Preventing Theft During an Open House

Photo of Louisville home that needs extra security
Some homes need more security than others. A Louisville home like this one has lots of trees which add to its privacy but also makes it easier for dishonest people to take advantage.

Open houses are an effective way to show off your home and increase the chances of making the sale. If your belongings are still in the home you could be at risk for theft during the open houses. When there are a large number of individuals going through your home, often at one time, it can be difficult for your realtor to keep track of everyone at all times. These tips can help you keep your belongings safe during these open houses.

Secure Valuables and Medications

Keeping your valuables out is risky, even if you have them stored safely in your jewelry box, a few moments alone in the bedroom is enough for someone to take at least a few pieces of your treasured jewelry. Instead, store it in a lockable safe and take the key with you. You should also store your medications in a locked box as well.

Remove Identifying Documents

Some scammers will go to open houses to stake out what individuals have so they can familiarize themselves and break into your home later. This is why it is important to protect your identity as much as possible. This means putting away your mail in a safe place so no one can see your name or find out other personal information from documents you received in the mail, such as where you bank. It can also be helpful to remove any pictures of your family. This also a good time to make sure you have a home security system in place. You don’t want sticky-fingered thieves returning to a non-secured house.

Avoid Leaving Extra Keys

Your realtor has access to your home for showings. There’s no need to provide him or her with a spare key left on the counter or another open place. If an individual sees your key lying around, he or she may take it with them and gain entrance to your home when you are not there, taking items that belong to you. If your realtor needs a spare key, make sure you give it to him or her directly and get it back at the end of the showing.

Check All Doors and Windows

If someone attends your open house to find out what you have, they may leave an inconspicuous door or window unlocked so they can easily return later. This is why it is important to go through your home immediately after the open house and make sure that all the doors and windows are locked and secure. You can use this time to take a quick inventory to identify whether anything is missing. Talk to your realtor if you have any concerns.

Some realtors are able to increase security in an open house to keep your belongings as safe as possible. Even if your realtor can’t offer this service, though, there are things you can do to better protect yourself. Taking the right precautions will ensure that your belongings will be safe while you wait for your home to sell. Keeping valuables hidden and locked away, removing identifying information, checking doors and windows and not leaving extra keys lying around are all ways to protect yourself, even during an open house.

Finding a Trustworthy Louisville Realtor isn’t so tough

Trust graphic

How do you know who you can trust. You can’t… but others who’ve had experience with this person can tell you who is a trustworthy Louisville Realtor.

After completing a real estate transaction, I ask my clients to complete a Feedback Form. Yeah, yeah, I hear you. “That’s no fun!”

And, you’re right!

Thumbnail of a Tre Pryor Realtor Feedback Form
Purposefully reduced in size so as to not be readable, I did want to share this with you to see how much wonderful feedback this particular client shared with me. Wonderful!

Filling out a feedback form isn’t fun but it’s helpful to both of us. (Mostly me but being asked to share your feelings and thoughts is empowering for you as well.)

But the main reason I ask for feedback from my clients once the Louisville deal is done is that I want their honest opinion of how I performed. Just like checking the stats after a Kentucky or Louisville basketball game, I want to know, “How’d I do?”

I want to improve on my deficiencies and I want to continue doing the things my client liked.

Why?

Because I want to be a trustworthy Louisville Realtor for each and every real estate client—past, present and future. It could be you! And if you did want me to be your Louisville Realtor, I would want to be trustworthy as well.

I don’t publish all my testimonials but I do post many. I even encourage prospective clients to contact my past clients, if they so choose. It’s time well spent.

Trustworthy Realtor in Louisville

If you’re looking to buy or sell a home, you’ll want a trustworthy Realtor in Louisville, by all means, ask your friends and family. Do some research on the Internet. Call some prospective agents and ask them to meet you for coffee.

This extra work up front will help you zero in on the best Realtor for you and that will make the best home buying experience possible.

How does Customer Service apply to Louisville real estate?

Photo of Louisville customer service bear

Is this the kind of customer service you’ve received this Holiday season?

Christmas is upon us. It is literally on. It may even be inside us.

It’s been this way since practically Halloween but now the sense is palpable. You can feel it too, can’t you?

One of the heaviest weights is the responsibility to buy the gifts, whether they be Christmas, Hanukkah or otherwise. Not just getting the gifts but getting the right gifts, the best gifts… that’s what shows you really care, right?

Well, for me I don’t much want the local salesperson trying to talk me into the latest gadget that was their company memo told each employee to push. I hate being pushed. I like it better when I ask for help and then it’s provided. That’s good customer service.

Is that how you are?

When it comes to real estate, I tend to treat my clients the way I like to be treated. That’s all well and good but everyone is not the same.

Get this, some people like to be pushed. Can you believe it?!?

We all kinda freak when we find out that people like the opposite of us. Twizzler’s are far superior to Red Vines but there are still some of those (crazy) people who prefer the Red Vines.

It truly takes all kinds.

Customer service in real estate is quite complex, inordinately so. That’s because human beings are so complex. A real estate transaction has dozens of variables, a great deal of money on the line and people get stressed.

I strive to serve every one of my clients the way I would like to be serviced. Quick responses to questions with specific answers. Honesty. Lots of hard work.

If I don’t have an answer, I still respond with the comforting line that assures them, “I will get the answer for you.”

People won’t buy a particular Louisville home just because a Louisville agent is pushing it. If you try, you just break down any trust you’ve built up.

Ok, I’m done with my rant for now. I truly hope you enjoy this Holiday Season and I look forward to sharing 2014 with you!

How Do We Measure the Top Agents in Louisville?

Photo of a client happy with their Louisville agent
When your real estate client feels like this, that’s when you’re one of the top agents in Louisville.

Interesting questions this, “How do we measure the top agents in Louisville?” My conclusion may surprise you.

The Old Way to Measure Top Louisville Agents

Without a doubt, we would start with what most people are likely thinking

“The top real estate agents in Louisville are those that make the most money.”

or

“The top Louisville agents sell the most houses.”

And to a certain degree, these people are correct. That is an easy, non-subjective way to put Louisville Realtors into different buckets.

Ask me this question 7 years ago and I would have responded the same way. Today? Nah.

For some perspective, let me tell you a quick story.

I have a client, let’s call him Stuart. Now, Stuart was a client of mine in the past. But this call was for his Mom who didn’t have much money but needed a small, safe home in a part of Louisville that I don’t typically service.

Would I refer Stuart’s Mom to another agent? There wouldn’t be a lot of money in this deal for me.

But I could see the need and wanted to “be there” for Stuart and his family.

Would a top Louisville agent take this client? I think they would. At least… by the definition, I now subscribe to.

The New Way to Measure Top Louisville Agents

It’s not about money, it’s about service. Taking the heart of a servant and strive to make sure your client gets what they want, with the least cost and best possible experience.

I’m not batting .1000 but that’s my goal and it’s getting closer every day.

Do you rave about your Louisville Realtor’s service?

When Can You Trust Your Realtor?

Photo of a Louisville Realtor shaking hands with his client
Can you really trust your Louisville Realtor? That’s a great question. Learn how here.

Trust. It’s the key facet of every human relationship.

Before I became a Realtor, I thought Realtors enjoyed a great reputation. Why? Because my Realtor was a great guy—hardworking and trustworthy. I would refer him to all my friends and family, who each shared glowing recommendations.

When I became a Louisville Realtor, I found out that public perception of my chosen occupation was less than stellar.

Looking for evidence, we have to go back to 1989 for the oft-cited survey data. This report by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) attempts to put values on public perception. In it, Real Estate Occupations came in at a paltry 38.53 on the “Prestige Score” scale.

Please understand, very few occupations scored so low, dismally low to be sure. (It would be nice to have more recent results, however.)

There’s enough public perception out there that Realtors can’t be trusted. Is it fair to say, “One bad apple?”

Now, we’ve got people writing stories like, Why You Can’t Trust Real Estate Agents When Buying A House. Really, none of them?

Mr. Holman, the author of the piece, isn’t a Realtor but a member of the financial industry in Canada. I would suspect he has a better-than-average understanding of the industry. But why the blanket statement?

I think there are several reasons.

Where does the lack of trust come from?

First, society has become less trusting. See? There’s that word again.

There’s no question the economy is stagnant. The Washington Post, much to the chagrin of their political leanings, recently published The typical American family makes less than it did in 1989. Sigh.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that our more competitive economic landscape means any product or service with a sales component will grow more cutthroat.

Thus, we have an increased opportunity for Realtors who forego their fiduciary duties in favor of a quicker path to payday.

Second, in this day and age of exploding social media, it doesn’t take long for the word to “get around.” Find an agent cutting corners and mistreating their clients? Bam! Facebook post three minutes later and 253 “friends” now have their perceptions modified.

Lastly, due to the importance of a decision this large, every person involved in a real estate transaction experiences increased levels of stress. If you sell your hand-me-down chest of drawers for less than it’s worth, no biggie. But if someone gets a “steal” when buying your house, that’s a whole other story.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been involved in a deal when a perceived slight occurs and one of the clients blows their top. Last time, we found the document that proved the client had signed off on the rate. We closed the following day.

(The client later apologized for his outburst.)

The true nature of every industry

Even with all this against the profession, I still come back to this: Painting with the broad brush inevitably gets some paint where it doesn’t belong.

There are good Realtors. I know a good number of them here in Louisville. Heck, I’m one of them!

These agents will go the extra mile, even when there’s nothing in it for them. They’ll reschedule 9 showings because their client’s child became sick. They will accept phone calls, at home, at 10:30 pm because they understand that their client is stressing out.

There’s nothing wrong with educating the consumer Mr. Holman, but your premise is far too bleak and none too accurate.

My advice to all Louisville home buyers/sellers is to get quality referrals.

  • Don’t call a Realtor because you see her billboards on bus signs.
  • Don’t call an agent because they advertise on your favorite radio station.
  • Don’t call the guy with those late night real estate infomercials.
  • Don’t call a Realtor because their name sounds familiar.

Instead, seek out a trusted friend or family member who has used the same Realtor for multiple Louisville real estate transactions. Don’t worry, it won’t be as hard as you may think.

You most certainly can trust your Realtor. Just so long as you select the right one.

Top 10 Realtor Pet Peeves About Other Realtors

Photo of a girl giving the two thumbs down gesture
Want to know what I hate? You don’t care? Doesn’t matter… I’m telling you anyway. My top 10 Realtor pet peeves about other Realtors. It’s going to shock you.

Ok.

There are sites where I publish my “made for TV” opinion and analysis stories. Louisville Homes Blog has been up and running since 2006 and gets more traffic now than ever before! (Yes, I’m tooting my own horn so sue me.)

I also write for Insider Louisville, which is growing by leaps and bounds. Better platform. Larger audience. What’s not to like?

So here on my own personal blog is where I cut loose and tell you how I really feel.

It’s getting real up in here.

So today’s topic came to me as I was looking through a bunch of listings for a client of mine. And I was like,

“Why are you doing this? Are you crazy?! What kind of drugs are you on???”

So without further ado, here’s my Top 10 Realtor pet peeves about other Realtors.

#10 Realtors who typing the listing descriptions in ALL CAPS

What’s annoying in an email or text is just as annoying on the web. For goodness sake, please refrain!

#9 Realtors who misrepresent their listing to have more official bedrooms than it truly has

I know someone could sleep in this room but without an egress window, closet and a door, this is not an official bedroom. Try again.

#8 Realtors who don’t listen to the voice message I just left them but instead call me and ask about it

Spending two minutes bringing you up to speed on our deal wasn’t something I did for myself, it was meant for you! Don’t call me and ask me to do it all over again. Crikies!

#7 Realtors who give out the wrong code to their listing’s lock-box

This one could be a simple mistake but it’s important. If you make me look bad in front of my clients, I’m not your friend. (Just kidding, I’m still your friend… just don’t let it happen again.)

#6 Realtors who won’t give me their client’s feedback on one of my listings

Since I received my real estate license to practice in the Commonwealth of Kentucky I have given feedback on 100% of the homes I’ve shown my clients. Eat your heart out Ty Cobb.

Other agents? Not so much.

#5 Realtors who pretend that a patently obvious problem doesn’t exist

Well… because we have to get that document signed by all parties in order to have an accepted contract, it’s fairly important, dontcha think?

#4 Realtors who are lazy

Some people just do their job better than others. The loafers bring me down because now I have to pick up your slack.

#3 Realtors who try to take my commission with a spurious procuring cause claim

This doesn’t happen often but when it does… oh man… my blood starts to boil. Are you seriously trying to take the money I’ve earned?

Thems is fightin’ words.

#2 Realtors who don’t return my calls

I am sorry to report that this happens more often than I would have thought. Real estate attorneys, home appraisers, home inspectors and other contractors fall into this category as well. Act professional people!

#1 Realtors who treat me like I’ve done something wrong when it’s really their clients causing the trouble

And my number one pet peeve about other Realtors is when the so-called professional gets all bent out of shape and yells at me about something that’s either their fault or their client’s fault.

I don’t handle these situations very well. Please forgive me… I’m a work in progress too. ;^)

The Good, Bad and Ugly in Louisville Real Estate


Perhaps the best movie theme music of all time.

I’ve spent a good many posts ranting about things that bother me in my career as a Louisville Realtor. Blog ranting is a good way to blow off steam.

(Better that then actually telling someone they’re a bad person. Heh.)

Today I thought I’d hit the topic from a new perspective… all of them.

The Good Louisville Real Estate

Louisville is a great city, whether the nation (or world) knows it or not. I’m proud to call this place my home.

By and large, the people here are generous, polite and caring. The vast majority of Louisvillians are stand up citizens.

I can’t imagine working this business is a city like New York or L.A. where selfish vanity is on parade. Argh!

Plus, this is a beautiful town! The parks are highly under-rated and the Parklands of Floyds Fork are only going to enhance our lives.

Far more good than bad, but I started this theme so…

The Bad Louisville Real Estate

There are some very selfish people in every city. These people give little thought to taking what they want without giving back even a “thank you.”

It happens to me weekly. It’s part of the business. But that doesn’t make it OK.

As part of their job, Realtors do need to explain to people how the business works. Listings are fairly straight-forward but working with buyers can be like trying to wrangle a school of jellyfish.

Using a Buyer’s Agency Agreement (BAA) solves the uncertainty problem but some people won’t sign one.

That leaves us it a bit of a war-zone, where anything goes. With nothing to penalize the offender, it will keep happening. Sad but true.

My solution would be to have a new law that requires home buyers to sign with just one real estate agent. They can switch to a new agent if things don’t work out by a quick written form but are required to be aligned with an agent throughout the buying process.

That’s not burdensome and would create a more clear landscape for all parties. Am I missing anything here?

The Ugly Louisville Real Estate

This space is reserved for the truly crazed individuals, either by the stress of events or personal health or mental problems.

There are some sick people in the world and, for the most part, they can buy and sell real estate too.

It’s people like this that I am glad that I’m not required to work with anyone. I can choose to say, “No thank you. Please find another agent. Good day.”

The hard part is identifying these people before you’re knee-deep in negotiations and the animal excrement is about to hit the fan.

Regrets, I’ve Had a Few. Hopefully Taking Advantage of Historically Low Interest Rates Isn’t One of Them

Please pardon my epically long title above but I wanted to make a point. You know the famous Frank Sinatra song, My Way, right? Well, a portion of the lyrics are:

Regrets, I’ve had a few
But then again, too few to mention

How about you? Are your regrets too few to mention?

Most experts agree that we are past the lowest interest rates in history. History!

Did you buy? Did you refinance? I sure hope so!

Because if you didn’t, you’ll likely regret it. Just how much, remains to be seen.

Skeptics say, “What’s the big deal? It’s just a few bucks each month.”

Ok, and I’m sure we all have so much extra money to burn, right?

For a $200,000 loan, here are the different amounts of interest (not principal) you would pay during all of the 30 years, for each interest rate.

3.5% – $123,312.18
4.0% – $143,739.01 (or $20,426.83 more than at 3.5%!)
4.5% – $164,813.42 (or $41,501.24 more than at 3.5%!)
5.0% – $186,511.57 (or $63,199.39 more than at 3.5%!)
5.5% – $208,808.08 (or $85,495.90 more than at 3.5%!)
6.0% – $231,676.38 (or $108,364.20 more than at 3.5%!)

So… do you have an extra $100k laying around to waste on that additional interest? I know I don’t.

Please don’t regret missing out on the best financial home buying deal of our lifetime. Think of all the extra Starbucks you could buy? ;^)

It Takes All Kinds

It Takes All Kinds of People but Selfish People Can Take a Hike
You’ve heard, “It takes all kinds.” But I’d much rather a world without selfish people.

Real estate can be a tough business. Whenever you deal with people, things can be quite trying.

But, “It takes all kinds!” you hear people shout.

Well, that depends.

If you’re referring to:

  • people of all colors and creeds,
  • who have different interests, hobbies and pastimes,
  • which when we meet them open our eyes to different ways of doing things.

then I’m with you!

But some people are just downright selfish.

They only think about what’s going to benefit themselves and treat everyone around them like “things” rather than people.

I don’t want all kinds of clients, just the right kinds

I never knew how selfish some people could be until I got into real estate—which is essentially a service industry.

The phrase, “The customer is always right” never met my last client. Yes, this is one of those posts.

When you are contacted and asked to provide service, with no payment or signing of documents, there’s a level of common courtesy that seems to be missing in America 2013.

It’s more like, “What can I get away with.” than “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

I’m happy to help anyone in Louisville with all kinds of real estate advice or service, but if you are one of those people who could care less how your actions affect others… please don’t call me.

Thanks in advance!

Why Choose Louisville New Construction? These Benefits for Home Buyers Will Show You the Way

Photo looking at floorplan of their new construction home being built in Louisville, KY.
Are you a designer? Hands-on on personality? New construction in Louisville could be exactly what you’re looking for.

I’ve written a data driven article about the current Louisville new construction landscape for InsiderLouisville. But today, I want to write about this topic from a personal perspective.

In this piece, I’m going to outline the benefits of new construction. Why, you ask? Because I love new construction!

My wife and I have built three homes and after the first few showings of existing homes, we knew we’d always be a new construction type of family.

I mean, I know it’s more expensive (sometimes WAY more expensive).

I know building sites are limited (sometimes so limited you’re much farther out than when first started).

But the pros of building a new construction home in Louisville far outweigh the cons on my book.

  1. No one has lived here before!
    If you’re a clean freak, a la, Sheldon Cooper, Adrian Monk or Jerry Seinfeld, this point takes the prize. Nothing to clean up, de-wallpaper, repaint, dig up, dust off or sanitize.

    This point is so huge, I considered giving it two points.

  2. You get to pick everything!
    From the layout to the materials, to the colors and everything in between. I mean, honestly, for control freaks like myself, what’s better than being able to pick your own door knobs and cabinet pulls?

    No item is too small. From the amount and type of insulation to the which light fixtures look best around the garage door you’ve selected, when a home buyer chooses new construction, it’s all up to you!

  3. Everything in your home is brand new!
    Don’t underplay this point. When you buy an existing home, the HVAC system could be a year old, 12 years old or 30 years old; you never know!

    New construction means that HVAC system is zero years old. The roof? Zero years old. The windows? You guessed it, zero years old.

    That’s pretty awesome, don’t you think?

  4. Save some tax money!
    It’s not always a large amount but sometimes it is! When your first property tax bill comes due, it may not reflect everything you purchased. It might be simply the price of the lot because the home hadn’t been completed yet.

    Only paying taxes on the lot, is a pretty big deal.

There are a few other items too, but I may save those for another time. Suffice it to say, that if you’re like me (and some of you are, whether you choose to admit it or not) then choosing to build your new construction home in Louisville, is a wonderful experience and a wise choice.