Louisville Happy Homes Real Estate Blog by Kristin Lally, Realtor

Buyers in a Seller's Market

We are experiencing a crazy Seller's market right now, both nation-wide and in our Louisville Market. We are seeing low inventory and multiple offers on new listings, rising well beyond list price. According to the Greater Louisville Association of realtors, April home sales were up 15.8% over last year, average sales prices were up nearly 10% and the average number of days on the market are nearly cut in half. Interest rates are still very low, and, as we begin to emerge from the pandemic, we see that people are ready to get moving again. 

It may seem overwhelming to dip your toe in the waters when considering to purchase a home in this frantic environment. Here are some professional tips to consider when preparing to buy:

GET PRE-APPROVED - Getting pre-approved by a reputable lender is a great way to prevent potential heartache and to help set your expectations before you even step foot inside a potential home. With the current multiple offer situation on new listings, I recommend avoiding homes at the top of your price range and definitely not above it. Doing so will likely lead to frustration and disappointment.

Sellers and their Realtors will look at pre-approval letters at the time you make an offer and look for legitimate lenders who have checked your credit, verified your income, identified the type of loan you need, and various other important factors. A pre-approval letter that provides as much detail as possible helps the Seller know you’re a good, serious candidate who will work in earnest to get to the closing table with the least amount of hiccups.

DETERMINE WHERE YOU WANT TO LIVE - Before you start looking at homes, talk to your Realtor and do some research about different areas. I always recommend driving in the day-time and night to make sure certain areas are right for you.

Determine what is most important: Proximity...

Just paint it white? Hot color trends for 2021

A few weeks ago, one of our sellers decided to freshen up the walls with a new coat of paint. White seemed like the easy answer to make the condo look as bright, large and open as possible. If you've ever had to choose "the perfect white," you probably know the decision is not as easy as it seems.  Some whites seem too cold, others too pink/blue/yellow, and if you're like me you start to feel like Goldilocks in her search for something "just right." After checking out numerous websites and blogs by people who know a lot more about paint colors than I do, and several trips to paint stores and then checking out the paint chips in the condo, we ended up going with "Swiss Coffee." It casts a warm tone and the transformation was amazing! You can check it out here: 324 E Main Street, Unit 215

This is one of the websites that was most helpful in choosing the perfect white color.  If you like looking at dreamy photos of different kinds of white including our choice of "Swiss Coffee", check it out.
Is color more your vibe? Check out the hot color pallet of 2021. My favorite on this list is Urbane Bronze because it looks great with aged brass accents and it feels very traditional Kentucky to me. Do you have a favorite?  

Go Baby, Go!

Brian Fitzgerald, Photographer

It’s a bitter-sweet week in Derby City, as the Kentucky Derby and all the festivities that go along with it are canceled. We are really missing spending time with family and friends during what is a normally event-packed week. One particular highlight we will miss is an annual Derby party we’ve attended for the past 10+ years at the home of dear friends. An amazing feature of this party is the delicious Bourbon Slush. The hosts have graciously shared the recipe with us, and it is provided here for your enjoyment.  

Bourbon Slush - makes one gallon


1 - 3oz box of strawberry Jello

1 - 12oz can frozen orange juice from concentrate (defrosted)

1/2 - 12 oz can frozen pink lemonade from concentrate (defrosted)

1/2 - 12 oz can frozen pineapple juice from concentrate (defrosted) 

Bourbon (don’t use the expensive stuff)

Prepare Jello as instructed on the box but do not chill. Pour the hot Jello mixture into a gallon container. Add the orange juice, pink lemonade and pinapple juice. Fill one of the empty concentrate cans to the brim with bourbon and add to the mixture. Mix continually. Fill the rest of the container with water. Freeze overnight. When you are ready to serve, you may add additional bourbon to taste. Garnish with a sprig of mint if you're feeling fancy!

Even though the big race is postponed until September,...

Louisville area statistics, Q1'20

Snapshot of 1st Quarter, Louisville Area

Here's a glance at the Q1 Louisville real estate stats for 2020. If you'd like more specific information about your area or home feel free to contact me!

Q1'20 Real Estate Statistics

About the author: Kristin Lally is a REALTOR and Broker Associate with the Kristin Lally Team and RE/MAX Properties East. In the Happy Homes Business!


What's for dinner: a love story.


I am a list maker and proud of it!

This year I’ve been turned on to Apple Notes and I’ve got to say, it’s really changed my life. Prior to Notes, I’ve tried it all… Evernote, paper journals/planners (that I never had with me when I needed it), hundreds of tiny pieces of paper or Post-It-Notes (who would have imagined this wasn’t a good system?), and Word/Pages documents (that were less than organized). I thought I might miss marking things off a paper list but using the Notes checklist and digitally checking off the items is super rewarding.  If you have have Apple products and are interested in learning more, this YouTube video really helped me get started. If you use Microsoft, I’ve heard they have a similar product called OneNote.

Notes makes my Real Estate career more organized and efficient.

I use it for brainstorming marketing ideas, check lists for listing meetings and closings, saving important pdfs, addresses and phone numbers that I frequently share with my clients, etc. 

Lately I’ve been using Notes for my latest hobby, quarantine meal planning. I’m usually a fly by the seat of my pants dinner planner but to make sure we have the food we need for various meals, and to not have a disaster of a dinner with everyone wanting to cry, I’ve turned to Notes to keep me organized. 

In case you are burned out on your regular meals and looking for ideas, here is a glance at my list that is mostly appreciated by our kids too (so it’s not too fancy). I’d love to hear recipes or meals you’ve...

The Louisville Real Estate Market and the Covid-19 Virus

Covid-19 and Louisville Real Estate

Believe it or not, the Louisville real estate market is moving right along as we experience this pandemic. I’m sure the market will not be as strong as a typical Spring, though we are seeing evidence that predict it will be stronger than at the onset of the 2008 mortgage crisis. 

Many factors continue to affect the sale of a home, including location, condition, price point, and days on market. Buyers still need to buy for various reasons, especially now when interest rates are still very low. If a properly priced home hits the market right now, you can bet it will be noticed and most-likely elicit an offer. 

Thankfully, Realtors are currently considered essential in the workforce. We continue to meet the needs of our clients and are developing creative and efficient ways to keep safety for all a top priority. Buyers and browsers will see less physical open houses (because Andy says, “We can’t be doing that!”) and more detailed virtual tours online. With FaceTime, Zoom, email and e-signing capabilities, meetings are happening with ease without having to leaving the home. 

Should you decide to tour a home, your agent should investigate whether the environment is safe. They should ask if all parties (buyers and sellers) are feeling well, and should make sure gloves, masks, booties and hand sanitizer are on hand for showings. We want to provide our buyers the opportunity to see a home of interest in a timely manner while keeping conditions safe for all....

Virtual Showings

Continue your home search while keeping it safe

New listings are hitting the market every day. If you happen to see a home for sale that interests you but are currently observing social distance, let me do a video walk-thru with you.

Watch from the comfort of your own home on your mobile device or laptop while keeping yourself and others safe.

I'm here to help! Call me today at 502.797.4401.


Tips to Save Energy and Add Value

When it comes to energy efficiency, look for smart features and expertise to help you save energy and money and add value to your home.

1. Begin with a Right-Sized Home.

If the home you buy is simply too large for you or your family’s needs or plans, you stand a good chance of wasting energy through excessive heating and cooling costs. If it’s too small, you’ll feel cramped and uncomfortable. It’s a big investment, so seek balance and buy it “right” from the outset. 

2. Purchase Energy Star Appliances Such as Your TV, Dishwasher, Washer and Dryer, and Microwave.

And especially the refrigerator, as it alone contributes about 10 percent of the energy use in a home. Also, unplug electronics not in use or turn off power strips to avoid phantom charges. 

3. Install Efficient Lighting Such as Compact Fluorescent (CLF) or LED Bulbs in Every Fixture.

Lighting accounts for about 6 percent of an energy bill each year.

4. Get an Energy Audit and Have Tests Performed to Identify Ways of Improving Your Efficiency.

You can always upgrade your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system as well as your thermal envelope, which includes insulation, windows, and doors  and the seals or weather stripping around them. Visit energy.gov/energytips for more tips.


Happy St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Here's a family favorite that we make around this time every year. It goes great with Irish Stew or Corned Beef and Cabbage. Enjoy!

Irish Soda Bread


1 1/2 cups of buttermilk
4 cups of flour plus a small amount for dusting
2 teaspoons of Sea Salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 375° F

Add all dry ingredients to mixer on medium speed to combine. Slowly add the milk, a little at a time, until the dough is soft but not sticky. Lightly dust a work surface with flour and knead dough for three minutes by hand until smooth and elastic. Grease a baking sheet and shape the dough into a round loaf. Slash a cross shape on top of the loaf with a razor blade or very sharp knife. Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool thoroughly.



What Makes a Great Home Offer?

We're about to head into the busiest home-buying season of the year. Want to make sure your offer stands out in a bidding war? 
A great offer includes:
  • The right price: Don't go by listing price only. Factor in comparable sales, the home's condition and local demand.
  • Proof of Funds (if using cash) or Pre-approval (if using a mortgage): This shows you've talked to a lender, have planned ahead and are serious about buying the home. Please know exactly what is in a pre-approval letter, some letters are stronger than others.
  • Flexible Terms: Closing timeframe, earnest money amount, inspection terms, plus other important factors can help reduce red flags or concerns of the Seller.
  • Should you write a personal letter or not? Speak with your Realtor about potential Fair Housing implications if you want to write a letter.
An experienced agent is your best resource when making an offer. Reach out if buying a home is on your radar this year.

Renovate or Move? How to Decide

As needs change, homeowners frequently ponder, "Should I buy a new home, or stay put and renovate my current one?" 
Factors to consider when weighing your options:
  • Market Data:  Return on investment is usually top of mind for sellers.
  • Mortgage rates: Would your mortgage rate increase or decrease if you were to buy a new home?
  • Renovation scope: How much would you need to do to your home to achieve the look you're hoping for? How much would it cost?
  • Long-term goals: Are you in a location you're happy with for the long-term?
Researching current market value and hypothetical post renovation market value is a complementary service I offer. If this assistance could benefit you, give me a call.

High-ROI Renovation Projects in Louisville

Want to make sure the time and money you spend remodeling is worth it? Then choose your projects carefully. 

According to the Remodeling 2020 Cost vs. Value Report (www.costvsvalue.com), here are the highest-ROI (Return on Investment) home renovation projects in Louisville:
  • Entrance Door Replacement (Steel) (111.2% costs recouped, $1,988 in resale value)
  • Manufactured Stone Veneer (105.1% costs recouped, $8,925 in resale value)
  • Minor Kitchen Remodel (Midrange) (88.7% costs recouped, $20,000 in resale value)
  • A new garage door (87.7% costs recouped, $3,225 in resale value)
  • Grand Entrance (Fiberglass) (86.1% costs recouped, $7,625 in resale value)

Keep in mind, all of these figures vary based on exact location, size and overall condition of the home. For the value in Louisville of additional renovations, such as window replacement, deck additions, bathroom renovations, and more, check out the final page of the Cost vs. Value Report ahttps://rem.ax/37fotb7.