Looking for gift ideas this holiday season? Here are some great ideas on how you can celebrate our local Louisville and Southern Indiana areas and give your loved ones some unique gifts and experiences this Christmas.
A Membership to the Parklands
In a city that is known for its outstanding park system there is no better gift than the gift of outdoor adventure. A yearly membership for your favorite friend or family member is just $35 and $50 for a family. Support this donor-supported public park and give a gift that your loved ones can enjoy for the entire year. Visit their website to learn more or click here to order your gift membership.
Tickets to a Show at Actors Theatre of Derby Dinner Playhouse
Give the gift of entertainment with a gift certificate to Louisville’s Actors Theater or to Southern Indiana’s Derby Dinner Playhouse for dinner and a show! For upcoming shows and ticket price information visit the Actors Theatre website or the Derby Dinner Playhouse website.
A Trip on the Kentucky Dinner Train
Tickets for “My Old Kentucky Dinner Train” in Bardstown, KY is the perfect gift for those who love a one-of-a-kind experience. A variety of train excursions are offered that are great for a romantic evening or a family fun adventure. Gift certificates can be purchased from the Kentucky Dinner Train website.
A Dinner at one of the Louisville Originals
Support Louisville’s vibrant independent restaurant scene and give your loved ones a unique dining experience at Louisville Originals. A gift certificate to Louisville Originals is valid at approximately 30 local restaurants and can be purchased from the Louisville Originals website.
A Unique Gift from Work the Metal
For those friends and family members who like something a little extraordinary, explore the home décor, clothing, accessories and more at Work the Metal in Butchertown. With a large variety of products at this local retailer you will be sure to find that perfect, one-of-a-kind gift for that special someone. Take a few minutes to visit their website and browse a selection from their showroom.
Collectibles or a Tour on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail
Bourbon is Kentucky’s gift to the world. Celebrate the state’s bourbon history and give your favorite Kentuckians a chance to tour one of our famous distilleries or a shop through unique holiday gifts that can be purchased on the official Kentucky Bourbon Trail website.
A Personalized Gift from Louisville Stoneware
Give a custom-made gift of tradition and history from Louisville Stoneware, one of the oldest companies in the country. Since 1815, Louisville Stoneware has been creating unique items that make for a perfect gift for anyone on your shopping list. Shop through various handcrafted pottery and make it personal with a custom hand painted message.
As the frosty weather and holiday chaos moves in many people choose to stay put. This explains why there is usually a dip in real estate sales during the winter months. It is a common theory that the warmer, more relaxed spring and summer seasons is the best time to sell a home. Temperatures warm, the school year comes to an end, schedules open up, and everything blooms back to life. It is understandable why many buyers plan their home shopping around this time. But that doesn’t mean all of them go into hibernation after Labor Day and are completely dormant until spring.
Here are 3 advantages to buying or selling real estate in the winter:
During the winter, many sellers take their home off the market until the spring when buying activity picks up again. As a result, sellers who decide not to follow this trend will experience less competition, given buyers have less inventory to choose from. The decreased competition may mean more money for sellers because there are less active listings to compare prices to. Yes, there may be fewer people actively shopping for a home during this season, but those who are tend to be serious buyers.
Many buyers and sellers take a break from their real estate journey during the winter, meaning those who remain active typically have a reason for buying or selling a home that cannot be postponed. When time is a key factor, buyers and sellers are looking for a fast sell. This desire to speed up the process can often cause for easier negotiations as both parties have more willingness to compromise. As a result, not only can the process be quicker but both the buyer and the seller could get more of what they want.
The Appeal of Holiday Homes
When buyers are shopping for a home, they want something that feels like a home. While the winter weather is cold and gloomy, homes decorated for the holidays helps create a cheery and cozy welcome. Homebuyers—who often base their decisions on emotion—will appreciate the inviting warmth of tasteful holiday décor. This allows them to picture their own family celebrating future holidays in the space.
Buying or selling a home during the winter may seem out completely overwhelming with all the holiday festivities going on. However, given these advantages it may be the time when real estate transactions are the most hassle free!
Thanks to the arctic blast that made its way into our area last night it feels like the winter cold has officially arrived. When outside temps are low, there is nothing better than cozying up by the fireplace. A fire’s warmth and ambiance is alluring, but it is important to not overlook the potential dangers of your fireplace. Now that the heating season has begun, let’s review some fireplace safety and maintenance tips.
- Ensure your fireplace is clean and working property. It is a good idea to have your fireplace inspected and cleaned annually to avoid the threat of chimney fires.
- Clean around your fireplace and remove any items that are too close to the fire’s heat. Keeping a nonflammable rug in front of the fireplace is also a good idea. These can be purchased at fireplace-supply stores and can keep sparks from damaging your carpeting.
- When lighting a fire, only burn wood and be sure to place logs near the back of the fireplace, preferably on a grate. Overloading the fireplace with too many logs should also be avoided.
- Keep the glass doors open while the fire is burning. This will allow air to filter up to cool the chimney. With the glass doors open, pull the screen closed to avoid sparks from jumping out and onto your carpet or flooring.
- The glass on gas fireplaces will become extremely hot during when a fire is burning. Be sure to keep children and pets supervised and at least 3 feet away from the fireplace to keep them from touching the glass.
- Be sure a well-maintained fire extinguisher is always easily accessible and test your smoke detectors regularly. Pay attention to manufacturing notes on your extinguisher to be sure to understand how to operate and maintain it, as well as when replacement is recommended.
- Wait at least three days before removing the ashes from your fireplace. This is how long coals can potentially remain hot enough to start a fire and should only be removed when they are cool enough. However, do not let ashes build up, so clean the firebox at least once a week during the months you are using it.
- Most importantly, never leave a fire unattended. Always be sure an adult is home at all times when a fire is burning and keep children and pets a safe distance away from the fireplace and the fireplace tools.
Later this month, visitors to www.semonin.com will get to experience an entirely new website. The new platform that Semonin.com will be operating on will have a whole new look and feel, new innovative tools, and unique capabilities that will take online home buying and selling to a whole new level of ease and efficiency. Semonin has always been a company that is proud to keep up with our ever-changing world, and our new Semonin.com will provide you with the technology and resources you want and the power and accuracy you need in a dynamic and rapidly changing real estate environment. The new website will feature unique tools, including a custom Market Watch and Property Watch, convenient informational videos, cutting edge search capabilities, and much more! At Semonin, we not only strive to give you the guidance and information you need to succeed in your real estate endeavors, but we work to exceed your expectations along the way. The launch of the new and improved Semonin.com will be an exciting change for the Kentuckiana real estate market.
Semonin Realtors® is proud to announce that we are beginning to support The Parklands (21st Century Parks) as a corporate sponsor. For over 10 years, Semonin’s charitable contributions have been dedicated to benefit Habitat for Humanity, United Way, and Fund for the Arts, and we are thrilled to now add the Parklands to our mix! Louisville is a city known for its outstanding park system. Rooted in the city’s century-old legacy designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, the approach of 21st Century Parks, as stated on their website, “reflects a passion for Louisville’s parks that includes a respect for both people and nature, an insistence on publicly-accessible lands, and a belief in accountable management”. This project of Louisville’s parklands is one that will connect people with each other and with nature, bringing back a world of exploration and excitement, and a renewed appreciation of community and the great outdoors. Semonin Realtors® could not be more excited to support such a great and unique project, one that will surely make our city stand out from others and attract residents and visitors from all over.
For more information about 21st Century Parks, visit their website at www.21cparks.org.
It is common knowledge that your credit score is important, but many people are unclear on exactly how their score is calculated. Your credit report is made up of many different pieces of credit data. All of these pieces can be group into five main categories—but these five slices of the credit score pie are not all equal. Some components influence your score more than others. Here is a pie chart to break it down:
As you can see, the largest contribution to your credit score is your payment history. The first thing any lender wants to look at is your past credit cards and loan accounts to see if payments were made on time.
The second largest factor is the amount of money you owe. Using credit cards can help you build credit, however, it is important to keep balances low. Having a couple of credit cards that all have low balances is better for your credit score than having one credit card that is maxed out or multiple that are near their credit limits. Lenders want to know how you utilize your credit, and borrowers that keep their balances low are considered to be smart and responsible borrowers.
The rest of your credit score is influenced by the length of your credit history, the types of credit you use, and new credit. The longer your credit history, the better it is for your score. This factor contributes to about 15% of your credit score. When someone has an older account that they no longer use, the first thing people assume is the right choice is to close it. However, this older account can be a good reflection on your credit. Your credit mix accounts for 10% of your credit score. Lenders like to see a mix of different types of credit (credit cards, mortgages, etc.) because it signifies that the borrower can handle all sorts of credit. Lastly, new credit contributes to 10% of your credit score. Opening two many accounts in a short amount of time could harm your credit score because it could suggest to lenders that you are facing financial trouble.
The importance of each category may vary for certain people, but these percentages give a good indication of the level of influence each has of your overall score.
It’s the time of year for tricks and treats, spooky tales and fun costumes. There are many, many events and festivities taking place around town that will help you get in the Halloween spirit! Here are just a few suggestions:
The Louisville Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular
The second annual Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular in Louisville’s Iroquois Park kicked off October 9th, and will continue daily through November 2, 2014. Visitors of all ages “ooh” and “ahh” through the ¼-mile walking trail that is lined with 5,000 artistically carved pumpkins, situated and presented in themed scenes with music. Themes displayed throughout the walk vary from local pride and celebrities, to historical figures and places, to Halloween ghouls and blockbuster movies. The exhibit is open Sunday through Thursday from dusk to 11 p.m. and from dusk until midnight on Friday and Saturday, and all proceeds will benefit the Louisville Metro Parks Foundation. For ticket prices and more information about this spectacular event, visit their website at jackolanternlouisville.com.
The World’s Largest Halloween Party at the Louisville Zoo
Be seen. Not scared. That’s the motto at the “World’s Largest Halloween Party” at the Louisville Zoo. For years, families of all sizes have dressed up in their favorite costumes and headed on to the Louisville Zoo for an evening of magical Halloween. Children, 11 and under, enjoy a night of trick-or-treating through their favorite storybook scenes that have come to life with costumed characters and extravagant decorations. Plus, guests can visit Mumpkin the Giant Talking Pumpkin—a family favorite—and stroll through Pumpkinville and admire the ambiance of hundreds of glowing pumpkins. You are invited to kick off, or wrap up, the evening with a ride on the Spooktacular Carousel and the Warthog Express Train, and enjoy fun crafts, face painting, and many more activities throughout the night as well. This is a time of year when the Louisville Zoo is completely transformed into an enchanted Halloween celebration, complete with some of the Zoo’s late night party animals like the bongos, rhinos, and giraffes.
The Halloween Party begins at 5 p.m. various nights throughout the month of October. For specific dates, more information, and ticket prices visit www.louisvillezoo.org/halloween.
Pumpkin Picking at Huber’s Farm
Pumpkin picking at Huber’s Farm has become a fall family tradition for many. Every year, families of all sizes and ages make the journey to Starlight, Indiana (about a 30 minute drive from Downtown Louisville), to Joe Huber’s Family Farm, to enjoy all the festivities that come along with pumpkin picking season! Halloween isn’t Halloween without pumpkin decorations like Jack-o-Lanterns, or treats like pumpkin pie. At Joe Huber’s Farm, friends and families enjoy a joyous hay ride to the pumpkin fields in search of that perfect pumpkin. Some shopping at the farm market and gift shop, having a home-cooked meal at the restaurant, and enjoying live music, games, and other fall-festive activities will make for one fun and memorable afternoon. For more information visit Huber’s Farm, visit www.joehubers.com.
The Spirit of LaGrange Ghost Tour
For those of you after a spookier Halloween outing, the Spirits of LaGrange Ghost Tour may be more up your alley. Historic downtown LaGrange is full of charm, character, rich history, and even ghosts, some say. Many agree this two-hour candlelit walking tour, which runs Fridays and Saturday evenings in October, is one of the best in the region. Residents and business owners alike, have come to discover a plight of paranormal activity in various spots throughout historic LaGrange. Along the tour, you will explore a number of these places and hear in depth stories of their history and the haunting happenings known to have been taken place there. The tour is $18.00 per person and departs from the Oldham County History Center. For more information, please visit their website.
The majority of us know what it’s like living in the suburbs, but have you ever wanted just a small taste of what life in the city would be like? This weekend is your chance to get a glimpse of downtown Louisville living during the 13th annual Downtown Living Tour. Multiple downtown condos, apartments, and lofts that are currently for sale will be showcased for tourists to explore this Sunday, October 12th, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
The Downtown Living Tour, held by the Louisville Downtown Partnership (LDP), is open and free to the public, and will include free parking at Louisville Slugger Field. Tour participants are encouraged to check in at Hardscuffle Gallery, at the Fleur de Lis Condos on Main, located at 324 East Main Street, where the tour will begin. Along the route, members of the Louisville downtown Residents Association will be present to share stories and experiences with tour participants and to answer any questions.
In the past decade, the amount of residential properties in downtown Louisville has greatly increased and more have expressed excitement about moving to the city. Attend the Downtown Living Tour and see for yourself what downtown living is all about!
Semonin Realtors® just raised the roof on its 17th Habitat for Humanity home. This year, Semonin partnered up with NTS to provide the substantial funding and volunteers needed for the build. The new home is located on West Muhammad Ali Boulevard in the Russell neighborhood and upon completion will go to new homeowner, Dorothy Webster, a 68-year-old mother of five, grandmother of ten, and great-grandmother of four.
Over the past year, Semonin Realtors® worked to raise funds through payroll and commission deductions, a dessert auction which collected over $12,000, a tailgating event, a bowl-a-thon, and a car wash. All-in-all, these efforts enabled us to contribute more than $35,800 toward the construction of this Habitat build. NTS also added to these funds with a generous donation of $10,000.
Despite a short delay due to weather, Semonin agents and staff successfully raised the roof on Dorothy’s new home, which will be fully completed by Habitat for Humanity of Metro Louisville in approximately 12 weeks. “Semonin agents and staff take great pride in the communities where we live and work, and this is an important way for us to give back every year,” said Brad DeVries, president and CEO, Semonin Realtors. “This new Habitat home is no exception and it is our distinct pleasure to work as a team with NTS and contribute to such a great cause.”
Semonin has been a devoted supported of Habitat for Humanity since our first build in 1993. Over the years, we have felt so honored to have the opportunity to give back to our community and our neighbors. “Semonin Realtors have sponsored more Habitat homes in Metro Louisville than any other corporation,” said Rob Locke, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Metro Louisville. “The Habitat board, staff and homeowners are deeply grateful for the generous and faithful support of Semonin Realtors to build homes and change lives.”
As you can see from the following pictures, our volunteers had a BLAST during our 17th Habitat build and we are anxious to begin the fundraising for our 18th!
For more pictures, visit our photo album on our Facebook Page!