What’s been on my mind lately?

I always joke that I am a bad combination of OCD and ADD.  A lot goes through my mind, especially as I drive around Lexington.

Here are some things that have popped in my mind lately:

1.  Masterson Station is no longer the “Affordable” side of town.  I don’t know if you have noticed, but a lot of the new homes in Masterson and the various new neighborhoods that have their own name but in 15 years will be called Masterson are not cheap.  I am seeing more and more houses for over $300k.

2.  The giant dice looking metal things by Local’s are really cool.  I enjoy seeing the murals, art and other well designed structures around town.

3. There are more and more small condo/townhouse projects all over town.  I still think they are a little risky.  Lexington has always been mostly a single family home type of town.  Condos or townhouses were always a niche market with most of them being geared towards first time buyers or empty nesters.  I’ll wait to see how well they sell in a soft market and if they appreciate before I give them a Thumb’s Up.  I guess the issue is nobody plans on staying in one forever.  You’re going to need the next generation to want to live in them too for there to be a future market.  Also, way to many of the 10-15 year old condos downtown are rentals now.

4.  I’m turning into a curmudgeon Gen Xer I guess because I miss the old days when you dropped some quarters in a meter to park downtown.  Now you have to enter your license plate number, hit a bunch of buttons on a keypad and then drop in your quarters.  What was wrong with the old way??


My first day of being a Realtor

The prep work to become a realtor is sort of crazy.  Take classes.  Take a test.  Pass the test.  Take the state test.  Pass the state test.  Find a broker to hold your license.  Transfer your license to them from the Real Estate Commission.  Join LBAR.  Take LBAR new agent classes.  Set up the LBAR profile.  Get an agent ID number.  Get your picture for cards.  Order cards.  Get set up at your new office.

Then nothing because you don’t have any clients.

I do remember sitting at my computer at home in March of 2005.  It was the first time I ever logged into the “Agent only” access to LBAR.  I was so excited.  I got to see selling prices, what type of financing the buyer did, who the buyer’s agent was, the agent only remarks, seller disclosures, if there were any seller paid concessions, etc.

After I spent about an hour playing around on that site I think I went outside and played with my kids because there was nothing to do.

That was the last day I ever had nothing to do.  I think I have worked literally every single day since then, at least a little.

I would have never imagined what today was like.  Doing about everything online.  Back then I would send maybe 10 texts a day and spend hours on the phone talking to people.  Now I spend 10 minutes talking to people and all day texting.  I would have been shocked that there would be a giant website to look at houses for sale anywhere.  I would have been even more shocked that the Great Recession would wipe out about 20% of the property values here and make being a new realtor a bit more challenging.

Sometimes when I log on to LBAR in the morning to see new listings, pending and sold houses, I remember sitting at my old computer that day.  Keeping up with the market is one of the few things that really fascinates me…..the other two are cars and the beauty of nature.  It’s been a good time and I sure hope to be doing this for at least the next 15 years.

Real estate predictions for 2029

Just gonna jump right into this:

Gen Z will have a harder time getting a house than the Millennials did.    They are the biggest generation ever.  They will be entering the real estate market at about the time Millennials are selling their starter homes.  Great news if you own a 1300 square foot house in Masterson.  Times will be tough for them, but they will keep the market going strong.  Every seller of a starter home needs a first time buyer so they can move up.  That first time buyer is the oil that lubricates the whole market.

The Millennials will be moving up to their 4 bedroom houses on a cul de sac in a good school district because that is just a natural progression once you start a family.  This is great news for Gen X sellers who will be downsizing to medium sized houses in upscale neighborhoods.

What makes me think all this?  It’s not really crystal ball as much as it is history.  Everything I just described happens with every generation.  You buy a smaller house you eventually outgrow, you move up at least once to the house you raise your family in, then you downsize.

So what does all this look like for Lexington?  More gentrification as it becomes expensive to live anywhere in Fayette County.  I know it sounds unheard of, but the neighborhoods that nobody wants to live in like Cardinal Valley and Winburn may become the budget choice as similar neighborhoods with better locations become too expensive.  I know it sounds crazy, but when I was in high school, people didn’t want to live in Kenwick and now those houses equal Chevy Chase for price per square foot……yesterday’s bad neighborhood can easily become a tomorrow’s good location.  Plus, it isn’t like we are ever going to see brand new starter homes ever again.  All that can be done is update/remodel existing houses.  The people that flip houses need some margin to do this so they will buy distressed houses in whatever neighborhoods are affordable, just like they are doing now in downtown, Melrose, The Meadows and all those streets that begin with D around Pasta Garage.

Before long, I don’t think there will be any new construction in Lexington.  We are already filling in every spot big enough to stick a short row of townhouses.   This means that being in Fayette County will be even more expensive, and people will go to surrounding towns like Nicholasville and Georgetown even more.  One day, people will discover that Winchester is only 15 minutes from Hamburg and the interstate passes right through it.  I’ve never understood why more people don’t move to Winchester?

Remodeling will be hot too.  With not much new construction, people will start remodeling existing houses more and more.

Sort of some majorly huge economic melt down, I think housing is going to be strong for quite some time.


What nearly 15 years in real estate has taught me

Sometimes I don’t feel old enough to have been doing this as long as I have, but here I am!

I guess after this long, you gain wisdom.  Or superstition.  Either way, you begin to recognize patterns that help you advise your clients.

Here are a handful of things that always are a sign of what is to come:

  1.  The longer it takes to receive an offer decreases the chance of it arriving.  I can’t tell you how many times I will have an excited realtor call to tell me their client is going to make an offer, then it never shows up.  In the old days, I would immediately tell my client we were getting on offer.  Now I tell them once I have received it.
  2. When an agent schedules a showing several days in advance, odds are they will cancel.  This is one I have never figured out, but always seems to happen.  An agent might schedule a showing 3-4 days in advance, and then cancel it for no reason the day before the showing.  Always a bummer.
  3. When you get an offer and the buyer is wanting a lot of the sellers personal items, it is a sign that the buyer is going to be difficult.  When I see furniture, gas grills or such listed on a contract and they were not offered, it always means it is going to be a tough deal.
  4. The bigger the gap between the list price and the offer amount lessens the odds of both parties reaching an agreement.  Usually one or both parties get so mad at each other that they don’t want to work together.

There are several more, but these 4 are the biggest ones.

A trip to the beach reminds me of how good we have it here

I just got back from Florida last night.  Spent a few days at our favorite beach in the Bradenton/Sarasota area.

One thing I always do is drive around and check out some local neighborhoods.  Since I was already familiar with all the beach properties, I thought I would venture inland a bit.

I used to spend every summer with my grandparents in the Clearwater area when I was a kid, so I know what the “Non-beach” part of Florida is like.  Or I thought I did.  Maybe I forgot?

I was a little blown away by the lack of cohesiveness.  None of the neighborhoods seemed to relate to each other, collectively creating a “Vibe” for the area.  The typical street was an older house on a very large lot that made you feel like you were in the country, then right beside that was a newer neighborhood of townhouses, next to that was a new neighborhood of more expensive houses, and next to that was a row of run down looking older houses.

The randomness sort of bothered me.  When I see land develop like this, it always makes me think of playing Sim City in the 90s.  You know, where the town is laid out in a grid and you just click it and decide if it is residential or industrial?  Everywhere I went it just seemed like there was a square piece of land that somebody built a wall around and filled it with houses.  All of the development seemed like it could have been done anywhere, just as easily as setting out a board game on a table.

Then it got me thinking about Lexington.  Is Lexington like this but I don’t see it because I have been here so long and know the order in which the neighborhoods developed?

About the closest thing we have to this is Tates Creek Road outside Man O War and the Alumni Drive Corridor….although neither is as random or as unattractive as the Florida norm.  Both of those corridors have several neighborhood entrances and the roads sort of feel like high speed alleys running between them.  At least we have trees and make them pretty.

Then I asked myself if any of my out of town clients have ever had comments that matched my feelings for Florida neighborhoods.  I’ve never had anybody say our town was anything but pretty….so I guess we have it really good here.

I came home with a new appreciation for smart development and am thankful I get to live in such a pretty place.