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Meet Louisville’s Top Real Estate Professionals

Spring is a time when the beautiful city of Louisville comes alive with Derby, outdoor gatherings, the end of school and the start of more time spent in the comfort of our homes and backyards. It is also the perfect time to make a big life change, like putting your home on the market or purchasing a new one. We spoke to some of the best real estate professionals in our area to learn more about how they got into the industry, what they love about it, how the housing market has changed and where they see it going, and what advice they can give to start the home selling or buying process. 

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Parks & Weisberg Realtors 

Dave Parks

“My favorite part of being a broker is helping agents grow their business and improve their skills. We are a human development company first, and when we are able to help our team grow their skill levels and improve their performance, it’s extremely gratifying. There is nothing better than watching a person you mentor grow.” 

– Dave Parks, Broker

eXp Realty

Amy Wagner and Karen Kraft.

Karen Kraft

“As many of you know, I was a singer for over 35 years. Over the years, people told me I should get into real estate. I decided in my 40s it was time to find a second career so I entered into sales. I did very well and decided to take my chances in real estate. It was the best decision I ever made; I love what I do. It’s an honor to have people entrust you with one of the largest purchases they may ever make in their lives. I take that very seriously, whether it’s finding their dream home or selling their home, I like to know I’m helping someone make this an enjoyable experience. I have become one of the top agents in the city in the luxury market with hard work, honesty and compassion for my clients. Joining eXp was the best move I made and now Kraft Fine Homes brokered by eXp is expanding the Alabama Gulf Coast and soon Florida.” 

– Karen Kraft, Agent

Amy Wagner

“I have been staging, renovating and designing homes for 13 years. It only made sense for me to represent clients in listing their homes as well. Clients are confident when I represent them because I see the full picture. I work with them to create a show-ready, turn-key listing and make sure the home reflects a well-maintained property. 

Once the home is listed, I’m able to explain details to potential buyers of updates and investments the client has made in the home because I’ve advised and worked with them from the beginning.

Having staged to sell homes for years, I’ve also been marketing these homes to sell fast and for top dollar! I look at the home through the eyes of the camera. Online photos are today’s drive-by. We have to eliminate any distractions in the photos, ensuring the home’s architectural features are highlighted.” 

– Amy Wagner, Agent

Kentucky Select Properties

Jay Gulick.

Jay Gulick

“As the managing broker and one of the owners of Kentucky Select, there are two primary things I love about being involved in the real estate industry. One is supporting, coaching and problem-solving with our real estate agents so they can develop rewarding careers in which they are always learning and improving. I feel like this enables Kentucky Select agents to best assist our clients with one of the biggest financial and emotional decisions of their lives – buying or selling a home. The other thing I really value is nurturing and being a steward of our locally-owned company culture that is incredibly committed to the community where we live and work.”

– Jay Gulick, Managing Broker & Partner

John Stough.

 John Stough

“Having been in real estate for 42 years, I have a long perspective on our market and the pulse of our community. I got into this business with an invitation from Paul Semonin Jr. and Scoggan Jones. They owned the Semonin Company and remain to this day as my finest mentors. We were fortunate that when we started Kentucky Select Properties, we attracted the most legendary realtors and started with an enormous bang. I still sell and am thrilled when we get buyers and sellers together. We are incredibly grateful to our community for our livelihood. We deeply believe in giving back and are humbled by the honors we have received locally, nationally and internationally for charitable giving.” 

– John Stough, Principal Broker & Partner

Ryan Davis

“The best advice I would give those starting the home buying process is simple: be prepared. When you find that perfect home, you need to be prepared to make an intelligent decision. How can you prepare so that you are ready to move forward when the opportunity arises? A few things to consider: Save for your down payment. Speak to a loan officer to determine the amount of home you can afford. Pay off or down any lingering miscellaneous debts that may hurt your credit score. Get a pre-approval letter. Determine what you want and don’t want in a home. Research costs associated with buying a home (inspections, insurance, closing costs). A reputable, knowledgeable realtor is a great resource for further information about the items mentioned above.” 

– Ryan Davis, Realtor

Lenihan Sotheby’s International Realty

John Lenihan.

John Lenihan

“I got into commercial real estate in 1985, residential real estate in 1997 and then opened Lenihan Sotheby’s International Real Estate in late 2010. Residential real estate is a blast! It is almost an entirely new experience every day as we see the most amazing properties and meet new people. The ultimate thrill is helping someone fulfill their dream, regardless of whether it is a $200,000 or $2,000,000 home.” 

– John Lenihan, Principal Broker

Laura Rice. Photo by Erin Trimble.

Laura Rice

“The imbalance in supply and demand is creating challenges for buyers but a wonderful opportunity for sellers. Agents representing buyers must be creative in crafting offers with terms attractive for sellers. Most homes are selling well above list price, without contingencies, and with no seller concessions, even with regard to repairs. It is a great time to be a seller! There is hope that, as confidence in vaccines increases, more homeowners will be comfortable making moves they have delayed, freeing up much-needed inventory. New construction is unlikely to bridge the gap in the short term. For the foreseeable future, demand will continue to outpace supply, driving up home sale prices. Heading into late summer/early fall, if inventory builds and interest rates continue to increase, we will return to a more balanced market. While other business sectors may struggle to rebound from the pandemic, the current housing market remains strong.” 

– Laura Rice, Broker Associate 

Terri Bass.

Terri Bass

“I have seen a big change in how clients use their homes over this past year. The kitchen has become even more important, first out of necessity, but then many became quite engaged in exploring their culinary capabilities. Couples and entire families got in on the action, binging on food shows, subscribing to NYT Cooking and often creating meals together. I know about this because we’ve shared some of our successes and failures through social media.

The importance of the kitchen and having options for private workspaces has sparked some clients to make renovations to their current home and others to decide to find a home that better fits the way they live now. It has also changed what buyers are looking for and what they value most. Now that extra bedroom is not seen as a guest room that rarely gets used, but where they will be spending eight hours a day at work.

Clients are also looking for more ways to have fun at home. A year ago, a pool was not seen as a big asset, about 50% of buyers really didn’t want a pool. Today, if a home doesn’t have a pool, the buyer wants to know if there is space to add one.” 

– Terri Bass, Agent

RE/MAX Properties East

Joe Hayden.

Joe Hayden

 “The key to success in our current market is preparation, which includes building a strong team. Your agent, lender, inspector and title company directly affect the outcome of your transaction. Interview and select the best team to position yourself to win. Meet with your agent to develop a game plan, learn about contract terms and strategize negotiations. In our current market, buyers make concessions that normally would not happen, so discuss ways you can make a strong offer before entering multiple offer negotiations. You may only get one shot to make your best offer and this discussion also helps minimize the emotional aspects of negotiating. The fewer surprises the better. Try to find out what the seller really wants. If you can concede, like agreeing to a closing date the seller wants, and it costs you little or nothing, you gain one more edge necessary to win!” 

– Joe Hayden, Principal Broker/Owner

Marla Brown.

Marla Brown

“What sets me apart from other realtors is my dedication to be at almost every showing I do. I always have the lights on for showings and make sure to advertise my clients’ homes as much as possible. I’m a hard worker. Also, the Principal Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Properties East, Joe Hayden, is what makes our company unique. He’s brilliant and easy to work with!”

– Marla Brown, Broker Associate