This beautiful 28 story tower is the tallest condominium building in Portland’s Pearl District. To see available units in this building, call Brad Golik at 503-896-8856 or contact him at email@example.com.
Everyday I bring up the Portland condo list to see any new listings, see if anything has gone pending and to see if old listings have expired or were canceled. Sometimes what I see just makes me shake my head in disbelief. No question, this is a pretty hot market and I do see people paying more than they might normally do. And, while I do not believe we are at a peak yet, it is certainly not a time to let my buyer’s grossly overpay for a property either. Today, a new penthouse came on the market. This is a penthouse at Atwater Place in South Waterfront. The price is $2,700,000 and it is priced at $1000 a sq. ft., the same as what you are seeing at the brand new Cosmopolitan on the Park. Except that at the Cosmo, $1000 gets you up to the 27th floor in a brand new building!
Awhile back I wrote about three penthouse units that were priced in the $3,000,000 range. The first was the 3.8M penthouse at the Cosmo, which I thought would be the first to sell ( it just went Pending again this week). The first one to sell was actually the penthouse at The Elizabeth that was priced at $2,995,000. I represented the buyer on the purchase. You might have read in my blog “Who says it’s a seller’s market?” about the great price my buyer got for that unit… $2,200,000 fully furnished. The third one, and it’s still on the market, is at The Casey and still priced at $3,249,000.
I mention these three units because all three tried to push the $1000 ft barrier. I mentioned I thought the Cosmo would be the first to sell for a few reasons. First, it is a brand new building and brand new buildings always get a premium. Also, at 3.8M this is a property where the buyer can afford to “overpay” and are ok in doing so in order to have “The Best”. The penthouse at the Elizabeth was actually the first to sell and it sold for under $700 a ft.
In mentioning these three units, it helps clarify the pricing on the new Atwater Place penthouse. For one, it is not a new building…so no premium here. 2nd, it is not in The Pearl District…again, no premium here! (While I do like South Waterfront, the Pearl always gets a premium!) Also, keep this in mind, Unit #2403, a NE corner penthouse at Meriwether just went pending at $1,675,000 (598 sq. ft.). It was slightly larger and on a higher floor! At $1000 a sq. ft. the Atwater penthouse is just priced high. Sure, being a penthouse with great river views does justify a high price. (It does have outstanding outdoor living space) Will it sell? Sometimes there will be just the right buyer that loves the place, and the buyers agent usually sells homes in the suburbs and does not understand if a unit is priced high or not. The answer… you never know!
Another listing that was recently brought to me that is not in the MLS is one of the iconic townhomes on 11th in The Pearl. Before I mention this one…I want to show you a few of the comps first. Two units, with 2698 sq. ft. recently sold. One for $1,850,000 the other for $1,900,000. A third sold ( 2 units combined with 3888 sq. ft) for $2,425,000 , or $623 a sq. ft. The third had many high end custom finishes and was designed by the exceptional designer, Jefferey Lamb. Ok, drum roll please…. The new listing , #621 which is 2698 sq. ft… is priced at $2,600,000! Are you kidding me? When I questioned the agents pricing, he mentioned that all three of the comps were going through substantial remodeling. Ok, lets use the combined unit that sold for $2,425,000. Let’s say the new buyer decides he wants to put in an additional $400,000 in remodeling. This would still put this unit at $726 a sq. ft. , or $237 a sq. ft. less than #621 which is at an absurd $963 a ft!
Now you know why I just have to shake my head sometimes in the mornings while looking at new listings!
My purpose of writing about some of these overpriced units is not to beat up on them, but only to help educate buyers so that they don’t overpay for a unit. If you are a buyer in the market for a Portland condo, I know this market inside and out, especially the high end of the market. I would love to help you find your next dream condo so please, give me a call and we can begin to turn your dream of owning a luxury Portland condominium, into a reality…for the right price!
Brad Golik is a condominium specialist with Pearl District Properties. His area of focus is The Pearl District, South Waterfront and Downtown Portland. Brad is a founding member of Condo10 and an expert in internet marketing. You can reach him at 503-896-8856 or at firstname.lastname@example.org , www.LuxuryCondosofPortland.com
Today I lost a listing for being honest! One thing you will always get from me is my honest opinion. Whether it is my opinions that I write about in my blog, or my opinions in what it takes to get a condo sold for top dollar. The key words here are “TOP DOLLAR”. You have heard me say many times that “Any agent can sell your condo…but at what price?” To get the highest price in the sale of a condo, I have a pretty good feel for things that need to be done to get that top dollar. First and foremost… top notch marketing! Yes, even in a hot seller’s market it is important.
I mentioned that I lost a listing for being honest. This condo would have been priced in the 1.4M range. This particular condo had amazing river and bridge views. However, the furnishings (many antiques) were not the type that would “Wow” a buyer when they walked in the door. In fact, I believe the opposite affect would take place. I have often said, in the higher end of the market, buyers want the “Wow” affect when they walk in the door. This was a unit that had potential for a huge “Wow” factor that, with staging, I believe would have captured a very good price for the seller’s… if marketed correctly.
Telling sellers what they want to hear to get a listing is nothing new in our industry. I see it happen all of the time with agents that “Buy Listings”… in other words, they tell the seller it is worth more than what another agent said what it was worth because they know the seller will choose the agent with the higher price. Then, the condo stays on the market because it is priced too high and then the agent eventually beats up the sellers to drop the price ( the price the other agent had honestly told the seller’s) Then, because the unit becomes stale, the lowball offers begin to come in. My point here…be careful of agents that tell you what you want to hear. You should be more open to an agent that is honest and not just telling you what you want to hear just to get the listing. The listing above, well I believe the listing above will net the seller’s about $100,000 less than what it could get by staging and using good marketing. This is a lot of money! I felt so strongly about it in this case that I offered to pay for the staging.
The sellers made the comment to me that these were expensive antiques. One thing I have learned in this business is that the cost of something really has no relevance as to how it adds to the value of something. I have seen wallpaper, for example, where an owner spent a fortune and thought it was the most beautiful thing in the world… but everybody else hated it! In the unit above, I truly believe the sellers would net close to 100k more by staging this unit. In addition, the staging will help buyers focus on the beautiful unit…and take their eyes away from the kitchen! Remember the wallpaper above? Well the owners of this unit painted over the cabinets (DIY) in an un- attractive color that shows the wood grain through the paint. They also ripped out beautiful slab granite and replaced it with a inferior artificial product (blue speckled ) that is just not at the level expected for buyers in a unit like this in a building like this.
In the end, the sellers went with an agent that agreed with them and said what they wanted to hear. As a seller, do you want the most that you can get in the sale of your condo… or do you want to work with an agent that is being nice and says what you want to hear? The sellers choose an agent with inferior marketing to what I offer… and the truth is on this unit, to get top dollar, they are going to need great marketing!
I believe an agent should be nice… and tell you what you NEED to hear!
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 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: email@example.com
** 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:
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?
Since my first post about the Cosmopolitan I have gotten many calls and emails from people to discuss the Cosmopolitan and the pricing. What is interesting is that a number of buyers are trying to justify the pricing with comments such as…but it will be new and have all new appliances! Here is what I often tell them. “If you want new appliances, by a resale condo in a nice building like The Metropolitan, put $30,000 to $50,000 into a nice kitchen remodel and you will still be way ahead of the game compared to paying extremely excessive prices at the Cosmopolitan!”
Since my last update on the Cosmopolitan… not much has changed.
If you can recall my first post where I wrote about the euphoria of the new project and the normal sales of a new project when the developer sold 33 units during the grand opening. A couple weeks later I said the total sales were at 36 (December 11th). As of today, sales at the Cosmopolitan are at 40. From our last writing they have sold an additional 3 of the 1 bedroom garden units. These were units that were selling in the high $300,000 to the $400,000 range. (also priced in the $550 to $575 per sq. foot range. ) Most of the units that sold during the euphoric grand opening period were the smaller 2 bedroom units on the NE corner which sold out units #717 to #1817. The price range for these units was $769,500 to $918,000. The price per sq. ft for these units went from $575 to an excessive $680 for unit #1817. In my opinion, units #717 to #1317 in the $575 to $600 range is not unreasonable… still high, but not totally out of line. . 70% of the original units sold in the grand opening were in the $550 to $620 price per sq. ft. range. The low hanging fruit is now gone!
I am still sticking to my belief that this project is way overpriced! They have sold very few of the 1 bedroom units other than the popular Garden units. They still have not sold anything above the 21st floor with one exception, unit #2315, priced at $1,773,000 (crazy $1,000 per sq. ft!) I am still a little baffled as to why 8 to 9 buyers paid between $800 to $1000 a sq. ft. Again, was it the excitement of a new building,? Was it that they did not have representation from an outside broker to explain to them the severity of the high price per square foot they were paying? While it is certainly not my intention to bash this project, because I was as excited about it as anyone, the fact is that it is just very much overpriced. I believe it everyone’s right to make a reasonable profit from their hard work. But when I see excessive numbers in several areas that benefit the developer beyond a normal number, that is when I have a problem. Overcharging buyers by a considerable amount over the current market, again, the developer can pocket additional excessive profits. What happens to those buyers who are buying a unit for $650 to $1200 a square foot, and then realize a year after they move in they need to sell their unit for whatever reason. These buyers will be hammered in the resale market! Why? Because they paid $650 to $1200 a square foot in a market that should be $450 to $850!
What is my hope on this project? While I personally never wish bad on anyone, I do hope that sales remain as slow as they have been and maybe get worse. This will force the developer to drop their prices to REASONABLE numbers so that buyers don’t get punished when they become sellers in 2-5 years! In addition, my hope is that they will also go back to everyone that has made a purchase and additionally drop their prices as well. Again, I said the low hanging fruit is gone for the most part and sales will only get tougher for the developer moving forward as they try to sell a ton of units in the $700 to $1200 sq. ft. price range.
Buyers…ask yourself this one question. Should you be paying more for a condo than a similar project in Seattle? And remember, this project in Seattle is only 60% sold after a year and a half and has the benefit of Amazon as a nearby job force to support it! In addition Seattle is just priced much higher than Portland in general!
I am adding the graphic below again because I believe it tells a story pretty well!
If you still have an interest in making a purchase at the Cosmopolitan, please give me a call and we can discuss what may be the best values within the building because there are some units that have better value than others. Call Brad Golik at 503-896-8856.
In my last post I expressed my opinion on the pricing of the new 28 story condominium, Cosmopolitan on the Park. The feedback I have gotten back has mainly been very supportive of my article with a majority of people totally agreeing with my thoughts. Not all agreed with me though. One undisclosed comment ( perhaps someone with the development company?) thought that Portland was ready to support these prices. One even went as far as to say that they thought I might have an ax to grind with the developer. This could not be further from the truth. As an agent that specializes with condominiums, I was as excited as anyone for this new project to rise from the ground! With low inventory levels, the idea of having a new project to sell was just what I needed! I cannot sell something that I don’t believe in or something that I view as a financial risk to my clients. I may have some clients that might still make an offer but at least they will be going into it with a good idea of the market risk involved.
With that said, let’s just jump to the facts. To date in 2014, 35 condos have been sold in the $1,000,000+ price range. Now remember, these are the best of the best in the Portland condo market. The average price per square foot of these 35 sold units was $579. Only 4 of the 35 units sold above the $700 a sq. ft. level. Two of these were at The Casey, one was a penthouse unit at The Gregory and the other was a penthouse at The Henry.
Now to do our best to compare apples to apples we will take the average price per square foot of only the 2+ bedroom units at the Cosmopolitan because that is the case with our top 35. The average price per square foot of all the 2 bedroom units at the Cosmopolitan…. Drum roll please, $739 a square foot! That is $160 a square foot higher than the best of the best. Now keep in mind, a penthouse unit will often carry a higher price per square foot than typical units and a good portion of our top 35 units were penthouses and still the average was only $579!
The fact is that I just believe this project is overpriced for the Portland market and I believe the above numbers supports my beliefs. The real estate industry is really supported by comps and the numbers above, and market demand, do not justify the prices being asked. One person suggested because they were not paying buyers agents enough that my opinion was somewhat skewed. While the developer is paying substantially lower than the project I mentioned last week in Seattle as well as the hot new twin towers project, Lumina in San Francisco, sales credit has nothing to do with my opinion. What it does have to do with, in my opinion, is the greed factor. Cutting back to what they pay the agents that have helped them with past projects, and charging over-market prices to condo buyers is a win-win situation for the developer! Many years ago I interviewed the CEO of what was at that time the largest real estate company in the world. What he said to me still remains in my mind today. He said “The best real estate transaction is one in which everyone wins!” In this current situation…only the developer wins… that is until they need to reduce prices to get the project done!
Since our last blog post last week there have only been 3 additional sales at the Cosmopolitan, now with a total of 36 sales. These 3 units were 1 bedroom Garden level units priced in the $400,000 range.
If you have questions about the Cosmopolitan or would like to look at some of Portland’s other great condos, give me a call at 503-896-8856 and we can set up a tour or just discuss opportunities in the Portland condo market.
Brad Golik is a condominium specialist and can be found at www.LuxuryCondosofPortland.com
Back in March I wrote about a luxury condo that came on the market that I said was “way” overpriced. In fact. I took a little heat for my comments about that listing! This particular condo at The Casey came on the market for $1,699,901. When I ran my comps on that unit at the time the market value I had was $1,350,000. In my article I wrote about the potential problems with overpricing a unit so much. What I said what would probably happen is that the condo would stay on the market for awhile with little to no showings and then the agent would have the owner drop it $100,000. That would still not be enough so they would again drop it another $100,000. Then what would probably happen is it will get “Stale” on the market and when it does get an offer it will be a lowball offer!
Here is what actually happened with that condo:
It was originally priced at $1,699,901. After a month of no interest, the owner dropped the price $100,000. After another month had passed, and no interest, the agent had the owner drop the price another $100,000…now down to $1,499,000. After another couple months they finally got an offer ( yes a lowball offer) and it closed finally after 6 months on the market at $1,315,000, or another $184,000 off of the most recent list price!
Now I didn’t have a crystal ball that told me exactly what was going to happen, but I have been in business long enough to know that this was a classic overpricing and you could just feel what was going to happen. At the time it originally came on the market, inventory was low. While I said the market value was $1,350,000, the owner probably could have pushed the price to $1,400,000 and ended somewhere between that number and $1,350,000. While the owner, at the end accepted an offer for $1,315,000, his end number was actually worse because of his cost to carry. While it was on the market for 6 months, he still had to pay property taxes ($916/mo.) HOA fees ( $1,067/mo.) and mortgage payments ($5,000/mo.) total additional cost of $41,900 netting him an actual number of $1,273,100 before actual closing costs.
As a good listing agent, I always want to maximize the total return to the seller and I will always try to push the price for my clients. I am not an agent that promotes “SOLD in 2 days!” because that in my eyes is not always a positive! There is a fine line between pushing the price a little and overpricing a unit. In pushing the price a little, this is almost always a case by case situation depending on the listing and the timing of the market. More often than not, an excessive overpricing usually leads to a number well below the market value of where it should have sold!
The other comment I would like to make in regards to overpricing, if you are going to push the price a little, make sure that you have GREAT marketing. This starts with great professional photos and much, much more. Nothing is more frustrating then seeing a condo that is overpriced and has lousy marketing. At least with really good marketing you will increase the traffic to your listing and increase the probability of getting a better offer.
If you would like to know what the value of you condo is in today’s market CLICK HERE. Or give a call today to Brad Golik, Portland’s condo specialist! 503-896-8856
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
Here is a partial list of condo sales from downtown, Pearl to South Waterfront:
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
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!
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!
Last week I wrote about two new Portland penthouses that came on the market. Today I toured the one priced at $1995,000 and I must say I was pretty impressed. This penthouse condo at The Elizabeth was stunning! While East facing, you would expect fantastic views of Mt. Hood, which this place delivers. Being in the NE corner of the building also gives you great views of Mt St. Helens and Mt. Adams. Back to the interior… this unit is only 300 square feet larger than the penthouse we wrote about last week (and $200,000 cheaper!) but the unit feels so much larger and less cramped. The layout of this Elizabeth Loft penthouse just flows very comfortably and while it is officially a two bed room unit, the owners of this penthouse are using the spacious second bedroom as a theatre room. This brings up my only negative of this wonderful penthouse….a 45 inch TV in the media room? Give me a 70 inch screen and this becomes a tough choice to say no to!
The owners of this penthouse obviously have very fine taste in their furnishings (which are for sale) which one almost has to look past when viewing this unit because it is so beautifully done. The first thing I noticed when I walked in is the elegant dining area with the crystal chandelier and then the wall of windows looking east to an amazing view. As you walk into the well appointed kitchen not only do you get those great views to the East, but also the mountains to the North.
For those buyers that need more bedrooms, the media room could easily be converted back to a second bedroom and in fact, a third bedroom/ Den could be added if needed. Of the current penthouses on the market right now, hands down, this unit is by far the one that impresses me the most.
If you are a buyer and would like to set up a tour of this beautiful penthouse, give me a call today. (I don’t believe this one will stay on the market too long!) We can also set up a tour of other available units so that you get a real good understanding of condos in this price point. If you are in need of more space, don’t overlook two available units at Waterfront Pearl. Two penthouse units at Waterfront Pearl offer over 3,000 square feet. One offers river views while the other has fantastic city views.
Brad Golik 503-896-8856
This week there were two new penthouse condos that came on the market. One was priced at $1,995,000 and the other at $2,200,000. Yesterday I toured the unit with the higher price. The agent is pushing the fact that it was named “Top 10 penthouses to die for” on MSN Real Estate… I however, was not as impressed. Let’s start with what is right with this beautiful unit. The architectural elements throughout this penthouse were very nice. Warm woods on the floors and ceiling gave a cozy feeling to the unit. But when paying over $2,000,000, cozy is maybe not the feeling I would want! Having three bedrooms and three parking spaces is a nice plus. The finishes in the bathrooms and kitchen were very nice. Now with what I did not like about this unit. I felt somewhat cramped in this 2,239 square foot unit. The main living area seemed very tight to me. While the kitchen was nice, it featured GE Monogram appliances instead of the typical higher end Sub Zero and Wolf appliances we are accustomed to seeing in this price point. The biggest disappointment was the outdoor living area. While the deck was a spacious 800+ square feet, it faces west directly into the 405 freeway noise! The freeway is only one block away. In addition, this is a mid rise building, and while yes it is a penthouse, you still have the neighbors next door at Avenue Lofts and Irving Street Lofts looking down onto your deck so not much privacy. At $2,200,000, my expectations in this price would be something more like the PH3 that sold at the Metropolitan last year for $2,240,000. That penthouse had 3,245 square feet and a massive deck that was pretty much on top of the world with total privacy in one of Portland’s most desirable buildings!
The other unit that came on the market was priced at $1,995,000 and away from the freeways in the heart of the Pearl District. Slightly larger with 2,550 square feet, this unit just lives much larger. While the deck space is smaller than the other penthouse, it still has plenty of space with 628 square feet with 3 mountain views and a much quieter location so that you would actually use your deck! This unit is in one of my favorite loft style buildings… The Elizabeth!
If you would like to tour either of these Portland penthouse units or any other luxury condominiums in Portland, give me a call and we can set up a tour and take a look at some of Portland’s most beautiful condominiums. If you are looking to buy a condo in Portland, OR., why not work with Portland’s condo specialist!
Brad Golik 503-896-8856
As we wind down the year and look back at the condo sales for November, one thing is for sure… it was a pretty good year in the condominium and loft markets! Sales for the month of November, however, were down 25% from the previous month were we had 63 sales in the area we cover, which includes the Pearl District, South Waterfront, Uptown and Downtown. These numbers are based on condo prices above $200,000.
Leading the way in November was the Waterfront Pearl which recorded 5 sales from $362,500 for a 1 bed/1 bath 1080 sq. ft unit to a 2 bed/2 bath unit with 1735 sq. ft that sold for $835,000. We had 2 condos that sold in the +$1,000,000 price range this month. The first was a penthouse condo at McKenzie Lofts which sold for $1,025,000. The second, a beautiful penthouse loft at Marshall Wells Lofts that sold for $1,515,000.
A question I get asked all the time is “Are there any deals out there?” The answer is YES! For the patient buyer, there are always condos that will get put on the market that are under priced. How is this possible you might ask. The condo market is very different the suburban residential markets. Many agents that are usually out in the suburbs don’t always have the best grasp of pricing for downtown condos. A good example of deals in the market can be seen by one of my clients recent purchase. My buyers made on offer on a loft in The Elizabeth, a building that has current litigation issues. With this problem comes the problem of financing, most banks will not finance these building so it becomes a cash only situation. Naturally, this takes many buyers out of the market and some listing agents will drop the price because of this. In my situation, my clients made an offer on a unit at the Elizabeth for $635,000. The appraisal on this unit came in at $690,000! A similar unit in the building on a lower floor is for sale at $678,000, and it only has 1 parking space.. Another was sold last month on a much lower floor. Unit #604 had less desirable views than my buyers Mt Hood view, only had 1 parking space and was virtually the same floor plan and it sold for $745,000. So, for my buyers, they were able to make a purchase at $635,000 on a unit that had 2 parking spaces, fantastic NE views, on a high floor and they paid well below the appraisal and the unit that sold this month! Yes, there are still deals in the market!
One thing to keep in mind is that while something may seem difficult, that is not always the case. There are actually a lot of all cash buyers in the market right now. In fact, 4 out of my last 5 closing have been cash buyers and they were all above $500,000.
If you are in the market to buy a condo or loft in the downtown area, please feel free to give me a call and we can get you started with a tour of the many available buildings such as The Meriwether in South Waterfront, Eliot Tower in downtown Portland or perhaps The Metropolitan or The Henry in The Pearl District. There are many great options and we would be thrilled to get you started in the search for your new home.
Also, if you have heard about the Pearl District’s newest high rise condominium project Park Central, feel free to give us a call to learn more about this fantastic new project!
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
Lately we have started to hear more realtors with ads on the radio and some now taking out billboard space. If you are like me, when someone says something, you want to believe what they are saying is true. This is not always the case. In some cases, the truth gets stretched a little bit…or a lot!
On some recent radio ads, one agent (and no we won’t name names) claimed that he sells seventeen times more homes than the average agent. This same agent also went on to say that his clients made $50,000 more on the sale of their homes than other agents. Let’s address the first comment that the agent made. To say that he made “X” amount of sales over the average agent is less impressive than it may sound. Why? Well for one, the “Average” agent doesn’t make a lot of money in this business and doesn’t sell many homes. Remember, there are many part time agents in this business. And one thing you should realize is that NONE of these part time agents will ever tell you they are part time! The fact that the agent on the radio is comparing himself to “average” agents should tell you something. Maybe that this agent isn’t being totally honest with you by not telling you the facts. The second comment that he makes is that his clients make on average $50,000 more on the sale of their home than other agents. Well… this is simply NOT true. I and many others reported this false claim to the real estate board. This agent would have to be selling $1,500,000 or higher priced homes for this to even be a realistic comment. If I had to guess, I would say this particular agents average home price is $350,000 to $400,000. Do you really believe that the buyers agents representing the buyers are letting their client overpay by $50,000 every home?
How about billboards? I was driving out Hwy 26 this weekend and saw a local broker with a billboard ad that stated they were “#1 in Luxury Homes!” The problem with this ad is that it is not honest. If you look at the luxury home market as a whole, this brokerage firm is probably not in the top 5 for luxury sales. If you look at the areas in town where there are the most luxury homes, Lake Oswego , Dunthorpe, West Linn and the West Hills… you will rarely see sales by this brokerage. If you look at a map, and narrow down to the tiny area of Bethany… yes, this brokerage firm has some luxury home sales! Is this billboard being honest? Would I have more respect for this firm if the billboard said “#1 in luxury home sales in Bethany” Yes, but to try to fool the public like this is just wrong!
Bottom line… honesty! Like any business, it all starts with honesty.
If you are in the market for a new Portland condominium and you heard that it is a sellers market based on inventory, you are probably thinking there are no deals out there! While it is true, it is harder to find deals in the market, they are out there. If you are a serious buyer and looking for Portland condominiums or lofts, you would be best served by working with an agent that specializes in that market. As a seller, no question that you should work with a condo specialist, after all, they have marketing that is directed towards buyers everyday. But what about buyers? By working with a specialist, you are working with someone who is in that market everyday and really knows the market and how to identify value. Are there values still out there? Sure, because sometimes sellers may list with an agent that does not really understand the condo market as well as they understand the housing market. This happens often!
Recently, I went to a brokers open house for a new listing of a penthouse condo in the Pearl District. After touring the unit, the agent holding the open house asked me what I thought about the units condition, floor plan and pricing. Not being shy to offer my opinion, I told him that I thought it was under priced at $925,000. I was a little surprised when the agent didn’t ask me how I came to that assumption. In fact, he seemed a little bothered by my answer. ( He did ask me for my opinion!) If he would have asked me why, I would have told him that a unit that was only slightly bigger over at The Casey just went pending at $899,000. This 6th floor unit had views that looked right into the new apartment complex that was built across the street. The Elizabeth 14th floor unit had far superior panoramic views of the city, west hills and beautiful evening sunsets from it’s spacious 35 foot deck. Another penthouse in the Pearl District had also gone pending, unit #1411 at The Henry. After sitting on the market for some time at much higher prices, this units price was dropped to $999,000 and went pending 20 days later. This penthouse condo also had great city views but was also 340 square feet smaller and was essentially a 1 bedroom, den (the den could be converted back to a second bedroom). I did mention my thoughts to another agent that day and he said “Yes but the Elizabeth has pending litigation and is cash only!” Guess what… it went pending after only 10 days!
In an earlier posting on our blog we talked about not leaving money on the table. Some agents listings will just get listed at prices lower than where they should be for a number of factors. In the example above, it may have been the agents lack of knowledge in pricing condos over houses. Perhaps the seller just wanted to unload it quickly? Either way, buyers will find deals out in the market, even in todays “sellers” market. There may not be many of them but if you are working with a specialist who is in that market everyday, your chances are much higher that you will find a great condo at a good value!
If you are in the market to buy or sell a Portland condominium, come visit one of our many condominium websites such as www.ElizabethLoft.com , www.TheCaseyCondominium.com or www.HenryCondominium.com or visit our main portal websites www.BradGolik.com and www.LuxuryCondosofPortland.com
The Penthouse at Waterfront Pearl. Looking for a spacious condo with water views? Welcome to the newest Portland penthouse listing at Waterfront Pearl! Last night I went to an evening open house of this unit and was actually impressed with the floor plan of this unit. This penthouse condo is priced at $1,049,000 and features 2 bedrooms and a den that is currently set up as a media room. While not large in terms of media rooms, it is comfortable and makes for nice space to watch your favorite movie. The total size of this unit is 1927 square feet. What I like about this particular unit is the fact that the bedrooms are very separate from the main living spaces. The kitchen is large and features Viking appliances. While the views are pretty industrial, the positive is that this unit is fairly private and does not have an adjacent building peering in on it. The water views are great, looking to the East and downriver to the North. Traffic on the Freemont Bridge in the distance offers a moving light show of entertainment at night while the boat traffic during the day is always fun to watch.
How does this unit compare to other condos priced near the $1,000,000 range? I would say pretty favorably. Lets start with the penthouse unit #1601 at Encore. Priced at $1,196,000, the Encore unit is slightly smaller. While it does have a larger deck space, the views from the Waterfront Pearl unit are much nicer. Priced at $1,199,000, unit #1411 at The Henry, in my opinion, does not compete. The Henry condominium is essentially a 1 bedroom with den with only 1620 square feet of living space and is not a penthouse floor. Originally priced at an insane price of $1,350,000, its current price is still high especially compared to the Waterfront Pearl unit that has a superior floor plan. unit #2300 at Atwater Place, priced at $1,070,000, offers 1692 square feet but is a NW corner unit…no comparison to the direct water views offered by unit #1001 at Waterfront Pearl.
If you would like to view the penthouse at Waterfront Pearl, please give us a call. We are condo specialist with a focus on the upper end of the condo market. We will negotiate aggressively on your behalf to get you the best purchase price possible. If you would like to tour other Portland penthouse condos or other Portland luxury condominiums, call Brad Golik at 503-896-8856
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