Yesterday I attended a Mastermind meeting that was an invite only meeting for some of Portland’s top agents. The speaker was very good and covered many good real estate topics. One thing that stood out to me though was something very simple and something we, as agents, hear every year. The National Association of Realtors does a survey every year with real estate customers asking them what is the most important thing to them in working with an agent. You might be thinking it should be a “Knowledgable” agent or something about commissions. Once again the #1 answer was honesty! Buyers and sellers want an honest agent, someone they can trust to have their backs.
I bring this up in my blog because of some recent things I have seen in the market. One of those things is the recent bombardment of ads from Redfin and their new 1% listing fee. Right out of the gate, they are missing the #1 thing people want from their broker, honesty! That 1% listing fee is very misleading because the actual cost to the seller is 3.5% ( On top of the 1% they still have to pay the buyer’s agent 2.5%) One of the reasons that the Redfins and Zillows of the world are not doing great is because they are corporations that care about the bottom line…and not the client! Starting off with a lie, in any business, is not your best way to build trust! Unlike the corporations, agents are independent contractors ( even if they work for a larger chain brokerage firm) These independent contractors care about their clients more …it is their livelihood at stake.
I see many ads that are misleading or just plain wrong. I recently saw a website of a new agent. On their website and Instagram site, they state that they are a “Luxury Home” specialist! It is very funny to me, and not exactly honest, that someone who has not been in the market but a few months and not sold a home over $700,000 claims to be a “Luxury Home” specialist? The worst thing is that I know this person. I really wanted to call her and say to her that the #1 thing people want is honesty and you are starting off with something that is not true. I did not call her because I feel it is not my place to do so, but I wish somebody would because it would do her more good in the long run.
Honesty comes in many different forms. I very much appreciate agents that are trying to get a new listing that are honest in their pricing! I see so often agents that overpromise the pricing to get a listing over another agent. What happens in the end is VERY familiar, the home sits on the market forever with no offers, the agent then starts doing multiple price reductions and then finally the home sells well below where it should have if it were priced correctly. Unfortunately that agent still gets rewarded and the agent that was honest in their pricing, the one that might have sold it for a higher price , gets nothing!
There are many really good agents out there. There are many that give you all that they have to do the job right…and that means putting their needs aside and working for the clients best interest to capture the best price for their clients and take care of all of their needs.
In years to come, you may have multiple options in selling your home. We have begun to see programs that are trying to disrupt the way homes are sold. The interesting thing here is that none of these new programs care about getting you a premium when you sell. It is just about selling the home and collecting a fee. I know, as a person that has been in real estate for 15 years, if I had someone sell a house for me it would be someone that I know has my back and truly cares about me and my finances. It would be someone that I know would spend money to market my home in many different avenues to give it the most exposure ( the big corporate discounters will NOT be doing this!) When an agent does this, more times than not, they will sell that home for a premium price…a price that far exceeds the amount of discount that the corporation says they will be “Saving” you.
Please visit my page on marketing: http://www.luxurycondosofportland.com/marketing
In the end it all gets back to what clients are looking for…honesty! The client can be reassured that the person they hired really does care about them and their finances. The agent is upfront from the beginning ( no bate and switch) They can be comfortable in knowing that that the price they are suggesting is accurate and in the end, that agent will do everything that they said they would do!
Brad Golik is a condominium specialist with Total Property Resources and LuxuryCondosofPortland.com You can reach him at 503-896-8856 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Any agent can continuously reduce pricing of a condo…and at some point, it will sell! Our goal is not to just sell a condo but to maximize the price for the seller and still sell in a reasonable amount of time. There are many agents out there that do little to no marketing for their listings because they believe it will sell on it’s own by just being in the MLS (see Redfin) Some think they can get away with only point and shoot photos and that is the extent of their “Marketing”. I am here to say that as things slow down an agent must get that listing in front of buyer’s and buyer’s agents as often as possible. I have seen many agents get fired because of their lack of advertising a listing… I have yet to see an agent fired because they did too much advertising! Now, doing a lot of advertising does not mean that is the best route. But when you combine a good quality campaign around a listing, feature it often in a classy, professional way, I believe the quality of the offers, not just the quantity of offers that come in will also be better!
Brad Golik is a condominium specialist with Total Property Resources and LuxuryCondosofPortland.com You can reach Brad at 503-896-8856 or by email at email@example.com
Brad Golik is a condo specialist with LuxuryCondosofPortland.com and Total Property Resources in the Pearl District. You can reach Brad at 503-896-8856 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Yesterday morning I was at a coffee shop reviewing new condo listings that just came on the market. I noticed that the lady next to me was looking at my laptop watching what I was doing. After not too long, she asked me if I was a real estate agent. I said that I was…and then she unloaded with a recent experience she had had in buying a condo. The woman, whom I will call Jan, told me she had such a frustrating experience with the agent she had used. To make matters even worse, this agent also happened to be an agent that was referred to her by a friend of hers. As I dug a little deeper to how this agent was referred, it turns out the friend referred her because she was a very nice person! Now I have been in this business for almost 15 years and the one thing I can say is there are MANY nice people in the business. But, I can also say that many of these same people are not agents that I would hire knowing what I know! Jan told me that it was very frustrating during the searching period because this agent knew very little about the condominium market. She said she spent so much time walking around buildings looking for lockboxes…and this was her first clue that she did not deal with condominiums very often. The second thing that she said was frustrating was that whenever she asked her about the pricing of a condo they looked at, the standard answer was “It seems fairly priced!”
This is a very typical situation that I see all of the time in the Pearl District, South Waterfront and Downtown. Many buyers may get referred to an agent that a friend suggest…maybe an agent they had used or heard about out in the suburbs. The condo market is very different than dealing with homes out in Lake Oswego or Tigard. I have often written on the importance of working with a specialist. If I were selling a home in Lake Oswego, you can bet that I would want to use an agent that sells there often and knows the pricing and other aspects of selling in that area or at the very least, someone that is VERY good with marketing! Same goes with condos and lofts. I have often said to sellers that a typical agent cannot just flip on a switch and be great at marketing to condo buyers when 99.5% of their time they are marketing to buyers of suburban homes…in several different areas!
One of the reasons you hire an agent is for their expertise and knowledge, or at least it should be! An agent can be nice, but they also need to know what they are doing. Being nice is fine but when it comes to negotiating, that agent needs to be tough and always put their clients best interest first and not “cave” with another agent that is tougher with negotiating! When the time comes for a person to sell their condo, a condo specialist is even more important! Having an agent that is constantly marketing to condo buyers is important. Hiring an agent that spends most of their time marketing to buyers looking in Tigard, Gresham or Wilsonville may not be the best way to go…even if that agent is a very nice person!
Jan said the last straw was when she got to closing she was surprised that she had to pay a Move-in/Move-Out fee that was close to $400 and also was shocked to find out she had to pay a 1 time capital contribution fee equal to 2 months HOA fees… 2 things her agent never mentioned because she did not know about. (this is disclosed in the HOA documents) I felt bad for Jan but it is something I see all of the time.
Every week as I look at new listings, as I was doing in the coffee shop, I am amazed at the number of new listings that come on the market that are listed by agents that don’t deal with condominiums. The one thing that always amazes me is I never get a postcard or an email about their condo listing! As a condo specialist, I make sure that every agent that deals with condos and lofts gets a video about my new condo listing. Why? Because I know that the other agents that deal with condos often have their pipelines filled with CONDO buyers!
I enjoyed my conversation with Jan and in the process met a new friend over a cup of coffee! In time, hopefully Jan will refer me to a friend. But hopefully, it will not be because I am nice. Hopefully it will be because I am nice…with knowledge!
Brad Golik is a condominium specialist with http://www.LuxuryCondosofPortland.com and Total Property Resources in the Pearl District. You can reach Brad at 503-896-8856
Follow us on either Instagram ( #pearlcondos ) or on our condo blog ( TheCondoPulse.com ) and get your chance to win a $100 gift card to Brix Tavern in the Pearl District! Winner will be drawn the end of April…don’t miss out on a chance to dine at one of the Pearl Districts “Favorite” places to eat!
Yesterday I listed a condo at KOIN Towers Fountain Plaza. With the “New and Shiny” buildings we have recently seen, like The Cosmopolitan, it’s nice to be able to go back in time a bit and revisit buildings like KOIN Tower. At the end of last year I sold a unit at KOIN/Fountain Plaza on the 27th floor for $1,750,000. It was a large unit with spectacular views. My new listing, just one floor below, and again, it provides some of the best views in the city! This northwest corner unit offers sensational sunset views to the west, amazing Mt. St. Helens and Mt Adams views to the north and Willamette River views to the northwest. This 1950 square foot unit has wonderful open spaces…and those amazing views! The best part of all, at $929,000, you are getting this for under $500 a square foot! Now remember, 26th floor views at The Cosmopolitan went for over $1,100 a square foot! OK, now the KOIN Tower is NOT The Cosmopolitan, but it represents luxury at a good value!
I believe we are at the beginning of a major transition in the KOIN building. Many of the original owners are gone and a newer, more thrifty demographic is buying in. There are not many condo buildings being built right now (The Vista) and I can see moving forward, many buyers recognizing the potential and value in a building like KOIN Tower/Fountain Plaza.
While current owners at the KOIN have not really participated in the run up of prices the last 10 years, buyers today will find a high quality building with unmatched views and will benefit tremendously moving forward. The area around KOIN Tower is also improving with several hotels with new restaurants, and a high- end grocery store. I cannot really think of a better time to buy at KOIN/Fountain Plaza than right now. To set up a time to see unit #2604, give me a call and be ready to be wowed by some awesome views! If you would like to tour this fantastic unit, give me a call today!
Video at: Aerial KOIN Tower
Brad Golik is a condo specialist at LuxuryCondosofPortland.com and Total Property Resources, LLC. You can contact Brad at 503-896-8856 or at email@example.com
One debate I often hear is whether a real estate agent should represent both sides of a transaction. The question lies on whom you represent. I have been in real estate for 13 years and have done transactions where I represented both sides. I have guidelines that I personally use when deciding whether or not I would feel comfortable in doing so. Here are the things I consider:
1) Is it a win-win situation for both parties? In other words, is the seller getting what they wanted or maybe a little bit more? Is the buyer happy with the price and it is reasonable?
2) Did the listing stay on the market long enough to give the sellers an indication of demand, or lack of?
3) Are there good comps that support the price that the buyer is paying? If not, and I am selling for a record price in the building, I would not touch dual agency with a 10-foot pole! This is where it gets very tricky. If I am a listing agent, and I am selling for a record price, and there are no comps that justify my pricing…I just hit a grand slam for my selling clients! If the buyer’s agent allowed their client to pay that amount, well let’s just say I don’t want to be THAT agent! Especially as a dual agent! NEVER! Now I will say there have been times where I represented clients that had so much money they just did not care about the price, they just wanted the condo. In that situation, you make sure that you document that conversation.
Regarding #3, this is where representation comes into play. As a dual agent whom do you represent? You should be representing buyer and seller equally. But how is this possible when you have a situation like above? If you are getting a record price for your sellers, and there are NO COMPS to support the price, how can you be the buyer’s agent and say “I did a good job for my clients”? The answer: You can’t!
If this same agent acted only as the buyer’s agent, you can bet that he would be hammering on the seller’s agent that the unit is at a record price and might be overpriced? Now, records are meant to be broken. So how much of a record price is it? Is it $10 to $30 a square foot more? That is reasonable. Is it $50 to $100 a sq. foot more? This is when you have real problems. For one, the property would most likely not appraise. But what if the buyer is paying cash and an appraisal is not required? Well then the buyer is really at risk. This is when they REALLY should have a separate agent. ( and for peace of mind, the cash buyer might still consider getting the property appraised).
In multiple-offer situations, if an agent is representing both sides, he or she better make sure that their buyer’s client is the best offer! If it is, the listing agent and the seller are making the final decision as to which offer to select. In this situation, there is no problems in representing both.
So bottom line: If both parties are happy and well educated on pricing, and there are good comps to support the purchase and sale, there are no problems.
On the flip side. If there is a big difference in price from the comps, especially if it is a record price in the building for the seller or huge discount for a buyer. This is when you need two agents fighting it out for their client’s best interest. I would never do dual agency in this situation!
Brad Golik is a luxury condo specialist with LuxuryCondosofPortland.com and Pearl District Properties in Portland, OR. You can reach him at one of his websites including http://www.LuxuryCondosofPortland.com and www.PortlandPenthouse.com or by calling him at 503-896-8856
Upcoming Penthouse listings
A short time ago I wrote about the possibility of a $6 million penthouse listing that might be coming on the market. The owner loves the unit and is waffling a little whether he should sell it or not. As of this time, the owner is still undecided so I will post more as I hear. If you are looking for a full-floor penthouse in this price range, contact me and I can fill you in on the details.
Today I am writing about another penthouse that will be coming on the market soon. I was originally interviewed to list the property but unfortunately, the owners did not like the numbers I explained to them . I will say, I am usually right more often than wrong on pricing a condo and for this unit, I feel my numbers were very accurate as I have sold 7 of the last 14 units in the building. Of more importance, I sold the unit directly below this unit less than a year ago. The floor plans are identical! The one coming to market is a penthouse unit, so you would pick up about 12 inches of ceiling height. The unit I listed sold was for $1.1 million, and sold for over asking price. The $525 per square foot sales price tied a record of another unit in the building I had sold. For the penthouse listing, I told the owners I was going to push for another record price for the building and gave them my number. They were not satisfied with the number and thought the number should be MUCH higher! Their reasoning was not unusual from what I hear from others…they thought their unit was much better than the unit I sold below theirs and they also thought their unit was way better than another unit that sold in the building for $1.35 million.
From an agents (and a buyers) standpoint, the $1.35 million unit had better river and bridge views. In addition, it had 650 square feet more, and it had a third bedroom. Yet the sellers of this penthouse thought theirs was better and the price should correspond to their thinking. Now the owners did have a couple upgrades in this unit that the others did not. Let’s look at these. The TV was hidden behind a mirror and appeared with the touch of a button…kind of cool in a James Bond kind of way. Another upgrade was a white wood-like tile floor that the sellers really liked. The problem here is that I believe that 90% of potential buyers would rip up the tile and replace with something else, so it’s not really an upgrade. So what are the true values of these “upgrades”? The James Bond hidden TV was probably $3,000 to $5,000. Other than these two things, the unit was essentially the same as the unit that I sold below for $1.1 million. What is the extra 12 inches of ceiling height worth to someone? $50,000? So now we have a premium of $55,000. I told the owners I could sell it for around $1,200,000, maybe a little more. That’s an additional 5% over the number of $1,1550,000. It was not enough!
Now, because I don’t have the listing, I would love to find the buyer because I do love the unit and it’s views, (the photo above is views from the unit) but, at the right price for my client! I am not sure what price the listing agent will come out with, but I know it will be high. As your buyers agent, I will fight to get you a good price on this unit. If you are looking for a beautiful penthouse with amazing views, (The above photos are the views from this unit!) this could be the one! But, only at the right price. I will work to negotiate a good price for you and I know this building better than anyone. If we can’t get you that price, walk away!
If you are looking for a great penthouse unit in Portland, give me a call at 503-896-8856
Brad Golik is a luxury condominium specialist at Pearl District Properties and LuxuryCondosofPortland.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 503-896-8856.
Because I was short of time this week, I thought I would do a video post!
Recently a friend came by my office and we began discussing real estate. This friend often reads my blog post, and in our conversation, he mentioned that I hammer on the issue of agents not using professional photos. He also said that he could not believe that there were that many agents who don’t use professional photos, knowing that it has been shown that great photos help sell homes faster and for more money. So, why not hire a professional photographer? It is hard to explain.
To prove my point, I asked my friend to pick any condo building in Portland. He looked at our inventory sheet and saw that Waterfront Pearl had more listings than other buildings, so I used that building as an example. In my opinion, EVERY listing should have great photos, especially higher-end listings. In this example I will use listings priced at $750,000 or higher. Currently at Waterfront Pearl there are 6 listings above $750,000 (they are priced from $798,000 to $1,049,000) Of these 6, only 2 of the 6 listings have used professional photography! Again people, these are $800,000+ condos for sale!
To say that my friend was shocked is a huge understatement. His comment: “Why would someone hire an agent who does not care enough to do their best for their client?” Hmmm… where have I heard this before? Why would an agent not spend a few hundred dollars in an attempt to gain thousands more for the client? And if that agent is not spending money to do a nice job on the photos do you think they are going to spend money on doing a nice video, expensive print material or internet marketing? Probably not.
The National Association of Realtors has shown time and time again that homes listed with high-quality photos sell for more money. If you are an agent who doesn’t spend on professional photos, you might as well be telling your clients upfront that you just don’t care what their home sells for! Harsh? Maybe. True? You be the judge.
Brad Golik is a condominium specialist at LuxuryCondosofPortland.com and Pearl District Properties. If you would like to see any listed condo or loft, call Brad today at 503-896-8856.