are getting buyers to plunk down a non refundable deposit for high priced units because of the fear of not being able to buy resale units at other buildings. If we were in a normal inventory market, I guarantee we would not see buyer’s overpaying for units.
If you are one of those buyers who may be looking for an upscale, high floor unit and looking to pay above $1,500,000… be patient! Next week I will be listing a unit that will be priced in the ballpark of $560 a square foot. A comparable unit in the
Cosmopolitan will cost you upwards of $1,000 a square foot! In my listing you could do a $250,000 remodel and still come in under $615 a square foot. Yes, sometimes patience does pay!
Brad Golik is a condominium specialist with Pearl District Properties.
Specializing in Portland Condos , Portland Penthouse, Portland Town Homes, Portland Highrises, upscale buildings including The Casey, The Metropolitan, Park Place, The Henry, The Westerly and many more!
When I first started writing in a blog I searched out some experts to see what they said in terms of building a good base of readers. Here is what they said: “To grow a blog and add readership the most important thing you can do is be truthful and honest in your writing. When you do this you will gain a following of people that will trust what you have to say and come to you for solid advice.”
With this in mind, I have always tried to be honest in my comments. This does not always please everyone. But the truth is that you will NEVER please everyone. Recently I got a letter from the sales manager of the Cosmopolitan, a new high rise condo project in the Pearl District. This was a pretty nasty email that voiced her displeasure with my comments on the Cosmopolitan project. In her email she stated that a couple of my comments were rude. Let me address this. First, I have never made a negative comment on the project itself other than the pricing of the units. I happen to love the project and feel it is needed.
What she may be alluding to is the “fact” that I was not happy that the developer was requiring buyers to be pre-approved through a specific lender at Wells Fargo. I mentioned that ( and they fail to mention) this lender happened to be the husband of this sales manager. I don’t believe this was rude on my part, only trying to disclose to the general public something that I believe they should have disclosed upfront.
Now back to business! Here is the latest update on the Cosmopolitan ( and for what it is worth, I have had many request for these continued updates). Currently the building is 33% sold. Not much of a change from my last post. In my last post I mentioned that there were 46 units sold, today they are at 49 units sold. In other words, only 16 units have sold since after the grand opening. As mentioned before, there is still only 1 unit above the 21st floor that sold for a whopping 900 a sq. ft. I was told that 2 of the junior penthouse units went pending…those sales have not happened and all of the junior penthouse and penthouse units are still available ( for those of you inclined to pay an astronomical $969 to $1,641 a square foot price.)
As I mentioned before, with most of the low hanging fruit taken…ie. Units that were priced closest to reality to the market, sales I believe, will become harder to come by for the developer. With a current absorbtion rate that could slow down even more, I believe it could take the developer 18 months to 2 years to sell out this project. With that said, I don’t believe the developer can afford to do this and in my opinion, as stated before, I believe they will be forced to drop the prices on this beautiful new high rise. Part of the reason that they have had the sales they have had at this point I believe is because of the low inventory in our market. Some buyers do not want to wait for new resale units to come to market. Keep in mind, the Cosmopolitan will not be completed until mid 2016 so the inventory levels we are seeing now can change dramatically over that period of time.
And while the high prices at the Cosmopolitan may help sellers get a higher price when selling their condo in this current market, buyers will still be better off buying resale and updating after their purchase. With sellers seeing this effect on pricing, it might push them to put their condo on the market sooner than later. If this happens, it could help with the low inventory situation we are now seeing. For buyer’s, the excitement of living in a new beautiful building like the Cosmopolitan can be pretty tempting. Again going back to the fact that in 2014, the top 30 condos priced at $1,000,000 and higher averaged a price per square foot of $579. These were the “Best of the Best” in Portland. Do you think it is prudent to pay amounts at the Cosmopolitan that are $200 to $1000 a square foot higher?
For those of you who might be thinking it’s a good time to sell your Portland condominium…you are right! Inventory levels are at historically low levels right now. Yes, the sellers are back in control over the market currently. If you think you want to sell, the best thing you have going for you right now is the low inventory levels we have currently. You will be able to push your price a little and capture a bit of a premium because of the low inventory levels. If you are a buyer, you need to react quickly when you find a condo on the market you like because if you hesitate, you could lose out.
With that said, I believe buyers are being a little smarter this time around and not chasing deals with excessive multiple offer situations. In other words they are being much more patient. While they might not get the unit they want, this time around they are willing to wait for the right one to come along without getting into a bidding situation.
What about the new Cosmopolitan? Well you have heard us talking about the prices at the Cosmopolitan a bit. The prices they are asking will actually give sellers a window of opportunity to push the price a little as well. If the Cosmopolitan is asking $800 a square foot for a unit, it is a little easier for a seller to push their price from $590 a square foot to $610.
Stay tuned for our latest Cosmopolitan update…coming soon!