Top 5 Ways to Shoot Your Leavenworth Condo Project in the Foot

1. Price it high

 

You are not the first builder or developer to build condos in Leavenworth. Lots of price data exists, the closer you pay attention to that data, the quicker your project will sell. You're right "no one has built 10,000 square foot uber - condos made of gold" in Leavenworth, but that doesn't make it a viable niche.

 

2. Shun local real estate agents

 

Real estate agents tend to sell a majority of homes and condominiums. Most serious out of town buyers (and most Leavenworth buyers are from out of the area) are using a real estate agent to help them purchase a home.

 

Which agents sell homes in Leavenworth? No surprise, agents who work in Leavenworth. Despite 75% or more of the buyers being from the Puget Sound area, only a tiny fraction of homes sold are by out of area agents.

 

If you choose not to use an agent to list your condos, local agents will not sell them. It's too much work and the tools that could be promoting your condos are promoting someone else's. (MLS and related search engines)

 

3. Office Exclusive Listing

 

This is a takeoff on number 2. An "office exclusive" listing is one where a real estate company lists a property but does not cooperate with other brokers or place the listing on the MLS. In the Seattle area this practice is forbidden among members of the NWMLS. It is allowed in Leavenworth.

 

Again, if your home or condo is not on the MLS, it is INVISIBLE. In fact, if your home is listed with a Seattle area agent, it's also INVISIBLE. Real estate agents and buyers use tools that let them see the most active listings. This tool in Leavenworth is the NCW MLS.

 

Here's a sad story I have heard about two different projects in Leavenworth. An agent in my office (Windermere in Leavenworth) calls another real estate office (this happened at two different companies) and asked them for more info about a condo project they had. It hadn't started construction yet, but the agent claimed that all were sold out. To date NOT ONE UNIT has closed.

 

In the other example, an agent called for info and was told that this other project was sold out as well. She suggested that the agent create a waiting list in case some of the transactions happened to fall through. Only 50% of that condo development has sold at this point.

 

Office exclusives are about greed. Greedy people starve in the end.

 

4. Location, location, location

 

Have you heard this before? Downtown Leavenworth is good, close to recreational amenities is good. The real key in Leavenworth is the ability to use the condo as a nightly rental. For the most part, this is a function of location. In Leavenworth, condominiums zoned for Commercial Use can be rented out as vacation rentals, condos zoned for Multi-Family Residential cannot be rented out nightly. At least one project in Leavenworth is going to learn this lesson the hard way.

 

Two current Leavenworth condo projects made it hard on themselves and lost valuable time on market. They were zoned for Commercial Use, but created covenants (CCRs) that prohibited nightly rentals. This was a big hole to dig out of, and though the CCRs are gone, I think they missed their time in the spotlight. (See number 5.)

 

5. Hype

 

Condo buyers are looking for good value, but they are also looking for the hottest coolest thing around. Days on Market probably matter more to condo buyers than other folks buying Leavenworth real estate. If a condo has been on the market for 180 days buyers assume it has problems.

 

The typical Leavenworth condo project has missed out on the hype that comes with a new project. How did they miss out? Office exclusives, For Sale By Owner, Restrictive Covenants, etc, etc.

 

New condo projects should have lots of hype. Throw a big party and invite everyone. Make it easy for agents to show and sell your property. Buyers can't get excited if their agents aren't excited.

 

6. Dismiss the Internet as a Fad

 

I know the article says top 5 reasons, but I'm all about adding value. Today you get 6.

 

Over 80% of home buyers use the Internet to search for homes. This number is higher among the affluent. It's also safe to assume that the number is higher than the national average in high tech Seattle and among vacation buyers looking for property 2+ hours from home.

 

I know you want to spend money on newspaper ads and glossy magazine spreads, but the web sells homes. I know you want an agent to do 8 open houses a week, but the web sells homes.

 

Build a great website. Use lots of photos, use virtual tours or video, have floor plans and prices available. Use SEO to make sure that you come up on the top of the list for Google and the other search engines. Most projects in town can't be found on the Internet for their own name, much less "Leavenworth Condos" or "Leavenworth Condos For Sale".

 

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Comments

Hi Geordie, This is an excellent list. Good job, as usual.

Do you think there will be a demand/market for upscale condo projects in the future?

I think it depends what you mean by upscale. I think condo buyers would love to buy a condo on the river and they love granite countertops and 10 foot ceilings. I also think that larger units with more bedrooms will sell. The question is how much they are willing to pay. If the median sold price of a condo is $300,000 and no unit is selling for more than $400,000 I wouldn't try and put units on the market for $600,000. Condo buyers, like everyone else, are looking for value. Value comes in many price ranges.

Ben at Seattle Condos and Lofts blog just wrote an article about what happens when condo projects do "shoot themselves in the foot". The bank ends up auctioning the units. http://seattlecondosandlofts.com/2008/03/condos-go-on-the-auction-block<br/><br/>I hope this doesn't happen to any Leavenworth condos, but it certainly is a good reason to pay attention to market forces.

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Allyson and Geordie Romer

Leavenworth real estate agents - Allyson and Geordie Romer

For over a decade, Allyson and Geordie have been serving clients in the Leavenworth-area real estate market. Together, they work tirelessly to stay on top of the regional market and present the most relevant opportunities to their clientele.

When not in the office, they can be found exploring the endless recreation opportunities of the area in all of its seasons.

 

Testimonials

 

Geordie provided excellent real estate representation! We appreciated his detailed knowledge of the market, his up front and honest approach, and his negotiation skills.
As reviewed on Zillow  – 

- Laura Anderson

 

 

As “west siders” looking for a getaway near Leavenworth, Geordie provided insight … his knowledge of design features important in a “snowy winter wonderland” was appreciated. Thanks Geordie!
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Geordie made this somewhat complicated transition easier for us…going above and beyond to help us work through issues that came up during the sale of our parents home. We appreciated his knowledge, attentiveness to details and his willing spirit.
Our family is grateful for Geordie!
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- Terry Foster

 

 

Geordie was great in every way. We have been looking in the Leavenworth area for some time, and Geordie was absolutely the best for local knowledge, history and depth on neighborhoods, developments and the local market trends. He was very quick to respond (even when he was on his vacation) and worked very diligently to get all of our questions answered in a very timely fashion. We would recommend him highly to anyone looking to buy or sell a home. Very friendly, and helped us navigate all of the local options before we made an offer on the property that we purchased. Thank you, Geordie!

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- Ryan Olsen

 

 

It was such a pleasure to work with Geordie and his wife, Allyson on our cabin purchase. They showed us a variety of locations, listened to what we wanted and helped us find the perfect match. Everything was smooth and not stressful, just relaxed and easy. We would definitely recommend Geordie and use him again if the need arises!

As reviewed on Zillow  – 

- Cammie Schlosser

 

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