Big city living is generally associated with an even bigger price tag, but not necessarily in Kentucky or Tennessee. Louisville, Lexington, Nashville, and Memphis all ranked in Kiplinger’s list of the 10 Most Affordable Big Cities in the United States this year, meaning you can live the exciting city lifestyle and still enjoy a cost of living that is far below the national average. In fact, Memphis topped the list with a cost of living that was almost 15% below the national average. Nashville came in fourth, with a cost of living 12.4% below average; Lexington came in at number seven, with a cost of living 10.3% below the average; Louisville ranked #10 on the list, with a cost of living 8.6% below the U.S. Average. So, if you’re looking for someplace to get the most bang for your buck, these cities are worth a look!
What was your first job in the realty industry? Realtor.
What do you do to relax when you’re stressed? Run.
Where did you grow up? Peachtree City.
Growing up, what did you want to be? A mother.
Where is your favorite place to hang out? Atlanta.
What do you love most about the industry? Everything!
How do you distinguish yourself from the crowd of agents? Relocation knowledge and experience.
What is the most difficult aspect of your job? Appraisal of property.
Where do you go to network and meet new clients? Book club, neighborhood functions and school functions.
What has been your greatest accomplishment? Raising my family.
What was the last good movie you saw or book you read? “This is Where I leave You.”
What is your favorite restaurant? Hal’s in Buckhead.
Architecturally speaking, what is your favorite building in Atlanta? Bank of America Plaza.
What kind of car do you drive? Merecedes 350.
Smartphone or paper? iPhone.
What is your favorite city after Atlanta? New York City.
In 10 words or less, what is your advice for someone new to the industry? Expect to work many hours. Very rewarding work.
What’s your favorite real estate iPhone/Android app? YouTube.
This article originally appeared in Atlanta Agent Magazine.
This Veteran’s Day, RE/MAX Regional Services was proud to honor Broker/Owner Lieutenant Colonel Tommy Black for serving a tour in Iraq while continuing to run his RE/MAX Signature Realty, Inc. office via Skype.
For almost 30 years, LTC Black has served in the Kentucky Army National Guard and has been in real estate since 2005. In 2007, he became a Broker with RE/MAX Regional Services, opening his Signature Realty, Inc. office in Corbin, Kentucky.
“I feel very strongly about serving my country and what the military represents,” said Black. “It is my honor to have the opportunity to give back and apply my almost 30 years of training in a combat environment for the country that has given me more than I could ever repay.”
In 2011, LTC Black’s unit, 149th MEB in Louisville Kentucky, was deployed to Iraq at Camp Victory to complete the job of shutting the camp down and turning it over to the Iraqi government. At the time, Black’s wife, Sandra despite an ongoing battle with cancer, took over most of the administrative duties at the office while Tommy was gone. Sandra and the agents of RE/MAX Signature Realty, Inc. worked together to communicate with Black through email and Skype.
“Operating the office from Iraq was truly a team effort,” says Black. “My wife and staff supported me in serving my country and successfully ran the office with my insight from across the world.”
The team faced many challenges. With a nine hour time difference, LTC Black would work at night after a long day of military duties. Technological issues like limited internet access and no phone access meant the team had to be flexible to stay in touch. Sandra was at one point on Skype with Tommy when an IDF (Indirect Fire) bombed near the camp. She heard it all and lost contact with her husband for quite some time.
Sandra’s health began to deteriorate, so LTC Black returned home to be with his family. Unfortunately, Sandra Black lost her 5 year battle with cancer this past May. Today, Black runs RE/MAX Signature Realty, Inc. with four other agents and continues to raise his 10-year-old daughter, Callie, and stepson Devan. Black also enjoys spending time with his two adult sons, Jared and Austin, and rooting for University of Kentucky’s basketball and football teams.
“The accomplishments that LTC Black has achieved through so many challenges are inspirational and heart-warming,” said Dane Ellison, RE/MAX Regional Services CEO. “This Veterans Day, RE/MAX Regional Services honors LTC Black, along with all our other affiliates who are Veterans. We are so proud that RE/MAX Regional Services is home to so many Veterans who fought to provide us freedom.”
RE/MAX Signature Realty, Inc. is located at 1466 W Cumberland Gap Pkwy, Corbin, KY 40701. To learn more about RE/MAX Signature Realty, Inc. Please visit http://www.signaturerealty.remax-kentucky.com/.
This article originally appeared in the The Times-Tribune.
SIDNEY, OH — Nicole DeNeff has joined the RE/MAX One office at 216 E. Poplar St., Sidney, as a full-time agent.
DeNeff, formerly Nicki Carr, graduated from Houston High School in 1990, Rets Tech with an associate degree in computer science also in 1990, and the Hondros College of Business with her real estate degree in 2014. Most recently, she has been with Thompson Dunlap and Heydinger, a law firm in Bellefontaine.
She is married to Rob, and they have two sons, Austin and Skyler.
DeNeff will be listing, as well as working as a buyer’s agent and is open to calls at 937-468-2625 or at the RE/MAX One office at 937-497-7961.
This article originally appeared in the Sidney Daily News.
Homeowners and house hunters should take note of these indicators of a neighborhood’s health.
When you buy a house in a good neighborhood, you want to make sure the neighborhood stays that way.
Everything changes, naturally. Just look at your grandparents’ photos of the 1958 Buick with the oversized tail fins in the driveway, and you can see that the neighborhood you live in will eventually have a different feel. But we all want to live in a neighborhood that will change for the better.
Sometimes it’s clear that a neighborhood is in decline, like when you see abandoned or decaying homes on every block. But the signs aren’t always so obvious. Here are a few to look for that may indicate whether the house you’re looking at (or living in) resides in a neighborhood with a promising future or one fraught with peril.
The local economy. The economic health of a community is often overlooked by homebuyers, says Ronald Anderson, who lives in Griffin, Georgia, and a former real estate agent who works for a marketing firm that specializes in the mortgage industry.
“If your region is struggling to attract new companies or current companies aren’t hiring or are laying off, the clock has started ticking,” Anderson says.
Another possible sign of trouble ahead: “The area is overly dependent on one vulnerable employer, such as a factory, for employment,” says Norm Biller, a Realtor with RE/MAX Elite Realty in Lexington, Kentucky.
But if you’ve noticed a lot of artistic and creative people moving in, that’s a good sign the neighborhood is a happening place, Biller says. Another positive sign is if the house you’re eyeing or living in is located inside a major beltway with a shortage of available land, since the demand is probably high and prices are likely to rise.
Vacancies. This sign is easy to overlook. At first, you might be happy to see so many “for sale” signs beckoning you to drop by and take a look at the house. But take a good look. Anderson says he believes his neighborhood is dying due to an increased number of renters, vacancies and listings “which just sit on the market.”
Fewer people moving out of the neighborhood may make finding a house harder, but it’s a likely indication that the residents are happy and don’t want to move.
Schools. Every homeowner with young children or plans to have kids wants to live in a good school district. Even if you want to remain childless, you’d do well to ask your real estate agent about the community’s education system.
“New schools tend to cause growth of the housing market,” says Hank Bailey, a Realtor with RE/MAX Legends in Atlanta.
Not that the school needs to be new. If its ratings are high, and if the school is winning awards or gaining positive attention because of how the kids are performing on tests like SATs, then you know you have a winner, Bailey says.
Kids in the neighborhood. Are children playing in their yards or biking down the street? According to Brian Guenzel, director of the Institute of Urban Studies at The University of Texas at Arlington, “If families are moving in with young children, it tends to be a sign of growth.”
But if the neighborhood doesn’t have a lot of children, that isn’t an automatic death spiral for a neighborhood, Guenzel says.
“Sometimes a neighborhood with an older population is a more stable one, as people will live in their homes for decades, even after the kids have left the nest, and that helps to maintain the sense of community as well as preserve property values,” he says.
Traffic lights. This is a subtle predictor, but if you notice stop signs being replaced by traffic lights, that isn’t necessarily because they’re needed now. It’s a sign of growth that community leaders think more traffic will be here in the future, according to Albert Goldson, owner of global advisory firm Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC, as well as a New York City-based urban planning expert. Other clues to look for along thoroughfares that indicate a growing neighborhood: “The repavement of roads, new signage, sidewalk repairs and addition of bike paths,” Goldson says.
Walking paths. If you can dump your car easily enough and walk or bike on designated paths to reach places like a farmers market, baseball stadium or grocery store without fearing you’ll be flattened by traffic, you may have a winner, according to David Balfour, a Realtor with RE/MAX Choice Properties in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
“Many consumers today want to ditch their dependence on the automobile,” he says. The walkability of a neighborhood is often a selling point, provided there’s somewhere enjoyable or practical to walk to.
“The fewer large boulevards that must be crossed to reach the intended ‘hot’ area makes a resident feel more attached to it,” Balfour says.
Of course, there are no absolutes. Starving artists and writers might move into a neighborhood not because it’s exciting and dynamic, but because they’re broke and the rent is cheap. Maybe the traffic lights replacing stop signs were a long time coming and are an indication that the local government is always one step behind. But often the clues homeowners need to figure out where their neighborhood is headed can be located in plain view. Bottom line: The goal isn’t to someday look around and think, “there goes the neighborhood.” You want to think, “here it comes.”
This article originally appeared in U.S. News & World Report
Pre-approval makes buying Smyrna townhome easy.
Looking just outside the Perimeter, Ashleigh Silas figured it would be difficult to find a home for $200,000 or less, but a bank-owned townhome made it affordable for her to put down roots in Atlanta. She was looking for a new home with a garage and spacious master bedroom.
Silas, 31, a human resources manager for Hewlett-Packard, chatted about her Smyrna town-home, which also has a family room upstairs for extra TV-watching space.
Q: What did you love about the house?
A: I like the darker cabinets, granite countertops, distressed hardwood floors, kitchen island, garden tub, double sinks in the master bathroom, and window in the bathroom. I also love how close it is to Buckhead and Midtown without getting on the highway. I didn’t realize how convenient it was to so many different places.
Q: How did you move on this home?
A: My realtor (Kim Bondurant from RE/MAX) and I found this home on the first day we went to look. We had four homes on the list in Buford, Tucker, Sandy Springs and Smyrna, and this was the third house. The unit wasn’t done, but another one was available for viewing, and my Realtor heard they were selling like hotcakes. I put down an offer and got it with little negotiation.
Q: What was the closing process like?
A: It was pretty smooth. I got pre-approved for a loan, which really helped.
Q: What was the relationship with your agent?
A: Kim was great. I don’t like pressure or making quick decisions, and she would let me think and wait. I asked a lot of questions and paid close attention to detail, and she went to bat for me during closing. My mother, father and stepmother were really helpful in the process as well.
Q: What have you added so far?
A: I had to buy a fridge to match the appliances. I also didn’t think about buying a washer/dryer, and my father helped with that. I got blinds, curtains, a mounted TV and a dining room table. This is the first time I’ve had to do some of these things, so it’s been fun to find items like an end table, entry table, bench or lamps. I also drew a design on a downstairs wall and painted it. I never would have done that in my previous places.
Q: What’s a tip for first-time buyers?
A: Prepare as much as you can (such as getting pre-approved). Learn what you need to do to buy a home. Then interview your Realtor. Make sure it’ll be a good match.
This article originally appeared in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Recently, several local RE/MAX REALTORS® were appointed to leadership positions for The Greater Louisville Association of REALTORS®, the local arm of the country’s largest trade association and Kentucky Association of REALTORS®, the voice for real estate in Kentucky. With eleven RE/MAX REALTORS® representing twenty-five high positions within both groups, RE/MAX dominates the leadership of GLAR, its affiliate subscription based group, Metro Search Inc. and KAR.
The Greater Louisville Association of REALTORS® (GLAR) is a professional trade association representing more than 4,000 members of in the real estate profession. GLAR is committed to providing the highest degree of service and professionalism to its members and the community.
The Kentucky Association of REALTORS® (KAR), Inc. represents more than 8,600 realtors who are involved in all aspects of real estate. The Association is committed to delivering its members the very finest tools and information to succeed- and meet the needs of today’s property buying and selling consumers.
“As members of the RE/MAX family, we all have a commitment to offer continuing education for members and be involved in community outreach,” says Paula Colvin, President of GLAR. “Like GLAR and KAR we are dedicated to actively being participants and board members of many community organizations, charities and businesses. It is a priority to give back to the community we serve.”
GLAR and KAR encourage homebuyers of Louisville to use a REALTOR® in every real estate transaction. GLAR and KAR are also very involved in government activities and legislation that affect the housing industry.
“Having such a dominant leadership presence in GLAR and KAR shows the compassion that RE/MAX agents have for this industry and their community” said Dane Ellison, RE/MAX Regional Services CEO. “These RE/MAX teams are excellent examples of how RE/MAX agents strive grow relationships with and serve the members of their communities.”
Greater Louisville Association of REALTORS® Officers:
- Paula Colvin – President (RE/MAX Properties East)
- Greg Taylor – President Elect (RE/MAX Associates)
- Paul Ogden – Vice President (RE/MAX Properties East)
- Sherry Spaner- Vice President (Berkshire Hathaway)
- Paula Barmore – Secretary/Treasurer (RE/MAX Action First)
- Karen Story- Secretary/Treasurer Elect (Semonin Realtors)
Metro Search Inc.® Officers:
- John Fischbach – President (RE/MAX Associates)
- Judie Parks – President Elect (Berksire Hathaway)
- Greg Taylor – Treasurer (RE/MAX Associates)
- Ron Hughes – President (RE/MAX Realty Group)
- Norman Jones – President- Elect (Big Sandy Realty)
- Gale Fulton- Treasurer (RE/MAX Creative Realty)
- Michael Becker – Treasurer (RE/MAX Affiliates)
- John T. May Jr. – Immediate Past President (John T. May & Associates)
KAR Board of Directors
- Rosemary L. Nobles (RE/MAX Properties East)
- Libbi Taylor (RE/MAX Creative Realty)
- Al Blevins (Caswell Prewitt Realty, Inc.)
- Lamont Breland (The Breland Group)
- Steve Cline (Prudential Partners Realty)
- Jim DeMaio (Century 21)
- Pam Featherstone (Semonin REALTORS)
- Stacey Fergerson (Coldwell Banker Legacy RE Group)
- Barbara Flannery (USA Realty)
- Bill Leslie (Key Associates Waterfront Realty)
- Sandy Newell (Rudd Real Estate)
When do today’s consumers engage a real estate professional? Perhaps sooner than you think.
In today’s world of listing portals, mobile Internet and easy access to the MLS, consumers are often delaying first point of contact with real estate professionals. What was once considered the traditional role of a real estate agent, finding houses and comps that meet a homebuyer’s needs and wants, has now largely shifted to the homebuyer, who has immediate access to the newest listings available from the MLS.
This delayed agent contact should not instill panic in real estate professionals. Almost immediately after identifying properties of interest, consumers tend to pursue an agent to start the next steps in the home-buying process. However, this new way of doing things should prompt you to rethink and rework your client relationships. While it is true that most consumers can identify properties adequately on their own, it doesn’t mean they don’t rely heavily on the expert opinions and expertise of their trusted advisors.
Agents should be prepared to focus their time, energy and experience to identify which properties really are the best value to a consumer. Then, they must quickly and efficiently guide the buyer through the purchasing process. The process of buying a home and the process of finding a home are two very separate things.
Your role is to step in after they identify properties in order to guide them through the correct procedures, such as negotiating prices, filling out paperwork and contracts and finding potential fallacies with a home.
Understanding and adapting to today’s consumers will allow you to gain a competitive advantage.
This article was written by Paul Salley, REAL Trends marketing strategist.
RE/MAX Choice Properties
750 Old Hickory Blvd., Suite 1-140, Brentwood
Years in business: 15
How did you become involved in real estate? Describe the company and explain what makes it unique. I wanted a way to use my life experiences and integrity to help people. I wanted to help them avoid some of the frustrations and pitfalls that can come with finding a home. And this was a way to serve my community and support my family, as well.
I wanted to align myself with a company that had an outstanding reputation for first class service, and Re/Max has that. It is also the most recognizable real estate company in the world. What do you think of when you see that big red, white and blue hot air balloon? RE/MAX.
Where in the Nashville region are you active? I have lived here for 22 years and primarily focus on Williamson County and southern Davidson County. However, I also draw on my husband’s knowledge of the surrounding counties since he grew up here and is intimately familiar with the greater Nashville area.
When selling a home, what can the owner do to maximize its value? Pricing a home competitively is always a given if you really want to sell your house. But you can stand out from the crowd by increasing your curb appeal and by staging the interior. Clear the house of clutter and de-personalize the home so that you help the prospective buyer see themselves in it.
What advice do you have for clients who are preparing to buy a home? What steps should they take? First and foremost, a buyer should know what he or she can afford. Your Realtor can recommend trusted financial service providers to help guide you to the loan that fits your needs best. And, if you have not sought out a seasoned real estate professional, entering into a relationship with a Realtor is the best thing you can do to protect yourself and your investment.
How is technology changing the way people buy and sell houses? Approximately 90 percent of buyers start their search online. Gone are the days of trolling through neighborhoods, wasting gas and time, looking to see what is for sale.
Today’s buyer is savvy and seasoned from sitting at their computer, and can look 24/7. By the time they tour a home, they have probably already seen a hundred online listings. Seeing photos or virtual tours online is no substitute for actually walking into a home and “feeling” how it fits your needs. But, it certainly helps the buyer shop more efficiently.
I even have a smart phone app that lets me see all of the MLS information for available homes as I drive through a community, just as if I were sitting at my computer searching. And Re/Max updates the information feed every 15 minutes. So, it’s accurate, too!
What features are the most popular with today’s buyers? Interestingly enough, granite is still high on a buyer’s list of wants. High ceilings are very desirable because they make the space feel larger, especially if the house is not very big. Energy efficiency is also very important, because it’s better for the planet and saves cash, too.
But, we often see the wants and needs of today’s buyer change with the age group and demographic. The home size and square footage, number of rooms and garage bays really vary from buyer to buyer. High-end finishes are typically more important to seasoned, repeat buyers. First time buyers tend to want a place to call their own, and they are willing to forgo some of the extras just to get into their new home.
What is the hallmark of the service you provide to your clients? Having spent the past 15 years working for new home builders, I bring to the table a special insight into negotiating and the process of “starting from scratch” when building a new home.
But, whether a buyer desires a brand new home, a fixer-upper, or a move-in ready home, I believe that communication is the key to drama-free home buying. It’s my job to use my experience to relieve much of the stress of making one of the largest investments of your life. And having some fun along the way is always a plus, right?
This article originally appeared in The Tennessean.