Author Archives: semoninblog
When home buyers search for a property they are ultimately going through an elimination process. Generally, when a buyer crosses a house off their list, it stays off their list. This is why first impressions are crucial when selling a home. In today’s information and technology driven society, the majority of home buyers are starting their house hunt on the Internet. Furthermore, according to a survey by the National Association of Realtors, about 80 percent of home buyers rated photos as the most useful feature when shopping for homes online. As a result, sellers now have to count primarily on property photos to make a good first impression on prospective buyers. As shoppers scroll through online listings, those with poor photos, or none at all, are the ones they tend to cross off their list first or overlook all together.
To better improve a listing’s Internet appeal, the quality AND quantity of pictures is important. A single picture of the outside of the house can be just as ineffective as 30 bad photos. Even though pictures are just giving buyers a preview of a property, they still want to feel they’ve had a good look at the property. Online listings with too few photos can make buyers question why there are not more—is there something wrong that the seller does not want them to see? This brings up another important trait of good real estate photos: honesty.
Making a home appear as appealing as possible in photos is important, but be careful to not get carried away. The pictures you use should be honest. Deceiving photos will leave the buyer irritated when they view a home and find it not how it was pictured on the Internet. For example, avoid using photos that are not current that will mislead buyers. If a photo shows a swimming pool in the backyard that has since been removed, do not use that photo.
Since many can underestimate the power of good real estate photos, the job is often rushed through in effort to get the property listed faster. However, it is important to take the proper time to prepare and produce valuable pictures. Before pulling out the camera do a little staging. Simple jobs like picking up clutter and making beds can make a huge difference. Buyers are purchasing a house, not all the stuff in it. Put away items that could be distracting, like toys or laundry.
Lighting is another factor to consider. Better pictures can be taken when there is more natural light in the space. Open the curtains and blinds and turn on all the lights in a room to make the space appear open and bright. It is also a good idea to consider the weather and time of day you take photos—a more beautiful day makes for more beautiful pictures.
There are numerous photography tips and tricks that can be helpful to learn, and there is always the option of hiring a professional to take the pictures. However you choose to get them, give prospective buyers a good first impression with good, quality photos.
What is your dream home? Ask someone from another generation, older or younger, and you may not get the same answer. Studies have shown the various values and attitudes of different generations have led to some difference of opinion when it comes to what features are most appealing in a home. As taste shifts, so do the elements found most often in real estate.
Baby Boomers (1946-1964)
Generally, baby boomers are hard workers and willing to put in long hours to get what they want. For people in this group, image is important, which is why their idea of a dream home is one that depicts a picture of success. According to a survey by GfK Roper Reports, they rank a state-of-the-art kitchen No. 1 on their “must-haves” list, with walk-in closets, whirlpool baths, fireplaces and swimming pools completing the top five. Boomers, who are becoming “empty nesters”, are well-established in their careers and hold positions of authority. Homebuyers in this generation may be looking to downsize, but more importantly they want a place to show off their life’s hard work—a home that says, “I’ve made it.” So while they may be looking for a property with less square footage, they want a home that is packed full of high-end features. They are also more active than other generations and tend to have a more sophisticated style, so gardens and workshops/studios are appealing.
Generation X (1965-1980)
This generation is of child-rearing age, meaning their homes are very family-focused. The formality of baby boomer homes does not appeal to gen X-ers who want a more causal and comfortable abode. In the midst of parenting, gen X-ers are looking for practicality, a home that can help them eliminate clutter and chaos. For this group, the top two must-haves are state-of-the-art kitchens and plenty of storage with large walk-in closets. Also a popularity for this generation are open-floor plans. With children in the house, they like the idea of having the entire family able to do different things all in the same space. While gen X-ers tend to be very in tune with style and design, their home is not about impressing people. gen X-ers want a home that fits their personal lifestyle. Homebuyers in this generation know what they want and tend to be less prone to settle for less.
Generation Y (1980-2000)
At this stage in their life, the Millennial generation is all about fun! Their idea of a dream home includes anything and everything that is good for entertainment. Unlike the baby boomers and gen X-ers, gen Y cares less about high-end kitchens, gardens, or workshops. The top of their wish list consists of things like swimming pools, game rooms, fitness rooms and high-tech entertainment centers. In addition to gen Y’s need for fun and entertainment, they are also moving away from their parents and emerging socially. This makes many gen Y-ers crave homes in an urban setting, walkable to shops, restaurants, parks, and nightlife. This “always on the go” type of lifestyle leaves the generation looking for properties that require little maintenance. Many homebuilders have started to focus on new developments that specifically cater to these needs.
As a homeowner, you may think understanding these differences is of no importance to you. However, owning a home is not just about having a place to live; it is about caring for your investment and increasing its value for resale. To effectively do so, it is important to identify trends to know what would be worth adding to your home and what repairs or renovations would pay off in the end.
Source: MSN Real Estate “Dream homes vary by generation”
*Birth dates are an approximation
One of the oldest neighborhoods in Louisville, the Highlands was originally a wealthy area until the suburbs attracted its residents and businesses around 1960. The neighborhood was revived in the 1980s and has been one of the hippest parts of town ever since. Both Louisville residents and visitors know the area to be one of the most popular, eccentric, and energized areas of the city. Built around the infamous Bardstown Road and Baxter Avenue, the Highlands is dense with eclectic local shops, unique restaurants, and dynamic bars and nightclubs.
Passionate about the arts and culture, the Highlands is home to many local artists and musicians, enriching the community with a unique flare. There is also an event to attend whether it is a poetry reading at a café, an art showing at a local gallery, or live band playing at one of the bars. The community also emphasizes an active lifestyle as residents enjoy some Louisville’s most esteemed parks including Cherokee Park and Seneca Park & Golf Course.
Neighborhood streets in the Highlands are lined with older homes, but many have been renovated and modernized. Residents cherish the history and old architectural features of the area’s real estate, but enjoy giving their own home modern and quirky touches to incorporate the old with the new and compliment the area’s unique and artistic environment.
For a list of homes for sale in the Highlands, click here.
Get a little bit of everything in Polo Fields
Golf, tennis, swimming, playgrounds, jogging paths, walking trails, upscale country club dining… what is this, some kind of resort? Close, but no. Located in the East Louisville area is the neighborhood of Polo Fields. In addition to its assortment of amenities, Polo Fields is also fully-equipped with a variety homes suitable for a wide range of buyers.
Polo Fields continues to expand, adding sections, or sub-neighborhoods, to accommodate different lifestyles within the single community. Some sections feature upscale, luxury style homes on larger lots that back up to a private wooded setting or directly along the golf course. But just by turning a couple of corners you can find yourself on streets full of life with energetic kids and neighbors congregating outside their newly constructed, spacious, yet affordable homes. Even ranch-style, low-maintenance homes, popular among the elderly and retirees, can be found in certain parts of Polo Fields, where people can enjoy a lifestyle similar to what condo-living offers without giving up the advantages of a single-family home.
In an area previously dominated by farm land, Polo Fields is part of a growing community as new developments are underway. Shopping, dining, and business developments have made plans to break ground and begin bringing a little more life and convenience to surrounding neighborhoods, including Polo Fields.
For a list of homes currently for sale in Polo Fields, click here.
In just a few days your neighborhood streets will be filled with little ghosts and witches, princesses and pirates, and any other character you could possibly imagine. Halloween night is one of the best nights of the year for young children, but can also be dangerous. Take a look at these trick-or-treating safety tips before grabbing the jack-o-lantern bucket and heading out the door:
1. Bring light
The sun sets early on Halloween night, so make sure you and your children can be easily seen by drivers on the road. Apply reflective tape to your child’s costume or buy some glow sticks or necklaces for them to wear. It is also a good idea to bring a flashlight with you so you and your kids can see where you are walking and avoid tripping.
2. Use safe props
A pirate is not a pirate without a sword! While many costumes come along with fun props, make sure they are safe for your child to carry around while trick-or-treating. Avoid props that are sharp or heavy and instead use something made of rubber or plastic.
3. More Kids = More Adult Supervision
There’s nothing worse than getting separated with your child. Especially when she is dressed as a witch and you look around only to see everyone else is also a witch! If you think it is easy to lose your child in crowded areas, think about how hard it is when it is dark and everyone is in disguise. If you are taking a group of children trick-or-treating make sure you also have enough adults to keep an eye on everyone. A good ratio is to have one adult for every two children.
4. Avoid masks
Masks can make it difficult for children to see or breathe. If possible, try to use face paint and hats to complete the costume instead of a mask.
5. Check your child’s candy
For many kids, the best part of the night is dumping the candy all over the floor and digging through the pile of sweets shouting about all their favorites. Sort through the candy with your child and be sure to throw away any pieces that look to have been opened or not in its original wrapper. If you child has allergies, this is also the time to rid of anything they are unable to have.
Use these tips to stay safe while trick-or-treating, but above all have fun! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
Social media is a great way to connect, but sites like Facebook and Pinterest are packed full of all different kinds of people posting all different kinds of things. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a social site dedicated solely to real estate and home design? Good news! There is!
Houzz is similar to Pinterest where all kinds of home photos are posted by those with a passion for design and renovation. The site is related to Facebook as well as users can engage in discussions and conversations through forums or comments. The site’s name “Houzz” comes from a combination of “house” and “buzz” and has already attracted more than 15 million monthly users! The site is truly an outlet for passionate, proud, or aspiring homeowners to share their ideas, engage with others, and find inspiration for remodeling or design projects.
Luckily, the invitation has been extended to real estate professionals when, in March, Houzz launched a category specifically for those working in the field. Many real estate agents have found the site an excellent and unique way to connect with their clients, inspire them about homeownership, and help them better visualize the potential of properties. The wide collection of photos on Houzz includes many before and after images, displaying how remodeling and design can make such a drastic transformation. What a great way to help clients avoid being distracted by aesthetics!—an all too common problem for many home buyers. In addition to chatting on discussion forums, or collecting photos on Houzz to create “ideabooks” to share with clients, real estate agents can also use the site to showcase their own work by posting photos of homes they just listed, recently sold, helped stage, or anything that shows their real estate expertise and enthusiasm.
For anyone excited about home design, renovation, and exploring different styles and trends, Houzz is for you! Join today and let us know what you think!
Source: Tracey, Melissa Dittman. “Welcome to the Houzz.” Realtor Magazine. http://realtormag.realtor.org/home-and design/feature/article/2013/09/welcome-houzz
Your home has it all—ultimate location, great price, excellent condition. So why isn’t it selling? Many sellers put their house on the market, sit back and as the weeks pass begin to wonder why there have been some nibbles but no bites. A common explanation people jump to is price. Perhaps if it were a lower price it would sell. Listen to the expert—if your agent is telling you the price is right based on researched comps and market stats, something else is wrong. The problem could most likely be due to a challenge many sellers face: not letting go.
The longer a homeowner has been in their home, the more emotionally attached they become. To a seller, it is not just about selling a property, it is also about selling all the memories they have made there. Oftentimes, this leads the seller to believe their home is worth more than it is, and when offers come in they are quick to say, “That’s too low” and “a higher bid will come along”. Regret settles in when higher offers do not come in and sellers start kicking themselves for not accepting previous bids. It is vital not to look at an offer as a concrete price but as the beginning of a negotiation, and countering back and forth with the buyers is a normal part of the real estate transaction. Again, listen to your agent when offers and requests come in, they are there to advise you on how reasonable they are.
Furthermore, emotionally attached sellers often expect buyers to see what they see in their home. This is an unrealistic viewpoint that can create a big barrier in the selling process. The fact of the matter is buyers look at a home to see how they can live their lives in it, not how the seller has lived theirs. For this reason, the seller’s ultimate task is all about presentation. To sell a home quickly, a property must be presented in a way that enables potential buyers to visualize it as their own. Buyers want to feel comfortable, not like they are invading the privacy of someone else’s house. Staging techniques like taking down personalized décor and your family pictures can keep buyers from getting distracted from seeing the actual space and its potential. Understand that you are going through a transition, and even though you may not want to take down all your family photos and strip the walls of your favorite wallpaper, it is temporary! The quicker you sell, the quicker you can make your mark in a new home!
Sacrifices you have to make as a seller can be frustrating and seem unnecessary, but if you truly want to sell, they must be made! Not all showings, for example, will give you 24-hour notice; some may want to stop by in the next 20 minutes. You have the power to say no and insist they come at a different time, but by then they could have already found another house to buy and no longer have the need to see yours. While it may be stressful running around like a maniac, cleaning up your half-eaten lunch, making beds, and throwing the kids and pets in the car, sellers who are sufficiently motivated to go through such challenges are successful!
As a good rule of thumb, when selling you should realize the minute you put your house on the market, it is no longer your house. The sooner you let go emotionally, the smoother your journey as a seller will be.
This Halloween season, Louisville is hosting its first Jack O’Lantern Spectacular! A section of Iroquois Park will be transformed into a spooky enchantment as more than 5,000 professionally carved pumpkins light up a ¼-mile path. The Jack O’Lanterns will be grouped into themes, each section featuring themed music as well.
Louisville’s Jack O’Lantern Spectacular is based off a popular show that has been held annually in Providence, R.I. The show is hoped to be a successful attraction in the city, one that becomes a family favorite every Halloween.
The event will be held nightly (gates open at 7 p.m.) from October 10 through November 2. Visitors should expect the trail to take about an hour to complete. Tickets are on sale now or purchased at the gate, and all proceeds will benefit the Louisville Metro Parks Foundation and Kosair Charities. For ticket prices and information call (502)363-7766 or visit jackolanternlouisville.com.
You don’t need to wait for a special occasion to take a special outing. A number of unique shows are taking place in Louisville this weekend that you won’t want to miss!
For the Kids!
The Yum Center has transformed into an enchanted winter wonderland as Disney On Ice comes to celebrate 100 years of magic! Audiences of all ages will have be captivated as Disney’s unforgettable stories and charming characters come to life in a way the big screen could never capture. The show features the largest cast of everyone’s favorite Disney Characters, from the traditional Mickey and Minnie Mouse to Buzz Lightyear and Nemo. Disney On Ice incorporates beautiful choreographed figure skating, everyone’s favorite classic Disney songs, and exciting sets, costumes, and special effects.
The show will run through Sunday, September 22. To find more information and purchase tickets visit the KFC Yum Center’s official website.
Romantic Date Night
For those couples or opera lovers who are wanting a night out on the town by themselves this weekend, the classic French opera, La Bohème will take the stage at the Brown Theatre (315 W. Broadway, Louisville, KY). The inspiring story set in early 19th century Paris is about young bohemians who find love while trying to make a living as artists. As one of the top ten performed operas, you will find yourself enthralled with the moments of joy and love, and absorbed in the harsh realities of poverty and sacrifice.
The show runs from Friday, September 20 through Sunday, September 22. Tickets begin at $34 and can be found on the Kentucky Center website.
Relive an America Classic
The Wizard of Oz has become one of the most treasured and beloved classic in entertainment history. To honor its 75th anniversary, the award-winning will take the big screen again for just one week. However, this time Dorothy and her friends invite you to join in on the journey to Oz in a 3-D IMAX experience! The re-imagined and re-mastered film will make audiences feel as if they can touch the infamous ruby slippers, smell the aroma of the poppy field, and jump right onto the yellow brick road to dance along with Dorothy, Toto, Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion.
Movie theaters will only be screening the film from Friday, September 20 through Thursday, September 26, so make your plans now to relive this timeless tale. Residents near Louisville can see the movie at the Stonybrook Theater (2745 S. Hurstborne Parkway, Louisville, KY 40220). Click here to find showtimes and tickets.