16 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Winter

Your home is likely the largest single investment you will ever make. It’s doubly smart to take care of your home’s value and save money at the same time. Don’t wait for a problem to surface. Be proactive!

Follow these 12 ways to prepare your home for winter now and you’ll be sitting comfortably come the Holidays.

Photo of a home in Winter
When you prepare your home for Winter then you can relax and enjoy the Holidays knowing your investment is protected.

Top 16 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Winter

Let’s jump right in!

1. Increase Insulation

This is number one on our list for a reason. Attic insulation is the most important aspect of keeping your home warm during Winter. Most homes don’t have adequate insulation. Don’t let your home fail this test. If you need a recommendation for a great contractor, please let me know. I have a big list of great local companies if you’re not up for the DIY project.

2. Service Your Furnace

Before the furnace is asked to warm the whole house all Winter long, give it a proper tune-up. HVAC experts know what to look for when they’re performing a year checkup. You want to lower your utility bills, right? You want your system to last a long time? Most certainly! Yearly service is the key to both of these. If you’re up for it, here are The Big 3 DIY Furnace Tips.

3. Replace the HVAC Air Filter

This one is a no-brainer. It’s very simple to do and not expensive so there’s no reason not to do it. Just add a reoccurring event to your calendar and you’re halfway there. Smaller filters are supposed to be replaced every month. Larger ones every six months. Don’t forget! Ok, what’s next?

4. Clean Your Air Ducts

While we’re looking at the HVAC, this might be the best time to have your air ducts cleaned. Has a been a long time since their last cleaning? Depending on your system and any health concerns, it’s recommended that your homes air ducts are cleaned every five years. Unlike changing the air filter, most likely this will be a task for a professional.

5. Install a Programmable Thermostat

Photo of a Nest programmable thermostatWith all the new smart house tech, there are a lot of powerful, programmable thermostats now on the market. Experts say these devices can save you a great deal of money. This, of course, depends on what temperatures you choose. Still, there are other many other benefits as well. Check them out!

6. Insulate Your Water Heater

Here’s a quick and inexpensive way to prepare your home for winter. Every homeowner should tackle this one. Insulate your water heater. There, I said it. If yours isn’t… head to your home improvement store today! Trust me, it will be the easiest money you’ve ever saved.

7. Turn Down Your Water Heater

Your water heater is one of the more expensive utility costs in your home. If you’re really looking to save money you can turn it down. But honestly, if you choose to keep those warm toasty showers, no one will blame you.

8. Seal Around Windows and Doors

Before Winter arrives, now is the time to check the caulking around all exterior windows and doors. This item should be on your yearly home maintenance checklist. Taking care of this will also help prevent pest intrusion, so it’s doubly smart.

9. Plug Any Gaps to Exterior

While you’re walking around your home to seal the windows and doors, look for any other possible gaps. These may occur around items like your dryer’s exterior vent, the sump pump drain pipe, a radon mitigation system or an HVAC system line. Sealing up any gaps makes your home safer and more energy-efficient.

10. Repair Any Roof Problems

I don’t mean to frighten you but gaps may also exist on your roof. These are even more important to repair. Every couple of years, you should have a licensed roofer out to your home to inspect the roof. If you haven’t done this in many years, do it now before any snow or ice come to infiltrate your roof’s weak spots.

11. Prevent Ice Dams

There’s a lot of damage that can be caused if ice dams form on your home’s gutters. Water intrusion is the biggest problem but they can also break your gutters, or even cause physical harm to anyone nearby if an icicle falls on a person. Didn’t you see Christmas Story? So make sure your gutters are in proper working order.

12. Install Storm Doors

A storm door simply adds another level of insulation against the outdoor elements. They also add value to the home. When Spring comes, you can also leave the primary door open and use the storm door to let more light into your house.

13. Prepare Your Fireplace

Looking forward to some cozy lounging by your fireplace? Of course, you are! First, make sure it’s in proper working order. If fireplaces aren’t your thing, make sure the flue is closed tightly to keep cold air from entering your home.

14. Seal Attic Air Gaps

Weatherstripping is a wonderful thing. Not only can you use it on exterior doors, but you can also use it for any doors or panels that access your attic. Remember how chilly the attic will be? We don’t want that cold air seeping inside through the gaps around your attic access door.

15. Insulate Exposed Pipes

Check your basement or cellar for any exposed pipes. If you find any, it’s smart to insulate them, especially if they are near an exterior wall. This will save energy (i.e. money) and can help prevent pipes from bursting causing even more serious problems.

16. Run Ceiling Fans in Reverse

This one is easy to forget, but since you’re learning about ways to prepare your home for winter you’re on top of it. During the cold, winter months set your ceiling fans to run clockwise so the hot air is pushed downward.

Most Expensive Louisville Homes in 2018

Today is the day of our annual jaunt through the most expensive Louisville homes in 2018. I began this pilgrimage in 2015 and have enjoyed the journey. If interested, check out the 2016 and 2017 editions. Seriously though, who doesn’t like looking at amazing homes?!

Photo of staircase in Most Expensive Louisville Homes in 2018
It’s time to get grand!

To begin, here’s our methodology.

  1. We’re only looking at homes that have sold since January 1, 2018.
  2. I’m only considering homes in the general Louisville, Kentucky area. We’re including the Jefferson, Oldham, Shelby, Spencer, and Bullitt counties. Our MLS covers more but I’m not including those.
  3. Lastly, we’re only looking at residential properties. No commercial. No straight land. Just awesome homes sold for big money.

Let’s get started!

Most Expensive Louisville Homes in 2018

So far this year our total of $1 million-plus homes that have exchanged hands is 60. That’s just one higher than last year. Here are the raw numbers for all of you stat geeks.

2018 2017 2016 2015
Average List Price $1,701,070 $1,411,014 $1,469,340 $1,410,815
Average Sold Price $1,609,606 $1,316,931 $1,325,809 $1,362,012
Average Above Grade Square Footage 5,498 4,874 5,138 5,468
Sold Price Per Above Grade Finished $331.76 $296.34 $282.70 $263.44
Average Cumulative Days on Market 182 134 154 269

As you can see, those are some big numbers. The jump from last year is quite remarkable. Clearly, a hot market has helped the highest end of the market, just as it has with the lower priced tiers.

These more expensive homes did take longer to sell than in the past few years. Also, I would have expected a larger reduction from list price to sales price. The unique character of many of these homes must keep the seller in the driver’s seat.

Enough talk. Let’s look at the top five most expensive homes sold in Louisville, Kentucky in 2018.

#5 – 15 River Hill Road

#5 Most Expensive Louisville Homes in 2018
This incredible mansion is located in the ever-stately Indian Hills subdivision, just northeast of downtown Louisville.

Despite being in a well-established neighborhood, Indian Hills, this incredible home was built just 18 years ago. Almost than 12,000 square feet of finished space, this remarkable property also boasts a large 4-acre lot. This home was sold in March for $3 million. [LINK]

 

#4 – 7602 Harrods Ridge Drive

#4 Most Expensive Louisville Homes in 2018
If you want to see a good number of exceptional homes all in one location, head over to Harrod’s Glen in Prospect.

This 10-year-old home in Harrod’s Glen was sold in June for $3,095,000, putting it at #4 in our countdown. There’s only the single required image so I’m not going to include a link for this one. But given that it was only on the market for two days, I think it’s safe to say the parties involved knew the listing was upcoming. Here’s a little secret for my loyal readers: the new owner is a recent arrival to Louisville via Cincinnati. Anyone you know fit that description? Perhaps a celebrity of sorts?

 

#3 – 16200 Mahaffey Lane

#3 Most Expensive Louisville Homes in 2018
It’s not every day that you find a 300-acre tract inside Jefferson County exchange hands. (Photography by AerialState.com)

Yes, there is a 7,000 square foot mansion on this land but it’s really that 299.5 acres in Jefferson County that brought the high sale price. There’s a lot of land still available in the southeast corner of the county. This gem is just one, albeit large, example. It will be interesting to see what the new owners plan for this parcel. This property sold for $3.3 million in February. [LINK]

 

#2 – 1401 Stone Lane

#2 Most Expensive Louisville Homes in 2018
This almost 7,000 square foot estate sits on 128 acres of land in Goshen, Kentucky.

Built in 1815, this home is incredibly charming. Do you want to know something else it has that is incredible? 128 of green rolling acres, that’s what! Now, the original home wasn’t 7,000 square feet but that all changed in 2001 when the owners greatly expanded the estate. This home/land was sold in February for $3.45 million. [LINK]

 

#1 – 10507 W Highway 42

#1 Most Expensive Louisville Homes in 2018
With 463 acres located in desirable Oldham County, it’s easy to see that there will be a great new housing development in the location.

So far we’ve had:  3.8 acres, 0.9 acres, 300 acres, 128 acres and now this one. Are you ready? This property, also in Goshen, is 659 acres! Wow! This property sold for $6,935,460 in January making it the most expensive home sold in Louisville for 2018. Located out 42 past the St. Francis school, it’s a good bet this will soon be a new high-end housing development. What do you think? Would you like to live out in beautiful Oldham County? [LINK]

Available Homes for Sale in Louisville KY

When someone says “available homes for sale” what they’re talking about is active listings. The fancy term for that is housing inventory. They all mean the same thing. And to put it bluntly, the available homes for sale in Louisville KY is dangerously limited.

Photo of a home in Clifton Louisville Kentucky by Tre Pryor
This cute home in Clifton represents the kind of property that’s becoming increasingly difficult to find. | Photo by Tre Pryor

It’s almost always to put things in picture form to better communicate the degree to where Louisville’s housing inventory is currently. Even better, let’s break it up into price tiers. After all, if you’re hunting in the $200,000 to $300,000 price range, you don’t really care what’s happening with half a million dollar homes.

Let’s get started!

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2018 Best Kentucky Counties for Real Estate

Once a year I run the numbers to see which are the best Kentucky counties for real estate. I do this by looking at the average sale prices over time for counties that are in and around Louisville, Kentucky. Sorry, rest of the state!

So it’s that time of year again. The numbers have been crunched. The charts prepared. Let’s dig in!

Louisville Kentucky Counties

I know, I know… this article title is a bit misleading. Ok, maybe it’s a lot misleading. That’s on me. I’ve been tracking this data since the early 2000’s and it would be almost impossible for me to gather data on the other 115 counties. That’s right, Kentucky has 120 counties. Crazy huh? Only Texas, Georgia and Virginia have more.

Anyway, back to the counties in and around Louisville. Jefferson County is basically Louisville. (For specific real estate data about the different MLS areas within Jefferson, please visit these Louisville Housing Reports.) Then Oldham is to the northeast, Shelby is due east, Spencer is southeast and finally, Bullitt is straight south. Now that we have the preliminaries out of the way, here are the stats!

Home Prices by County in Louisville, KY
With this graph, it’s easy to see how home prices in these Kentucky counties have performed from 2003 through 2018.

For most of these, have been trending higher from 2011 or so. During this past year, 4 of the 5 moved sharply higher. Here are the raw numbers.

2017 2018 Change
Jefferson $199,947 $211,057 5.56%
Oldham $316,941 $350,971 10.74%
Bullitt $182,383 $194,517 6.65%
Shelby $243,463 $223,585 -8.16%
Spencer $223,654 $247,170 10.51%

Even though Oldham Counties has some of the expensive real estate in Kentucky, their numbers are moving higher. Largely due to more new construction which will always push values.

Only Shelby County saw the average sale price decrease in the past 12 months. There could be some good value to be had by savvy home buyers.

Also note, the values I compared in this were the average sale price for each county during the month of May. Then I compared it to the previous year’s May. Nothing can be noted by homes that don’t sell other than traditional, annual appreciation… which is an article for another time.

Now let’s look at how the sales volumes break down by county.

Kentucky County Sales Totals

Louisville County Home Sales pie chart
Far more Jefferson County homes exchange hands than all of its neighboring counties combined.

Not much surprise here. When it comes to the best Kentucky counties for real estate, you’ll find far more options in the cities than you will in the country. When you consider that only 21 homes were sold in Spencer County this may, it just proves this point. While more than 1,100 exchanged hands during the same time frame.

To answer our original question, you’ll find the best selection of homes in Jefferson County. You’ll find the nicest homes in Oldham County. And you’ll most likely find the best bargains in Bullitt. Not always but typically that’s the case.

If you’d like more specific help, I’m one of the top 3 rated Realtors in Lousiville Kentucky. I’ve love to help you reach your goals just drop me a line.

Do I Need a Realtor When I’m Building a House?

Real estate can be a tricky thing. There aren’t any classes about it in most schools but it’s something most Americans are interested in. In fact, 84% of Americans see home ownership as a good investment even though the percentage of ownership has been declining since 2005. So how is building a house different than buying an existing home?

Photo of a couple looking over house plans - Building a house
Dreaming about building your dream house?

When something is as big as “buying a house” you don’t want to mess it up. There are a good number of snags that could really haunt you for years to come.

What about building a house? Isn’t that more straight-forward? After all, the builder is going to make it brand new. What could go wrong?

Well, what if I said, “It costs you nothing to have a Realtor.” Yes, that’s true. Whether you’re buying an existing home or building a house, buyers never pay commissions. Those are paid by the seller or the builder.  It’s just the way it is.

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Relocating to Kentucky: What You Need to Know

Moving is a big deal. Moving to a new state is an even bigger deal! Relocating to Kentucky doesn’t have to be a major problem. With some great advice and proper planning, your move to Kentucky could be the best thing that ever happened to you!

Photo of the Louisville walking bridge by Tre Pryor - Relocating to Kentucky

First, I’ve recently updated my Top 10 Tips for Relocating to Louisville. If you’re moving to Louisville, Kentucky, great! I’m always happy to help. Looking at another city in Kentucky? Just let me know, I might know a great agent who’s an expert in that city.

This article isn’t about specific tips about relocating, like the one linked above. It’s about the bigger picture. It’s about why relocating to Kentucky is a wonderful thing. Once you’ve read it, I believe you’ll feel the same thing.

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Top 5 Spring Home Improvement Projects

Photo of a beautiful deck Photo by Tre Pryor
Spring is the perfect time to improve your deck! Once Summer arrives, you’ll be glad you did.

Spring is a great time of the year. If you’re a homeowner, you already know that there will be some jobs waiting for you once the harsh Winter weather is past.

These “jobs” are very important. Some are simply maintenance that you’ve always known your home needs. Some up updates or home improvement projects that fit nicely in the Spring season. Either way, you’ll be glad you took the time and money to tackle than to protect or even enhance the value of your most valuable investment—your home.

As we leave colder temps in the rear-view mirror, here are the top five spring home improvement projects that will help you and your home.

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Most Expensive Homes in Louisville Kentucky

It’s that time again! Each year I track the most expensive homes in Louisville Kentucky. These are homes that are sold, not houses that have stayed with their current owners. If that were the case, it’d be the same homes each time and that’s no fun.

Last year we saw properties from the $1.32 million house on Belknap Beach Road all the way up to the 170 acres tract of land that sold for $2,150,000. I’m wondering if we should include land in our survey. What do you think? No? Ok, sounds good.

Going forward, no land, only the cream of the crop, most expensive houses… wait, what about condos? I mean, if one of these penthouse apartments in Waterfront Park Place or The George sold for more than a million, we’d want to see that, right? Yes? Great! I love that we’re all on the same page.

Let’s go!

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5 Tips to Finding the Best Realtor for First Time Home Buyer

Are you a first-time home buyer and you don’t know what to do first? Relax, you’re not alone. You’ve come to the right place. Here are five tips that will help in Best Realtor for First Time Home Buyer.

Photo of Finding the Best Realtor for First Time Home Buyer
The best Realtors for first time home buyers have these five qualities.

Every person is different. Just like every house is different. Agents are the same way. There are some great ones, some terrible ones and a whole bunch of average ones in the middle.

Buying a home can be a tricky situation so don’t try to go it alone. Far better to find an awesome agent who’ll be your on your side throughout the entire process. Don’t worry, with the right Realtor, buying your first time can actually be a great experience.

Let’s dig right in!

#1 The Best Realtors Are Great Teachers

This is especially important for first-time home buyers. First time out, everything is new! At this point, you don’t even know what it is that you don’t know.

Some agents have some excellent experience but when the time comes to communicate that real estate knowledge to their clients, they fall down. It takes a great teacher to share their expert understanding with their buyer clients in a way that they understand and can use.

In the end, the client is the one making the decisions so you need to understand how all the variables work. Top agents teach their clients everything they need to know.

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Almost 30% Gains in Louisville Home Values in Past Decade

A friend of mine shared this story about how California home prices are hitting their highest point recently. As I was reading, I thought, “Yeah, so have we here in Louisville.” Immediately, my next thought was, “I wonder how Louisville Home Values match up?”

Photo of homes in Indian Springs, Louisville Home Values
Louisville home values have changed a great deal in the past decade but maybe not the way you might have imagined. | Photo: Tre Pryor

Well… that’s the easy part.

First, I grabbed the chart from the California story.

California home prices chart
As you can see, this chart goes back to 2007, a few years before the housing crisis.

Louisville Home Values: 2007-2017

Then, I went to collect all the same data for Louisville, Kentucky. Going a step further, I wanted to see both Average Home Sale Prices, as well as, Median Home Prices. Why not, right?

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