Louisville Real Estate Blog and News

Are These 7 Home Remodeling Projects Worth The Money?

(From Marketwatch.com) When I remodeled my house, I knew what I wanted: a bigger kitchen with room for two refrigerators, more family space and another bedroom. But there are dreams and then there’s reality. My husband and I began wondering not only how much we could afford, but how much was wise to spend. So we called our real-estate agent and explained our plans, with hopes she could help us set a budget. Read more.


Diversifying Your Property Portfolio

When you’re investing in any asset class, there’s no such thing as a sure bet—and residential property is no different. Whilst there’s potential for capital growth, there’s a flipside of a potential stagnation or decline in market value.

You can reduce these risks by implementing a simple strategy—diversifying your property portfolio. You can do this in two ways. First, buy properties in a range of locations; that is, different suburbs within a city, and/or different States.

Buying all your investment properties in the same suburb or neighborhood means you’re intensifying your exposure to potential changes outside your control. For example, if you buy all your properties in an area where shifting ground increase the prevalence of major cracking, you could be up for tens of thousands in repair bills, more than once.

Further if you buy all the properties in a location that later loses popularity (such as a ‘boom’ town based on a single industry which later goes bust) reduced demand from buyers could affect the resale value of all your assets. If you buy all your properties in an area which later plays host to a freeway that creates considerable nearby traffic noise, you’ll bear an increased risk that not one, but all your properties will stagnate or fall in value.

By diversifying across areas within a city, you can minimize the risk of substantial cash outlays and capital stagnation or loss. If one property takes a hammering, the pain won’t be as bad when your other properties are holding their own.

The second diversification strategy involves buying across different price ranges. This will provide more flexibility when the time comes to sell and free up equity; for example, when you’re nearing retirement and want to top up your super fund.

Let’s say you have $1 million to spend. You can purchase a single asset with the whole amount, or two assets...

Are Millennials Hurting The Housing Recovery?

First-time home buyers haven’t been much help in the housing recovery, but it isn’t because young adults stopped aspiring to become homeowners. “Though they see a tough road to affording Homeownership, younger renters [those between the ages of 18 and 39] still are very likely to say that it’s in their future plans,” wrote Sarah Shahdad, strategic planning analyst with Fannie Mae, commenting recently on Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey. “The vast majority still plan to own someday; about half plan to buy a home the next time they move.” Read more.


Housing Price Appreciation Expected to Hit 7%

Despite a weak first quarter, home prices are still expected to rise by 7% in 2014, according to Wall Street analysts. “We continue to expect home price appreciation to moderate from the torrid pace of mid-2012-13, supported by improving employment and growth prospects,” said analysts from Morgan Stanley (MS). “We leave our 2014 projections for new home sales (450-500 thousand units) and home prices (up 5-7% for the year) unchanged.” Read more.


Buyers Find More Housing Options This Spring

The number of homes for sale is on the rise, a long-awaited welcome to home buyers who are finding more selection than last spring and less competition, according to realtor.com®’s National Housing Trend Report for March of the 146 markets it tracks. Inventories of for-sale homes on realtor.com® in March increased 9.5 percent higher than year ago levels, according to the report. The median list price is $199,900 – 5.3 percent higher than in March 2013. The median age of inventory has also risen – 22.9 percent above year ago figures to a median of 102 days on the market. Read more.


2013-2014 Cost vs. Value: Remodeling Pays Off Big Time

As existing-home sales and home prices make remarkable strides upward nationwide, remodeling projects are also continuing to make a comeback in a big way. This is the second year in a row that all 35 projects in Remodeling magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report saw more home improvement dollars recouped upon resale of a home than the previous year. Existing-home sales reached 5.02 million in 2013, a 9.1 percent increase from 2012, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Home prices also rose in 2013: Existing homes commanded a median price of $197,100, up 11.5 percent from the 2012 median price of $176,800. This is the largest price gain since 2005. Also for 2013, the cost-value ratio of remodeling projects nationwide averaged 66.1 percent, up 5.5 points over the previous year — which is, like median price, the largest increase since 2005. Read more.


Buying A Home Is Now 38% Cheaper Than Renting

Is renting or buying a better financial bet? Every six months, Trulia’s chief economist Jed Kolko runs the numbers to answer that question and help you stay on top of the trends.  So what does Trulia’s Winter 2014 Rent vs. Buy Report tell us? Although the gap between renting and buying is narrowing across the U.S., homeownership is still 38% cheaper than renting. Homeownership remains cheaper than renting nationally and in all of the 100 largest metro areas according to Trulia TRLA -1.26%’s latest Winter Rent vs. Buy report. Read more.


5 Ways To Decorate Your New Home On A Budget

Guest Post by Doug Chapman, www.homedaddys.com

Most of the stress is in the rear view mirror now that you finally have the keys to your new home. You’ve made everything happen, from signing the paperwork to getting financial details under wrap. Now it is time to move it and officially make it your own new home!

Many times people start thinking about how am I going to pay for this? How am I going to pay for that? Well when you start having these feelings about furnishing your home, don’t fret. Everyone seems to go through these emotions. The key is, how do you manage it?

Good news – there are many ways to decorate your new dream home while being on a budget. There are so many options to spruce up the house without crushing your bank account. The key is – find the right ideas!

Here are five suggestions to decorate your new home while keeping within your budget:

  • One of the simplest ways to add flavor to your new home while being on a budget is to look at the flooring. You don’t have automatically put new flooring in – whether it is carpet or hardwood floors – you could also add a special little touch with an area rug. It may sound like a band-aid to your new home before you can actually put forth the money to go all out, but in the short term it is a great idea and you can adjust as needed.
  • Another key is to make sure that you don’t use all of your financial resources in just one room of the house. You know the most-used places are typically the kitchen and living room – so make sure that you spread your finances out and focus more on those. However, the key is to not pull all your marbles in those...

Warren Buffett: Real Estate Taught Me How To Invest

In his annual letter to shareholders, billionaire and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett talks about how two small non-stock investments in real estate from years ago were keys to teaching him about investing. Buffett says in the letter that in 1986, he purchased a $280,000 400-acre farm about 50 miles north of Omaha, Neb. From 1973 to 1981, the Midwest saw an explosion in farm prices, but then the bubble burst and prices declined up to 50 percent or more. That's when Buffett decided to buy. Read more.


What To Expect When Moving Cross Country

Moving across the country can seem like a huge job – one that you might feel like you’re not really up for. While hiring a moving company to do the work for you can seem like the best option, the truth is that it may not be worth the thousands of dollars a single move is going to cost you.

Moving Van

A cross-country move can also have you wondering what to expect on the other side, especially if you’re moving to a place you haven’t spent a considerable amount of time.

If you’re planning a big move in the near future, make sure you take these cross-country moving tips into account before you even start packing.

Know What Your Dollar Is Worth

Moving across the country to a place you’re not familiar with can leave you wondering about the housing market. Even if you’ve done some preliminary searches on the internet or even a bit of in-person investigation, knowing what housing is actually going to cost you when it’s time to rent or buy isn’t always easy.

However, it is essential that you do something before you plan that move to make sure you’ll be able to afford the city you’re living in. Moving to a new city for a great job isn’t ideal if you’re moving for a pay increase that won’t be enough to actually allow you to live comfortably in the city.

In general, big cities on the West coast like Los Angeles and San Francisco are going to be the most expensive, just like big cities on the East Coast – New York and areas like Miami, Florida – are among the most expensive.

Before making your move,...

Top 10 Reasons To Hire A Real Estate Agent

Great Infographic extolling benefits of hiring a real estate agent. Courtesy of Courtesy of: Park City Real Estate - JensenandCompany.com.


Planning Your Approach To An Open House

By Kurt Jacobson

Making the decision to purchase a new home can be rather overwhelming, especially if it is your first home or you are moving interstate. There is an awful lot to think about, particularly when it comes to thinking about financing, selling your existing home, finding an area to move to, and of course looking for potential new homes! It can be easy to get wrapped up in the financing details, and forget that you are actually looking for a new home to spend the next chapter of your life in and share with your loved ones. Keeping sight of this fact, and choosing the best home to suit your needs, is the key to homeowner happiness.

You will undoubtedly view many houses before finding one that is suitable. And indeed, this is recommended. Viewing numerous houses helps you to realize what you like, what you don’t like, what your price range will let you purchase, and which areas you are most drawn to. However, when you look at lots of houses in a short space of time, it is easy to lose track of what you are looking for. As you only have a short amount of time to view each property, it is important to take as much information in as you can from each home. So, what are the important details when you are viewing a potential home? Well, here are some of them.

First of all, there are several things you should bring with you to the open house. You will need a tape measure, a camera, and a notebook. Write down as much as you can while you are in the house, as it is easy to become confused when you are viewing multiple houses. By taking notes, you can remember which house had the spacious living room, which had modern kitchens, and which was bathed in afternoon sunlight. Don’t be afraid to take photos either, but make sure you check...

Strongest Housing Markets in 2014 State-By-State

(Originally posted on Bloomberg Businessweek.com)

A housing market rebound seems tenuous following the expiration of the home buyer tax credit, and consumer confidence remains weak due to lackluster employment, but David Stiff, chief economist at Fiserv, says the bottom is near. Home prices in the U.S. have declined 29.5 percent over the past four years, according to the Fiserv Case-Shiller Indexes. Stiff says prices should form a trough early next year, when median prices will be down an estimated 32.9 percent from the 2006 peak. By early 2014, they will have climbed about 7.2 percent from 2010 levels, according to the indexes. Fiserv and Moody’s Economy.com base the housing forecast on factors that include income growth, demographic trends, unemployment rates, foreclosure rates, and construction costs. Read more


How To Sell An Inherited Home

(Originally posted on Marketwatch.com)

Selling an inherited house isn’t easy. There’s the emotional aspect of getting a loved one’s home ready for sale — which likely includes clearing out his or her belongings and depersonalizing the rooms. There’s the financial cost of making necessary updates to attract buyers. Sometimes heirs have to deal with costly liens or other hidden problems, and there may be disagreements among siblings about the sale price. And understandably, sometimes family members drag their feet. Images of growing up in the home with Mom and Dad prevent them from springing into action. They can’t let go. Read more.


Louisville Named One of 10 Most Affordable U.S. Cities

(Originally appeared on Refinery 29.com)

Whether you're contemplating a big move or just peeking over the fence to see how much greener the grass is, this little list is food for thought. Apartment Guide looked at its property listing data around rental rates and this Cost of Living Index. Meanwhile, our besties atLearnVest provided tips for budgeting in the New Year here. What you get is a list of 10 towns where rental and cost of living expenses are tantalizingly low. Seems a premium was placed on communities with strong cultural backbones — Louisville, Memphis, Oklahoma City, and Columbus on the list are all cities with strong music scenes. Read more.


Proof on Main executive chef Levon Wallace blends L.A. flash and Southern tradition

(Originally posted on Courier-Journal.com)

“Did she come in yet?” asked Levon Wallace excitedly in the kitchen of Proof on Main, where he has been executive chef since Michael Paley moved to the 21c museum hotel in Cincinnati last year. “Who?” asked Matt Johnson, a sous-chef. “Myra,” Wallace said, as he pulled out his iPhone to show Johnson a photo — a pig’s-eye-view of a large Red Wattle hog, happily chewing. “Michael Paley and I went halvsies on her. She’s supposed to come in today.” Read more.


Louisville Named 'Best of the World' Location by National Geographic Imprint

Louisville has been recognized in the December-January issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine as one of its “Best of the World” destinations. Other locations similarly noted in the issue are: Oslo, Norway; the Upper Mississippi River Valley; Yakushina, Japan; and Taxco, Mexico. The article showcases Louisville's expanding bourbon district along Main Street along with the Urban Bourbon Trail. Read more.


Mastering the Art of House Hunting

Guest post by Tyler Robertson.

Investing in a home is a happy milestone for many, but it’s also a minefield of indecision and stress. How do you refine your search to find your perfect home?

Claire Hovey is a writer with a love of all that is green and country, but due to a twist of fate she also loves sparkling city lights and a whole lot of hubbub. She is currently looking to buy her first home in a heady mix of the two.

How to Master the Art of House Hunting

There comes a time when having the freedom to up sticks and move around starts to lose its shine. You begrudge lining someone else’s pockets with rent. You begin to long for something other than beige walls; you dream of having the licence to get hammer-happy put up as many picture hooks as you choose. You start to squirrel away more and more of your Friday Night Out fund for sensible reasons and then, lo and behold, one day you find you have a savings account named ‘Deposit’ and enough in it to begin the House Hunt. You want to own cushions. Life is good.

But how do you begin to tackle the mountainous task of finding your new home? Well, pack your best plimsolls and fetch your guide rope: here are a few important lessons for the house hunt.

  1. Need versus want: know the difference. Fairly self-explanatory; assess your needs as a priority – three bedrooms would be nice, but two is what you need. A conservatory is a possible future goal, but for now, you can make nice with the neighbours in the front room. A vegetable patch might be an absolute must, pronto, but tea on the lawn can wait until house number two.
  1. Take a camera to every viewing:  Sometimes you can walk into a house and just know. Most of the time, you can’t. You need to mull it over, compare and contrast and, above all, make an informed...

Why Real Estate Deals Fall Apart

Guest post by Alisa Martin.

Almost every other person in real estate is well aware of the fact that transactions can be pretty troublesome. Most of them are intertwined with legal content that makes them confusing. A lot of documentation is also necessary for the process to continue and this leaves a number of loopholes for problems to emerge. Probably, one third of contracts never end up to the finishing line of closing table.

This means that even after an agreement is adjusted between a seller and a buyer, there is still scope for confusions to erupt and the deal getting crumbled. Let us look into the facts and reasons that ultimately crumble the process.

The Financial Glitch

It is not at all an easy task to secure a home mortgage post the financial crisis that took place due to the housing crisis in the year 2008.  The restrictions put forward by lenders are way stricter now. This has given rise to a lot of cancelled deals from the buyer’s side. The main reason behind it is the failure of the buyer to secure funds. A pre approval is good for a buyer. However, it does not confirm or guarantee that the buyer will eventually receive the loan amount because of it.  

Slightest of facts and changes can end a deal, for example, a small increase in interest rates or change in, income. Lenders are well known gold diggers, and they will make sure to get every detail of a buyer’s financial record. It is very natural for them to discover any fact that will ultimately deny buyer’s to receive proper loan amount.


Almost all the home appraisers utilize historical data to help them determine the actually value of a property. Usually, when the real estate values are more on the rising scale, it becomes tougher to discover comps that could maintain the sales price. It still continues to be tough, even when both the seller and the buyer agree upon the amount of dollar. According...

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Issues Final Rule On Mortgage Disclosures

(Re-Posted from CFPB website):

Today, we’re issuing the TILA-RESPA final rule. This rule improves the way consumers receive information about mortgage loans, both when they apply and when they’re getting ready to close. Alongside the rule, we’re publishing information to help industry understand what the requirements are, such as how to fill out the disclosure forms. Helping with that understanding will be an ongoing process. We’re also publishing information about the project that got us here and what the new rule means for consumers.

We want it to be easier for consumers to shop effectively for mortgages and to make the decisions that work for them. We want consumers who are confident in the information they receive, the lenders they work with, and their ability to make good comparisons. This rule is a key part of that effort, so we’ve spent a lot of time testing the new disclosures with consumers who will them as well as industry who will have to explain them to consumers. The results of that testing show that our new disclosures make information clearer and easier to use. Read more.