General

The Ultimate Home Safety Checklist

Anybody who owns a home will tell you that before long, it becomes far more than just a place to eat and sleep. Home is the place you look to for safety, security, comfort, and acceptance. In other words, your home becomes, over time, an extension of you and your family.

Naturally, though, you'd like your home to be more than just a symbol of safety. You want your home to be a place that actually is safe from threats like fires, carbon monoxide poisoning and other pollutants, intruders, and all of the other potential threats that exist in the world today. In order to make that goal a reality, you've got to take some time to consider what could go wrong and take steps to proactively avert disaster before it happens. With that in mind, we've put together a checklist of sorts of things you can do to ensure that your home is as safe as it can possibly be ...

1. Fire Safety

Fires are one of the biggest safety threat in any home. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fire departments across the U.S. responded to an average of 358,000 house fires per year between 2011 and 2015. More than half of them were caused by the kitchen range or other cooking equipment, followed by heating equipment like furnaces, boilers, and wood stoves.

Your family's safety depends on having working smoke detectors placed throughout your home as follows

  • One smoke detector inside each bedroom
  • One smoke detector outside each bedroom
  • One smoke detector on every level...

The Most Common Types of Home Automation: What are the Benefits to Homeowners?

In 2015, there were roughly 4.6 million smart homes in the United States. By the end of 2016, this number had risen to over 15 million. As Americans continue to learn about the benefits of home automation, industry experts forecast that over one-half of all homes in North America will employ smart home technology or automation by 2021. Below is a look at the benefits of home automation along with some of the most common home automation products.  

What are the benefits of home automation?

The rise in home automation has made it easier than ever for Americans to own and maintain their homes. From increased convenience to significant cost savings, automation has transformed home ownership for millions of Americans. Some of the key benefits of home automation include the following: 

  • Enhanced Convenience: The ability to control your home from any location is a major perk for busy consumers, especially people who travel for their jobs or who are constantly on the go.
  • Long-term cost savings: Automation allows you to save money on your utilities by turning off your lights, heater, or air conditioner when you are not using them. The end result is less money spent on energy and maintenance costs.
  • Lower insurance costs: Some insurance companies such as State Farm offer discounts to homeowners who use automation. Some discounts can approach 20%, yielding significant savings for consumers.
  • Energy conservation: People often underestimate the amount of energy they use on a daily basis. Many home automation products enable you to track your energy consumption, highlighting opportunities...

Looking at the Louisville real estate market from another perspective

This past week I invested in another tool to assist with the marketing of homes and property for my clients.  Technically, it is a drone since it uses a GPS signal to help it hover in place.  Physically it is a quadcoptor.  Which makes for a steadier shot and a little easier to control.  From here on out though I'll be referring to it as the Aerial Marketing Asset or AMA for short as my friend Chris has named it.  It will take me a few more flights to completely get a handle on the controls, but I'm already churning out meaningful video footage.  

Here is the very first video I've put together.  Although not perfect, I'm still pretty proud of it. Especially since this was just my second time flying the AMA.  I look forward to sharing more videos with you in the future.  Do you have a home, farm, or lake house that would benefit from aerial marketing?  Email me at scott@louisvillerealestate.com and lets chat!

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When is the best time to plant an oak tree in Kentucky?

Mature trees with full leaves in Louisville, KYAs the old saying goes.  The best time to plant an oak tree, was 20 years ago.  The second best time is now.  Which although, true, is also false :)  The best SEASON to plant a tree is in the fall after the leaves have dropped and the trees have gone dormant, or very early spring before budding activity has begun.  I live in an older neighborhood where the homes were built in the 50's and early 60's.  The trees in my neighborhood are nothing short of majestic.  Huge towering oak trees that keep the squirrels busy all day long.

In my back yard I have a Southern Magnolia tree and a Black Walnut tree.  Both of which drop stuff into the yard nearly year round.  I think one of those trees would have been fine, but having both of them can be a bit of a pain.  Even though they drop nuts, leaves and blooms all over the place, they still are very pretty and offer a great deal of shade to my backyard.  In my front yard, I'm not as lucky.  The ice storm of 2009 destroyed every living plant and tree in my front yard.  This was prior to my ownership of the home, but I was able to see that two trees had previously been planted in the front yard.

For some reason or another in the 90's flowering pear trees, specifically the Bradford Pear became very popular as an ornamental tree.  The great thing about them is they grow very quickly, the negative is they grow very dense and have weak branches. Unfortunately they usually are destroyed by wind and thunderstorms as they mature. Which brings us to our next question... We know that we should be planting trees NOW since none of us know how to build a flux capacitor, but what kind of trees? Thankfully...

Happy Birthday Finish Line Realty!

Marching Band Member Blowing Brass HornIt certainly doesn't seem like it has been that long ago... but it has.  Today marks the 5 year anniversary of the "birth" of Finish Line Realty.  On May 3, 2011 I was granted my broker license and the Kentucky Real Estate Commission setup Finish Line Realty as a legal brokerage.  It has been an incredible journey.  Shortly after launching the brokerage, I negotiated the purchase of www.louisvillerealestate.com -- cementing the relavance and top of mind branding that comes with the domain name.

Partly due to the success of the website, it became clear that in order to best serve our past, current, and future clients, we needed to expand.  I'm not very good at tooting our own horn...  But we have quietly and carefully grown to be 5 agents strong, including myself.  There is a HUGE list of exciting announcments right around the corner including a relaunch of our website dedicated to Louisville condos for sale.  For now all I can say is buckle up!  The ride is going to get even wilder!

This anniversary is also a great reminder of all of our past clients that have shared their lives with us.  I speak on behalf of the entire Finish Line Realty family when I say it has been a true honor to represent our clients in all of their real estate needs.  Our success and continued growth has only been possible because of our wonderful clients.  Thank You!

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Louisville Radon Testing

Earlier this month I decided to take on one of the most challenging clients in history.  My wife and I. We started our search the same way all of my clients start their search.  We began searching for homes for sale on this website.  Once we narrowed down the search we went out and viewed homes in person.  The first house we looked at had a power assisted radon mitigation system in place.  My wife, unfamiliar with radon and the system, had questions.  So I began explaining how the system worked to her and through the course of that conversation we realized that I should share this info with you, my readers.  Radon exists everywhere, so it doesn't matter if you are house hunting for homes in Oldham County, or looking at new construction in the Norton Commons neighborhood.

What is Radon?

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from the natural breakdown (radioactive decay) of uranium.  You cannot see smell or taste radon.  It has little trouble passing through most building materials, even plastic and concrete.  It is simply part of the earth.  The concern with radon is that it is a known carcinogen.  Of course, carcinogens are all around us, including ultra violet light from the sun.  But limiting our exposure where we can is the safe thing to do.  Since radon is found in the ground, it exists everywhere.

How Do I Test For Radon?

Testing for radon is usually done via a device that is placed in the home for at least 48 hours.  It periodically checks the air for radon and then generates an average over that time period.  There are kits that you can purchase online that allow you to do a portion of the test yourself...

Happy 2014! -- Have you set your goals?

Do you know your goals?It is so hard to believe, but the last moments of 2013 are behind us.  The reality is that each day we start over with 24 hours and have the opportunity to make choices to better our lives each day.  However, it seems that at the beginning of a new year, we reflect just a bit harder.  I'm fine with that.  If you've ever been out to dinner with me, you know that I've got a soft spot for restaurant servers and bartenders.  Many moons ago, I used to be one.

I'll tell you how long ago it was.  I used to work at Applebees inside of Mall St. Matthews.  Which doesn't even exist anymore.  It was a great experience.  I was fairly shy and it was the type of job that forced me to talk to people.  The other servers were all very welcoming and friendly and I'm still in contact with several of them to this day.  While there I had a manger named Gill who challenged me at the beginning of every shift to set my goals.  How much in tips did I want to generate?  Gill knew that by setting a goal, I would set an attitude and a work ethic for the night.  I would have a measuring stick to determine if I had a successful night or not.  I would have a finish line to strive for... I would know which direction to kick the ball!

In most of my endeavors I brought the goal making mantra with me.  I no longer make daily goals, but monthly and yearly goals are still part of my routine.  But I stopped holding myself accountable to the goals.  The list was too loose.  It had no teeth.  If I didn't reach a goal, I just carried it over to the next month.  Or worse, the following year.  Part of the reason for that is I was missing Gill.  I'm self employed.  There is no one else for me to report to.  Gill...

A reflection two years in the making.

I started this blog post actually in November of 2012.  I never got around to publishing it, but I didn't want to let it fall through the cracks again.  So bear with me if the timing of this post seems slightly off.  I promise if you stick with me at the end, I'll bring everyone up to speed!

This past week, most of us celebrated Thanksgiving.  A day typically used to give thanks and reflect upon how fortunate we've been over the past year.  When you're self employed, being thankful personally is often tied to professional success.  I thought this would be a fitting time to put together a quick note to highlight Finish Line Realty's success and why we are so very thankful.

This past year was a great year for real estate.  The market heated up quickly beginning as early as January.  We experienced unseasonably warm temperatures in February and buyers took advantage.  With a limited amount of viable inventory, homes that were priced correctly and in good shape were picked up by buyers before we typically even get our seasonal season started.  It's impossible to say when we hit bottom, but it's pretty easy to show that 2012 was the start of the recovery.  We still have a long way to go, and we need the federal government to do their part by taking care of key issues to housing such as protecting the mortgage interest deduction and by creating legislation that alleviates the burden on small business owners to hire and employ people.  I'm hopeful that enough can be done to keep the momentum for 2012 moving forward.

The city of Louisville has Ford producing trucks again, and GE building appliances again.  Downtown continues to see growth, especially in bourbon tourism.  The KFC YUM Center has new management and continues to attract national acts that flood the city streets.  If downtown developers could figure out how lower the price per square foot for downtown housing, it could explode.  The Big...

Predicting Louisville's Future

Last night my wife surprised me by setting our DVR to record the "Back to the Future" trilogy.  It's a great movie, no matter how many times I've seen it.  It might not be the most exciting way to spend a Saturday night, but a quiet night in is just what we were looking for last night.  I don't want to spoil the story for anyone who hasn't seen it... but since the movie was released in 1989... I'm going to assume you've seen it.  That was nearly 25 years ago.  When the second movie starts, they go into the future.  All the way to November of 2015.

Since that is only a couple of years away, its interesting to see what the script writers thought were ideas that were futuristic enough to make it into the movie.  We don't have flying cars or hover boards, but we've come a long way!  A quick list of things that I think are interesting. 

  1. When Marty gets fired, he gets a fax.  Fax machines are pretty much dead now.  Thank God!
  2. He gets a video phone call from Needles and his boss.  Skype has been around for a while.
  3. Jennifer is supposed to use her thumbprint to open the door.  My 5 year old laptop does that.  As does the new iPhone.  I guess it is only a matter of time before it makes its way to doors mainstream.
  4. Flat screen televisions that are wall mounted.  Sure this one might not have been that hard to see coming, but they nailed it.
  5. Marty's son appears to be wearing computerized glasses.  Google Glass anyone?

Now if we were writing Back to the Future today and it was to be set in Louisville, KY.  How do you predict our city will change?  What technology do you envision will enter the mainstream market?

  1. ...

Real Estate Amenities - Location and Telecommunications

I deal with location all day every day. One client wants to be close to his work and have a short commute, another client wants to be near his daughter's private school. Another client wants to be close to downtown and all of the arts and entertainment options that are growing downtown offers.

What is not unique in their searches, is that to them, location matters. It matters a lot. As the saying goes, the three most important things in real estate are location, location, location. Location got me thinking as I was browsing Facebook the other night and a friend of mine was having trouble getting internet service to her rural home. It's actually a pretty common question I have to deal with while helping people buy and sell property at Nolin Lake. In today's society, we expect access to high-speed internet.

Telephone Operators

Growing up I lived in Pewee Valley. Most residents can tell you that a big part of the city is a cell phone dead zone. There just isn't a tower located close enough to provide a strong enough signal for use indoors. For most residents, they would gladly drop a call or two to maintain the beauty and serenity of the landscape. But what if you are required to be on call for your job? What if you really need to have cell phone coverage? You probably wouldn't want to put Pewee Valley on your search list. My wife and I nearly switched from Sprint to another cell phone carrier earlier this year because we couldn't get decent coverage in town. Then all of a sudden Sprint started turning on their new 4G network in town, specifically in the Springhurst area where I live and our quality of signal and download speeds dramatically...

What is the difference between a condo and an apartment?

Yesterday I was pretty excited to see that the developer of Norton Commons had entered into an agreement to have some apartments built.  Yes, I said apartments.  Which isn't the language that was put on their Facebook wall as people were discussing the announcement.  They used the word condos in their post.  From what I've come to understand, using the word condo wasn't accurate to describe the housing being offered.  Apartments and condos on the surface are the same physical structure.  A lot of times they have some common features.  Condos and apartments both have common areas, possibly pools, typically they are not metered separately so your water bill is part of your rent or monthly maintenance.  As a matter of fact, some condos even started off as apartments.  A great example of that is the Westport Village area such as Westport Gardens.  Most of the condos that border that shopping center were apartments at one point.  So if an apartment and a condo are physically the same structure, what sets them apart?

It is essentially their legal entity.  The way they are deeded.  Condos are deeded separately.  Each unit has a deed for that unit as well as a percentage of the common area.  The common area could include hall ways, club houses, pools, playgrounds, green space, etc.  Each unit's owner also has a legal obligation to pay maintenance fees for that common area.  That is one of the reasons why condo ownership can be tricky.  You are essentially going into business with your neighbors.  If one of your neighbors goes into foreclosure and stops paying their monthly dues, then the association has to make due without that money.  Have a large percentage of residents not be able to pay their bills and things go downhill really quickly.  In...

Connecting your Louisville home to the internet!

So last week I introduced you to a new series in posts I would be doing this year about gadgets and devices for your home.  This week's post is about an item called Twine.  Twine is essentially a WifI card that has sensors built into it, along with batteries.  The other component of Twine is an online interface that lets you do "If this happens, do this..." programming.  For instance, a common occurance at my house is forgetting to place the clothes from the washer and place them into the dryer.  Simply place Twine on the washer, and setup a programming rule with the built in motion sensor, that when the vibration stops for longer than 5 minutes, send an email to remind you to place them into the dryer.  Such a simple task that causes me so much grief :)

Twine doesn't come cheap.  Priced at $99.00 per device, more than one or two isn't very practical.  However, I expect the cost of the device to fall in the coming months.  Built in sensors include an internal temperature sensor and an accelerometer for vibration, impact and motion detection.  Additional external sensors plug into the multipurpose jack.  Once plugged in, the additional sensors show up as options for the if/then programming logic.  External sensors currently available include a magnetc switch ( useful for doors or anything that moves ) and a moisture sensor -- can you say early sump pump failure warning system?

For more information, you can visit their website at supermechanical.com 

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In your Louisville Home - Programmable Thermostat Nest

Happy New Years! I realize we are already 4 days into 2012... Most people had their first day back to work yesterday, which meant lots of catching up to do!

Finish Line Realty fully embraces new technology, usually long before our peers ever even hear about it.  That said, we don't go around adding technology, just for the sake of technology.  The founders of Finish Line Realty consider themselves geeks.  We embrace technology only when it makes sense.  That's why we are constantly upgrading and enhancing our website.  We firmly believe that technology makes our lives better!  We've come a long way in the past 10 years with the internet and connectivity.  Can you imagine what the next 10 years will bring?  We're going to bring you one unique item for your home each week this year.  Most of the items will have a high tech slant.  Not all of them will, but we hope you find them all cool and innovative.  We'll do our best to introduce you to items that help you save money.  Which is exactly what our first product is designed to do. 

The very first item we'd like to introduce you to is Nest.  A programmable thermostat that you don't actually program.  The thermostat learns, based on your adjustments when it should lower or raise the temperature.  Once you teach it a routine, it will follow that routine.  Going to be working late and don't want the thermostat to turn up the heat too early? No problem!  As long as you have an internet connection and a wirelesss router at your home, the Nest thermostat can be connected to the internet and controlled remotely.   You'll be able to use your smart phone at the office, in the car, etc.   

For more information, you can visit their website at http://www.nest.com 

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