Photo of a Louisville KY home

Top 10 Selling Mistakes in Real Estate

Photo of a Louisville KY home

Just because you love your home doesn’t mean every buyer will. Avoid these Top 10 selling mistakes and you will find success selling your home in Louisville.

I’m always looking for ways to help my clients. Today, I’m even going to help all of you who are not (yet) my clients. I present the Top 10 Selling Mistakes in Real Estate.

Selling Mistake #10: Lopsided Listing Contracts

When sitting down with your agent make sure you are comfortable with the length of the listing contract. This figure is completely negotiable and both parties should come to an agreement before signing.

Contract length should be at least as long as the average Days on Market (DoM) for your area. Here in Louisville, that number has recently dropped and 3-month listings are now the most common.

It’s also a very good idea to ask about any remedies you would have if your agent doesn’t live up to their end of the bargain.

Selling Mistake #9: Misrepresenting Your Home

While it may be tempting to describe your family room as “a dream come true with more space than you could possibly imagine” in order to entice prospective buyers don’t do it. You need to remember that once a buyer arrives and discovers the room is average sized and not what you described, they will wonder what else you might be exaggerating about.

Don’t stretch the truth about square footage either, as buyers represented by Realtors are likely to notice the deception. As in life, honesty is the best policy.

Selling Mistake #8: Negotiation Failures

When you pick up that phone and hear those wonderful words coming from the other end, “We’ve got an offer!” you may think everything is golden. Just hold on a second. If you don’t negotiate the deal properly, things could go sideways and fast!

I’ve found that some sellers refuse to give ground in negotiations because they believe the buyer is already getting “a great deal.” It is very common for sellers to fail to bebe objective about their home because they’ve built an emotional attachment to it.

Market value is determined by comps. This is how true professionals help set the price. It’s not the seller, listing agent, buyer or buyer’s agent telling us the value… it’s the Louisville real estate market.

Selling Mistake #7: Lacking a Sales Strategy

Selling your home requires more than simply getting it listed in the MLS. There are literally hundreds of ways to promote a property.

Open Houses aren’t the powerhouse they used to be. Newspaper classifieds are a punch line. Direct mail? Sure, if you like to throw money away.

The real move since 2000 is digital promotion. Make sure the Realtor you choose is an Internet expert! Not all Louisville Realtors are, ask for proof.

Selling Mistake #6: Bad Timing

Sometimes you don’t have a choice. Your boss says, “You’re moving to Topeka” and it’s just a matter of time. This is unavoidable.

But if you can choose when to sell your Louisville home, here are a couple of points to remember. First, if you’ve only lived in the home a short time, consider staying a year or two longer. After only two years, you’ve barely built up enough equity in your home to cover closing costs and other fees.

Second, avoid listing your home during the holidays. Most buyers are focused on family during this time rather than shopping for a new house. In real estate circles, we call this the “dead period.”

There are other tricks here as well. As your professional Realtor, “Which is the best day of the week to list?” and see what he says.

Selling Mistake #5: Wrong Realtor

I can’t tell you how many times I hear someone tell me they’re using their Aunt or their sister’s cousin’s neighbor as their agent. Just because someone is related to you, doesn’t necessarily make them a good Realtor. It also doesn’t mean the won’t be.

Studies have shown that more than anything else, people want their agents to be trustworthy and professional. When it comes time for you to sell, interview multiple Louisville agents and learn about their work ethic and their strategy for marketing your property.

Some of the more successful agents feel like they’ve already paid their dues and don’t need to do the little things. It’s those “little things” that separate the good agents from the great agents.

Selling Mistake #4: For Sale by Owner

Current data from NAR states:

FSBOs accounted for 9% of home sales in 2012 and 2013. The typical FSBO home sold for $184,000 compared to $230,000 for agent-assisted home sales.

But that doesn’t mean you should always use an agent to sell your home. If your home is in one of those ultra hot neighborhoods and you’ve got a good understanding of the home selling process and you know how to price your home appropriately, then you might catch a break.

Keep in mind that there are a number of variables that might arise that would make having a professional on your side a wonderful thing. Never say “never” but you could find yourself months into the process with very few showings and even fewer offers. There’s a reason why the number of FiSBOs have dropped nationally.

Selling Mistake #3: Big Red Flags

There are certain problems that will scare off prospective buyers in a New York second. If your Louisville property has any of the following problems, you need to correct them before putting your home on the market:

  • foul odors
  • visible mold or mildew
  • siding or gutters that are separated from house
  • broken doors or windows
  • problems with the heating/cooling systems
  • “soft” floors or steps

Assuredly, some problems are bigger than others but problems like these will overshadow the positive qualities of your home.

Selling Mistake #2: Wrong Price

What used to be the most important aspect to selling your home is now second, and that’s the price. If the price is too high buyers won’t even consider your property.

A savvy Louisville Realtor will help you find comparable properties that have sold, as well as, what’s currently on the market. Also, how do your neighborhood compare to other parts of the city with similarly priced homes.

There are a dozen important factors to consider when determining the appropriate price. In the end, a good Realtor will set an appropriate price range for you and then ask you to select the Asking Price. It’s very important that you feel comfortable with the price.

Even though you can lower your price in the future, new listings get the most attention in the first couple of weeks after they come on the market and homes that stay on the market longer than average usually sell for less.

Selling Mistake #1: Poor Property Preparation

In today’s market, condition is huge! The move-in ready, shining and spotless homes are selling in the first week! (As long as none of the other Top 10 Selling Mistakes are made.)

Before listing your home, perform the following exercise. Drive up to your house and park on the street. Walk up the drive evaluating everything from the mailbox to the lawn and landscaping all the way up to the front door. What did you notice about your home?

A wise person once said, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

If a buyer doesn’t like your home the first time they visit, they surely won’t return. Therefore, it’s critical to have your house “on its best behavior” when the guests arrive.

Remove as much clutter as possible. Make sure the grass is nicely trimmed. Turn on all the lights and open the blinds/curtains. Every little thing you do to show that your home is well-cared for will improve your odds of impressing those buyers.


If you can avoid these pitfalls, you will find yourself ahead of the game and well on your way to selling your Louisville home!

Interview From the Past

A few years back, I was interviewed by a writer for For those interested, here’s the piece which, apparently, is no longer on their website.

10 neighborhood homebuyer magnets

By Scot Meyer of SwitchYard Media

John Donne wrote that “No man is an island.” If he had been a real-estate broker, rather than a 17th-century English poet, he might have added that no house is, either. Context is everything, and neighborhoods matter.

According to a National Association of Realtors survey released in November, homebuyers say that the quality of a neighborhood (cited by 67% of respondents) was the biggest factor in determining where in a given area they would buy. The next top responses were affordability (45%) and convenience to family and friends (39%).

If you’re a home seller, you should know that certain neighborhood features are like magnets for some homebuyers, generating interest in your house even if it’s the ugliest one on the block.

Here are 10 factors to keep in mind and emphasize in your home listing.

Access to transportation

The ability to get to and from their neighborhood easily is important to homebuyers. The NAR study found that being near public transportation is important to 8% of buyers. That increases to 20% for buyers in urban or central neighborhoods.

In addition, 49% of homebuyers say that finding a house convenient to where they work influenced their neighborhood choice.

Attorney, mortgage broker and professor Dale Siegel says that easy access to transportation is particularly important in places such as New York City, where the difference between walking three blocks and 10 blocks to a subway station in the rain can be significant. But access can also be a selling point in suburban communities.

Siegel, who lives in Fort Lee, N.J., across the Hudson River from Manhattan, says that residents of her community appreciate that they can travel into Manhattan by bus or ferry and that they are near highways that can take them almost anywhere.

Good schools

School-district quality influenced the neighborhood choice of 27% of homebuyers in the NAR survey. That jumped to 55% for buyers with children younger than 18 but dropped to 13% for buyers without kids.

“One of the first questions I get from people relocating to the area is about the quality of the local schools,” says Cara Ameer, a real-estate agent with Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. The issue is critical for people with children, she says. But it affects the resale value for buyers without children, too.

Nearby amenities

In a recent Coldwell Banker survey of real-estate agents, 68% say that their baby boomer clients sought proximity to restaurants and shops when looking for a home.

Siegel says the presence of these amenities signals that an up-and-coming urban neighborhood has “arrived.” “An area like Manhattan’s Lower East Side can become the hot new place to live, and everyone wants to move in,” Siegel says. “But that designation becomes more permanent when the services become available.”

Access to staples such as grocery stores and dry cleaners is important in suburban and exurban neighborhoods, as well.

Siegel says her brother chose to live in Surprise, Ariz., outside Phoenix, because of “the choice of stores, restaurants and other businesses within five miles of his house.”

Area architecture

In some neighborhoods, historical or architecturally significant homes can be a big draw for certain homebuyers.

“Other buyers are less specific,” Ameer says, “but they might tell me they’re looking for a neighborhood with character and charm or one that doesn’t look like the typical subdivision.”

Siegel points to Ridgewood, N.J., which has neighborhoods with Tudor-style homes and large yards, as the kind of community that would appeal to that kind of buyer. “Aesthetically, the town might be more desirable than places with cookie-cutter corner lots,” she says.

The NAR survey found that home design in a neighborhood is a consideration for 32% of homebuyers.


Buzz about a neighborhood can translate into buyer interest and higher sale prices, real-estate agents say.

“It’s an interesting marketing phenomenon,” says Tre Pryor, a real-estate agent in Louisville, Ky. “When an area becomes branded as the hot neighborhood, that reputation tends to stick, even though often it’s only 80% based on reality and 20% based on what people have heard or read.”

In Louisville, this is the case in the Highlands neighborhood, Pryor says. “It’s amazingly popular, and because of that, some neighboring communities have co-opted the brand and use it for themselves, even though they’re not technically part of the same area. It’s gotten to the point that the Highlands has started calling itself the ‘original Highlands.'”

Parks and outdoor spaces

Prospective homebuyers often appreciate having a park nearby, especially if they have children or pets, Ameer says. She also says that in her market, just outside Jacksonville, Fla., golf courses have appeal.

The NAR survey found that 18% of homebuyers say proximity to parks and recreation facilities influence their neighborhood choice. Among households with children, the number increases to 23%. For people buying homes in urban and central-city areas, it’s 22%.

Proximity to parks and recreation also has been deemed important by 34% of baby boomer homebuyers, according to Coldwell Banker’s survey of real-estate agents.

Low crime rate

People want to live where they feel safe. A low crime rate is key.

“Clients do ask about it, and it does affect the home’s value,” Pryor says, adding that real-estate agents refer people to objective online sources of local crime statistics, rather than sharing their opinions about “good” and “bad” neighborhoods.

People often are swayed as much by a neighborhood’s reputation for crime and violence as by actual statistics, Matthew Kaliner of Harvard University said in a 2008 study. In the study, he says that in Washington, D.C., a slight increase in the number of crime- or violence-related newspaper articles about a neighborhood could mean a $1,300 to $1,700 difference in a home’s sale price.

Your neighbors

The people who live in a community are important to home seekers, of course. But generalizing about what sort of neighbors make an area appealing is tricky. Research suggests that conservatives tend to like to live among conservatives and that liberals like to live among liberals, for example.

One factor to watch may be how long people have lived in the area. A study on neighborhood satisfaction and reputation from the journal Urban Studies in April noted that residents “who are satisfied with their neighborhood are thought not only to be less likely to move, but also to have a higher general quality of life.”

“Buyers always want the neighborhoods where there are the least amount of properties for sale,” Ameer says. “That’s very telling, because if people aren’t moving, they’re probably happy there.”

Local economy and stable home values

A home is a big investment, so buyers naturally are attracted to neighborhoods where property values are likely to go up rather than down. That means they may find a community without foreclosures or distressed properties more attractive. Pryor says that these neighborhoods are likely to see more sales and higher sale prices.

The market’s overall economic health also matters to homebuyers. Pryor wrote in a blog post last spring that the unemployment rate in Louisville is a major factor in market activity there. When more people are out of work, fewer people buy homes — and when jobs are plentiful, people move around.

Proximity to cultural experiences

Author and urban-studies theorist Richard Florida says members of a “creative class” — people whom cities want to attract and whom companies want to hire — prefer to live in neighborhoods with ethnic and cultural diversity, as well as easy access to nightlife, recreational facilities and the arts.

Convenient access to entertainment and leisure activities is a consideration in neighborhood choice for 21% percent of homebuyers, and 24% of unmarried couples, according to the NAR survey.

“People who want to be close to art galleries or other cultural amenities will definitely factor that into their search,” Ameer says, adding that Coldwell Banker’s website has a Lifestyle Search tool that can help people find neighborhoods that are hip, artsy and trendy.

Buying a Car Is Just Like Buying a House

When you go in search of that new pack of gum to buy, do you research the different brands, customer ratings and ingredients online first? Of course not! It’s a pack of gum. It’s a buck. Our time is too precious.

This makes a great deal of sense.

It stands to reason that as the price goes up the amount of time spent educating oneself should also increase, correct? As the kids say, “Obviously.”

So that brings us to today’s topic. We’re going to talk about the three ways that buying a car is just like buying a house. Then I’m going to hit you with the spoiler. Don’t skip to the end!

Right, let’s get started…

Time Spent Researching Cars vs. Time Spent Researching Houses

Just like buying a house: Low End

Often times the lower the value of the item, the more work it needs. But it should also come with a lower price tag.

When you need some wheels to get you from Point A to Point B and don’t have a lot of money to spend, what do you do? You buy a jalopie. A beater. A junker, clunker or bucket of bolts.

Odds are, you won’t spend nearly the amount of time on this purchase compared to buying a vintage Aston Martin.

The same holds true when buying a house. Most of the time, house hunters at the lower price levels will look at fewer homes and make their purchase faster than those in higher price tiers. It only stands to reason.

Car Investment vs. House Investment

Just like buying a house: Medium Tier

Middle class consumers are more likely buy a mid-size sedan along with a middle-tier house. After all, we’re all working our way on up!

So it’s not just time. It’s also money! Those looking to spend more money on their car are also more likely to spend more on their home.

Now, cars depreciate and homes appreciate but both are large purchases in the life of the consumer. And no, I’m not talking about leases, which are horrendous ways to finance a vehicle, I’m just referring to smart consumers looking to buy a medium priced car. These are the same folks who I’ll help buy their middle-tier home in St. Matthews or Jeffersontown.

These things work naturally the same way.

Car Criteria vs. House Criteria

Just like buying a house: High End

Now we’re talking! The life of the rich and famous, or at least those ready to put themselves in amazing debt.

When the price tag rises, so does the number of factors to consider. Satellite radio, heated leather seats and a navigation system please. Check.

Then my high-end home needs to come with high-end custom cabinets, a dedicated media room and an in-ground pool. Yes, I do believe it does.

Once the money starts flying, the number of criteria for both cars and houses goes through the roof!

Spoiler: Expert Assistance

Ok, now my spoiler. Ready?

In the case of purchasing your car, you’re basically on your own. Sure… the sales person at Tafel Motors dealership appears to be helpful, but all the while, they want you to buy their Mercedes and not drive down the street to Sam Swope BMW.

That’s where the buyer’s agent is different. We don’t care which house you buy. We just want you to be happy with your purchase. That way you’ll continue to use us in the future and recommend all your friends to us. (You will recommend all your friends to me, right?)

At the end of the day, the Realtor who helps you buy your home is actually on your side (or at least they should be, if they’re smart.)

But other than that… buying a car is just like buying a house.

Top 10 Professional Home Staging Tips for Louisville Sellers

Professional home staging tips is a major part of selling your home fast. And at the highest possible price! Properties that aren’t well-staged, remain on the market longer and end up selling for less than they are truly worth.

Don’t let this happen to you.

Great home staging can take your ordinary, ho-hum house and instantly make it feel more spacious, warmer, brighter and more welcoming! So, let’s jump right in.

Professional Home Staging Tips

Professional staging begins on the outside of your home. Potential buyers scrutinize your house as they drive up, park and exit their vehicle. First impressions are huge!

We are talking about everything they see. From the trees and landscaping, to the roof, windows, and even walkways, all will be carefully critiqued as these real estate clients walk up to your home.

#1 Make Your Front Door Inviting

Professional Home Staging Tips: Make Your Front Door Inviting

Your home’s front door is the single most powerful element of a potential home buyer’s first impression. Buyers have extra time to assess your home as their agent uses his/her technology tool to gain entrance to the property… sometimes up to 60 seconds!

Pay extra attention to the cleanliness and condition of your front door and the immediate area around it. There should be no cobwebs, windows should be clean and the doors hardware should be in great working condition. Front doors are a great place to put that splash of color as well. Make a great first impression!

#2 Declutter, Declutter and Declutter Some More

Professional Home Staging Tips: Declutter, Declutter and Declutter Some More

Having a clean home is mandatory, that’s why I didn’t include it on this list because you’ve already done that, right? But while you clean, also declutter. If you want to sell your home fast, this is the tip that’s going to make it happen.

I’m sure you love your knick-knacks, trinkets and tsotchke but I promise, potential home buyers will be far less impressed. Pack it up, move it out and you can thank me later.

#3 Eliminate Personalized Items

Professional Home Staging Tips: Eliminate Personalized Items

Now that we’ve decluttered, it’s time to remove personal items like photographs, plaques and other items that remind potential buyers that someone else lives here. Instead, we want them to picturethemselves in this space.

Rather than a beloved child’s art project, use a modern vase and flower arrangement. The goal is to make the decor less personal and more neutral, like an upscale hotel or a photo of a beautiful room in a magazine.

#4 Highlight Your Home’s Beat Features

Professional Home Staging Tips: Highlight Your Home’s Beat Features

Does your home back up to a lake? Draw the visitors outside with welcoming furniture. Maybe your home has an incredible fireplace. Light it for showings and instantly set the mood.

The same goes for any special, custom feature that puts your home above the competition. Maybe those are the features that initially drew you to buying this home. Promote these features, you never know what might “hook” the buyer.

#5 Less Furniture, Strategically Position

Professional Home Staging Tips: Less Furniture, Strategically Position

The bigger the home, the more it’s worth, right? You can’t increase actual size of your home, but you can enhance its perceived size!

Begin by removing all largest pieces of furniture in each in each increase the feeling of space. Then move furniture away from the walls and into warm vignettes. If a room has two large sofas and three chairs, remove one sofa and one chair then rearrange the remaining pieces for a functional yet more spacious space.

#6 Picture Perfect Exteriors

Professional Home Staging Tips: Picture Perfect Exteriors

Don’t forget your outdoor spaces! We’ve already talked about the importance of a great first impression with your home’s front door, but you should also pay close attention to how your backyard appears to potential buyers.

Backyards are huge to today’s home buyers. Staging your home’s landscaping is actually quite simple and less expensive than most other updates. Don’t miss out on this incredible simple but one of the most powerful professional home staging tips.

#7 Appropriate Use of Color

Professional Home Staging Tips: Appropriate Use of Color

We want your home’s largest spaces (walls, floors and ceilings) to feel warm but neutral. Outrageous color on the walls is a universal turn-off. But, this doesn’t mean that the whole space should be bland. Bathrooms are great places to utilize today’s trendy color.

Add additional color via throws and pillows on beds or sofas. This instantly adds the feeling of warmth and comfort to the rooms of your home. Include eye-catching “pops” of color to a space with accessories for shelves, wall nooks or tables. Less is more, but if done well, your home will give off that professionally staged vibe.

#8 Make It Fresh

Professional Home Staging Tips: Make It Fresh

Fresh is best! Change up your daily towels with beautiful guest towels. Replace artificial flowers to fresh flowers. It’s a simple tip, but it goes a long way to make a grand impression on your guests. Don’t forget about your outdoor spaces too!

#9 Set the Mood

Professional Home Staging Tips: Set the Mood

Making sure all of your lights are on is the first step. You can go further by setting the mood with lightly scented candles or room fresheners. The key word here is lightly. If it’s too powerful, people won’t like it and may think your home has some bad odor that you are trying to hide.

Soft, modern music is another way to set the mood and invite your guests to take their time touring your Louisville home.

#10 Lights, Camera, Action!

Professional Home Staging Tips: Lights, Camera, Action!

How many times have you heard a visitor rave about a room’s “light and airy” feel? The key portion of that overused phrase is light. It’s almost impossible to have too much light when it comes to staging your home to sell.

Draw open all the curtains, pull up the blinds, and make sure all the lights are on before the showing. Got any burned out bulbs? Don’t you forget to replace them with new ones, trust me on this one.


Most of these professional home staging tips are simple. When you follow what the pros do, you are putting your home above the competition and increasing its chance to sell fast and for more money.

Selling your home is an emotional process. It’s key to connect to potential buyers emotionally. A professionally staged home let’s them see themselves in this space, essentially letting them come home.

Women Call the Shots When It Comes to Real Estate

When I first got into Louisville real estate, Howard Stacey, a successful broker for Semonin once said, “Real estate is a woman’s business.” He didn’t mean it in a demeaning way, quite the opposite, he wanted us to know that when it comes to real estate women call the shots.

At the time, I thought the comment odd. I mean, looking at the leading agents in our company, sure there were some great female agents in the top echelon but the leading Louisville Realtors were men.

Now that I have almost a decade of experience under my belt, I can see the wisdom in Mr. Stacey’s words. Let me ask you a couple of questions that highlight my point.

  1. Most of the time, when searching for a new home, does the man or the woman have stronger feelings about their “must have” items?
  2. When a family sells their home, does the husband or wife have the harder time dealing with the move?
  3. Often the man does a larger share of the home improvement projects but from whom did he receive his marching orders?

I think you get the picture.

With that in mind, let’s look at a few photos that showcase the flair that sometimes happens when women call the shots. (If you have more great examples, please share them in the comments below.)

Women call the shots on pillows

Women Call the Shots on Pillows
Obviously, when it comes to pillows, women call the shots. A man needs just one and sometimes not even that.

No brainer here, right? I’m starting you off with an easy one. It’s so obvious, it’s the stuff of comedians!

Women call the shots on the pantry

Women Call the Shots on the Pantry
There’s organized and then there’s this!

Things simply work better when things are in their proper place. Logical. But every good practice can be taken to a completely unhealthy level. Goodness gracious!

If you are a man and your pantry looks like the one above, my heart goes out to you brother. 99.9% sure a woman is behind this obscene display of pantry full-on functionality.

Women call the shots on flowers

Women Call the Shots on Flowers
What do you wanna bet this guy’s smile is fake?

Now listen, I’m all for make sure that the exterior of your home is presentable. Trees, grass and throw in a couple of shrubs. Sure.

But if your property looks like an English garden then there’s a woman to blame. It’s a completely different mentality, one I (apparently) simply can’t fathom.

Women call the shots on the kitchen

Women Call the Shots on the Kitchen
Is all this hardwood trim and molding needed in order to better prepare my hamburger?

Kitchens can run the gamut from the stark utilitarian all the way up to the kind of artistic statement worthy of Degas or Rembrandt. Chances are, if your kitchen is trending towards the high end of that spectrum, there’s a woman to blame (or congratulate).

Women call the shots on wallpaper

Women Call the Shots on Wallpaper
My eyes! My eyes!!!

Is there ever the right time to use wallpaper in your home? The correct answer is, “No” but that doesn’t stop some women.

Looking for a pop of color? I’ve got a professional tip for you… there’s this stuff call paint comes in a large number of different colors. You’re welcome.

Women call the shots on the bathroom

Women Call the Shots on the Bathroom
When I first saw this I thought it was an optical illusion. But no, the floor covering is the same as the wall covering.

How many times have you been watching HGTV and hear someone exclaim, “I need my master bath to be an oasis.” Yeah, I know. It’s a troubling trend.

Odds are you didn’t hear those words coming from a man’s mouth. When it comes down to it, the only room that a man can call his own is the garage… and that just barely.

Women call the shots on the dining room

Women Call the Shots on the Dining Room
Well… uh, um… there are no words.

It’s not that this room is any more or less the woman’s domain, it’s just the best example of a photo where a woman’s sensibilities were on full display.

I mean, it looks like a something out of a fairy-tale princess’ castle. I’m speechless.


Hope you had fun reading through these examples. Understand that it’s all in good fun (please no hate mail). Men and woman just want different things. But gentlemen, if you’re out house hunting, save yourself some heartache and just let the women call the shots.

Live to fight another day.

Top 6 Things You Don’t Want Visitors to See When They Visit Your Home

It’s not difficult to find the best tips on home staging when you’re selling your home. I keep my Top 10 Ways to Prepare Your Louisville Home For Sale updated each year.

What might be more difficult to find are the “dont’s” of home preparation. What are the things we don not want prospective buyers to see?

Let’s count down the Top 6 things you don’t want visitors to see when they visit your home.

#6 Family Photos and Memorabilia

Photo of a strange family
Just because you love your family, doesn’t mean everyone will.

I think this tip is fairly well-known. If visitors see all the photos of your beautiful children, it’s clear this is someone else’s home. Instead, we want them to envision this house as their potential home.

Plus, some photos can be quite distracting, taking the visitors out of “housing hunting” mode. Remove the memorabilia and present your home as a blank canvas… ready for a new family to make their own.

#5 Valuables

Photo of valuables left out
Keep jewelry out in plain view. It might be a temptation too great for kleptomaniacs.

Some visitors might not be the most honest folks. It’s better not leave anything out to tempt them.

Anything that you consider valuable should be inside a safe, locked in a cabinet or at least out of plain sight. Just think, if it can be sold quickly at a pawn shop, put it away.

#4 Statement Makers

Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of congress but i repeat myself
Not everyone shares the same beliefs. So don’t give a prospective buyer a reason to get mad.

Today, almost nothing is as divisive as politics. But more than that, any item that forces a strong opinion should be hidden from visitors. Here in Kentucky, both UK and UofL fans can see what we mean, right?

#3 Weapons

Photo of a gun mounted above fireplace
This gun is probably not loaded but you never know.

Makes sense right? Why leave a gun or knife laying around? The liability alone should scare you to death.

Bottom line, if it can hurt someone, store it away. Wouldn’t want to make the evening news because of housing hunter went squirrel hunting with your loaded weapon.

#2 Anything Risque

Giorgione, Sleeping Venus
What some call art, others call pornography.

You want visitors to be focused on the house: the rooms, the layout, the upgrades… not the nude sculpture in the living room.

After visiting six properties, you certainly don’t want the buyers remembering your home as the one with all naked people on the walls.

#1 Taxidermy

Photo of room with mounted dead animal heads on the walls
Mounting dead animal heads on your wall is so 2nd Century.

Not everyone is a hunter. But even if they were, it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to display your mounted, stuffed or otherwise preserved a dead animal to potential home buyers.

You’ve just landed the biggest deal killer (pun intented) of the bunch.


Hopefully these Top 6 Things You Don’t Want Visitors to See on home showings can help if you’re looking to sell my Louisville home quickly. If you need any other advice, always happy to help.

Most Affordable Cities To Live, Think Louisville

Louisville 8th in Most Affordable Cities to Live. Photo of riverfront
Louisville has so much going for it. Now we’re super affordable? Get out!

The smart people over at Forbes sorted through the Top 100 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) and Metropolitan Divisions (MDs) to find which are the most affordable cities to live in the U.S. Each has a populations of 600,000 plus, so no small towns, which likely would have lapped the field in this contest.

Obviously, cities like New York City, Los Angeles and Honolulu did not make the Top 10. They’re simply too expensive. But which cities did make the affordability list?

Well, I wouldn’t be writing about it if Louisville hadn’t made it the list. Where did we rank? Number eight! That’s pretty cool, huh?

The rankings are made up of Cost of Living index weighted roughly 68% and the Housing Opportunity Index weighted around 32%. Real estate is certainly part of the equation but this way things you spend money on regularly are given more emphasis.

Without further ado.

Top 10 Most Affordable Cities to Live in the U.S.

  1. Buffalo, NY
    Population: 1,135,509 | Housing Opportunity Index: 88.5 | Cost-of-living index: 96.1
  2. Memphis, TN
    Population: 1,316,100 | Housing Opportunity Index: 78.7 | Cost-of-living index: 91.8
  3. Cincinnati, OH
    Population: 2,130,151 | Housing Opportunity Index: 83.8 | Cost-of-living index: 96.5
  4. Dayton, OH
    Population: 841,502 | Housing Opportunity Index: 85.4 | Cost-of-living index: 97.4
  5. Knoxville, TN
    Population: 698,030 | Housing Opportunity Index: 77.4 | Cost-of-living index: 88.9
  6. Akron, OH
    Population: 703,200 | Housing Opportunity Index: 86.8 | Cost-of-living index: 98.5
  7. Grand Rapids, MI
    Population: 774,160 | Housing Opportunity Index: 85.1 | Cost-of-living index: 97.6
  8. Louisville, KY
    Population: 1,283,566 | Housing Opportunity Index: 77.4 | Cost-of-living index: 92.4
  9. Oklahoma City, OK
    Population: 1,252,987 | Housing Opportunity Index: 77.8 | Cost-of-living index: 92.9
  10. Warren, MI
    Population: 2,475,666 | Housing Opportunity Index: 81.9 | Cost-of-living index: 98.7

Looks like Ohio is doing amazingly well with three cities in the Top 10. Tennessee also had two representatives in these rankings. In a bit of surprise, top honors go to upstate New York and Buffalo.

When we include the following cities to round out the Top 20 we get a number of cities in the South and Midwest but not a single city out West.

The Next Most Affordable Cities to Live in the U.S.

11. Toledo, OH (tie)
11. Detroit, MH (tie)
12. Birmingham, Ala.
13. St. Louis, Mo.
14. Virginia Beach, Va
15. Jacksonville, Fla.
16. Pittsburgh, Pa.
17. Tulsa, Okla.
18. Tampa, Fla.
19. Syracuse, N.Y.
20. Columbus, Ohio

Interesting to note that not a single city in Texas made the Top 20. That surprises me.

Very interesting stuff if you’re thinking about relocating and want to know where you can stretch your dollars the farthest. If your’re making a move, it’s smart to consider which are the most affordable cities To live before contacting a Realtor.

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.