Halloween Festivities Happening Around Town

Halloween

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.

 

 

 

 

Life in the Big City: Get a Taste of Downtown Louisville Living

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!

For more information about properties currently for sale in the downtown Louisville area, contact a Semonin agent, or search for homes on Semonin.com.

Downtown Skyline Night

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Louisville Bats Game Night

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The Ranch Makes a Comeback

Ranch Style Home

The ranch home was in its heyday in the 1950s and 60s when it emerged as one of the most popular American styles. As more families moved to the suburbs during these years, the ranch home was appealing because they were affordable and quick to build. In more recent decades, however, the demand for ranch style homes fell as homebuyers gravitated to the grander look of two-story homes. Just as any fashion, housing styles come and go, and the ranch style is now showing signs of a comeback.

A number of factors have contributed to this resurgence of demand for ranch homes. A large portion of home buyers in today’s market are aging baby boomers and first-time buyers. Both the young and the old have recently shown increasing interest in doing all their living on the first floor of the home, and the ranch style offers that. Ranch homes have grabbed the interest of many baby boomers as they are getting older and find the style a good solution for downsizing and avoiding stairs. Many first-time home buyers with young children also like the idea of one-story living to avoid worrying about the safety of stairways. The ranch also offers these young buyers more affordable options that give them more bang for their buck.

Another reason for the ranch revival is the nicer lots many of them were built on in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Unlike the older bungalows and many of the new constructed two-story homes seen in recent neighborhood developments, older ranch homes are often found on larger lots. As more home buyers have been expressing an increased demand for a good yard size and mature trees, the ranch has been getting more attention.

Architecturally, the ranch also has a lot of unique potential. Home owners who like the contemporary style of an open-style floor plan have found that the ranch style can be easily remodeled to convey the open look without compromising structural support. Additionally, if the lot size allows, the ranch is also known to be relatively easy to add on to. Home owners are drawn to the opportunity of increasing their home’s square footage and resale value when their time and money allow.

It is hard to tell if this upward trend will continue to climb, but for now, it is evident that many homebuyers have a newfound appreciation for the ranch.

 

Adapted from article at http://realtormag.realtor.org/

 

Semonin Realtors® Builds its 17th Habitat for Humanity Home!

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!

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There’s always time for an ice cream break!!!

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The Habitat home recipient, Dorothy Webster

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Congratulations Dorothy!

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Ground Blessing Ceremony

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For more pictures, visit our photo album on our Facebook Page!

Staging Your Home To Sell!

Staging to Sell Infographic

Real Estate Recovery is Expected to Continue

Leading up to 2014 real estate experts had very high expectations for the year’s market performance. Throughout the first half of 2014, however, those expectations were not met. Despite the lag in activity in the beginning months, which is likely due to the harsh winter weather and high consumer doubt, over the summer the national housing market has shown a steady increase in activity. HomeServices of America has developed and released a national perspective of the residential housing market, stating “we anticipate a robust second half of 2014” as housing inventories approach healthier levels.

During and after the recession, housing marketing throughout the country had an extremely high amount of distressed properties. It was private equity and investors that primarily drove the real estate market into recovery. This tactic of fueling market recovery, however, was a short-term resurgence. While investors removed a large amount of distressed properties from the market—which helped return property values to where they should be—once they did, recovery depended on the more traditional cycle. Fortunately, consumer confidence is on the rise. This is vital for the real estate market, because if people are fearful about buying and selling homes, than they simply won’t.  According to HomeServices of America along with this increase in consumer confidence, the real estate activity is being led more by homeowners, instead of driven by investors or banks dealing with distressed properties. They have noted that more consumers are buying homes as their own residences and more homeowners are selling their own properties. This trend is a great sign that the real estate market will only continue to thrive.

The housing industry is made up of a number of segments, each of which is experiencing different paths to recovery. For example, luxury properties have displayed a strong sense of recovery, with good sales recorded in many markets nationwide; however, the sales of mid-priced residential properties have not been showing the same enthusiasm. Buy looking at the most recent price-branded reports for the Louisville, Southern Indiana, and Elizabethtown markets shown at the bottom of this post, you see that the majority of homes that sell in the area are in the $125k-$150k range, with less than 3% of homes selling for more than $500k in the Louisville market. This could be why we hear of many other markets undergoing a quicker recovery than we are.

Strong sales of luxury properties is most likely due to a number of factors that affect the buyers and sellers in this market segment. A large portion of this segment are made up of first-time homebuyers who are struggling with getting a loan due to strict credit standards and student loan debts, which has recently shown a dramatic uptick cross the country. The mid-market segment is also facing lower inventory levels which cannot keep up with the demand that is higher than other market segments. Real estate experts are hopeful that these issues will subside, especially as more and more buyers are seeking professional and quality loan officers to assist them through the process of getting a mortgage loan. With the guidance and expertise of such loan officers, more homebuyers are taking the right steps, such as getting pre-qualified for a mortgage prior to shopping for homes.

Americans are beginning to once again become confident and enthusiastic towards real estate.  According to a 2014 survey by Gallup, more Americans consider real estate to be the best long-term investment, ranking above gold and stocks. The fact that consumers are still seeing the value in homeownership is a great indicator that things will continue to improve. While we are still a ways away from achieving full recovery, the signs are pointing in the right direction. Assuming that job creation and the overall economy will continue to grow, the momentum of real estate market is anticipated to continuously pick up speed through the rest of 2014.

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Bowling to Build 2014

The Semonin Realtors® all-company event held yesterday, August 20th, at Kingpin Lanes was nothing less than a huge success and a whole lot of fun! From 10a.m. to 2p.m., Semonin staff, agents, families, and clients put their bowling shoes on and enjoyed a great afternoon of fun, food, and strikes! Funds raised by bowlers, raffle tickets, and a bake sale exceeded $2,500 for Habitat for Humanity.

We had over 90 participates and gave away over 60 raffle prizes. We would like to thank everyone who helped us make this great event a success, with a special shout out to King Pin Lanes and their wonderful staff and to 2-10 warranty for sponsoring this event and allowing us to give 100% of all the proceeds to Habitat for Humanity. We can’t wait to start building our 17th Habitat home next month!!

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To view the full photo album visit our Facebook Page!

Buying in a Bidding War: Give Your Offer a Personal Touch

Couple writing a letterIn low-inventory market the number of home shoppers exceeds the number of homes on the market. As a result, a number of properties are receiving multiple offers and homebuyers are finding themselves in a bidding war. In this kind of situation the strongest offer usually wins. To make an offer stronger and more appealing to a seller, the obvious answer would be to simply offer more money and ask for less in return, such as closing costs or allowances for appliances or repairs. Unfortunately, as the buyer, you will only know that there are multiple offers on the table, but you will not know exactly what those offers are. If you have already offered everything you can to best match or exceed the seller’s requests, there is another technique you, as the buyer, can use to appeal to the sellers.

In a multiple-offer situation, many real estate agents will advise their clients to strengthen their offer with a little personal touch by including a letter addressed to the sellers explaining how much they love the property and why they should be the ones chosen to buy it. The personal value this kind of letter can add will make your offer stand out from the others.

Selling a property can be a very emotional process for many sellers. Whatever their reason for selling, they are still having to let go of the home they have built and the memories they have created there. Including a personal letter in your offer is a way to express to the sellers that they will be leaving the house to someone who wishes to create the same kind of memories for themselves, that they have valued so much. The bottom line, the sellers are not just selling a house, they are selling their home. Respect this feeling in your letter by expressing to the sellers how you would be purchasing more than just any other house; you would be purchasing the home where you want to begin the next chapter of your life.

Including a personal letter is not a guaranteed strategy. Sometimes other buyers will simply out bid you. However, the additional value a letter brings can be extremely powerful. You may find that even if another buyer offered a little bit more money, or asked the seller for a little bit less, this personal touch can win over the hearts of the sellers, leading them to consider you as the most deserving new owner.

Price Banded Market Report – July 2014

What price range are most homes in Louisville selling for? This graphic gives a good visual representation of the amount of homes that have sold in each price range during the past 30 days. As you can see, the most selling activity has been in and around the $100,000 – $125,000 range.

ePresPriceBandedGLAR31Jul14

Former Army Sergeant Receives Home Courtesy of Wells Fargo

Matt Kinsey, a former Army sergeant and member of the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team, and his girlfriend Christina were the recipients of a remodeled house courtesy of Wells Fargo. Matt and Christina received the keys to the house yesterday, enabling them to see it for the first time. Semonin agent Jay Wyzard was instrumental in the process. Matt is most deserving of this fantastic house in New Albany and Semonin is honored to have had a special part in it.

A former Army sergeant, receives home courtesy of Wells Fargo

A former Army sergeant, receives home courtesy of Wells Fargo

Matt Kinsey, a former Army sergeant and member of the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team, recipient of a remodeled house courtesy of Wells Fargo

A former Army sergeant, receives key to new home

Home Listed by Semonin Realtors

A former Army sergeant, receives home courtesy of Wells Fargo

 

At Semonin Realtors, we strive to lead differently, teach relentlessly, and serve passionately. To be able to give back to those who serve our country is so meaningful to the Semonin family. In further efforts to assist our military moving in or out of the Kentuckiana region, Semonin Realtors participates in the U.S. Military of the Move program to say thank you to all our service men and women. This program allows military active duty, retired (20 years of service) and wounded warriors to earn cash back when they buy or sell a home with Semonin Realtors®.

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