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Why You Might Retire To A Tiny House

From Marketwatch.com: Last year, 66-year-old Lauren Knoblauch sold or donated nearly everything she owned, from her two-bedroom home on a suburban Seattle lake to her furniture and many of her clothes. She moved everything else, two small carloads’ worth, into her new home: a downtown apartment that, at less than 150 sq. ft., is smaller than the average U.S. master bedroom. Read more.

Tiny House

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What To Expect From The Louisville Housing Market in 2016

Economist John Kenneth Galbraith once quipped, “There are two kinds of forecasters: those who don’t know, and those who don’t know they don’t know.” Keeping this in mind, it is with a sufficient dose of humility that we offer a few thoughts on factors that may impact the Louisville residential housing market next year.

  • Because of an ongoing lack of inventory it will likely continue to be a seller’s market in 2016. Absorption rate measures the rate at which available homes are sold in a specific real estate market during a given time period (calculated by dividing the total # of homes by the number of sales per month). A balanced market – one that favors neither buyers nor sellers – has an absorption rate of 6 months. According to a December 22 post from Louisville Homes Blog, November Louisville’s absorption rate was an eye-opening 3.68 months. Additionally, there has been nearly a 20% decline in the number of active listings since November 2014.

 "There are two kinds of forecasters: those who don’t know, and those who don’t know they don’t know." - John Kenneth Galbraith

  • Basic economics tells us that with lower supply one can expect higher prices. But even with a lack of inventory there may be a ceiling on home appreciation for the next few years. The S&P/Case-Shiller Housing Index estimates that nationally home prices will rise 3% in 2016 and 2017. This contrasts with an annualized growth rate of 9.5% since the end of 2011, when the Index declared the housing market had hit bottom after the recession.
  • The recent decision by the Federal Reserve to raise the federal funds rate likely signals the beginning of the end for historically rock bottom mortgage rates. This is not...

In An Industry Faced With Constant Change Some Fundamental Real Estate Truths Remain

What Sells A House?

When I got my real estate license nearly 22 years ago the MLS came out once a week in a telephone-sized book, there were a handful of personal computers in our office and the only thing smart about my immobile phone was that it had buttons instead of a rotary dial.

When I tell our new twenty-something real estate agents things like this they look at me with the same incredulous expression one might expect if you tried to explain other historical oddities from the B.Z. Era (Before Zillow), such as printed street maps or having to amortize a loan using a calculator.

The same is true for property-obsessed consumers who now expect to see houses on multiple websites and their smart phones in a matter of minutes from when they get loaded on the MLS.

Thanks to ubiquitous real estate websites and publicly available tax assessments, clients now sidle up to agents at the grocery store to debate price-per-square-foot trends in their neighborhoods.

The Web has most certainly democratized data in the real estate business. 20 years ago brokers maintained almost complete control over listing information. I think the shift in the balance of power has been a good thing. Well informed consumers can be a handful during the sales process (How can they be asking $450,000 for this, the tax record says they only paid $425,000 two years ago!). But I’d argue there has never been more interest in residential real estate than there is today and better educated...

6 Tips For Lowering Your Heating Bill This Winter

First winter in your new home? Feeling all comfy and cozy? If you’re budgeting this winter, your wallet may be feeling the heat: As temperatures drop, heating bills rise.

You’re not helpless, though. Even if you’re new to this whole home-ownership thing, you can take steps to reduce heating costs. Some of the suggestions are amazingly simple, and none require serious DIY skills or a large monetary payout.

1.    The Heat Is On - Piggyback off heat you’re generating for other purposes. When you’re done baking those famous Christmas cookies in the oven, leave the door open to let heat flow into the room. Don’t close the door when you’re taking a hot shower –- or at least leave it open when you’re done. Allow that steamy goodness to seep into other areas.

Winter Streets

2. Going Down, Down, Down - You may not want to hear this, but it’s a tried-and-true method to reduce energy costs: Turn down your thermostat. Don’t crank it any higher than 68 degrees when you’re home. If you’re cold, do what your dad used to tell you and put on a sweater. Also, make sure your feet are covered with thick socks or slippers. Cold feet lead to a cold body. Don’t stop there. When you’re not at home –- if you’re at work or out of town –- drop that thermostat another 10 to 15 degrees. Just make sure that you keep it at 60 degrees...

Brand Experience Checklist for Brokers

Broker Brand ChecklistOne thing I can’t emphasize enough with our agents is that almost everything we do in our real estate role has the potential to affect people’s perceptions of our brand, both as a company and as individual agents.

Getting into a brand management mindset requires first understanding all the different ways in which you interact with key stakeholders at different points in a real estate transaction. I think checklists are a great way to make sure you’re aware of and addressing all the potential ways your brand may be experienced.

Some of the examples below are more relevant to listing brokers and others to brokers working on behalf of buyers, but most real estate professionals will have had some type of experience with all or most of these. The four primary stakeholders or audience for these brand experiences are:

  • Real Estate Consumers (Sellers and Buyers)
  • Other Real Estate Professionals (Most Importantly the Cooperating Brokers You Encounter on a Regular Basis in Your Market)
  • Vendors  (The Key Service Providers – Bankers to Plumbers – Who Help Your Clients and In So Doing Enable You to Provide a Positive Brand Experience)
  • The General Public (Folks Who May Not Be Actively Engaged Home Buyers or Sellers But Have Some Awareness of Your Brand. These People are Potential Referral Sources or Future Clients)

Where do these four key audiences most often experience your brand? (And where do you have the opportunity to enhance or diminish it)?

Point of Sale

  • For Sale signs
  • Sign riders
  • ...

The Best Real Estate Companies Embrace Agent and Broker Brands

One thing that constantly amazes me is when I hear or read about the leaders of real estate firms downplaying the importance of the company/broker brand. The primary implication being that only the individual agent brand really matters. That branding is best left to the folks in the marketing department or, heaven forbid, that the “brand” is some ineffable concept that has no relationship to creating real business value like driving unit and volume growth.

Keller-Williams, likely the fastest growing brokerage in the world at this moment, seem to embrace this line of thinking. And indeed, most KW “For Sale” signs - the foundation of real estate brand marketing – totally emphasize the agent or team’s identity leaving the company name and logo as an afterthought. Make no mistake: Keller-Williams has built a powerhouse brand among real estate agents. In fact, I would argue that the only real brand value KW has is to agents. The primary value proposition of the KW brand is: “We’re the real estate company that shares profits with agents.” Thus far, it’s been a brilliant strategy in terms of recruiting agents and making some of the KW tribe very wealthy.

However, I think if you asked most people in the real estate business or, more importantly, real estate consumers what the KW brand stands for they would look at you with a blank stare. I mean, I know the Christie’s brand stands for “luxury”. Berkshire Hathaway Home Services has made a big Cabernet and Cream bet that Warren Buffett and the BH brand – characterized by “integrity and financial strength” – can extend to selling a gazillon homes a year (in addition to jewelry, insurance and Blizzards®).


Working Together...

10 Real Estate Marketing Trends for 2016

From Inman.com:  Nearly everywhere you turn, you hear news of the rebounding housing market. Not only is it bouncing back, but it’s also making a huge comeback with new owners and investors getting into the market. There are several factors that have played a role in this resurgence, each of which will contribute to the way real estate agents market to the public. Here are the top 10 trends you can expect to see in 2016. Read more.

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New Rules Give House Buyers More Review Time

From Marketwatch.com: The federal government requires that as of Oct. 3 loan disclosure documents must combine the information required in the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). Under the new rule change, known as the “Know Before You Owe” rule, or the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) regulation, consumers must be given the new combined Loan Estimate (LE) with all the charges, fees and line items three days before the closing, rather than at the closing on the HUD-1 form, which itself will disappear. Read more.

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PODCAST: Selling Luxury Homes With Kentucky Select Co-Founder John Stough

Kentucky Select Co-Founder and Principal Broker John Stough just returned from the Luxury Real Estate conference in Seattle, where he was once again recognized for his leadership in marketing luxury properties. Listen to this 20 minute podcast with John as he recounts some of his adventures from 36 years in the real estate business. Read more and Listen.

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Easy Improvements That May Boost The Value of Your Home

Guest post by John Miller. Contact John at john-miller@outlook.com

When homeowners think of home improvements, they may see the task as something terribly challenging and expensive that may take weeks to finish. However, for simple projects around the home, this is not the case. The following is a list of jobs that you can tackle in a few days that will increase its value and not break the bank.

Kitchen

An easy way to freshen up the look of your kitchen is to make sure your appliances match. While getting all new appliances can be a strain on your pocketbook, the manufacturer may be able to provide a new front that you can apply on your own. Whether you have stainless steel, black or white items, getting everything to mesh can add value to your dwelling. You can also head to your local home improvement store and change the fixtures on your cabinets and drawers.

Bathroom

The bathroom is another critical area of a home for home buyers. If you’re looking to boost your house value without having to spend a lot of time or money, you want to try sprucing up your hardware. This means replacing faucets, toilet seats, showerheads and door knobs. Towel racks, toilet paper holders and shower bars when replaced can also capture the attention of a buyer.

Master Bedroom

When you’re looking for easy fixes that will improve a home’s value, sometimes a fresh coat of paint to the master bedroom can brighten a room. While you may love purples, browns and burgundy, neutral colors are light, bright and simple to decorate. You can also replace your worn rug with something new and plush....

7 Simple Upgrades To Help You Love Your Bathroom Forever

Bathrooms are often forgotten spaces in homes. Maybe you decorated it once when you moved into your home, but never really loved that checkered tile or dated wallpaper. There are lots of simple upgrades that can be completed to transform your space at little cost and with only a bit of labor involved.

1. Update the Hardware

The clear knobs and glossy metal finish to your sink faucet may be dating your bathroom by a decade. Replace your faucet with a new one, finished with a brushed metal or copper plated look for an updated motif. Hand towel holders, shower faucets, and towel racks can all be replaced with a matching finish to immediately modernize the space.

Bathroom Renovation


2. Stain the Cabinets

While wood, regardless of the shade, will likely never go out of style, sometimes a deeper tone can reinvigorate a room. Use a gel stain to deepen the finish on your wooden cabinets for a sleek, refined bathroom. For that extra little touch, replace the handle pulls on your cabinets and drawers to match your newly updated sink faucet.

3. Install a Backsplash

Adding a backsplash on the wall behind your bathroom faucet will give the room a whole new look. Ranging from different styles and colors, an etched glass backsplash, in particular, brightens the sink area and gives the bathroom a clean, refreshed style. For you have more of a rustic, woodlands type of home, consider a wood backsplash to connect your bathroom with your home's motif. Yet...

Louisville In Consideration To Be a Google Fiber City

From Courier-Journal.com: Louisville has moved near the head of the line among the dozens of communities coveting a fiber-optics network developed by Google Fiber that could provide ultrafast Internet service. The fiber network, if installed, would greatly increase the speed for downloading material from the Internet, streaming movies, gaming and more.  Read more.

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Is The U.S. Housing Market Strong Enough To Handle Fed Rate Hike?

From Reuters.com: The U.S. housing market is probably strong enough to stand up against an interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve this year, with stabilizing home prices supporting sales, a Reuters poll of top economists showed on Wednesday. Of 22 economists surveyed, all but two said the market could withstand the Fed's expected rate hikes. They pointed to job creation and growing demand for houses from millennials as factors contributing to the market's resilience. Read more.

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Will Supply of Senior Housing Outpace Demand?

From WSJ.com: The supply of senior housing is expanding at a rapid clip in many major metropolitan areas across the Sunbelt and elsewhere, raising concerns that builders are racing ahead of demand. Analysts said the building spree could lead to higher vacancy rates and lower rent increases for real-estate firms that own housing dedicated to seniors. Shares of big U.S. companies that own a lot of senior housing have already tumbled this year as investors fret over rising interest rates. Read moreSenior Housing Stock.

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Kentucky Select Managing Broker Interviewed by Zillow for Louisville Story

Zillow Blog

Best known as the home of the annual Kentucky Derby, Louisville remains under the radar for most people. But, as the locals will tell you, Louisville isn’t the small, southern town many envision. In the last decade, it has blossomed into a city that rivals other southern cities like Nashville and Charleston. Even as Louisville transforms, its history is not lost — everything comes with a side of the southern hospitality. It’s not uncommon to find a new condo development on one block in Louisville and towering historic homes on the next. With an endless number of bourbon bars, nearly a dozen museums and an intense basketball rivalry, Louisville manages to offer both the best of both worlds for those seeking the feel of a small town and the conveniences of a larger city. Check out what these proud residents love most about their changing city. Read more.

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3 Features Americans Want In Their Dream Homes

Via Marketwatch.com: Most Americans have a clear idea of their dream home — and it doesn’t involve living large. Fewer people think owning their own home is part of the “American Dream” in 2015 than they did five years ago (71% in 2015 versus 77% in 2010), according to a survey of 2,000 adults carried out by Harris Poll on behalf of real estate site Trulia. Homeownership has become as much of a lifestyle choice than an obligatory milestone, says Selma Hepp, chief economist with Trulia; 75% of married people with kids under the age of 18 say they plan to buy a home to be their primary residence versus 69% of single people with no kids. Read more.

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Kentucky Select Agents Provide Leadership On Greening The Louisville MLS

Kentucky Select Properties agents Cary Thale, Jamie Peterworth and Ryan Davis joined with Jacqueline Klein from Parker and Klein, Mike Horstman from Keller Williams, sustainabilty consultant and green builder Sy Safi, Nancy Church of The US Green Building Council and several other stakeholders, to implement the first "green friendly" fields on the Greater Louisville Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service.

The fields include: Energy Star Home Certification, LEED Certification, HERS rated score and National Green Building Certification. Energy efficient features which can now be better marketed on the MLS include: GeoThermal heating and cooling, solar panels, spray foam insulation and tankless water heaters.

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