The Good, Bad and Ugly in Louisville Real Estate


Perhaps the best movie theme music of all time.

I’ve spent a good many posts ranting about things that bother me in my career as a Louisville Realtor. Blog ranting is a good way to blow off steam.

(Better that then actually telling someone they’re a bad person. Heh.)

Today I thought I’d hit the topic from a new perspective… all of them.

The Good Louisville Real Estate

Louisville is a great city, whether the nation (or world) knows it or not. I’m proud to call this place my home.

By and large, the people here are generous, polite and caring. The vast majority of Louisvillians are stand up citizens.

I can’t imagine working this business is a city like New York or L.A. where selfish vanity is on parade. Argh!

Plus, this is a beautiful town! The parks are highly under-rated and the Parklands of Floyds Fork are only going to enhance our lives.

Far more good than bad, but I started this theme so…

The Bad Louisville Real Estate

There are some very selfish people in every city. These people give little thought to taking what they want without giving back even a “thank you.”

It happens to me weekly. It’s part of the business. But that doesn’t make it OK.

As part of their job, Realtors do need to explain to people how the business works. Listings are fairly straight-forward but working with buyers can be like trying to wrangle a school of jellyfish.

Using a Buyer’s Agency Agreement (BAA) solves the uncertainty problem but some people won’t sign one.

That leaves us it a bit of a war-zone, where anything goes. With nothing to penalize the offender, it will keep happening. Sad but true.

My solution would be to have a new law that requires home buyers to sign with just one real estate agent. They can switch to a new agent if things don’t work out by a quick written form but are required to be aligned with an agent throughout the buying process.

That’s not burdensome and would create a more clear landscape for all parties. Am I missing anything here?

The Ugly Louisville Real Estate

This space is reserved for the truly crazed individuals, either by the stress of events or personal health or mental problems.

There are some sick people in the world and, for the most part, they can buy and sell real estate too.

It’s people like this that I am glad that I’m not required to work with anyone. I can choose to say, “No thank you. Please find another agent. Good day.”

The hard part is identifying these people before you’re knee-deep in negotiations and the animal excrement is about to hit the fan.

Regrets, I’ve Had a Few. Hopefully Taking Advantage of Historically Low Interest Rates Isn’t One of Them

Please pardon my epically long title above but I wanted to make a point. You know the famous Frank Sinatra song, My Way, right? Well, a portion of the lyrics are:

Regrets, I’ve had a few
But then again, too few to mention

How about you? Are your regrets too few to mention?

Most experts agree that we are past the lowest interest rates in history. History!

Did you buy? Did you refinance? I sure hope so!

Because if you didn’t, you’ll likely regret it. Just how much, remains to be seen.

Skeptics say, “What’s the big deal? It’s just a few bucks each month.”

Ok, and I’m sure we all have so much extra money to burn, right?

For a $200,000 loan, here are the different amounts of interest (not principal) you would pay during all of the 30 years, for each interest rate.

3.5% – $123,312.18
4.0% – $143,739.01 (or $20,426.83 more than at 3.5%!)
4.5% – $164,813.42 (or $41,501.24 more than at 3.5%!)
5.0% – $186,511.57 (or $63,199.39 more than at 3.5%!)
5.5% – $208,808.08 (or $85,495.90 more than at 3.5%!)
6.0% – $231,676.38 (or $108,364.20 more than at 3.5%!)

So… do you have an extra $100k laying around to waste on that additional interest? I know I don’t.

Please don’t regret missing out on the best financial home buying deal of our lifetime. Think of all the extra Starbucks you could buy? ;^)

It Takes All Kinds

It Takes All Kinds of People but Selfish People Can Take a Hike
You’ve heard, “It takes all kinds.” But I’d much rather a world without selfish people.

Real estate can be a tough business. Whenever you deal with people, things can be quite trying.

But, “It takes all kinds!” you hear people shout.

Well, that depends.

If you’re referring to:

  • people of all colors and creeds,
  • who have different interests, hobbies and pastimes,
  • which when we meet them open our eyes to different ways of doing things.

then I’m with you!

But some people are just downright selfish.

They only think about what’s going to benefit themselves and treat everyone around them like “things” rather than people.

I don’t want all kinds of clients, just the right kinds

I never knew how selfish some people could be until I got into real estate—which is essentially a service industry.

The phrase, “The customer is always right” never met my last client. Yes, this is one of those posts.

When you are contacted and asked to provide service, with no payment or signing of documents, there’s a level of common courtesy that seems to be missing in America 2013.

It’s more like, “What can I get away with.” than “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

I’m happy to help anyone in Louisville with all kinds of real estate advice or service, but if you are one of those people who could care less how your actions affect others… please don’t call me.

Thanks in advance!

Why Choose Louisville New Construction? These Benefits for Home Buyers Will Show You the Way

I’ve written a data-driven article about the current Louisville new construction landscape for InsiderLouisville in the past. But today, I want to write about this topic from a personal perspective.

Photo looking at floorplan of their new construction home being built in Louisville, KY.
Are you a designer? Hands-on on personality? New construction in Louisville could be exactly what you’re looking for.

Continue reading “Why Choose Louisville New Construction? These Benefits for Home Buyers Will Show You the Way”

How To Be the Best Real Estate Agent

Illustration of agent holding the world in his hand
In order to be the best real estate agent, you need to have knowledge, a strong work ethic and be truly trustworthy.

Over on LouisvilleHomesBlog.com my content is highly-focused on providing real estate news and advice to people who want to buy or sell a Louisville home. It’s for the consumers of real estate.

Here at TrePryor.com, I open my wide-angled lens for a broader view.

Here, I can talk to current real estate agents, other industry professionals or even someone thinking about entering the business.

I’m by no means an expert. (But if you Google “top agents Louisville” you might find me somewhere in the results. *wink*)

What I’d like to talk about today is how to be the best real estate agent—how that actually happens. As I see it, there are three main ingredients.

The Best Agent Has Strong Real Estate Knowledge

Without knowledge of the local market, real estate best practices or strong marketing tactics, you can never be a best agent. Period.

The hard part?

To be great, you have to be knowledgeable across a broad range of topics: architecture to home improvement, marketing to finance, technology to people skills… and the list goes on!

I remember a 40-year veteran of Louisville real estate tells me once, that he still felt like he only knew 50% of all there was to know.

Real estate is a very deep field.

The Best Agent Has a Strong Work Ethic

Real estate knowledge by itself, won’t get you there. There needs to be a drive to put it into action.

Those that sit around and expect business to find them, quickly find themselves in another career.

Clients have a large number of choices, selecting the best real estate agent is just one of them. If a particular agent isn’t providing high-quality service in a prompt, timely manner they will look elsewhere.

Today’s smartphone isn’t optional, it’s mandatory. The best agent doesn’t miss a call, email or text because he has it with him at all times.

And did I mention Twitter? It’s the fastest way to get news that matters to you. Strong agents are on top of it all, nimble and responsive to any and all forms of communication.

Included in a strong work ethic is a reasonable amount of responsiveness that serves the client well.

The Best Agent Is Trustworthy

Perhaps I’ve saved the best for last. All of the above isn’t worth a dime if the real estate agent isn’t reliable.

  • Can you count on him?
  • Can you trust that he’ll do what he says he’ll do?
  • Is he putting your goals ahead his own?

There are myriad of ways to cheat. No one is looking over the agent’s shoulder (at least, not consistently) to make sure they are behaving.

Do you want to be the best real estate agent? Be trustworthy.

The slow man with integrity will ultimately catch the swift one who has none.

Conclusion

So what do you think? Did I forget anything? Possibly.

But I believe that if you build your real estate career on these three, foundational pillars you will truly be successful and your clients will rave about you.

How do I know?

Because that what I do and this is what they’re saying about me.

Top 5 Best Practices for Real Estate Agents

Now that I’ve been in “the biz” for 7 years, I thought I’d try to organize my experience into best practices for real estate agents, in the hopes that… (in my best Meryl Streep voice) if I can help even one of you that it’ll all be worth it!

Happy real estate agents are the best real estate agents
As you’ll see in the real estate agents’ best practices listed below, staying positive is huge. Never forget to smile! Yeah, I know… I use this stock photo too much.

*giggle*

You know I’m not a woman, right? Ok. Let’s move on.

Before we jump right in, you understand that are “heavy hitters” who charge thousands of dollars for this very information, don’t you? You didn’t?!? Well, there are.

That’s just not how I roll. You’re welcome. ;^)

Top 5 Best Practices for Real Estate Agents

1. Have a Plan with Goals

Every real estate expert will tell you that if you don’t have a plan, you’re just moving aimlessly around and will certainly be less productive. And they’re right! This plan should be a 1-year plan, start in January and say this year I will…

Maybe it’s things like:

  • Break $3M in sales volume
  • Complete 15 transactions
  • Finish and launch my new marketing website
  • Reach 24 new clients before June 

Whatever you decide, they need to be measurable. You can’t just say, I want to do better than this year.

2. Consistently Use Systems

Getting into a routine with systems is huge!

Maybe you’re not an email person so your system is in a special notebook, which tracks how you stay in contact with your sphere of influence. Maybe you prefer an online system, there are a ton of them out there, that’ll help you manage all your client interactions.

Having no system won’t work. But it’s also important that you like the system you’re using. If you don’t, find or create a new one. This leads us to the next real estate best practice

3. Focus on What You Like Best

Life is too short to be miserable in your job. You have to enjoy it or you won’t be successful.

Now, that doesn’t mean you’ll love every aspect of your job.

Personally? I hate following up with clients who don’t communicate. I’m open and honest and I like dealing with people who are wired the same way.

Big surprise, not everyone is like me. Following up is huge and necessary and even though I don’t “love it” I’ve found a way to make it better. You need to do the same!

So, for each area of your business (marketing, management, networking, etc.) find a system that you enjoy and consistently run it!

4. Be Positive

This is a tough one for certain people. I should know, I am one. What I mean is, “I’m not naturally a positive person. It’s a struggle. But believe you me, being positive is not only necessary in real estate, it’s key!”

Important Note: Clients will mistreat you. They will blame you for things that aren’t your fault. They will say bad things about you and go off to find another agent. This will happen, 100% positively.

That’s why you need to develop a positive attitude that doesn’t allow you to get upset when this happens. (Having plenty of clients and keeping busy is one of the best remedies. *grin*)

5. Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

Human League album cover
After all, we’re only human. Born to make mistakes.

After all, we’re only human. Born to make mistakes.

The real estate business is very complex. It’s essentially running your own small business where you’re the CEO, VP of Marketing, Accountant, Sales Manager, and Desk Clerk on any given occasion.

With so many different tasks, we are bound to screw up, forget something, or possibly do something worse.

Keep learning. Stay on top of the latest news, especially as it comes to real estate regulations and law changes.

But, if you forget to send out your monthly flyers, that’s OK. If you forgot to schedule that important showing? Tell your client, “I’m sorry” and move forward.

Hopefully, you’ve found these best practices for real estate agents helpful. If you have, please share it!

All You Can Do Is The Best You Can Do

One Hand with control
All you can do, is the best you can do.

There are many experts who like to “share” their “wisdom” about the “secrets” to success. This is especially true in real estate.

From Day One, during my training at Semonin, they brought in national speakers who flooded our minds with success tip after success tip.

It was exhausting.

Given that we were new, how could we possibly do *everything* they said we should do. Half of which wasn’t part of our personal makeup. (Then there’s the tip that says, only do the things you like. hehe)

I’m sure they meant well, in fact, I’m positive. But the truth is, each strategy works only certain amount. Nothing works every time.

Plus, when each new veteran agent shares their advice, the boat starts to dip below the waterline, as

  • the amount of tasks,
  • the amount of words we should be speaking,
  • the amount of marketing tactics we should be practicing

approaches mountain-sized stature.

Here’s my solitary piece of advice::

All you can do, is the best you can do.

That’s just another way of saying, “Do your best!”

Don’t worry about what you’re not doing. Don’t let anyone get you down because you decided to pass on the latest CRM solution that was “changing the way real estate agents work in today’s market.”

Don’t feel bad that you didn’t farm your home neighborhood. Don’t be upset that you decided it was more important to take that special vacation with your wife rather than attend another Realtor convention in Tampa.

Just do your best.

Once you’d done that, you’ve already won.

It’s Not Who You Know, It’s Who Knows You and *Likes* You

Photo of Friends
Your friends are your biggest fans! They’re also the source of your best real estate referrals.

Being known isn’t enough. Not by a longshot!

How many people can you name who are famous but their notoriety is not helping them… it’s hurting them.

In the world of sales, and when I hear that word I cringe, the biggest goal is to build up a ginormous pool of people don’t just know you but like you! Even better? Make them love you!

How is this possible?

Well, it’s not easy. It’s a lot of hard work and it doesn’t happen overnight. You must be proactive and plan for the long term.

In real estate, my job is to simply to serve my clients by offering experienced real estate advice in a friendly, professional manner. Is that enough? Not bloody likely.

The most successful agents have boatloads of clients who think of them as friends, rather than merely specialized pros. Gaining that trust is step one, but building a bond of friendship is really the goal.

Free stuff always works too, right?

Where do you look to find Louisville homes for sale?

So, let’s come right out and ask. Where do you look to find Louisville homes for sale? Which website works best for you?

Screen capture of Google search results for the phrase Louisville homes for sale
What search results do you get when you type “Louisville homes for sale” on your computer?

It’s a constantly changing playing field. Merely improving a website’s usability isn’t going to cut it. Adding choice content? Sure, that helps.

But when it comes to getting the lion’s share of Louisville home buyers looking for their next new home, which website comes out on top?

So, for this informal, yet perfectly reasonable experiment, I’ve chosen to use the Alexa engine to see which Louisville real estate companies are garnering the most traffic.

(We are unable to learn how many website users move forward to actually work with those agents, but we shall have a bit of fun with it.)

Leading Louisville Real Estate Websites

The clear leaders for search terms in our field are “[location] real estate” and “[location] homes for sale“. We’ll tackle both.

With the changes to Google’s algorithm now using personalized results, I can only cite what my IP-linked computer will return. So let us begin.

Louisville Real Estate

As of 10/5/2012, here are the top websites on Google and their Alexa traffic for the search term, “Louisville real estate”. (Only the root domains are ranked. Subdomains are counted as part of the whole.)

  1. www.homesinlouisville.com – Global Rank 3,452,726
  2. www.joehaydenrealtor.com – Global Rank 331,473
  3. www.trepryor.com – Global Rank 1,809,971
  4. www.louisvillerealtors.com – Global Rank 1,395,552
  5. www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-search/Louisville_KY – Global Rank 915
  6. www.trulia.com/KY/Louisville/ – Global Rank 691
  7. plus.google.com/…/posts/BCbhgNw7rCM (Tre Pryor)- Global Rank 2
  8. www.semonin.com – Global Rank 328,789
  9. www.allhomesinlouisville.com – Global Rank 2,704,350

Clearly, the personalized results have played a role in landing TrePryor.com in two of the Top 10 results. If we strictly looked at traffic, Semonin.com should be barely edging out Joe Hayden for the top spot with the others falling in line.

Now let’s look at Louisville homes for sale as a keyword search phrase.

Louisville Homes for Sale

Again, we’re just using Google and even though I think it would a usability advantage to be able to turn OFF personalized results, the brain trust in Mountain View doesn’t think it worthwhile.

  1. www.trulia.com/KY/Louisville/ – Global Rank 691
  2. www.joehaydenrealtor.com – Global Rank 331,473
  3. www.trepryor.com – Global Rank 1,809,971
  4. www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-search/Louisville_KY – Global Rank 915
  5. www.realtor.com/homes-for-sale/louisville_ky/ – Global Rank 915
  6. www.trepryor.com/louisville/norton_commons/ – Global Rank 1,809,971
  7. www.zillow.com/louisville-ky/ – Global Rank 505
  8. ballhomes.com/ – Global Rank 4,112,051
  9. www.homes.com/Real_Estate/KY/City/LOUISVILLE/ – Global Rank 2,491
  10. plus.google.com/…/posts/fkMAftjiFDj (Tre Pryor) – Global Rank 2

These results aren’t too different. We’ve added Zillow and Ball Homes and lost GLAR and Brad Long.

Traffic is one thing. Time on site is another. But what really matters is for those home buyers who haven’t chosen a Realtor to work with, which website are they using to search for Louisville homes for sale and, perhaps more importantly, why?

I would love to hear what’s important to you!

There Aren’t Any Rental Homes in Louisville Kentucky

Of course, there aren’t any rental homes in Louisville, Kentucky but there aren’t many. I mean, there aren’t zero, but there certainly aren’t enough. And that might not change very much going forward.

This is a photo of a house that is NOT a Louisville rental home.
This could be a rental home in Louisville… but it’s not. The owners want to sell it, not rent it.

It’s a constant source of frustration for people relocating to Louisville. These folks don’t want to be forced to buy right away. And they aren’t keen on the idea of an apartment.

“Where are all the rental homes in Louisville?” he yells.
“I wish I knew,” I respond.

This happens all the time. I get as many as 3 inquiries this week!

Other than a massive influx of real estate investors buying up the bargains and opening up new rental inventory, there’s not a lot to be done.

Until that happens, here are the best Louisville apartment options. And here you can search through all the Louisville homes for sale.

We Can’t Live in an Apartment

If you have your heart set on a rental home, the few that come up are usually listed by their owners (don’t bother a Realtor, because unless they own the property themselves, they can’t help you) on sites like:

Sorry to be such a Debbie-downer but like Bill Murray so famously stated in Stripes “That’s a fact, Jack.”

We ‘Play It Safe’ When It Comes to Louisville New Construction

Today in Louisville (Jefferson County) there are 3,594 single family homes for sale on our MLS.

  • 63% of them have basements.
  • 49% of them have more than one story.

Let’s look at homes built in the last 10 years:

  • 69% of them have basements.
  • 67% of them have more than one story.

A few more basements but a lot more 2-story homes. What I’m really thinking about is how similar all the new home are. Other than comparing a Traditional Ranch to a Traditional 2-Story home they are all so homogeneous as to take the ability to choose almost completely out of the equation.

I do applaud what Norton Commons has done with their planned community. There’s nothing like it in our city. Sure, you pay top dollar (price per square foot is much higher) but I can make an argument for it.

But looking at this year’s Homearama homes, it’s really tough to separate one from another. Garages are tilted here and there; then I see some Tudor or Craftsman stylings to the facade but as far as floorplans go, they are just so similar. What do you think?

The other option is that I’ve just seen too many homes and they’re all blurring together. Either that or we’ve finally evolved to the top usability option in home design.

Nah…

How long before Louisville news goes truly hyper local?

Now that we all know that it’s just a matter of time before the Courier Journal dies a long slow death, where will you be getting your local news from?

Hyper-Local Louisville - Summerfield by the Lake
If I have any say, hyper-local is coming to Louisville real estate.

The trend towards hyper-local content shall continue but only will start taking mind share if those that do so do it right. Groups like Kentucky Sports Radio pretty much own the keyword phrase “kentucky sports” and have several venues for content delivery.

Even with the giant brands like Urbanspoon and Yelp hitting on the Food niche, the local institutions like Louisville Hot Bytes, Edible Louisville and Consuming Louisville have far richer content and more of it.

The issues remain that owners of these brands want to do more than simply dominate their niche and thus dilute a pure brand into one that’s watered down. Positioning 101 states that the marketing battle takes place in the minds of the consumers who have something akin to ladders for specific products or services.

News is far too broad. “Sports news” is closer but Kentucky sports news is even better.

Sites like InsiderLouisville do a better than of communicating the late-breaking, local news items in Louisville faster than any of the competition and they are divided clearly by topic.

But what I’d like to see is the Primary Brand be something like, Louisville Food Reviews by Steve Coomes with InsiderLouisville being the sub-brand. I wonder if they’ll listen to a pitch?

My own entry into this discussion can be found at LouisvilleHomesBlog.com where I give news and analysis on Louisville real estate. Sure, there’s a taste of Louisville home improvement, Louisville mortgage rates, or Louisville interior design thrown in, but only as it relates to Louisville homes.

I’ll admit, it’s good but could be better.

Maybe that’s what I’ll work on while I’m supposed to be taking my yearly South Carolina vacation?

Louisville Tops Best Bang for Your Buck Vacations

Homearama at Norton Commons
Louisville is a great city with so much to offer. I never knew that it was the best vacation spot though. Gives me some ideas to think about.

Wow! I knew Louisville was a great city but #1?!? Now I’m blushing.

This just out from Livability.com; they reviewed 500 cities and awarded Louisville, KY is a Year-Round Staycation! Sure, if you have deep pockets you might select Honolulu but who has money these days?

Rich history, modern culture, free attractions and deep discounts make Louisville, Ky., a prime vacation destination for families.

Home of the world-famous Kentucky Derby, Louisville prides itself in all things equine. Take a historic walking tour of Churchill Downs with admission to the Kentucky Derby Museum. Kids under five are admitted free, and AAA members receive discounts. Join in the citywide Derby Week celebration at the Kentucky Derby Festival and Thunder of Louisville, the largest fireworks display in America.

If this doesn’t make you proud of your city, I don’t know what to tell you. Share the news!

Quick Hitter Post of the Month

Photo of Quick Hitter


Quick-hitter has far more baseball than basketball photos in the image search so that’s what I went with. But we all know that basketball is a far better sport. We live in Kentucky, after all.

There’s so much going on that I couldn’t possibly give it all the time it deserves in this post. So I’ve decided to bullet this post like Dirty Harry, Rambo or John McClain, whichever silver screen star you prefer.

Let’s get to it!

  • March Madness is in full swing! Yes, I understand that college basketball has nothing to do with Louisville real estate but we live in the basketball state of Kentucky and the state’s two big rivals are both in the Final Four. The world may end after this game on Saturday.
  • The real estate market in Louisville is picking up! Yeah, like you didn’t already know that. I’m sure you already subscribe to my monthly email newsletter, right?
  • Just moved to REMAX Champions! We want to be your real estate champion! Well… actually I just made that up. Kinda hokey, in my opinion. What I’d really like to be is your Trusted Advisor in Louisville Real Estate. Much better.
  • We have so many people in our extended family that we have a birthday celebration several times a month. This month was Kim and Gigi! Love you both!

Readers Beware: Media Writes For Money or Influence

I’ll admit it, I’m idealistic. Whether that’s a genetic or learned behavior, I’m not in a position to deduce. But I am, and at the mid-way point of this life, I doubt that’ll change.

Great looking Louisville home with vinyl side
Sure, it costs less to clad the exterior with vinyl side than brick but not half the price of the entire home.

It’s my desire that the media is supposed to report the unbiased, unembellished truth.

The truth, as it turns out, is that the media fits the facts to their agenda, whether that’s selling more newspapers, getting more hits on their Web sites or influencing people to their cause. I can’t say it any more simply than that.

Today’s example is truly a mild one. But because it falls under that mantle of Louisville real estate, it caught my eye.

Eric Flack wrote “Law not on side of property owners hurt by vinyl homes” earlier this month. Sticking up for the everyman against big corporations has been the modus operandi for many in the media since Day One.

But what’s interesting to me about this piece is how the case was made with such exaggeration. Flack apparently interviewed Louisville Metro Councilman James Peden for the story; there are direct quotes in it. But look at this paragraph.

Peden said all brick homes that sold for $300,000 in Washington Green are having their property values pulled down by vinyl homes that sell for half that. Peden said the cheaper homes bring down property values so much existing homeowners often can’t sell or refinance because they’ve lost so much equity.

Doesn’t that read like, switching a brick-clad home to a vinyl-clad home reduces the home’s cost by 50%? Absurd!

That tells me that the truth must bend to make their point.

Next time you’re chatting with a builder, ask them how much more brick is than vinyl and they’ll confirm that brick is generally 2x-4x the cost of vinyl but that’s only the exterior cladding, not the cost of the entire home.

The main thrust of the story is whether or not developers have the legal right to modify a subdivision’s deed restrictions due to market changes but that question doesn’t seem to get answered. Incite aggression and the WAVE3.com Web site gets more traffic.

See? Even I got hooked by their strategy.