Susan Eicher
(502) 648-7307

Louisville Real Estate Blog

Things To Do In Louisville: Family Adventure Day at Churchill Downs!

Bring the kids to Churchill Downs for a day of racing and family activities including pony rides, inflatables, petting zoo, stick horse races in the Paddock, face painting, and more.

Tickets are just $8 when purchased online in advance, and include unlimited access to all kid-friendly activities. Ticket price is $10 if purchased day of the event.

Families, don't miss out on the Family Four Pack that includes 4 Family Adventure Day tickets, 4 family meals in the Family Adventure Day area and 2 racing programs. Purchase your 4 for $44 tickets by pressing "Get Tickets" and clicking on "General Admission".

Sunday, June 25 at 11:30 AM - 5:30 PM

Churchill Downs
700 Central Ave, Louisville, Kentucky 40208

Courtesy of Susan Eicher

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Do You Know How Much Equity You Have in Your Home?

CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report revealed that 91,000 properties regained equity in the first quarter of 2017. This is great news for the country, as 48.2 million of all mortgaged properties are now in a positive equity situation.

Price Appreciation = Good News for Homeowners

Frank Nothaft, CoreLogic’s Chief Economist, explains:

One million borrowers achieved positive equity over the last year, which means risk continues to steadily decline as a result of increasing home prices.”

Frank Martell, President and CEO of CoreLogic, believes this is a great sign for the market in 2017 as well, as he had this to say:

Homeowner equity increased by $766 billion over the last year, the largest increase since Q2 2014. The rising cushion of home equity is one of the main drivers of improved mortgage performance. Since home equity is the largest source of homeowner wealth, the increase in home equity also supports consumer balance sheets, spending and the broader economy.”

This is great news for homeowners! But, do they realize that their equity position has changed?

According to the Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase...

Affording Your First Home

Buying your first home can seem scary with all the paperwork and new financial terms involved. Many people put off home-ownership because they fear they can’t afford a down payment or they might not qualify for a mortgage loan.  In fact,  millennials say that saving for a down payment still represents the most significant hurdle to purchasing their first home.  But don’t despair!  There are many first-time homebuyer grants and programs available to help.  If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you could be eligible for financial help in a variety of forms. Here are 9 first-time homebuyer grants and programs designed to help you have a place of your own:

1. FHA loan

With this option, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insures the mortgage. The FHA is an agency that operates within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Since the FHA insures the loan, lenders receive a layer of protection. First and foremost, lenders won't experience a loss if you default on the mortgage. FHA loans typically come with competitive interest rates, smaller down payment requirements and lower closing costs than conventional loans.

If you have a credit score of 580 or higher, you could be eligible for a mortgage with a down payment as low as 3.5% of the purchase price.

2. USDA loan

While not very well known, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a  home buyer assistance program.

The program...

Happy Father's Day!

Dad

He never looks for praises

He’s never one to boast

He just goes on quietly working

For those he loves the most

His dreams are seldom spoken

His wants are very few

And most of the time his worries

Will go unspoken too

He’s there…a firm foundation

Through all our storms of life

A sturdy hand to hold to

In times of stress and strife

A true friend we can turn to

When times are good or bad

One of our greatest blessings,

The man that we call Dad

Courtesy of Susan Eicher

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Things To Do In Louisville: Father’s Day Brunch and Dinner at Varanese

Sunday, June 18, 2017
11:30 AM to 11:00 PM

2016 Frankfort Ave.  Louisville, KY 40206

Varanese Restaurant, located at 2106 Frankfort Avenue, will offer a special Father’s Day brunch on Sunday, June 18, from 11:30am to 4:00pm. Appetizer and entrée specials, as well as the regular menu, will also be available for dinner service beginning at 5:00pm. In addition, Varanese will stay open late until 11:00pm. Reservations for both brunch and dinner are recommended and can be made by calling (502) 899-9904 or emailing letsdine@varanese.com.

See special Father’s Day Menu HERE.

Courtesy of Susan Eicher

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The TRUTH Behind the RENT vs. BUY Debate

In a blog post published last Friday, CNBC’s Diana Olnick reported on the latest results of the FAU Buy vs. Rent Index. The index examines the entire US housing market and then isolates 23 major markets for comparison. The researchers at FAU use a “‘horse race’ comparison between an individual that is buying a home and an individual that rents a similar-quality home and reinvests all monies otherwise invested in homeownership.”

Having read both the index and the blog post, we would like to clear up any confusion that may exist. There are three major points that we would like to counter:

1. The Title

The CNBC blog post was titled, “Don’t put your money in a house, says a new report.”The title of the press release about the report on FAU’s website was “FAU Buy vs. Rent Index Shows Rising Prices and Mortgage Rates Moving Housing Markets in the Direction of Renting.”

Now, we all know headlines can attract readers and the stronger the headline the more readership you can attract, but after dissecting the report, this headline may have gone too far. The FAU report notes that rising home prices and the threat of increasing mortgage rates could make the decision of whether to rent or to buy a harder one in three metros, but does not say not to buy a home.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates are Rising

According to Freddie Mac, mortgage interest rates reached their lowest mark of 2017 last week at 3.89%....

Curb Appeal on a Budget

Looking to spruce up your curb appeal, but don’t want to spend a fortune?  There are lots of ways to improve the look of your home’s exterior without breaking the bank.  You might be surprised by how much difference small projects can make.

Paint the front door, trim or shutters.  With exterior paint costing about $30 a gallon, painting is an economical way to brighten up your house.  Choose a color that pops, yet compliments the overall color of the home.  Make sure to properly prep all surfaces before you paint so you’ll get great results that will last for years to come. 

Upgrade your mailbox. If your current mailbox is looking shabby and old, you can fix it up or replace it at minimal cost.  You can find new mailboxes for as little as $20.  When installing a new mailbox, make sure to follow guidelines set forth by the city you live in. 

Plant a tree.  This is a common and easy way to beautify your yard.  When choosing the tree, be sure to consider how big it will get to make sure it is a good fit for your space.

Replace exterior lighting.  This is an easy way to upgrade the style of your home.  Exterior light...

Things To Do In Louisville: Waggin’ Trail Festival for the Animals

June 11, 2017

2:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Louisville Water Tower

Join us for the 23rd Annual Waggin’ Trail Festival for the Animals to benefit the Kentucky Humane Society!

Enjoy animal booths, food and beverage vendors, and live music. Also, watch some fun behavior demonstrations, as well as check out some of the family-friendly activities and a showcase of KHS services and programs, including adoptable pets! - See more at: Event Website

Courtesy of Susan Eicher

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69% of Buyers are Wrong About Down Payment Needs

According to a recent survey conducted by Genworth Financial Inc. at the Annual Mortgage Bankers’ Association Secondary Market Conference, 69% of mortgage professionals say that first-time buyers still believe a 20% down payment is necessary to buy in today’s market.

Nearly 40% of mortgage industry professionals surveyed believe that a lack of knowledge about the home-buying process is keeping potential buyers on the sidelines. Saving for a down payment is often cited as a huge barrier for first-time homebuyers to make the leap into homeownership.

If homeowners believe that they need a 20% down payment to enter the market, they also believe that they will have to wait years (in some markets) to come up with the necessary funds to buy their dream homes.

The greatest source of confusion cited in the survey results centered around down payments. The results are broken down in the chart below:

Rohit Gupta, CEO of Genworth Mortgage Insurance had this to say,

"While first-time homebuyers continue to drive the purchase market,...

Louisville Summer Camp Guide 2017

It may not technically be summer yet, but school is out and it’s time to figure out how to keep your kids engaged and entertained while they are on their break.  There is a lot going on in Louisville for children of all ages.  Here is just a sampling of camps available this summer: (click on links for camp web site)

Whet Your Palette Art Camp
Art entertainment fun that combines paint with creative versatility. We offer various options that accommodate all ages, skill levels and fun levels.

Kentucky Shakespeare Camp
Camp Shakespeare fosters an appreciation for the words and works of William Shakespeare by providing opportunities for children and young adults aged 4 –18 to explore the theatre arts through imaginative play, visual arts, movement, storytelling, design, text analysis, and more!

Our Philosophy is to immerse students in Shakespeare’s words and ideas, providing guidance and encouragement.  Kentucky Shakespeare hopes that this unique camp experience will promote confidence, open up a new world of interests to your child and nurture a lifelong desire of learning.

Louisville Equestrian Center Summer Camp
We have been offering a wide variety of horsemanship camps for more than 10 years. The Louisville Equestrian Center camp program combines qualified staff, experienced horses and excellent facilities to create an atmosphere where campers can advance their horseback riding skills, expand their horsemanship knowledge and enjoy riding with friends. All levels of experience are welcome. Our camps are open to children 4 – 17 years of age....

Things To Do In Louisville: Fancy Nancy: The Musical

Children's Musical Theatre suitable for ages 3 to 12. Kid-friendly buffet included in ticket price. Free Parking!  Fancy Nancy is performing in her very first show and desperately wants to be a mermaid. Can Nancy bring fancy flair to her role, even if it isn’t the one she wants? Based on the best-selling book series, this musical is sure to delight!


Price: Breakfast – $17.00; Lunch – $22.00 

Breakfast 9:00 A.M. Show 10:00 A.M. 
Lunch 12:00 P.M. Show 1:15 P.M. 

June 3, 10, 12*, 17, 24, July 1, 8, 2017
*June 12 Evening show only

  • Location: Derby Dinner Playhouse
  • Time: 9:00 AM
  • Contact: Annie Myers
  • Email: amyers@derbydinner.com
  • Phone: (812) 288-8281
  • Address:
  • 525 Marriott Drive
  • Clarksville, Indiana


 Courtesy of Susan Eicher

 


 

 

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Why Working with a Local Real Estate Professional Makes All the Difference

If you’ve entered the real estate market, as a buyer or a seller, you’ve inevitably heard the real estate mantra, “location, location, location” in reference to how identical homes can increase or decrease in value due to where they’re located. Well, a new survey shows that when it comes to choosing a real estate agent, the millennial generation’s mantra is, “local, local, local.”

CentSai, a financial wellness online community, recently surveyed over 2,000 millennials (ages 18-34) and found that 75% of respondents would use a local real estate agent over an online agent, and 71% would choose a local lender.

Survey respondents cited many reasons for their choice to go local, “including personal touch & handholding, longstanding relationships, local knowledge, and amount of hassle.”

Doria Lavagnino, Cofounder & President of CentSai had this to say:

“We were surprised to learn that online providers are not yet as big a disruptor in this sector as we first thought, despite purported cost savings. We found that millennials place a high value on the personal touch and knowledge of a local agent. Buying a home for the first time...

Looking for a Dog Friendly Neighborhood? Here’s What to Look For!

When searching for your new home, you want to make sure the neighborhood is a good fit for everyone in the family, including your pup. You will likely be looking for a nice yard, but it’s important to look beyond the property line. The type of neighborhood you end up in can make a huge difference in the quality of life for you and your fur babies. Here are a few signs that you have found a dog friendly environment:

  • There are more groomers in a two-mile radius than hair salons…walk in appointments welcome!
  • Restaurants and shops have water bowls and treats for visiting pups.
  • Pet waste stations are abundant.
  • The local dog park is always busy with happy pooches frolicking with friends.

Here are some more serious things to think about when considering the home and neighborhood that will work best for you and your pets:

  • NEIGHBORS WITH DOGS.  They will be more understanding if your dog occasionally barks and are more likely to be helpful should you need someone to let your dog out or walk them while you are away from the house.
  • PET SHOPS. Areas with a lot of pets mean that there will be pet shops conveniently available.
  • SIDEWALKS. A neighborhood with sidewalks is idea for dog-walking.  Bonus point if they have waste stations too.
  • NEIGHBORHOOD DOG PARKS . These are especially nice for urban areas. Check if there are off-leash hours or dog runs, or at least grassy areas where pups can run and play.
  • MEET-UP GROUPS. Check and see if there are local...

Happy Memorial Day!

Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.

Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season.

 

National Moment of Remembrance

To ensure the sacrifices of America ’s fallen heroes are never forgotten, in December 2000, the U.S. Congress passed and the president signed into law “The National Moment of Remembrance Act,” P.L. 106-579, creating the White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance. The commission’s charter is to “encourage the people of the United States to give something back to their country, which provides them so much freedom and opportunity” by encouraging and coordinating commemorations in the United States of Memorial Day and the National Moment of Remembrance.

The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation. As Moment of Remembrance founder Carmella LaSpada states: “It’s a way we can all help...

Things To Do In Louisville: Abbey Road on the River

May 25 - May 29
11:00 AM to 12:00 AM

Celebrate the music and legend of the Beatles at Abbey Road on the River! Memorial Day weekend May 25-29, 2017.

We are now located at the beautiful Big Four Station Park in Jeffersonville, IN — just across the river from Louisville, KY.

There will be 30 Beatles album concerts, 14 George-themed concerts, 7 Paul-themed concerts, 5 summer of love concerts, 3+ Sgt Pepper concerts, and 100 more shows throughout the weekend! Check out the lineup and everything you can expect at the website below.

General admission starts at $20, but ticket prices vary so check out pricing here.

EVENT WEBSITE

Courtesy of Susan Eicher

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More Americans Chose to Own a Home Than Rent in Q1

According to the latest report from the US Census Bureau, more Americans chose purchasing a home over signing a lease to rent in the first quarter of 2017. This marks the first time since 2006 that the number of new homeowner households outpaced the number of new renter households.

Of the 1.22 million new households that were formed in the first quarter, 854,000 were new-owner households making the jump straight to homeownership rather than renting first.

That means that the homeownership rate amongst new households was 70%!

This is huge news as the national homeownership rate is currently 63.6% and has only ever come close to this figure in the second quarter of 2004 when the homeownership rate reached an all-time high of 69.2%.

A recent Wall Street Journal article pointed to the uptick in first-time homebuyers coming to market as a reason for the jump:

“The return of first-time buyers is accelerating. In all they have accounted for 42% of buyers this year, up from 38% in 2015 and 31% at the lowest point during the recent housing cycle in 2011, according to Fannie Mae, which defines first-time buyers as anyone who hasn’t owned a home in the past three years.”

Ralph McLaughlin, Trulia’s Chief Economist, had this to say about what a bump in...

Tis the Season for Outdoor Living

Spring and summer bring sunny skies and warm temperatures and that means spending more time outside.  Upgrading outdoor spaces will make relaxing, playing and dining alfresco much more enjoyable!

Plant a Rain Garden - This eco-friendly landscaping option will divert water away from your house and bring it to the plants, trees and other areas that need it.  Use native plants as they are already adapted to the soil, water and climate conditions. 

Have Fun with Water - A unique water feature can be a great focal point for your landscaping.  Rock column fountains are growing in popularity because they are easy to install and maintain.  And as a bonus, they are safe for children because there is no standing water.

Perk up with Pavers - Why have a boring, poured-concrete patio when you can have a lovely, colorful one?  Pavers are an outstanding option for upgrading your patio space because they are moderately priced and come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors.  They are also easier and less expensive to repair than a concrete slab.

Choose Clay - For a classic look use clay pavers.  They are durable and have excellent color retention, so they will look new for years to come.  Your patio will look fresh and new for a long time!

Create a Natural Vibe - If pavers aren’t for you because you want a more natural look, try incorporating some irregular flagstone into your patio surface.

Heat it Up! - Create a fun, cozy gathering place in your yard with a fire pit.  Paired with some comfy furniture, it will provide a relaxing atmosphere for friends and family to spend time together. Make sure to check ...

Things To Do In Louisville: Storybook Character Day

Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM

The Louisville Zoo
1100 Trevilian Way, Louisville, KY 40213

Imagination comes to life as kids of all ages meet characters from some of their favorite storybooks.  Visit Pete the Cat, Llama Llama, Curious George, Rainbow Fish, Mama and Papa Berenstein Bear and Mouse (from “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”).  Be sure to bring your camera!

 

EVENT WEBSITE

Courtesy of Susan Eicher

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4 Tips for Effectively Making an Offer

So, you’ve been searching for that perfect house to call a ‘home,’ and you finally found one! The price is right, and in such a competitive market, you want to make sure that you make a good offer so that you can guarantee that your dream of making this house yours comes true!

Freddie Mac covered “4 Tips for Making an Offer” in their latest Executive Perspective.Here are the 4 tips they covered along with some additional information for your consideration:

1. Understand How Much You Can Afford

“While it's not nearly as fun as house hunting, fully understanding your finances is critical in making an offer.”

This ‘tip’ or ‘step’ should really take place before you start your home search process.

As we’ve mentioned before, getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and will allow you to make your offer with the confidence of knowing that you have already been approved for a mortgage for that amount. You will also need to know if you are prepared to make any repairs that may need to be made to the house (ex: new roof, new furnace)....

The History of Mother’s Day

Some people believe that Mother’s Day is one of those holidays created by the greeting card industry, but the truth is celebrating Moms can be traced back to ancient times.  Greeks and Romans held festivals in honor of mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele, but the most recent predecessor to our current Mother’s Day is an early Christian festival known as "Mothering Sunday".

“Mothering Sunday” was once a major tradition in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe.  This celebration fell on the fourth Sunday in Lent and was seen as a time when the faithful would return to their “mother church” for a special service.  Over time, the tradition shifted to a more secular holiday where children would present their mothers with flowers and other tokens of appreciation.  Eventually, it faded in popularity.  But in the 1930s-40s it was reinvented as the American Mother’s Day we celebrate today.

The official American Mother’s Day began due to the efforts of a woman named Anna Jarvis. Following her mother’s 1905 death, she conceived of Mother’s Day as a way of honoring the sacrifices mothers made for their children.  Believing that American holidays were biased toward male achievements, she worked relentlessly to see the holiday added to the national calendar.  She started a massive letter writing campaign to newspapers and prominent politicians urging the adoption of a special day honoring motherhood.  By 1912 many states, towns and churches had adopted Mother’s Day as an annual holiday. Finally, in 1914, her persistence paid off when President Woodrow Wilson officially established the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.  Sadly, Anna Jarvis grew disenchanted with the holiday as it became commercialized over the years.  She felt that her original vision of a day of personal celebration between mothers...

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