Thursday, February 28, 2008

$135,000!? EOS 21 Auction: A Steal or Bait

Only $135,000!? EOS 21 Condos in Alexandria Virginia just announced a condo-conversion auction of 43 units. A "Once in a Lifetime Opportunity!"

This is the second condo-conversion project to take this "liquidation" sales technique. I know I say in my blog "I told you so" a lot, well no exception here. The risks with buying new construction (or conversions) is huge when they have excess inventory. New Construction Bargains: Risks or Rewards?

So what about EOS 21? Well the auction is brought to you by the same people that held the Parkside at Alexandria auction back in October 2007 (see Parkside at Alexandria 1st post). Parkside had "starting prices" at $225,000, but ultimately got bid up to $280,000 to $290,000 (see post #2 the Results show with video). "Down" from an inflated sticker price of $340,000 (2lvl TH).

All in all they sold for maybe 5-10% off the price you could have gotten the week before with a written offer.

And now a few months later... they STILL have units that are priced starting at $290,000 (and there are a ton of short sales on the MLS in Parkside) which is just about what they went for at auction time.


POSSIBLE BIAS ALERT! One thing that really ticks me off is the buyer agent broker offering. They offer only 1% to the buyer agent. In Virginia 95% of the time the offer is 3%. Why would they want to discourage a buyer from having an agent???? Um, because then the agent can get in the way of the transaction and actually represent their client.

So even though I write this post and people will learn about the auction, I won't take any clients to this auction unless they make up the difference. Why?

1) They will not go for anywhere near $135,000, so I won't even get the 1% ad it will be a wait of time for me.
2) My buyer agent contracts state what I get paid, so a buyer would have to make up the difference.
3) But even if a buyer is ok with paying #2, see #1.
Unless you are SERIOUS about bidding up to 90% of list price, and agree to pay my fee, then I can help you. I know, damn greedy Realtors! Why won't they waste 5 hours with me for that Once In A Lifetime!

Why would they want to DISCOURAGE REPRESENTATION??
So you won't know your rights. Did you know that you can still back out of the contract, even after the auction, if you don't approve of the HOA docs? These auctions do not trump the HOA review period (it does for a foreclosure).

(Sidenote, the "out" that you have is a double-edged sword. Because people know they have an "out" they will probably be MORE comfortable bidding $20,000 higher, so don't just see it as a win win for you)

Disclaimer: EOS gave me permission to post their ad, as long as they reserved the right to ask me to take it down if they don't like the blog post. I'm curious to see if they will request for the ad (not the blog post) to be removed.

- Written by Frank Borges LL0SA Broker

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Clarendon 1021 Green Day

A couple of months ago, Clarendon 1021 held a GREEN DAY.

They invited several merchants and Fresh AIRE – Arlington Initiative to Reduce Emissions to teach residents how to reduce energy and recycle. This initiative was created by several owners at 1021 that are very environmentally aware and they work with management to make everything as Green as possible.

Here is AIRE's blog about this event.

Here are some more photos of the Green Event at Clarendon 1021.

For a list of active for sale, go to a
nd the blog and video walking tour can be found on the other blog post on Clarendon 1021 in Arlington

- Written by Frank Borges LL0SA- Owner of a unit at 1021

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Phoenix Condos in Arlington Va Reviewed. Pros & Cons ie Fire Dept

The Phoenix Condo in Clarendon Arlington Virginia (video tour) was completed in 2007.

After two other Arlington Condos, including Zoso went "non-condo" there was speculation whether or not Phoenix would continue their condo project. While they had 100+ units under contract, the risks were high. Subsequently they decided to go for it. And as expected, many people backed out of their contract (ask for details).

I live in Clarendon 1021, just around the corner. I have a strong bias toward that building, but I'll do my best in comparing the two.

Background: The Phoenix initially priced their units at the TOP of the market, comparable to 1021. The first 10 sellers of Clarendon 1021 made a $80,000 profit (now they lose $25k). That is when Phoenix priced their "Pre-construction" prices. A 2 bedroom in 1021 went as high as $670,000, now you can get a similar one for $570,000. A $100,000 price drop. Now do you see why people forfeited (and some fought, ask for details) their $35,000 deposits at Phoenix?

So now the question is if you like Clarendon (side note, all my friends that bought in Courthouse or Ballston, they all meet up... in Clarendon), is the Phoenix a "deal?" Yes it is less expensive after subsequent price drops versus 1021, but I go at length in my post about the risks with new construction.

Blatant side note: I know many of you think Realtors are worthless. You have two legs right? You can just walk on into a new construction. You don't need no stinking agent! Well maybe, just maybe, we know a thing or two that might help you. Don't like my style, find somebody else. Whatever you do, have somebody on YOUR side. Oh, and did I mention, there is no additional cost to you.

Anyhow, here are a few photos of ThePhoenixCondo :

Phoenix Condos ArlingtonPhoenix Condos ArlingtonPhoenix Condos ArlingtonPhoenix Condos Arlington

Here are another 28 photos of The Phoenix Condos in Arlington
I have more photos of units, but those can't be published online without seller permission. But I can email them to you upon request.

  1. Less expensive. For the most part this is true. But if there is a bank owned 1021 unit, you might get a similar price.
  2. Built to be a condo. Meanwhile 1021 was built to be an apartment complex, and was later converted. Builders cut more corners for apartments complexes.
  3. Nicer appliances
  4. Rooftop pool, slightly deeper pool and larger areas for events, but no DC view.
  5. Large party room (the one at 1021 was sold off! as a unit)

  1. Fire Department! Is located just behind the building. So depending on where your unit is located, the noise will be a factor for many buyers.
  2. Large remaining inventory to sell. What if they auction off units like Parkside Alexandria.
  3. No Hot-Tub. Clarendon 1021 has a great rooftop, now with an outdoor HotTub that is even on during the winter. With a monument view.
  4. No Monument Views. An apartment complex blocks any Washington Monument view.
  5. Cathedral View? Currently yes, some units have a Cathedral view. However, last week a 12 story building was announced. Just over Clarendon Grill. I have asked the sales team to look into whether this would block any unit's views. They are looking into it, they didn't know about the upcoming building (see above why it helps to have somebody on your side asking the right questions, all for no extra cost to you)
So the location is great. The price is currently lower than other Clarendon Condos, but there are many things to weigh in making the right choice.

I'd like to open this forum up for people to list other pros and cons (when comparing Clarendon condos) that I might have missed.

Written by Frank Borges LL0SA- Broker