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!
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.
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!!