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.

Conclusion

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.

Conclusion

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.

Conclusion

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.

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!