The best Louisville Realtor for you? Here’s how to pick!

Pick the best Louisville Realtor for you

In any market, real estate agents are always looking for new clients. Most Realtors would love to work for you, but would you want to work with them? That’s the question.

I’ve identified the Top 4 factors to consider when picking the best Louisville Realtor for you. Or, since we’re in basketball country, let’s call these the Final Four of Realtor Selection.

1. How Trustworthy Is Your Louisville Realtor?

While this can be difficult to discern, having a trustworthy Realtor is the most important factor for your next transaction to be successful. You want an agent who’s going to work towards your best interests.

The best way to learn about trustworthy Louisville Realtors is to ask people you trust if they would highly recommend their Realtor. Notice I said “highly”? If they say something like, “Yeah, she was fine” that’s not necessarily a ringing endorsement.

You want someone who’s going to go the extra mile for you. If a situation arises where your agent has a choice between your best interest and their own, you want them to side with you. Top agents put you first!

There are also free Web sits like Yelp and RealEstateRatingz.com that give some additional insight into what past customers felt about their agent. Angie’s List is a subscription based site that also tracks ratings about all kinds of service providers, including real estate agents in Louisville, KY.

2. Does Your Louisville Agent Have the Right Expertise?

Louisville real estate has many facets.

Of course, there’s the difference between commercial and residential real estate. But even within residential, some agents focus a greater part of their attention on being a selling agent and only work as a buyer’s agent on occasion. The reverse can also be true.

Then there’s relocation, property management, appraisals, interior design and, with the rise of distressed properties, short-sales, and REO specialists.

You need to find the best Louisville Realtor for the real estate job at hand.

Are you looking to sell your Louisville home? Focus on agents that do a great job making sure your home is well staged, takes gorgeous photos (and plenty of them!) and then promotes your listing, not just on our Greater Louisville MLS but across all the major real estate Web sites.

Moving to Louisville from Chicago? An agent who has expertise as a relocation specialist understands the additional things that factor into your decision like good schools, reducing commute times, notifying the utility company, comparing property taxes and more.

The best Realtors are better equipped to make sure your cross-state move is a smooth one.

3. Match Your Personality with Your Louisville Realtor

City Livability Awards report cover graphic
It may not seem obvious, but it’s important for you and your Louisville Realtor to “get along.” So try them out over coffee.

Due to the nature of the business, you’ll likely be spending a great deal of time with your Realtor during the sale or purchase of your new home. Having a positive personality match is huge!

  • Do you want to get the know the person behind the job? Or, would you rather it remain strictly business?
  • Would you like the agent to notify you regarding every new piece of information, no matter how large or small? Or, would it be better if they only contacted you with the important stuff?
  • Old school and like phone calls? Or, do you prefer emails or even texts?

Being on the same page with your Realtor will make the potentially stressful process a lot easier to handle.

Have a sit down with any potential candidates and let them know you’re interviewing agents to find the best match. Good agents will appreciate your honesty and the one selected will put their best effort forward knowing you’ll be loyal to them throughout the process.

Ask if they use an agency agreement. If so, tell them you’d like to know exactly what it contains. That way expectations are understood from the start. Personally, I believe that agency agreements improve the real estate transaction and builds trust between both the agent and his or her client.

4. Best Louisville Realtor Will Have Experience

There are many measures of experience: years as a professional, years in real estate, the number of homes sold, the total value of properties bought or sold. All of these increase the Realtors knowledge base.

Most real estate transactions move along a predictable course. But if something unusual arises, does the agent have the proper experience to best handle that particular situation?

I believe many consumers incorrectly put value on an agent’s company. Whether an agent works for RE/MAX or Century21 has little to do with that agent’s ability to perform well for their clients. There are plenty of great agents that work for boutique real estate companies.

Experience alone does not a great Realtor make… but it certainly helps.

Conclusion

So who is the best Louisville Realtor? The answer, of course, is “It depends.” It depends on you, your needs and your personality.

I hope the information I’ve provided will help you identify which agent will make your next move a highly successful one.

Louisville Homearama 2015 Announced for Spring Farm Lake

With just a few exciting real estate events, is it any wonder that we get jacked up for Louisville Homearama? Or maybe it’s just me.

Louisville homearama 2015 is announced. See photo of 2014 house.
Louisville Homearama 2015 has been announced for Spring Farm Lake off Wolf Pen Branch Road in Louisville’s East End.

Color me psyched when I get the press release announcing Louisville Homearama 2015 for Spring Farm Lake. From the release:

Spring Farm Lake, off of Wolf Pen Branch Road in Prospect, has been selected as the site of Homearama 2015. The site will offer a potential 15 lots as part of the event next July 11-26th. Spring Farm Lake is developed by Signature Green Properties, LLC.

Many of the lots that are part of the Homearama section of Spring Farm Lake will back up to either a two-acre lake or a deed-restricted 12-acre pasture that is permanent open space. Lots are approximately 25,000 to 30,000 square feet and will be priced at $115,000 to $175,000 in this section.

As of this posting, nothing appears in our MLS for this neighborhood though according to the subdivision’s official site three lots are already sold.

For the full report on Louisville Homearama 2014 visit this link. It includes the largest photos of homes by some of best builders in Louisville.

You can always check out the Building Industry Association of Greater Louisville (BIA) website for information about past Louisville Homearama events or news about upcoming Louisville Homearama 2015.

Top 10 Home Improvement Projects for Louisville

Photo of the front door continues to be a leader in top home improvement projects for Louisville KY
The front door continues to be a leader in top home improvement projects for Louisville, Kentucky.

[The first time I wrote on this topic was in 2009, when I posted Top 10 Louisville Home Improvement Projects on LouisvilleHomesBlog.com. I’ve written several since. Here is the newest version for 2014 by top Louisville agent, Tre Pryor.]

It’s important to remember that the data used by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) in this report comes from surveys. Sure, real estate agents are the one’s being surveyed, but it’s still their opinion about what kind of return a particular Louisville home improvement project might return in today’s market.

Even still, you won’t find better data because it doesn’t exist. These values represent the professional opinions of people who buy and sell Louisville homes every day. In fact, I took the time to complete this survey. Not the most exciting way to spend an hour and 15 minutes but it’s good to give back, right?

On to the results!

The following home improvement projects are ordered by Cost Recouped. This data is specific to Louisville, Kentucky. Projects are divided into Mid-range and Upscale.

1. Entry Door Replacement [Mid-range] (steel) – Louisville 82.4%, National 96.6

There have been years where this number was over 100%. I feel that ranking your front door #1 makes a lot of sense, especially given that potential home buyers spend so much time standing right in front of it while the agent is removing the key to gain entry. Can’t-miss project.
Average cost: $1,138.

2. Fiber Cement Siding Replacement [Upscale] – Louisville 81.5%, National 87.0%

Many times the value can be higher if the siding being replaced is in especially bad condition. If that’s the case, you’re killing two birds with one stone— removing the unsightly exterior and replacing it with something brand new and beautiful!
Average cost: $12,711.

3. Garage Door Replacement [Upscale]- Louisville 79.2%, National 82.9%

Sprucing up the exterior of your home doesn’t stop with the front door or siding, you can also make your garage the envy of the neighborhood with a new, upscale garage door. And, get a nice return on your investment to boot. The mid-range garage door ($1,468) comes in at 72.0% cost recouped, which isn’t bad either.
Average cost: $2,723.

4. Minor Kitchen Remodel [Mid-range] – Louisville 74.8%, National 82.7%

For years we’ve seen that Louisville home buyers value the kitchen above all other rooms in your home. Experts believe improving your kitchen will always reap some of the top returns. This NAR report divides Mid-range projects from Upscale projects. In this case, the Mid-range projects get a higher return than the Upscale project for Louisville.
Average cost: $18,211.

5. Window Replacement [Upscale] (Wood/Vinyl) – Louisville 73.5%/73.3%, National 74.0/76.6%

Replacing windows is often done in order to save valuable dollars when it comes to energy costs. Whether choosing wood vs. vinyl usually comes down to ease of maintenance vs. appearance. For Louisville, it turns out that appearance slightly edges maintenance with wood replacement windows beating out vinyl by the smallest of margins, .2%. Nationally, vinyl beat wood by 2.6%.
Average cost: $16,489/$13,186.

6. Grand Entrance [Upscale] – Louisville 70.0%, National 70.7%

A new category in this report is the Grand Entrance which means replacing a single door with a wider opening containing a new door and dual sidelights. Sure, it’s much more money but depending on your home it doesn’t have to be 7 grand and may return a higher value than 70%, closer to our #1 ranked Louisville home improvement project. Louisville homeowners should definitely price this out and consider this project.
Average cost: $7,239.

7. Major Kitchen Remodel [Mid-range] – Louisville 69.6%, National 74.2%

If you’re thinking about going upscale, think again. Unless you live in the kind of Louisville community that warrants only high-end finishes, the smart money is going mid-range where you can expect to get roughly a 70% return on your investment.
Average cost: $52,836.

8. Window Replacement [Mid-range] (Wood/Vinyl) – Louisville 69.9%/67.6%, National 79.3/78.7%

Not going upscale may be a mistake according to this survey. The results show that lower-end windows get you less bang for your buck than their upscale cousins. Again, wood replacement windows beat the vinyl but I’m not sure I agree. Consider that today people are busier than ever. Who has time to repaint the wood window trim?
Average cost: $10,511/$9,641.

9. Attic Bedroom Remodel [Mid-range] – Louisville 69.1%, National 84.3%

Square footage is good. Building up is cheaper than building out. If you’re lucky enough to have an unfinished attic with ceiling heights ready to accommodate comfortable living, it’s generally a smart move to finish out this space and add another bedroom or living space.
Average cost: $47,725.

10. Two-Story Addition [Mid-range] Louisville 69.0%, National 71.8%

Similar to completing an existing attack, building a second story on top of your first is certainly cheaper than building outward. I do question the wisdom of putting in more stairs when more of today’s Louisville home buyers are looking to reduce stairs in order to spend more time on one level.
Average cost: $151,378.

Other Notable Facts

Because I get asked these questions a lot, I want to include all the remaining home improvement projects with their Louisville cost recouped. If you have any questions, please feel free to drop me an email.

Mid-range Home Improvement Projects for Louisville

  • Backup Power Generator: 44.1%
  • Basement Remodel: 63.9%
  • Bathroom Addition: 49.3%
  • Bathroom Remodel: 54.9%
  • Deck Addition (wood): 60.1%
  • Deck Addition (composite): 51.5%
  • Entry Door Replacement (fiberglass): 66.0%
  • Family Room Addition: 59.5%
  • Garage Addition: 56.6%
  • Home Office Remodel: 31.9%
  • Master Suite Addition: 61.0%
  • Roofing Replacement: 54.9%
  • Siding Replacement (vinyl): 60.6%
  • Sunroom Addition: 44.5%

Upscale Home Improvement Projects for Louisville

  • Bathroom Addition: 51.2%
  • Bathroom Remodel: 54.9%
  • Deck Addition (composite): 50.3%
  • Garage Addition: 48.9%
  • Major Kitchen Remodel: 61.0%
  • Master Suite Addition: 57.0%
  • Roofing Replacement: 65.7%
  • Siding Replacement (foam-backed): 63.7%

Always happy to share which Louisville home improvement projects give you the most bang for the buck. If I can help you in any way, just ask.

Greatest Places to Live in America Picks Louisville!

Photo of Main Street in Middletown Louisville named a Greatest Places to Live in America
There’s so much to do outside in Louisville. From shopping to eating to playing and more, no wonder Outside magazine thinks Louisville is one of the greatest places to live in America!

It appears more and more are taking note of all the great things we’ve got going on here in Louisville, Kentucky. So great, they’re making lists of the Greatest Places to Live in America and Louisville came in at #8. Wow!

Who’s this “they” you speak of?

In this latest example, they are Outside magazine, that held a Tournament of sorts, where people voted for their city. You’d think population alone would help us best places like Duluth, Minnesota (Champion) but the publication also included a more objective, analytical component to determining the greatest places to live in America.

To determine how livable a city was, they developed the O-score which stands for Outside. Explained:

To develop our own Outside Score, we tapped a rocket scientist (seriously) to combine factors like number of outfitters, miles of trails, and number of bike shops—plus considerations like unemployment rates, median incomes, and, yes, an editors’-choice variable—into a single mathematical formula.

Here are their Top 10!

  1. Duluth, Minnesota – Total Votes: 221,350 / O-Score: 88
  2. Provo, Utah – Total Votes: 185,602 / O-Score: 80
  3. Minneapolis, Minnesota – Total Votes: 93,164 / O-Score: 81
  4. Anchorage, Alaska – Total Votes: 86,601 / O-Score: 83
  5. Ithaca, New York – Total Votes: 86,418 / O-Score: 89
  6. Asheville, North Carolina – Total Votes: 70,665 / O-Score: 80
  7. Burlington, Vermont – Total Votes: 52,743 / O-Score: 83
  8. Louisville, Kentucky – Total Votes: 47,271 / O-Score: 73
  9. Missoula, Montana – Total Votes: 40,530 / O-Score: 82
  10. Boulder, Colorado – Total Votes: 39,613 / O-Score: 91

Just wait until we get The Parklands completed and our O-Score should go even higher! For the full list, vist The 16 Greatest Places to Live in America.

So, do you think Louisville is great? After all, we are home to The Greatest.

Tour Louisville remodeled homes this weekend

Photo of a Louisville remodeled home for the Tour of Remodeled Homes by BIA of Louisville


The tour of Louisville remodeled homes is this weekend! Here’s a photo of one of the home’s fabulous interiors.

After Homearama 2014, the next event on the Building Industry Association of Greater Louisville (formerly the Home Builders Association of Louisville) is this weekend’s Tour of Louisville Remodeled Homes. From their website:

This year we celebrate the 29th Anniversary of the Tour of Remodeled Homes in Louisville. Each year the showcase has grown in popularity. The diversity in projects and the neighborhoods in which the homes reside this year, help to showcase the talents of our Registered Remodelers and the potential for existing homes across Louisville.

There are 11 remodeled homes scattered all over Louisville and you get tour details by either picking up a color magazine from GLAR or by visiting the digital version of the Tour Guide.

Tickets are $10 with children 6 & under free and can be bought at any home but you may not take photos or video.

Here’s the full list of remodeled properties in this year’s Tour of Remodeled Homes.

  1. 1244 S. Brook Street – Complete renovation: historical preservation of 1900 Victorian-era Italianate style three-story home
  2. 7410 Springvale Drive – Project: Kitchen Remodel
  3. 5909 Brittany Valley Road – Project: House Remodel
  4. 6129 Laurel Lane – Project: Existing Renovation & Addition
  5. 2323 Branning Road – Project: Whole House Remodel including a new covered porch, custom kitchen, bathroom, dining room, foyer, living room, and den
  6. 2107 Evergreen – Project: Whole house remodel adding on 10 foot on the back of the house and building a detached two-car garage
  7. 702 Shady Lane – Project: Used existing square footage to add a laundry room and powder room. Complete remodel of a kitchen with wall removal and creating a vaulted ceiling in the new breakfast room
  8. 9506 US Highway 42 – Project: Remodel of the existing house and large wing addition, a complete rework of façade
  9. 315 S. Bayly Avenue – Project: Whole house remodel with new screen porch, cooking porch and deck
  10. 7804 Spring Farm Glen Road – Project: Garage Remodel
  11. 4112 Ormond Road – Project: Kitchen & Family Room Combination, new hardwood floors, new cabinets

So if you’re looking for Louisville remodeled homes to get new ideas for your own remodeling project, check out this great, local event.

Big Four Pedestrian Bridge Is Open to Enjoy

Photo of the Big Four Pedestrian Bridge
The Big Four Pedestrian Bridge is now open for your walking pleasure! (COURTESY WATERFRONT DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION)

Just in case you haven’t heard, the former railroad bridge (an eyesore) that connects Indiana and Kentucky has been converted to a pedestrian walking bridge. It was either that or tear it down which was even more expensive.

The bridge, built in 1895, is now a 1-mile walking and biking destination. Taking something old and making it relevant again, is something we all need more of and seems to be taking place here in Louisville, especially around the NuLu area.

Here are the Rules of the Bridge from the Louisville Waterfront website:

Not Allowed:

  • No pets
  • No skateboards/in-line skates
  • No motorized vehicles (scooters, mopeds, motorcycles, cars/trucks)
  • HOWEVER, personal mobility scooters and motorized wheelchairs ARE allowed

Allowed:

  • Service animals
  • Bikes of all kinds
  • Service vehicles (motorized wheelchairs, staff/security vehicles)
  • Kids – fun!
  • Dates – romance!

HOURS: Bridge is open 24/7. Park hours: 6:00 am – 11:00 pm

So there you go! Get out and enjoy the Louisville Big Four Pedestrian Bridge everyone.

Moving to Louisville, Kentucky? This video will show you why you should!

This time-lapse video is incredibly well done and highlights the many beautiful aspects of our fair city – Louisville, KY. Are you thinking about moving to Louisville, Kentucky? You will be glad you did!

It’s titled, “Louisville In Motion: A Time Lapse Tour of Louisville Kentucky” and is a little over 4-minutes long but really shows off so many Louisville landmarks in beautiful light.

If you are considering a move here, I’d love to be your Realtor! See what some of my other clients have said about me.

Thunder Over Louisville 2014 Schedule

Photo of Thunder Over Louisville
There’s always so much excitement with this year’s Thunder Over Louisville 2014.
Photo credit: Solomon J Parker

We’re almost there!

Thunder Over Louisville 2014 begins in just a few short hours. Want to know what’s planned?

We start with the Airshow at 3 and it takes off from there! Get it? Takes off??

Here’s the full schedule with all the details from the official site. Have a great day Louisville!

  • 3:00-3:08 Opening Ceremonies with the Kentucky Air National Guard Special Tactics Squadron Parachute Jumpers.
  • 3:08-4:08 The Blue Angels, the U.S. Navy’s flight demonstration squadron returns to the air show after federal government budget issues prevented them from flying in 2013.
  • 4:08-4:11 C-130 Hercules Kentucky Air National Guard tribute: The Hercules, which can reach 374 mph, is the prime means for dropping troops and equipment into hostile areas.
  • 4:11-4:19 Canadian Hawks CT-155. Each of the two planes is a British single-engine and a two-seat advanced weapons trainer and versions designed for the Royal Canadian Air Force.
  • 4:19-4:31 Matt Younkin, Twin Beech 18. This plane, built in 1943, was first used by the United States Army Air Corps.
  • 4:31-4:51 The Lima Lima Flight Team: The team flies sophisticated formations in six early A model T-34 Mentor aircraft that were used by the U.S. Navy and Air Force for primary training in the 1940s.
  • 4:51-5:01 Jay “Flash” Gordon, L39 Albatros: The Albatros is a Czechoslovakian-built ex-Russian Air Force aircraft built in 1983 and restored and painted in colors of the Royal Thai Air Force.
  • 5:01-5:11 German C-160: The Transall C-160 military transport aircraft developed by Transall, an association of French and German aircraft manufacturers, features turboprop engines, a high-mounted wing and an upswept tail above a rear-access ramp leading to a large-volume cargo hold that was used to transport troops and freight.
  • 5:11-5:26 Trojan Horsemen T-28: The team flies six T-28 aircraft, also called the Trojan, which has a frameless canopy and a Wright R-1300 engine.
  • 5:26-5:41 AceMaker T-33: The T-33 Lockheed Shooting Star was America’s first operational jet fighter and trainer with a routine featuring vertical rolls.
  • 5:49-5:59 Cliff Robinson, PT-17: Robinson of Madison, Ind., owns this modified Stearman PT17 bi-plane, from those manufactured in the 1930s and ’40s.
  • 5:59-6:11 Team AeroDynamix RV Custom: This team flies 11 RV-Series custom-built aircraft with fixed wings that can attain speeds in excess of 230 mph. Each plane has its own paint scheme.
  • 6:11-6:21 Billy Werth, Pitts S2C: Werth flies corkscrews, spins and tumbles in a Pitts bi-plane that sports a red-white-and-blue design with stars on the wings and has a top speed of 212 mph.
  • 6:21-6:33 Air Force F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team: The crew flies the Air Force’s newest fighter aircraft and made its last Thunder performance in 2012.
  • 6:33-18:43 John Klatt, MXS: Klatt maneuvers his MXS, a carbon fiber, two-seat tandem sport aircraft, through a series aerobatics.
  • 6:43-7:03 Air Force F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team
  • 7:03-7:13 Air Force Heritage Flight Program: Featuring the F-22 Raptor, the P-47 Thunderbolt and the P-51 Mustang aircraft, the performance combines state-of-the-art fighter aircraft in close formation with vintage fighter aircraft.
  • 7:13-7:23 UPS 767: United Parcel Service Inc. showcases its flagship Boeing 767, which in regular use can carry up to 24 package containers weighing a maximum of 132,000 pounds.
  • 7:23-7:33 Nick Coleman, Christen Eagle: Lt. Col. Nick Coleman of the Kentucky Air National Guard flies.
  • 7:33-7:43 Red Star, Yak-52: The Red Star team flies its formation aerobatics with seven Yakovlev or Yak-52s, which were designed in the USSR, manufactured in Romania and used as a primary trainer by both. The team is made up of former military pilots now living in Louisville with many working for UPS.
  • 7:43-7:53 Lee Leet, A-29 Super Tucano: Leet flies this two-seat turboprop basic trainer used by the Royal Air Force, an aircraft often used for training fast-jet pilots in all aspects of military flying.
  • 7:53-8:03 Trojan Horsemen T-28
  • 8:03-8:23 The barges for the fireworks show move into position.
  • 8:23-8:35 AceMaker T-33
  • 8:35-8:47 Team AeroDynamix RV Custom
  • 8:47-8:57 Lima Lima T-34
  • 8:57-9:07Matt Younkin, Twin Beech 18
  • 9:07-9:17 p.m. The flying of the American flags.
  • 9:17-9:29: Bill Leff, T-34: Left flies his “Texan,” one of the most widely used advanced trainers for U.S. Army Air Force pilots during WW II and the Korean Conflict, for his Starfire Night Skyshow. It features special computer-controlled lighting and firework effects on the plane.
  • 9:30: Fireworks begin!

Incredible medical breakthrough by University of Louisville for spinal cord injuries

Photo of patient raising his leg while stimulated at the Frazier Rehab Institute.
Credit: Photo courtesy of the University of Louisville

There are so many great things going on here in Louisville. Today I hear Four paraplegic men voluntarily move their legs, an ‘unprecedented breakthrough’ for paralysis community. Wow!

This is big news. Here’s an excerpt:

Four young men who have been paralyzed for years achieved groundbreaking progress — moving their legs — as a result of epidural electrical stimulation of the spinal cord, an international team of life scientists at the University of Louisville, UCLA and the Pavlov Institute of Physiology reported today in the medical journal Brain.

Don’t forgot, University of Louisville doctors were the first to perform a successful hand transplant surgery. The healthcare industry has really found a friend in Louisville.

What’s next? May I request the wireless Net access that Josh Holloway has in Intelligence? (Maybe not, those virus updates would be horrible.)

Paul McCartney Coming to Louisville

Photo of Paul McCartney thinking about his trip to Louisville
Do you think Paul McCartney is thinking about his upcoming trip to Louisville?

Did you hear? Paul McCartney, yes that Paul McCartney, of Beatle fame, is coming to Louisville and playing at the KFC Yum! Center.

Paul McCartney has labeled his worldwide tour “Out There” and he is! For tour dates visit his Official Site.

What does this have to do with Louisville real estate?

Well, glad you asked, here’s what I want all your out-of-town fans should do. Come visit Louisville to experience Paul McCartney live and then while you’re here, you’ll fall in love with our fair city, want to move here permanently, and I’ll help you find the perfect home.

See? With A Little Luck it’ll be a great show for everyone!

Oh yeah, if you’re up for it, learn How to Play Bass Guitar like Paul McCartney. Enjoy!

Do Louisville Realtor Reviews Tell the Whole Story?

Back in 2010, I wrote, How to Find the Best Realtor® in Louisville, which is another way of asking, “Who’s the right Louisville Realtor for me?”

Photo of Woman reviewing Louisville Realtors on her laptop
Reading Louisville Realtor reviews will only tell you part of the story. Be aware of the sleight of hand that websites use to draw you in.

Like most things, there’s no “correct” answer. It depends.

  • Do you want an agent who’s super-successful and only has a few minutes available for you or a new, hungry agent?
  • Do you like tons of listings or just a select few?
  • Would you prefer an agent who quite friendly and wants to be your BFF or one that’s all business and focuses on getting the job done?

If you haven’t found your Louisville Realtor for life then most real estate clients head to the Internet to find an agent. So, what exactly do they find?

Internet Searching for Realtors Isn’t As Straight-Forward As You Might Think

The answer, as expected, is “it depends.”

What you type into the Internet search engine matters a great deal. As does the recent change Google made that defaults to results weighted by your browsing history.

What does that mean?

It means if you’ve visited a website, let’s say TrePryor.com, a couple of times then when searching for a keyword phrase that occurs on this site, those pages will be moved higher in the results.

Did you know that? Google calls them personalized results.

On Google’s site, click the “Search Tools” button which will reveal some additional choices. See that one labeled “All results”? That’s the new Google algorithm that factors in a boatload of variables.

Screenshot of Google results with All results default setting
If you want a pure Verbatim set of results you now have to choose that under Search Tools » Verbatim, otherwise your own browsing habits influence your findings.

Isn’t that crazy? (Bet you didn’t think you’d be learning SEO today.)

Louisville Realtor Reviews

So back to Realtor searching. If you happen to type, “louisville realtor reviews” in the search engine (and assuming you live closer to Kentucky than you do Louisville, Colorado) then you’ll likely get results from the following major websites.

Zillow and Trulia

Screen shot of Zillow search results for Louisville KY Real Estate Agent Reviews
Like most web companies, Zillow and Trulia take money to place a Louisville Realtor higher in the results. Online reviews are nice but are they legit?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably familiar with Trulia and Zillow, the behemoth web companies that are technology companies. This is important, they are not real estate experts.

Turns out, both of these sites are high on customer appeal and short on accurate information. It’s a shame that so many consumers are being hoodwinked. For more, read ‘Shopping Local’ applies to Louisville real estate websites too.

In our example, Zillow leads the pack with 1,381 results under Louisville KY Real Estate Agent Reviews. That’s a lot to sort through, huh? How do you choose the best Realtor for you?

Most people start at the beginning but notice the “Featured” button next to the top three? Those agents have chosen to pay Zillow money to have their names come first. Are they the best agents? Not necessarily.

Be alert to this because that’s how much of the Internet works. Pay us money and we’ll make you look good—a time-honored tradition.

In addition to the pay-for-placement, Zillow then displays agents based on the number of reviews. Sounds fair. Most sites work like this, to a certain extent.

In order for agents to have a large number of reviews, they must ask their clients to create an account on the website and then provide their ratings/feedback. Not always a fun request but hard-working agents do deserve some praise, right?

Just understand that there are ways to job the system. Results are not verifiable nor guaranteed and can be completely fabricated. But what else can an honest, Internet searcher do?

Angie’s List and Yelp!

Screen shot of Angies List results page for Louisville Realtors
Like most web companies, Zillow and Trulia take money to place a Louisville Realtor higher in the results. Online reviews are nice but are they legit? Search engines also fail to return accurate results.

Sure Angie’s List will be worthwhile in my hunt for the best Louisville Realtor, right?

Well again, there are plot twists. Agents do not have to pay Angie to get listed but this time consumers do! Money makes the world go ’round.

Once listed good luck getting noticed. I set up my account years ago and to this day have never seen my listing there, even if I search for “Tre Pryor”. Ghosts in the machine?

How about Yelp!? You know, the fun site with all the great restaurant reviews. They do Realtors too? Sure do, but… out of the 42 results for “realtor agents,” none have more than one review.

This is because Yelp!, in their attempt to weed out the bogus reviews (see Zillow, Trulia above) have a system in place that only displays reviews based on criteria that they won’t share with the public.

One day a review is up, live to the world, and then next it’s hidden. How useful is that?

Other Websites for Louisville Realtor Reviews

Screen shot of Homethinking results page for Louisville Realtors
You would think a site run by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) would have quality information, and it does, but that doesn’t mean it’s primary purpose is to make money for NAR.

Is there a single useful site on any of the Interwebs that can help a Louisvillian find a great Realtor?

  • Merchant Circle: 4208 results for “real estate agents in Louisville, KY” and not a single review. Sheesh! Half of the results aren’t even agents.
  • Homethinking: Claims “Realtors are ranked by their past sales and customer reviews” and for the most part that’s true. But agents that pay get listed first. Reviews can be submitted by agents so… how reliable is that?
  • Yellowpages and other indexes: Paid search placement and not extremely useful.

Recommended Course of Action

So where does this leave us? When looking for Louisville Realtor reviews found online, the results fall into three categories.

  1. Worthwhile Realtor Reviews: These are hard to find but when you do, they provide useful guidance.
  2. Worthless Realtor Reviews: These are everywhere and scale from complete fabrications to misleading fodder.
  3. Scams: It wouldn’t be the Internet if it didn’t allow nameless cyber-charlatans the opportunity to take advantage of consumers.
    Bonus: 5 SEO Scams Everyone Falls For & How To Avoid Them

Truthfully, the best advice is speaking face-to-face with your trusted friends and family about their experience with a Louisville Realtor.

If you’re completely new to an area, conduct a few phone interviews with prospective agents. Get to know them a bit and when the time comes to make a choice, go with your gut.

Who knows, maybe you’ll select an agent you think is worthy of your writing a Louisville Realtor review.

Preventing Theft During an Open House

Photo of Louisville home that needs extra security
Some homes need more security than others. A Louisville home like this one has lots of trees which add to its privacy but also makes it easier for dishonest people to take advantage.

Open houses are an effective way to show off your home and increase the chances of making the sale. If your belongings are still in the home you could be at risk for theft during the open houses. When there are a large number of individuals going through your home, often at one time, it can be difficult for your realtor to keep track of everyone at all times. These tips can help you keep your belongings safe during these open houses.

Secure Valuables and Medications

Keeping your valuables out is risky, even if you have them stored safely in your jewelry box, a few moments alone in the bedroom is enough for someone to take at least a few pieces of your treasured jewelry. Instead, store it in a lockable safe and take the key with you. You should also store your medications in a locked box as well.

Remove Identifying Documents

Some scammers will go to open houses to stake out what individuals have so they can familiarize themselves and break into your home later. This is why it is important to protect your identity as much as possible. This means putting away your mail in a safe place so no one can see your name or find out other personal information from documents you received in the mail, such as where you bank. It can also be helpful to remove any pictures of your family. This also a good time to make sure you have a home security system in place. You don’t want sticky-fingered thieves returning to a non-secured house.

Avoid Leaving Extra Keys

Your realtor has access to your home for showings. There’s no need to provide him or her with a spare key left on the counter or another open place. If an individual sees your key lying around, he or she may take it with them and gain entrance to your home when you are not there, taking items that belong to you. If your realtor needs a spare key, make sure you give it to him or her directly and get it back at the end of the showing.

Check All Doors and Windows

If someone attends your open house to find out what you have, they may leave an inconspicuous door or window unlocked so they can easily return later. This is why it is important to go through your home immediately after the open house and make sure that all the doors and windows are locked and secure. You can use this time to take a quick inventory to identify whether anything is missing. Talk to your realtor if you have any concerns.

Some realtors are able to increase security in an open house to keep your belongings as safe as possible. Even if your realtor can’t offer this service, though, there are things you can do to better protect yourself. Taking the right precautions will ensure that your belongings will be safe while you wait for your home to sell. Keeping valuables hidden and locked away, removing identifying information, checking doors and windows and not leaving extra keys lying around are all ways to protect yourself, even during an open house.

Finding a Trustworthy Louisville Realtor isn’t so tough

Trust graphic

How do you know who you can trust. You can’t… but others who’ve had experience with this person can tell you who is a trustworthy Louisville Realtor.

After completing a real estate transaction, I ask my clients to complete a Feedback Form. Yeah, yeah, I hear you. “That’s no fun!”

And, you’re right!

Thumbnail of a Tre Pryor Realtor Feedback Form
Purposefully reduced in size so as to not be readable, I did want to share this with you to see how much wonderful feedback this particular client shared with me. Wonderful!

Filling out a feedback form isn’t fun but it’s helpful to both of us. (Mostly me but being asked to share your feelings and thoughts is empowering for you as well.)

But the main reason I ask for feedback from my clients once the Louisville deal is done is that I want their honest opinion of how I performed. Just like checking the stats after a Kentucky or Louisville basketball game, I want to know, “How’d I do?”

I want to improve on my deficiencies and I want to continue doing the things my client liked.

Why?

Because I want to be a trustworthy Louisville Realtor for each and every real estate client—past, present and future. It could be you! And if you did want me to be your Louisville Realtor, I would want to be trustworthy as well.

I don’t publish all my testimonials but I do post many. I even encourage prospective clients to contact my past clients, if they so choose. It’s time well spent.

Trustworthy Realtor in Louisville

If you’re looking to buy or sell a home, you’ll want a trustworthy Realtor in Louisville, by all means, ask your friends and family. Do some research on the Internet. Call some prospective agents and ask them to meet you for coffee.

This extra work up front will help you zero in on the best Realtor for you and that will make the best home buying experience possible.

How does Customer Service apply to Louisville real estate?

Photo of Louisville customer service bear

Is this the kind of customer service you’ve received this Holiday season?

Christmas is upon us. It is literally on. It may even be inside us.

It’s been this way since practically Halloween but now the sense is palpable. You can feel it too, can’t you?

One of the heaviest weights is the responsibility to buy the gifts, whether they be Christmas, Hanukkah or otherwise. Not just getting the gifts but getting the right gifts, the best gifts… that’s what shows you really care, right?

Well, for me I don’t much want the local salesperson trying to talk me into the latest gadget that was their company memo told each employee to push. I hate being pushed. I like it better when I ask for help and then it’s provided. That’s good customer service.

Is that how you are?

When it comes to real estate, I tend to treat my clients the way I like to be treated. That’s all well and good but everyone is not the same.

Get this, some people like to be pushed. Can you believe it?!?

We all kinda freak when we find out that people like the opposite of us. Twizzler’s are far superior to Red Vines but there are still some of those (crazy) people who prefer the Red Vines.

It truly takes all kinds.

Customer service in real estate is quite complex, inordinately so. That’s because human beings are so complex. A real estate transaction has dozens of variables, a great deal of money on the line and people get stressed.

I strive to serve every one of my clients the way I would like to be serviced. Quick responses to questions with specific answers. Honesty. Lots of hard work.

If I don’t have an answer, I still respond with the comforting line that assures them, “I will get the answer for you.”

People won’t buy a particular Louisville home just because a Louisville agent is pushing it. If you try, you just break down any trust you’ve built up.

Ok, I’m done with my rant for now. I truly hope you enjoy this Holiday Season and I look forward to sharing 2014 with you!

How Do We Measure the Top Agents in Louisville?

Photo of a client happy with their Louisville agent
When your real estate client feels like this, that’s when you’re one of the top agents in Louisville.

Interesting questions this, “How do we measure the top agents in Louisville?” My conclusion may surprise you.

The Old Way to Measure Top Louisville Agents

Without a doubt, we would start with what most people are likely thinking

“The top real estate agents in Louisville are those that make the most money.”

or

“The top Louisville agents sell the most houses.”

And to a certain degree, these people are correct. That is an easy, non-subjective way to put Louisville Realtors into different buckets.

Ask me this question 7 years ago and I would have responded the same way. Today? Nah.

For some perspective, let me tell you a quick story.

I have a client, let’s call him Stuart. Now, Stuart was a client of mine in the past. But this call was for his Mom who didn’t have much money but needed a small, safe home in a part of Louisville that I don’t typically service.

Would I refer Stuart’s Mom to another agent? There wouldn’t be a lot of money in this deal for me.

But I could see the need and wanted to “be there” for Stuart and his family.

Would a top Louisville agent take this client? I think they would. At least… by the definition, I now subscribe to.

The New Way to Measure Top Louisville Agents

It’s not about money, it’s about service. Taking the heart of a servant and strive to make sure your client gets what they want, with the least cost and best possible experience.

I’m not batting .1000 but that’s my goal and it’s getting closer every day.

Do you rave about your Louisville Realtor’s service?