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!
Portland Condo Sales
2013 was a good year in the Portland condo market! For owners of Portland condominiums, you saw you values come back after a long downturn in the market. For those who bought a new condo in 2013, many of you were able to pick up some very good values and take advantage of the very low rates that we have seen through-out the year. For me it was a very good year as I got to meet some of the most amazing clients that I was so fortunate enough to meet. In any business, when you have the opportunity to meet really good people and include them into your circle of friends, it just doesn’t get any better. So, to all that I was able to work with in 2013… I say Thank You!
And now for some numbers!
December was actually a pretty busy month in the condo market. Sales actually jumped 10% from the previous month as we saw 52 sales in the area that we focus on which includes Downtown, The Pearl District and South Waterfront. For the year, sales jumped 62% from the previous year. We had 978 sales in the + $200,000 market, over 376 more sales than in 2012!
Leading the way in number of sales once again was Waterfront Pearl which recorded 7 sales in December. To refresh you memory on this project, it was completed at the peak of the market. Instead of selling the units, they went into the rental market. Currently, as leases come due, the units are being sold again. If you have not seen these condos at Waterfront Pearl, it is worth taking a look at as they offer some of the best views in the city! If you would like a tour, give us a call ( 503-896-8856)
As we now see the prices of condos trending upward, many owners will now start to think about selling their unit. If this is the case with you, we encourage you to give us a call as we would love to interview for the job. What makes us different is our total commitment to offering you the best condo marketing available in the city! Time and time again the National Association of Realtors has discussed how their studies show that better photographs help sell homes at a higher price. At the very minimum, make sure the agent you hire is willing to spend $100 to $250 on professional photos. If it were me selling a condo for, say $600,000 and the agent wasn’t spending $200 on quality real estate photos ( especially knowing that the agent will make somewhere around $15,000 ) This person would NOT be my agent!
As an agent, part of my commission is for the purpose of marketing. I have always believed in spending more on my marketing than typical agents. The reason is simple… you are paying me to market your condo and get it sold!
When it comes to listing properties, one of the most important things to look at is how good the agent is at marketing because, that is really what selling a home is all about. Sure, when it comes time to negotiate, you better have someone who is a fierce negotiator! One thing to look at is how good is that agent at marketing himself. This should be top on the agents list and if they can’t do a good job of marketing themselves, what makes you believe they would or could do a better job in marketing your home? Does this agent show up anywhere on searches? ( and I don’t mean when you search that agents name… of course they will show up!)
Listing a home is about SALES & MARKETING! Yet, over 95% of real estate agents don’t have a sales and marketing background. Don’t you think this is important to consider when you are about ready to pick up the phone and call the agent that helped you purchase your unit? Chances are pretty strong that they might NOT be the right agent to get the job done!
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.
So, you own a condo in a newer building that has wrapped up selling it’s units or it is getting close to that point. You are thinking about selling your condo so you are thinking about hiring, as your listing agent, one of the nice salespeople that works for the developer because you see them in the building and they always wave and say “Hi”. Is this a good thing to do or bad?
Well, if you want to hire a nice person and don’t really care about how good of marketing job your listing agents does, hire the onsite agent to sell your condo.
If you want the very best marketing program available, chances are very high that it won’t happen by working with an onsite real estate agent.
Lets talk about the facts first:
1) Yes, these agents are ALWAYS very friendly! Have you ever bought a large ticket item where the salesperson wasn’t overly friendly?
2) Onsite agents rarely are used to paying for any marketing as it has always been done by the developer of their building. I very rarely see a good job of marketing by an onsite agent. They just don’t spend the money! Here is a good example about what I am talking about. Today, a units in the $700,000 price range at the Encore, came on the market. It was listed by one of the Encore onsite agents. First let’s start by looking at the all important real estate photos ( over and over again it has been shown that good photographs help get a seller a higher price). First, lets look at the photos taken by the local onsite agent.
Next, let’s look at another listing where the agent used a professional photographer. Huge difference in brightness, clarity and quality of photos. First impression can be everything!
The onsite agent obviously did not spend any money for professional photos. Instead she choose to use her own point and shoot camera. ( did I mention that this is a $785,000 condo in which the agent stands to make about $20,000) Wouldn’t you think that an agent that gets paid a good amount of money for “Marketing” the listing would at least spend a few hundred dollars to make her clients listing stand out and have a great 1st impression? By the way, this same agent has gotten several million dollar listings and the photos for these million dollar listings were just as bad. Now you have to ask yourself, should I hire this person because she is nice? I know of many very good real estate agents who are also very nice… but they also do a very professional job.
3) You will not find any onsite agent online when searching for condos. (which also means you will not find their listings!) Agents that are good at marketing, and spending a great deal of money to do so, will show up on typical searches for condos. And if these same agents are skilled at internet marketing, your listing will have a better shot at landing in front of the right buyers!
At www.LuxuryCondosofPortland.com , we believe that to do a good job of marketing someone’s home, you must spend money to do a good job. As a condo specialist, we believe that we spend more on our internet marketing than the top 5 condo specialist combined! Why do we do this? We do it to give your condo listing the very best exposure that is possible. We will not cut corners by not hiring a professional photographer, nor will we not spend substantial money for marketing your home on the internet. You are hiring us to do a great marketing job to sell your condo…and that is what we are going to go!
I recently participated in answering a question on “Trulia Voices”. In this posting, I mentioned something about how most real estate agents try to be “all things to all people”. I am not a believer that this is an effective way to run a real estate business. You cannot possibly know everything in every area, this is why I choose the route of being a specialist in the condo and town home markets in Portland. If I were to buy a house in a certain area, I would want to work with an agent who is a strong negotiator and one that knows the area and pricing well. If I am buying a luxury home in Lake Oswego, I think I would be better served by working with an agent that specializes in that area and that price range. I don’t believe that an agent that is working all over the city can overnight become an “expert” in that area and have a good grasp on pricing for that area. The same holds true for the condo and loft markets in Portland. While an agent may be very good in the Lake Oswego and Dunthorpe luxury home market, it does not mean they would be the best choice to sell your luxury condominium! I feel this especially true in the condominium markets where you don’t have yard signs and much of the marketing is dependant on the internet.
If you are hiring an agent to sell your condo, it is very important that they have a strong internet presence in a broad array of the searches that condo buyers do. For example, a buyer is thinking about buying a condo at The Casey or The Metropolitan and does a search to check out what are the amenities at these buildings and what are the HOA fees. I can pretty much guarantee that the agents who are usually working in Lake Oswego, will not show up on these searches and neither will their listings! As someone who specializes in this area, I make sure that I do show up in these searches… and more importantly, that my listings (YOUR CONDO) shows up on these searches!
Everyday I see new condo listings come onto the market that are listed by agents who do not specialize with condos and each time I think “I wonder if their sellers knew there was a better way?”
If you are looking for a better way for your condominium to get the exposure it deserves, give us a call and we will sit down with you and show you our full marketing program for condominiums. We believe it is second to none and we would be thrilled to share it with you!
Visit us at www.LuxuryCondosofPortland.com or call us at 503-896-8856
Yesterday, like most Tuesdays, I was out and about looking at new condos on the market. I came across a new penthouse listing and went to the brokers open house for that listing. Two things really stuck out with me after viewing this penthouse condo at Bridgeport. First, you will often hear me talking about the importance of doing a good job of marketing when it comes to high end listings. One thing I have not talked much about, that I think is very important, is service! An agent is paid a commission to do a service for a client. Marketing is a huge part of this service. Also huge…and part marketing is SELLING the unit to every potential buyer and agent that you get in front of! I bring this up because I was blown away yesterday when I went to this brokers open yesterday. I was not blown away by the condo itself, while very nice. I was blown away by the fact that the listing agent said 2 words to me the entire time I was there. The 2 words that were uttered to me as I was getting ready to walk out the door was “Cool huh?” And maybe you could consider it that only one word was really said to me because “huh” really isn’t a word is it? Anyway, the point here is that the listing agent barely acknowledged that I was there… more importantly, she did not make any attempt of selling me on why I should bring potential buyers to come look at the unit! This is the whole point of going to a brokers open. As a listing agent, I want to SELL every agent that walks through the door on the many great benefits of why they should bring their clients to see the listing. It is also a way of trying to create some urgency and competition among the real estate agents. Not only did the agent not say anything to me about the penthouse unit, there were no marketing pieces either. As I left the building, one more bit of service would have been appreciated… a simple “Thanks for coming” by the listing agents co-worker that was at the front door, but that did not happen either. Not a word as I left. I couldn’t help but feel frustrated as I left this listing. Service is a part of marketing. If the initial service of having a brokers open to try to sell people on the unit failed, what will the rest of this agents marketing be like? I think I have a pretty good idea.
If you have read many of my blog posts, you probably know by now that marketing is a huge part of what I do as a condominium specialist. Why is this? Well for one thing, there are no yard signs with condominiums. The internet is where condo buyers go to search for a condo or loft. Yes my frustration as I left this listing was the fact that I didn’t have the listing. My frustration burned from the fact that I could do so much more for the seller than saying just 2 words…. ( make that 1 word) to an agent that showed up to a brokers open and is there for a reason.
In the beginning of this blog post I mentioned that there were two things that stood out about this listing… #2 PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHS…are you kidding me?
**Please read a previous post on what we have to say about photographs for listings!**
How were Portland condominium sales last month?
Answer: Very Good!
Sales for Portland condos and lofts jumped 107% over sales from February where we recorded just 28 sales in the +$150,000 markets that include The Pearl District, Downtown and South Waterfront condominiums.
Leading the way with the most sales once again was The Encore condominiums in The Pearl District with 4 sales for the month and new to the mix… condos for sale at Waterfront Pearl! Waterfront Pearl also recorded 4 sales as they emerge from being a leased property to new condo sales. Following in 3rd place was Atwater Place down in South Waterfront. In all, 58 sales were recorded in our target area and of those sales, 35 were below $500,000 and 23 were Portland condos priced above $500,000.
A question I often get asked is “How much is it to buy a 2 bedroom condo in the Pearl District”? To give you a more accurate number, it needs to be pre-qualified a little with… it depends! To get into a “Grade A” building, which most of the high and mid rise buildings are, last month a 2 bedroom unit at The Pinnacle sold for $480,000. There was also a 2 bedroom unit at the Lexis condominiums that sold for $415,000. The Lexis is in my opinion, a little lower quality building and should be priced a little bit lower. So, you can get into a 2 bedroom condo in the Pearl District for under $450,000, but it also depends on certain things, like which building it’s in, does it face directly into another building etc.Sometimes a unit just gets under-priced, like a 2 bedroom unit that was priced at $399,000 and went pending immediately. If you can move just a little distance from the Pearl District, you can find 2, 2 bedroom units for sale at Benson Tower for under $450,000. Another option might be Portland Plaza on 5th. While an older building than Benson Tower and The Eliot, it does offer a good amount of square footage for the money!
How were sales in the upper end of the market? Again, very good! In the $1,000,000 market, 2 sales happened. One was an 1820 sq. ft. penthouse at The Encore that sold for $1,125,000. Waterfront Pearl recorded 3 sales that were sold at $690,000, $815,000 and $915,000.
As we move through April, we should see a pretty active market with inventory levels still very low! There are currently 105 condos in a pending status including the beautiful penthouse at The Metropolitan that we wrote about last month. Priced at $2,249,000, in my opinion…about $200,000 too low, it went pending in 16 days. As I mentioned when I last wrote about it, it was one of my two favorite penthouses on the market. It is in a premium building, in a premium location and deserves a premium price especially when compared to the other penthouses on the market!
If you are in the market for a Portland condominium or loft, call us today to set up a tour of available units. If you are thinking about selling your condo or loft, let us show you one of the most unique and extensive marketing programs in Portland!
Remember, if you are thinking about buying or selling a Portland condominium, it doesn’t cost you to work with a condo specialist… it pays!
Recently, owners at The Meriwether in South Waterfront, have been able to begin selling their units again. For some time now, it has been “cash only” as financing was not available during the homeowners lawsuit. Currently, home owners at The Elizabeth in the Pearl District are experiencing the same thing. The homeowners association filed a lawsuit against Victaulic, a company that supplied certain plumbing fixtures including valves, pipe couplings and gaskets that have since failed. The company and the homeowners have been in mediation to resolve the situation but are still a great distance apart. Recently, Wells Fargo has been able to lend on the property.
Today we are finding out that the homeowners association at The Edge Lofts in the Pearl District have filed a lawsuit for $1,500,000 against… guess who? Yes, another lawsuit against Victaulic for the same failing pipe couplings that were failing over at The Elizabeth. Rumor has it that as many as 10 additional condominium buildings may be filing suit against Victaulic. We will keep you posted as we hear more about which buildings are also affected.
It is often said that it is not “if” a condominium will file a lawsuit, but when! This is one reason it is important to work with a condominium specialist when buying or selling a condominium. As a specialist, we are in the market everyday and know what is going on in the market place. If you are in the market to begin looking at condos or lofts, give us a call today!
Brad Golik can be reached at 503-896-8856