World Loves Louisville; Fodor’s Says “Go!”

You know who Fodor’s is, right? You don’t?!? Ok, I didn’t either, until I looked it up found out that they’re the “world’s largest publisher of English language travel and tourism information” so… they’ve got that going for them.

Fodor's take on why the World loves Louisville
Beautiful shot of a Woodford bottle that contains, uh… the best stuff on the planet–bourbon!

Well, since they obviously know a thing or two about great places to select for travel, it makes sense that the world loves Louisville because, well… Louisville is awesome!

Fodor’s made sure to include Louisville, Kentucky (special highlight to bourbon) as part of their Go List 2015. Here’s part of what they had to say.

Why Go Now: Amid the ongoing bourbon renaissance, Kentucky is ready for its close-up. In the rolling hills outside Louisville, bourbon distilleries give memorable tours through historic warehouses and production facilities, topped with flavorful tastings of the state’s signature drink. You can visit a handful of distilleries and still have time for a late-afternoon horse ride through the Kentucky bluegrass. In Louisville, the foodie scene continues to thrive, whether in high-end restaurants like Proof on Main or hipster joints like Garage Bar. At night, hit the Urban Bourbon Trail to sample some of the brands you missed during your distillery tours. Along with sleek hotels like 21C Museum Hotel and top-notch museums, there’s everything you need here for an eventful long weekend.

Sounds like they mean business. Gotta get in on that hot, bourbon action people.

For the full blow write-up, head over to Fodor’s take on Bourbon Country and Louisville, Kentucky.

Best Places to Travel in United States 2015, Says Louisville

Photo of a NuLu festival in Louisville, Kentucky
The rejuvenated NuLu area of Louisville is really shaking some things up.

Sure, everyone in the United States loves talking about traveling abroad but we have some great places right here. Travel & Leisure Magazine put together there list this year in part of it includes the Best Places to Travel in United States 2015.

I’m going to gloss over exotic locales like Fez, Morocco or Rotterdam, Netherlands and just hit on the best places here in the good ole U.S.A. Because you know why? Louisville, Kentucky made the list! Woot!

Here’s what the fine author had to share about our favorite place, home:

Louisville has long been famous for its bourbon, and if it’s the dark stuff you’re after, there are almost two dozen distilleries happy to oblige with tastings. Most are in the surrounding countryside, but you no longer need a car to get your fix: Evan Williams, the first urban distillery since Prohibition, flung open its doors on Whiskey Row in November 2014, with seven other spirits distillers soon to join the newly coined Urban Bourbon Trail. The city center is also making room for five new hotels in 2015, including an Aloft. For a taste of Louisville’s most happening neighborhood, head to NuLu, about a mile from downtown and a case study in urban revival, with critically acclaimed restaurants (Decca, Proof on Main), concept shops (Please & Thank You, Scout), and its own hipster flea market.

Yeah, we know we’re pretty great.

So what about the other Best Places to Travel in United States in 2015? Out of a total of 50 places worldwide, only 12 came from the United States. I’ve listed them below, with a comment or two.

  • Catskills, New York Pretty scenery sure just don’t visit in the Winter. Better skiing elsewhere.
  • Cleveland, Ohio Most surprising place on the list. They do have the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame though…
  • Durham, North Carolina Much like Louisville, Durham has some great amenities. We both need better branding!
  • Houston, Texas After a major recession, Houston bounces back strong. Gotta like San Antonio too!
  • Las Vegas, Nevada Unique offering of things to do, places to see, uh… and other stuff.
  • Louisville, Kentucky Hometown favorite. Spread the word!
  • Manhattan, New York You have to visit Manhattan once in your life. Nothing like it.
  • Maui, Hawaii No brainer, right? Other than the 72 hour flight, what’s not to like?
  • Miami, Florida Amazing weather is a lodestone. Lots to do. I approve.
  • Orlando, Florida If you have kids, yes. If no kids, better options available.
  • Palm Springs, California Sure it’s warm, sometimes hot and often scalding but not sure it’s “must-see.”
  • Wasatch Mountains, Utah Some of the best skiing on the planet. Park City is a gem.

So there you have it. Planning a trip in 2015 and considering a destination? Consider coming here to Louisville! Basically, we’re a Top 12 Best Places to Travel in United States. We’ll pour you a bourbon.

Does a bad Louisville appraisal got you down?

Photo of angered woman looking at her bad Louisville appraisal
This lady is shocked to see the bad Louisville appraisal for her home! Are you kidding me?

Did you just get a bad Louisville appraisal on your home? Is the value so far from what your Realtor told you? Don’t feel bad, or maybe you should, because this happens all the time.

Real world, real bad Louisville appraisal

Ok, let’s begin with a real-life example. Names have been removed to protect the innocent.

  • September 2010: Louisville appraisal for 123 Maple St. came back with a value of $355,000.
  • July 2012: Louisville appraisal for 123 Maple St. came back with a value of $305,000.
  • February 2015: Louisville appraisal for 123 Maple St. came back with a value of $342,000.

So, let’s digest this a bit. It looks bad, doesn’t it?

The Appraiser
Does the home appraiser hold too much power in today’s real estate transaction? One bad Louisville appraisal usually kills the deal.

Louisville real estate in 2010 was smack-dab in the middle of the worst housing recession our country has seen in some time. The Louisville appraiser knows this (assumedly) given that this is his full-time job.

Nonetheless, the home’s value is set. As a Realtor, I saw this value as far too high, thus a bad appraisal.

Jump ahead two short years and the very same house, is the very same condition appraised for $50,000 less?! I mean, we’re not Las Vegas or Naples where home values ride roller coaster like ups and downs. What’s going on here?

Just in the same way that the first bad appraisal was off by a good amount, this one was as well… just in the other direction.

Three more years and the home has the entire first floor covered with new, gorgeous hardwood floors. I’ve seen the house, they really look great.

Also, about 1,000 square feet of their basement has been finished with high-end vinyl plank flooring, a full bath with modern vanity, toilet and shower and other high-end finishes.

So, where does this our most recent appraisal land? Cover your eyes and toss a dart… $342,000.

Ok, let’s discuss what should have been down so that bad Louisville appraisal aren’t the norm. It’s simple really, just follow the steps.

Step 1: Choose the correct valuation method

There are many ways to create a report. A good number of online services make it EZPZ but that doesn’t make them good.

The only method that’s worthwhile is the manually-adjusted comparative market analysis. More than likely, you’ve heard the term CMA. But unless the CMA is done by manually adjusting many criteria, it’s junk. The more criteria adjusted, the better the results.

Step 2: Choose the best comps

Next, in order for the result to be of value, solid comps must be used. Comps are homes that have sold, not listed, not pending but SOLD. Appraisers really show their ignorance when they throw an Active Listing into their appraisal.

Comps must be truly comparable to the subject property. Is the subject property a Ranch? Comps should be ranches too. Have a finished basements? Use comps that also have finished basements. Large lot? You get the idea.

This might be a challenging task but if you don’t choose the best comps, everything falls apart.

Just like the old saying goes, “Garbage in, garbage out.”

Step 3: Manually adjust 8-14 home attributes

Now the real work begins!

This is where so many appraisers just skimp or cheat. In the 2015 appraisal listed above, the lazy Louisville appraiser only adjusted a one criteria, square foot, on two of the three comps used. That’s crazy!

That third comp? He adjusted two criteria. Unreal.

When I create a professional CMA for one of my clients, it’s a two to three hour affair. If you want a solid value, it takes work. Otherwise, we’d all just bring up the infamous Zestimate and take our chances.

What to do

In today’s heavily regulated marketplace, the only recourse is patiently explained request for modification. Most appraisers don’t care and won’t modify but it doesn’t hurt to try.

Have your Realtor work up the best comps that might lead the appraiser to improve the value and possibly save your deal.

Top 10 Louisville Stereotypes That Are 100% True

“Stereotypes do exist, but we have to walk through them.” -Forest Whitaker

But what if they are true? Or, partially kinda sorta maybe true? Well, in order to know for yourself, you have to experience it.  For the past 48 years, I’ve experienced Louisville, Kentucky so I can attest, that the following 10 Louisville stereotypes are 100% true… or at least 99.9%.

#10 Shoes Are Optional

10 Louisville Stereotypes: bare feet

It’s not that we don’t own shoes, it’s that when it’s a beautiful May afternoon, the sun is shining and we’re out enjoying some fresh air at one of Louisville’s incredible parks, why would you wear shoes?

If someone from “up north” frowns on our carefree attitude towards footwear… that’s on them. There’s a time and place for everything under the sun and when you’re under the sun, barefoot at the park is all the better.

#9 Most of Us Aren’t Wealthy

10 Louisville Stereotypes: St James Art Fair

Year after year our state lands near the bottom of the income rankings. But the city of Louisville has the highest income in the state, in fact, we’re ranked in the Top 100 of the U.S.. Take that!

Combine that with our low cost of living and we’re actually better off financially than most of the cities above us in the rankings. Not too shabby, huh?

#8 We’re Proud of our Derby

10 Louisville Stereotypes: Kentucky Derby

You’ve heard of the Kentucky Derby, right? The greatest 2 minutes in sports? Yeah, that’s us—Louisville.

What began in 1875 as a humble horse race has grown to the world’s most prestigious horse event. It’s also grown from a 2-minute sprint to a more than 2-week event called the Kentucky Derby Festival.

Now we have parades, steamboat races, balloon glows, all-star basketball games and more. If you’re thinking about a visit, schedule it for the first week of May!

#7 Louisville Lacks Education

10 Louisville Stereotypes: Education

Forbes says that Ann Arbor is the most educated city in America, followed by a couple of cities in North Carolina.

This dovetails with the rankings published by Wallethub where Louisville didn’t rank in the Top 20 or Top 50 cities, but we did land in the Top 100!

Bet you didn’t know that 5 of the least educated cities in America are in California. At least we’re not Las Vegas, deemed the worst city for education by Parenting magazine.

#6 There’s Rural, Then There’s RURAL

10 Louisville Stereotypes: Horses

People who have never been to Louisville have that hillbilly stereotype in their mind. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Now, when you traipse across the county line and start moving into some of our neighboring towns, things do get more rural. So actually, it’s the best of both worlds in that you get to pick the lifestyle that you want: urban, suburban or country. It’s your call!

#5 People Talk Differently Here

10 Louisville Stereotypes: Different ways to say Louisville

There’s no “right” way to say Louisville. You’ll hear them all!

  • LOO-uh-vuhl
  • LOO-ee-vil
  • LOO-ih-vuhl
  • LOO-iss-vil
  • LUH-vuhl

But I think we all know the first one is right. *wink*

#4 It’s Really as Beautiful Here as the Photos

10 Louisville Stereotypes: Beautiful parks

We live in a beautiful country. From the redwood forest to the gulf stream waters… you get the gist.

But here in Louisville, you get a taste of a lot of different scenic sights. We’ve got lakes galore, incredible forests and even some smallish mountains. Mammoth Caves is just minutes away and I haven’t even mentioned the Ohio River! Did I say that Louisville is the City of Parks? Yeah, we’re pretty great.

#3 Fine Food Is Becoming Our “Thing”

You can find Fine Dining and Great Casual Food in Louisville

More than the famous Hot Brown, Louisville is building a foodie reputation. From Zagat to Travel + Leisure, critics who know food are calling Louisville a hidden gem for fine cuisine.

The surging NuLu district is adding to the bounty of amazing restaurants already speckled throughout the city. Just ask Steve Coomes, a National food critic who routinely raves about some our city’s fine dining experiences.

#2 Louisville Loves Bourbon

10 Louisville Stereotypes: Bourbon is Big

What the world is learning, Louisville already knew. Bourbon is really, really good. Even better, Louisville is right in the heart of bourbon country!

Technically bourbon is a whiskey but true connoisseurs know better. There’s a reason that Pappy Van Winkle is now selling for $1,500 a bottle.

#1 Basketball Is King

10 Louisville Stereotypes: Louisville Cardinals basketball

While Louisville may be better known nationally for the Kentucky Derby and horse racing, we all know that college basketball is king. Why else would they schedule the Derby comfortably after March Madness?

Who knows if Louisville will ever get another NBA team. Sides are split as to whether pro basketball could co-exist with the fanatics that follow college basketball year ’round but an argument could be made that it would be a match made in heaven.

10 Louisville Stereotypes Wrap-Up

So now you know. Not all stereotypes are true, or are they? Hope you enjoyed it!

Most recognized brand in real estate and what one hour of time did to help the REMAX logo

So today I get a solicitation from another real estate company, wanting me to leave my broker and join their team. This happens from time to time, especially towards the end of the year when people are more likely to be “friendly.”

I typically just scan the message and click the little garbage can icon to send those digital bits to the great beyond. As I read this particular email, one line stuck out for me.

CENTURY 21 is the most recognized consumer Real Estate Brand in the country!

I was a little surprised. Here in Louisville, REMAX is the largest and most recognized brand in real estate. But after doing some digging around, sure enough, Millward Brown (2nd largest market research firm behind Nielsen, who knew) did a survey in 2013 that proved these results.

Interesting, to say the least. Then a thought occurred to me. “I bet the good ole Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind is at work here.”

Comparing Real Estate Company Logos

Coming from a graphic design/branding background, I was curious about their logo and marketing materials, such as website, flyers, etc. so I began a quest. A quest to company real estate logos. I’m such a nerd.

Here’s the Century21 logo I found prominently placed in the upper left hand of their website.

Century21 logo

and there’s the one REMAX currently using.

REMAX logo

Size differences aside, what do you notice? Is there anything about either one that gives you a clue as to what business they are in?

Even though Century21 began in 1971, they are trying to push a more advanced, futuristic image by identifying themselves the the time period starting in 2001. Of course, just being associated with the 21st century doesn’t say a single thing about real estate.

Thus the little house they’ve uncomfortably wedged into their logo.

What about the other players in this space? Does Keller-Williams, who’s logo just has just recently changed, have any real estate identification? Nope.

Keller Williams logo

What the real estate company that sounds more like an investment firm—Coldwell-Banker? Not at all.

Coldwell Banker logo

The most service unspecific brand of all, Sotheby’s, has multiple logos. With seven service businesses centered around the art world, having a real estate brand feels quite detached. Does it at least have a real estate mnemonic? Nada.

Sotheby's logo

But they did spell it out for us. Thanks! I guess.

Our search finally brings us to another worthwhile example. Good ole ERA (which stands for many things, real estate falling down to the middle of the list) has recently revealed a new logo themselves.

Want to see it? Of course you do. Here’s the ERA logo that’s currently playing on their website.

ERA logo

They are committing a branding no-no by allowing strange colors to enter into the logo space but at least we see a glimpse of what what kind of business these people are in.

That’s a roof right? Not a bullet or rocketship or anything… Ok, I think we’re good.

(Full disclosure: The older, less attractive, ERA logo also had a house as part of the design but I’m all about being current up in here.)

REMAX Logo Improved

So that brings us to REMAX. Could it be spelled Remax? ReMax? How about RE/MAX? It’s all so confusing. Can we at least improve the logo?

I wager that 101 graphic design courses could result in a couple of dozen logo designs all better than what REMAX is currently using but I wanted to give it a shot myself.

Here’s what I created in less than an hour. The current REMAX logo is on top for reference.

REMAX logo improved

What do you think? Maintains the current color scheme, general font characteristics but re-purposes the odd forward slash into a cute but recognizable home.

It may not be the best possible choice, but if you want to be the most recognized brand in real estate, enhancing the most seen aspect of your company is the first place to start.

Hey REMAX, for a very reasonable fee I’ll sell you my design!

Kitchen Remodeling Ideas for 2015

For years now, the kitchen has been considered the most important room in the American home. Louisvillians agree!

If you’re looking for kitchen remodeling ideas for your next project, I’ve collected some of the best examples I’ve seen here in Louisville. Enjoy!

Kitchen Remodeling Ideas: #1 Complimentary Cabinet Colors

Photo of kitchen remodeling ideas #1 with complimentary cabinet colors
Using different colored cabinets in your kitchen can really make a powerful statement as long as they compliment one another.

What used to be considered “too risky” is now becoming more and more popular here in Louisville. When homeowners are looking to make a statement with their kitchen remodel, many are going with complimentary cabinet colors.

Whether you use one color for the lowers and another for the uppers, or highlighting an island with a bold hue, Louisville is starting to branch out from our drab days of simply all oak cabinets with those all-to-familiar, boring pulls.

If you’re going it alone on your selections, make sure to bounce your color choices off a professional. It’s not worth the risk if the outcome makes the home difficult to sell with clashing cabinet colors.

Kitchen Remodeling Ideas: #2 Extending the Kitchen

Photo of kitchen remodeling ideas #2 with extending the kitchen cabinets
Whether you need more storage or not, extending the same kitchen cabinets into an eat-in space, butler’s pantry or even a formal dining room ups the style ante.

Extending the kitchen cabinets creates a larger feeling kitchen and one with more punch. To say nothing of the additional storage it affords. Just be careful to allow enough space for movement around tables or buffets.

This is a case where you want the same style and color of cabinets in order to make the entire space feel like one continuous unit.

Kitchen Remodeling Ideas: #3 Larger, Richer Backsplashes

Photo of kitchen remodeling ideas #3 with Larger, Richer Backsplashes
If the space allows, consider increasing the size of your backsplash up a portion of a wall to make a bolder statement.

If a little is good, then more is better, right? Not always. But, a new kitchen remodeling trend that I’m finally seeing in Louisville is larger backsplash. What was once only on HGTV, I’m now seeing in Lake Forest, the Highlands and all over our city.

Take advantage of a partially blank wall by making a portrait frame around the window above your sink or behind an oven hood. Everybody’s doing it!

Kitchen Remodeling Ideas: #4 Bold Lighting Choices

Photo of kitchen remodeling ideas #4 with Bold Lighting Choices
We have so many bold lighting choices these days, it’s a great opportunity to let your personal style really shine.

Lighting fixtures are not nearly the costly pieces they once were, especially compared to the price of custom cabinets. So allow in your budget some room to splurge a little with some fun lighting.

Today’s big box stores have a wider selection but for even more, go online for choices galore! It’s a sure fire way to add more light and style to any kitchen remodel.

Kitchen Remodeling Ideas: #5 Monochrome For Ultra Bright Look

Photo of kitchen remodeling ideas #5 with Monochrome For Ultra Bright Look
We all like “bright and airy” don’t we? What’s brighter than an all white kitchen with carrara marble?

The all white kitchen is making a comeback after years of the dark wood tones holding serve. Especially important in tighter spaces as the lighter color makes spaces feel larger, and who doesn’t like that?

Go with stainless steel appliances helps with some tonal excitement with shiny, metallic flair. This also gives you a better opportunity to bring in pops of color because everything goes with white.

Remodeling Your Louisville Kitchen

Please keep in mind that there are no exact numbers on what kind of return on investment any kitchen remodel might bring. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) conducts surveys from real estate professionals, which is a great start.

For a more accurate answer, consult with your Louisville real estate expert or if you don’t have one, give me a call. Always happy to help!

The best Louisville Realtor for you? Here’s how to pick!

This article has been updated from it’s original that ran on InsiderLouisville in November, 2010.

Pick the best Louisville Realtor for you

In any market, real estate agents are always looking for new clients. Most Realtors would love to work for you, but would you want to work with them? That’s the question.

I’ve identified the Top 4 factors to consider when picking the best Louisville Realtor for you. Or, since we’re in basketball country, let’s call these the Final Four of Realtor Selection.

1. How Trustworthy Is Your Louisville Realtor?

While this can be difficult to discern, having a trustworthy Realtor is the most important factor for your next transaction to be successful. You want an agent who’s going to work towards your best interests.

The best way to learn about trustworthy Louisville Realtors is to ask people you trust if they would highly recommend their Realtor. Notice I said “highly”? If they say something like, “Yeah, she was fine” that’s not necessarily a ringing endorsement.

You want someone who’s going to go the extra mile for you. If a situation arises where your agent has a choice between your best interest and their own, you want them to side with you. Top agents put you first!

There are also free Web sits like Yelp and RealEstateRatingz.com that give some additional insight into what past customers felt about their agent. Angie’s List is a subscription based site that also tracks ratings about all kinds of service providers, including real estate agents in Louisville, KY.

2. Does Your Louisville Agent Have the Right Expertise?

Louisville real estate has many facets.

Of course, there’s the difference between commercial and residential real estate. But even within residential, some agents focus a greater part of their attentions on being a selling agent and only work as a buyer’s agent on occasion. The reverse can also be true.

Then there’s relocation, property management, appraisals, interior design and, with the rise of distressed properties, short-sale and REO specialists.

You need to find the best Louisville Realtor for the real estate job at hand.

Are you looking to sell your Louisville home? Focus on agents that do a great job making sure your home is well staged, takes gorgeous photos (and plenty of them!) and then promotes your listing, not just on our Greater Louisville MLS but across all the major real estate Web sits.

Moving to Louisville from Chicago? An agent who has expertise as a relocation specialist understands the additional things that factor into your decision like good schools, reducing commute times, notifying the utility company, comparing property taxes and more.

The best Realtors are better equipped to make sure your cross-state move is a smooth one.

3. Match Your Personality with Your Louisville Realtor

City Livability Awards report cover graphic
It may not seem obvious, but it’s important for you and your Louisville Realtor to “get along.” So try them out over coffee.

Due to the nature of the business, you’ll likely be spending a great deal of time with your Realtor during the sale or purchase of your new home. Having a positive personality match is huge!

  • Do you want to get the know the person behind the job? Or, would you rather it remain strictly business?
  • Would you like the agent to notify you regarding every new piece of information, no matter how large or small? Or, would it be better if they only contacted you with the important stuff?
  • Old school and like phone calls? Or, do you prefer emails or even texts?

Being on the same page with your Realtor will make the potentially stressful process a lot easier to handle.

Have a sit down with any potential candidates and let them know you’re interviewing agents to find the best match. Good agents will appreciate your honesty and the one selected will put their best effort forward knowing you’ll be loyal to them throughout the process.

Ask if they use an agency agreement. If so, tell them you’d like to know exactly what it contains. That way expectations are understood from the start. Personally, I believe that agency agreements improve the real estate transaction and builds trust between both the agent and his or her client.

4. Best Louisville Realtor Will Have Experience

There are many measures of experience: years as a professional, years in real estate, number of homes sold, total value of properties bought or sold. All of these increase the Realtors knowledge base.

Most real estate transactions move along a predictable course. But if something unusual arises, does the agent have the proper experience to best handle that particular situation?

I believe many consumers incorrectly put value on an agent’s company. Whether an agent works for RE/MAX or Century21 has little to do with that agent’s ability to perform well for their clients. There are plenty of great agents that work for boutique real estate companies.

Experience alone does not a great Realtor make… but it certainly helps.

Conclusion

So who is the best Louisville Realtor? The answer, of course, is “It depends.” It depends on you, your needs and your personality.

I hope the information I’ve provided will help you identity which agent will make your next move a highly successful one.

Tre Pryor is an Internet-veteran turned tech-savvy Realtor. One of the top Louisville agents, you can find his work at InsiderLouisville.com, Louisville Homes Blog or follow him on Google+ or Twitter.

Choose Tre Pryor to be your Louisville Realtor or recommend him to a friend!

Louisville Homearama 2015 Announced for Spring Farm Lake

Louisville homearama 2015 is announced. See photo of 2014 house.
Louisville Homearama 2015 has been announced for Spring Farm Lake off Wolf Pen Branch Road in Louisville’s East End.

With just a few exciting real estate events, is it any wonder that we get jacked up for Louisville Homearama? Or maybe it’s just me.

Color me psyched when I get the press release announcing Louisville Homearama 2015 for Spring Farm Lake. From the release:

Spring Farm Lake, off of Wolf Pen Branch Road in Prospect, has been selected as the site of Homearama 2015. The site will offer a potential 15 lots as part of the event next July 11-26th. Spring Farm Lake is developed by Signature Green Properties, LLC.

Many of the lots that are part of the Homearama section of Spring Farm Lake will back up to either a two-acre lake or a deed-restricted 12-acre pasture that is permanent open space. Lots are approximately 25,000 to 30,000 square feet and will be priced at $115,000 to $175,000 in this section.

As of this posting, nothing appears in our MLS for this neighborhood though according to the subdivision’s official site three lots are already sold.

For the full report on Louisville Homearama 2014 visit this link. It includes the largest photos of homes by some of best builders in Louisville.

You can always check out the Building Industry Association of Greater Louisville (BIA) website for information about past Louisville Homearama events or news about upcoming Louisville Homearama 2015.

Tre Pryor is an Internet-veteran turned tech-savvy Realtor. One of the top Louisville agents, you can find his work at InsiderLouisville.com, Louisville Homes Blog or follow him on Google+ or Twitter.

Choose Tre Pryor to be your Louisville Realtor or recommend him to a friend!

Top 10 Home Improvement Projects for Louisville

Photo of the front door continues to be a leader in top home improvement projects for Louisville KY
The front door continues to be a leader in top home improvement projects for Louisville, Kentucky.

[The first time I wrote on this topic was in 2009, when I posted Top 10 Louisville Home Improvement Projects on LouisvilleHomesBlog.com. I’ve written several since. Here is the newest version for 2014 by top Louisville agent, Tre Pryor.]

It’s important to remember that the data used by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) in this report comes from surveys. Sure, real estate agents are the one’s being surveyed, but it’s still their opinion about what kind of return a particular Louisville home improvement project might return in today’s market.

Even still, you won’t find better data because it doesn’t exist. These values represent the professional opinions of people who buy and sell Louisville homes everyday. In fact, I took the time to complete this survey. Not the most exciting way to spend an hour and 15 minutes but it’s good to give back, right?

On to the results!

The following home improvement projects are ordered by Cost Recouped. This data is specific to Louisville, Kentucky. Projects are divided into Mid-range and Upscale.

1. Entry Door Replacement [Mid-range] (steel) – Louisville 82.4%, National 96.6

There have been years where this number was over 100%. I feel that ranking your front door #1 makes a lot of sense, especially given that potential home buyers spend so much time standing right in front of it while the agent is removing the key to gain entry. Can’t miss project.
Average cost: $1,138.

2. Fiber Cement Siding Replacement [Upscale] – Louisville 81.5%, National 87.0%

Many times the value can be higher if the siding being replaced is in especially bad condition. If that’s the case, you’re killing two birds with one stone—removing the unsightly exterior and replacing it with something brand new and beautiful!
Average cost: $12,711.

3. Garage Door Replacement [Upscale]- Louisville 79.2%, National 82.9%

Sprucing up the exterior of your home doesn’t stop with the front door or siding, you can also make your garage the envy of the neighborhood with a new, upscale garage door. And, get a nice return on your investment to boot. The mid-range garage door ($1,468) comes in at 72.0% cost recouped, which isn’t bad either.
Average cost: $2,723.

4. Minor Kitchen Remodel [Mid-range] – Louisville 74.8%, National 82.7%

For years we’ve seen that Louisville home buyers value the kitchen above all other rooms in your home. Experts believe improving your kitchen will always reap some of the top returns. This NAR report divides Mid-range projects from Upscale projects. In this case, the Mid-range projects get a higher return than the Upscale project for Louisville.
Average cost: $18,211.

5. Window Replacement [Upscale] (Wood/Vinyl) – Louisville 73.5%/73.3%, National 74.0/76.6%

Replacing windows is often done in order to save value dollars when it comes to energy costs. Whether choosing wood vs. vinyl usually comes down to ease of maintenance vs. appearance. For Louisville, it turns out that appearance slightly edges maintenance with wood replacement windows beating out vinyl by the smallest of margins, .2%. Nationally, vinyl beat wood by 2.6%.
Average cost: $16,489/$13,186.

6. Grand Entrance [Upscale] – Louisville 70.0%, National 70.7%

A new category in this report is the Grand Entrance which means replacing a single door with a wider opening containing a new door and dual sidelights. Sure, it’s much more money but depending on your home it doesn’t have to be 7 grand and may return a higher value than 70%, closer to our #1 ranked Louisville home improvement project. Louisville homeowners should definitely price this out and consider this project.
Average cost: $7,239.

7. Major Kitchen Remodel [Mid-range] – Louisville 69.6%, National 74.2%

If you’re thinking about going upscale, think again. Unless you live in the kind of Louisville community that warrants only high-end finishes, the smart money is going mid-range where you can expect to get roughly a 70% return on your investment.
Average cost: $52,836.

8. Window Replacement [Mid-range] (Wood/Vinyl) – Louisville 69.9%/67.6%, National 79.3/78.7%

Not going upscale may be a mistake according to this survey. The results show that lower-end windows get you less bang for your buck than their upscale cousins. Again, wood replacement windows beat the vinyl but I’m not sure I agree. Consider that today people are busier than ever. Who has time to repaint the wood window trim?
Average cost: $10,511/$9,641.

9. Attic Bedroom Remodel [Mid-range] – Louisville 69.1%, National 84.3%

More square footage is good. Building up is cheaper than building out. If you’re lucky enough to have an unfinished attic with ceiling heights ready to accommodate comfortable living, it’s generally a smart move to finish out this space and add another bedroom or living space.
Average cost: $47,725.

10. Two-Story Addition [Mid-range] Louisville 69.0%, National 71.8%

Similar to completing an existing attack, building a second story on top of your first is certainly cheaper than building outward. I do question the wisdom of putting in more stairs when more of today’s Louisville home buyers are looking to reduce stairs in order to spend more time on one level.
Average cost: $151,378.

Other Notable Facts

Because I get asked these questions a lot, I want to include all the remaining home improvement projects with their Louisville cost recouped. If you have any questions, please feel free to drop me an email.

Mid-range Home Improvement Projects for Louisville

  • Backup Power Generator: 44.1%
  • Basement Remodel: 63.9%
  • Bathroom Addition: 49.3%
  • Bathroom Remodel: 54.9%
  • Deck Addition (wood): 60.1%
  • Deck Addition (composite): 51.5%
  • Entry Door Replacement (fiberglass): 66.0%
  • Family Room Addition: 59.5%
  • Garage Addition: 56.6%
  • Home Office Remodel: 31.9%
  • Master Suite Addition: 61.0%
  • Roofing Replacement: 54.9%
  • Siding Replacement (vinyl): 60.6%
  • Sunroom Addition: 44.5%

Upscale Home Improvement Projects for Louisville

  • Bathroom Addition: 51.2%
  • Bathroom Remodel: 54.9%
  • Deck Addition (composite): 50.3%
  • Garage Addition: 48.9%
  • Major Kitchen Remodel: 61.0%
  • Master Suite Addition: 57.0%
  • Roofing Replacement: 65.7%
  • Siding Replacement (foam-backed): 63.7%

Always happy to share which Louisville home improvement projects give you the most bang for the buck. If I can help you in any way, just ask.

Tre Pryor is an Internet-veteran turned tech-savvy Realtor. One of the top Louisville agents, you can find his work at InsiderLouisville.com, Louisville Homes Blog or follow him on Google+ or Twitter.

Choose Tre Pryor to be your Louisville Realtor or recommend him to a friend!

Greatest Places to Live in America Picks Louisville!

Photo of Main Street in Middletown Louisville named a Greatest Places to Live in America
There’s so much to do outside in Louisville. From shopping to eating to playing and more, no wonder Outside magazine thinks Louisville is one of the greatest places to live in America!

It appears more and more are taking note of all the great things we’ve got going on here in Louisville, Kentucky. So great, they’re making lists of the Greatest Places to Live in America and Louisville came in at #8. Wow!

Who’s this “they” you speak of?

In this latest example, they are Outside magazine, that held a Tournament of sorts, where people voted for their city. You’d think population alone would help us best places like Duluth, Minnesota (Champion) but the publication also included a more objective, analytical component to determining the greatest places to live in America.

To determine how livable a city was, they developed the O-score which stands for Outside. Explained:

To develop our own Outside Score, we tapped a rocket scientist (seriously) to combine factors like number of outfitters, miles of trails, and number of bike shops—plus considerations like unemployment rates, median incomes, and, yes, an editors’-choice variable—into a single mathematical formula.

Here are their Top 10!

  1. Duluth, Minnesota – Total Votes: 221,350 / O-Score: 88
  2. Provo, Utah – Total Votes: 185,602 / O-Score: 80
  3. Minneapolis, Minnesota – Total Votes: 93,164 / O-Score: 81
  4. Anchorage, Alaska – Total Votes: 86,601 / O-Score: 83
  5. Ithaca, New York – Total Votes: 86,418 / O-Score: 89
  6. Asheville, North Carolina – Total Votes: 70,665 / O-Score: 80
  7. Burlington, Vermont – Total Votes: 52,743 / O-Score: 83
  8. Louisville, Kentucky – Total Votes: 47,271 / O-Score: 73
  9. Missoula, Montana – Total Votes: 40,530 / O-Score: 82
  10. Boulder, Colorado – Total Votes: 39,613 / O-Score: 91

Just wait until we get The Parklands completed and our O-Score should go even higher! For the full list, vist The 16 Greatest Places to Live in America.

So, do you think Louisville is great? After all, we are home to The Greatest.

Tre Pryor is an Internet-veteran turned tech-savvy Realtor. One of the top Louisville agents, you can find his work at InsiderLouisville.com, Louisville Homes Blog or follow him on Google+ or Twitter.

Choose Tre Pryor to be your Louisville Realtor or recommend him to a friend!