The Julie Pogue Properties Louisville KY Real Estate Blog

Four Tips for Furniture Staging

4 Tips for Furniture Arrangement

You step into a room and you know something is off but you can’t pinpoint it. Could it be the furniture arrangement?

Home design writer Fred Albert with the Houzz editorial staff offers up several tips on proper furniture arrangement. Here are four of his tips, along with some tips, on finding the right balance when furnishing a space.

1. Pinpoint a focal point: What do you want to highlight in the room? A fireplace or the beautiful view it offers to the outside? Arrange the furniture to highlight the focal point. Have the largest piece of furniture, such as the sofa, pointed toward the room’s focal point.

2. Create balance: You can achieve balance by using symmetrical or even asymmetrical arrangements, depending on the feel you want to create in the room. In formal areas, symmetrical tends to work best, such as two alike sofas across from one another. If you want a room to feel more casual, you might do an asymmetrical arrangement, such as a sectional across from two small arm chairs.

Symmetrical arrangement:

Asymmetrical arrangement:

3. Good flow: Consider how traffic will walk through the room. You’ll want to be sure to keep a path between doorways. Albert recommends allowing 30 to 48 inches of width for major traffic routes and a minimum of 24 inches of width for minor ones.

4. Mix in some contrast: Consider combining straight and curved lines in furnishings. For example, Albert notes that if the furniture is modern and linear, you might consider throwing in a round table for greater contrast. If the furniture is curvy, add in an angular piece.

Cost vs. Value

3 Reasons to Take the Cost vs. Value Survey


Today, REALTORS® in 103 metro areas received an e-mail asking them to participate in this year’s Cost vs. Value survey. The results will be used in the 2015 Cost vs. Value Report, which provides metro-specific cost estimates and resale values for 36 remodeling projects – from siding replacement to a major upscale kitchen remodel.

It takes time to complete — I’d estimate 15-20 minutes if you’re carefully considering the value of each project — but I urge you to take the survey if you live in one of the metro areas covered. Here’s why:

  1. The survey is a great opportunity to demonstrate real insights from REALTORS®. The Cost vs. Value report is recognized and widely quoted by media outlets around the country. Today, there are websites galore trying to attract the attention of people who are thinking about remodeling. The survey enables REALTORS® to demonstrate the knowledge that comes from being immersed in the market every day.
  2. We need your participation in order to include your market in the report.Although recent studies have downplayed the importance of high survey response rates, we would like to have at least 100 responses in each of metro area covered. If we don’t get enough responses in your area, we can’t include your market in the report.
  3. You could win a $500 gift card. REALTORS® who are eligible, who complete the current Cost vs. Value survey on or before midnight October 15, 2014, and who provide complete registration information will be entered in a drawing. Four grand prizes of $500 each will be awarded. Read the official rules.

Every remodel is different. The character of the neighborhood, the existing condition of the home, the quality of the materials and work, the “competition,” and general market conditions all play a factor in determining the value of a remodeling job. But the Cost vs. Value Report is a great conversation starter for reaching out to prospects, it’s a tool buyers can use as they compare homes for sale, and it’s a resource for your clients who are considering how to get their home ready for a sale in three to five years.

If you’re ready to take the survey, here’s a link:

Before you start, you’ll be asked for an email address. This ensures that you’re entered into the prize drawing and enables you to save and resume a survey that you don’t complete in one sitting. Your information won’t be shared with any organizations or parties other than those responsible for the production of the 2015 Cost vs. Value Report.

Here are the 103 markets we’re surveying:

  •  Akron, OH
  • Albany, NY
  • Albuquerque, NM
  • Allentown, PA
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Augusta, GA
  • Austin, TX
  • Bakersfield, CA
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Baton Rouge, LA
  • Birmingham, AL
  • Boise, ID
  • Boston, MA
  • Bridgeport, CT
  • Buffalo, NY
  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • Charleston, SC
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Chattanooga, TN
  • Chicago, IL
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Colorado Springs,
  • CO
  • Columbia, SC
  • Columbus, OHDallas, TX
  • Dayton, OH
  • Daytona Beach, FL
  • Denver, CO
  • Des...

The New World Trade Center Logo

New World Trade Center Logo Unifies Past And Present


Chester Higgins Jr. / New York Times

In what one architect referred to as “the last step in the rebranding of something that has disappeared,” New York’s World Trade center has settled on a new visual identity.

The work of a distinguished corporate branding shop headquartered in New York, the new abstract trident logo recalls shapes of structures both standing and lost.  It manages to connote remembrance of the aftermath of the 2001 attacks while at the same time encompasses redevelopment, echoing structures standing and proposed today on the site.  From David W. Dunlap’s piece in the New York Times:

Can you see a trident — an abstract trident recalling those three-fingered steel columns at the base of the twin towers, still standing after the 2001 attack, symbolizing New York City’s resilience?

It is there, in the World Trade Center’s new logo, which was revealed on Wednesday when the latest display panels were installed along a construction fence on Vesey Street.

Do you discern two parallel spaces in the upper half of the logo? They are intended to evoke the memorial beacons of the Tribute in Light. And the two bars on the lower half of the logo? The deep pools of the National September 11 Memorial.

Look again, and the five bars might be taken for five towers: 7 World Trade Center, long finished and open; 1 and 4 World Trade Center, nearing completion; 3 World Trade Center, under construction; and 2 World Trade Center, still on the drawing board.

And yes, now that you mention it, the whole thing is a stylized W — for World Trade Center, of course, but also for Westfield World Trade Center, the name of the luxury shopping center that is to open there next year.

A Classic Approach

Reaching back to the golden-era work of 20th century giants in corporate identity design such as Paul Rand and Saul Bass, the new WTC logo seems to act, as do so many of Rand’s and Bass’s, as a touchstone. The eye is guided by deceptively simple contour of shape, such arrangement offering a context for the work, appropriate in the wider world and ready to take its place as a background element in a crowded visual landscape.

And it’s because of that format that some might find the work wanting. The “say it, then blend in” principles of corporate identity design are eternally at odds with the gravity of 2001′s events and the remembrance they command.

But reactions to this logo that find it lacking are better understood as reactions to logos themselves and how they work. When seen as a complex identity packed into a simple set of shapes — when regarded as a classic American corporate logo — it really is a triumph of the trade.


I Found a Space. Now What?

I Found a Space. Now What?

Posted in Placemaking 101, by  on August 13, 2014

Congratulations.  You have identified a space to turn around, and are eager to get started, but aren’t really sure what should be done with the space.

As you begin your project, consider starting with petunias!  Short-term actions, like planting flowers, can be a way of not only testing ideas, but also giving people the confidence that change is occurring and that their ideas matter.

First, keep in mind that the community is the expert, a common mantra of the Project for Public Spaces (PPS).   You’ll need to uncover and incorporate their ideas into the project.   What do residents want and need?   What could inspire them to gather and keep coming back? What would help them feel safe?

 “What a community wants” exercise at the Polish Triangle in Chicago.

“What a community wants” exercise at the Polish Triangle in Chicago.

You should also observe how the space is currently used, and by whom.    This will give you an idea of how the space is actually used, or not used, rather than how you think it should be used.   So if folks use a trash can as a place to sit, you know you will need to have seating as part of your plans.

You may want to survey people who are using the space.  Ask them to rate its attractiveness, use, sociability and connections to other areas.  Then ask them to what they would like to see happen to the space.   PPS has developed an exercise called thePlace Game to help out with this activity.

PPS also suggests thinking about triangulation which relates to locating elements next to each other to foster activity.   So if you are thinking about sprucing up a bus stop, a bench, trash can and coffee kiosk can create synergy and boost convenience to those waiting for a bus.

You’ll also want to make sure you think about the Power of Ten another PPS concept.  The core of the Power of Ten is that any great place needs to offer at least 10 things to do or 10 reasons to be there such as a place to sit, playgrounds to enjoy, art to touch, music to hear, food to eat, history to experience, and people to meet.

And lastly, don’t forget to check with the city (or property owner) on what can be done, or can’t be done, on the site.

So, are you ready to begin planting your petunias?


The Latest Retail Sales

The Latest Retail Sales

  • Consumer spending at retail shops is growing less robustly now than before.  Retail sales in July were up 3.7 percent from one year ago, and marked a deceleration from the 5-to-7 percent growth experienced in recent past years during economic recovery periods.  The retail vacancy rates will therefore barely move down from the current high level.
  • Regarding home-related spending, people are spending more for outdoors items rather than for indoors.  Sales of building materials-and-garden equipment rose by 5.1 percent while sales at furniture-and-home furnishing shops grew by only 2.5 percent.  Only a robust home sales recovery can kick up sales in these stores.
  • Spending at restaurants is gaining speed, up 6.2 percent from a year ago.  It could be related to huge stock market gains over the past few years that may be helping the wealthier people to enjoy good food and fine wine.  More restaurants could be opening.
  • Not at a restaurant, but spending at liquor stores also increased with surprising strength at 8 percent. Let’s hope recent gains are related to people celebrating events and not for drowning their sorrows.
  • The decelerating retail sale growth is not good news for commercial REALTORS® needing to find tenants for empty retail spaces, though working with Pharmaceutical companies looks to have a better pay-off.  Another trend worth noting is the rise in sales via the internet, which means there will be increasing demand for warehouse spaces though not for retail spaces.  As a testament of that trend, job growth in warehousing is about twice as fast as in retail trade.
  • NAR expects the retail vacancy rate to hover at 10 percent and retail rents to rise at 2 percent this year and next.
  • Two other retail sectors of note are the fast sales growth (8 percent) occurring at pharmacy and drug stores and falling sales (minus 2 percent) at sporting shops.  Is America becoming less healthy or is this trend related to America getting old?
  • In that vein, ancient classical Greeks loved competition.  There were frequent officially sponsored contests.  The Olympics was one.  But there were other competitions that drew huge crowds as well such as who could write the best tragic plays.  The country lived by the simple motto of “a healthy mind in a healthy body”.  Remember that when you’re tempted to just sit and watch TV.  Get moving and think creative thoughts – about business or other matters.   Raise a glass to celebrate.  But don’t allow, as F. Scott Fitzgerald would lament, the drink to take you.



Lawrence Yun, PhD., Chief Economist and Senior Vice President

Lawrence Yun is Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research at NAR. He directs research activity for the association and regularly provides commentary on real estate market trends for its 1 million REALTOR® members.


Millenial Renters

What Do Millennial Renters Want?

Posted in Book Reviews, by  on July 31, 2014

As a card-carrying member of the Millennial Generation (those of us born sometime after the early 1980s), I can attest that my peers and I are something of a different animal when it comes to real estate. We prefer to rent, not buy, and we’re looking for places in urban areas with easy access to everything from our jobs to the movie theater. And once we find a place we like, we want our landlords to be friendly, understanding, and responsive — not sleazy!

Credit: thinkpanama

Credit: thinkpanama

new e-book from Renters Warehouse identifies a few easy things that landlords can do to convince Generation Y that their property is the best option. Here are some of the best tips:

Emphasize the location. That’s not a tip that’s specific to Millennials, but it’s important to point out to potential renters that a property is close to certain amenities, like the grocery store, the bank, and public transportation. Many Millennials don’t have access to cars, and will need to walk, bike, or take the bus. No one wants to sit on the subway for an hour to get to the pharmacy!

Make a great first impression. Millennials — especially those of us who are fresh out of bad experiences with slumlords in college towns — want to feel confident about their new landlords. Make sure the property has clean floors and fresh paint, and spruce up the exterior if there’s any maintenance to be done. Outfitting the property with large windows, stainless steel appliances, and ample closet space is a plus, too. Connect potential renters with current renters who can provide stellar references for you.

Stay connected. Once you’ve found your renters, maintain a good relationship with them! Make sure you’re easily reachable via email or phone, respond quickly to maintenance requests, and follow through with any promises you may have made (I’m really feeling this one! Still waiting for the in-unit washer and dryer that was mentioned to me before I signed my lease 10 months ago).

Had any experience working with Millennials? Got any additional tips?


2014 Realtors Conference & Expo

2014 REALTORS® Conference & Expo Set for Nov. 7-10 in New Orleans


The 2014 REALTORS® Conference & Expo is  an important real estate event, designed to help professionals advance their business and generate sales. Access 100 education sessions, 400 exhibitors, dozens of networking events and more at the event, taking place in New Orleans, Louisiana, Nov. 7-10.

Education Sessions—100 education sessions, covering a variety of topics will be provided at the conference. Other Pre-Conference Courses, taking place Nov. 5-6, provide opportunities to work on specialized designations such as  the Senior Real Estate Specialist certification.

REALTORS® Expo— the largest trade show floor in real estate features 400 exhibitors with products and services to help real estate pros manage and grow their businesses. Tech tools, real estate software, marketing services, mobile devices and applications, mortgage and financial services, home protection and warranties, mortgage and financial services, office products and “green” innovations are just a few of the products and services to be on display.

Networking Events—opportunities to meet other REALTORS® from all over the world will be plentiful through both scheduled and informal networking events. One of the most important results from meeting other brokers stems from referrals, such as when one of their clients is selling a house and moving to your area. Staying in touch with these professionals can lead to strong business opportunities in the future.

Attractions and Entertainment—one of the best things about the REALTORS® Conference & Expo is that it provides ample opportunities for attendees to relax and enjoy the local culture of a historic city such as New Orleans. NAR organizes tours for conference attendees, including: swamp tours, cooking classes, plantation tours and more. NAR-organized tours can be added to any registration.

In addition, there will be several social events available exclusively for attendees, including a performance by Grammy Award-winning recording artist—Jennifer Hudson! Just before the concert will be the fifth annual REALTORS® Got Talent show, featuring real estate pros from all over the country performing and giving you, the audience, a vote on who the winner will be. Enter REALTORS® Got Talent by August 29 here.

Registration and Accommodations—it is not too early to begin making your plans to attend this fantastic event. Register for the REALTORS® Conference & Expo by choosing from a variety of registration options. A variety of hotels   are available for attendees  to select during their conference registration. Travel discounts are also available just for REALTORS® at ...

Best Purchase Markets for Aspiring Millennials

NAR Identifies Best Purchase Markets for Aspiring Millennial Homebuyers

Media Contact: Adam DeSanctis / 202-383-1178 / Email

WASHINGTON (July 24, 2014) – First-time homebuyers have been largely absent from the housing market in the current economic recovery, but some metropolitan areas – particularly in the Midwest and West – are well positioned to see increases in home-buying from the Millennial generation in upcoming years, according to new research by the National Association of Realtors®.

NAR analyzed current housing conditions, job creation and population trends in metropolitan statistical areas1 across the U.S. to determine thebest markets for aspiring, leading edge Millennial2 homebuyers. Austin, Texas and Salt Lake City were identified as top standouts for Millennials for having a young adult population with solid job growth rates and still relatively affordable home prices. Seven of the 10 metro areas recognized are in the Midwest and West.

Lawrence Yun , NAR chief economist, says the homeownership rate for young adults under the age of 35 peaked in 2005 (43 percent) and fell to 36 percent in the first quarter of 20143.

“Limited job prospects, student debt and flat wage growth have combined with tight credit conditions and low inventory to price Millennials out of some of the top cities such as New York and San Francisco,” he said. “However, NAR research finds that there are other metro areas Millennials are moving to where job growth is strong and homeownership is more attainable. These markets are well-positioned to soon experience a rise in first-time buyers as the economy improves.”

NAR analyzed 100 metro areas that have a large Millennial presence, solid local job market conditions and strong migration patterns of young adults moving to that particular area to determine the best purchase prospects for young buyers. Housing affordability and inventory availability were also considered.

The best purchase markets for aspiring Millennial homebuyers are (listed alphabetically):

  • Austin, Texas
  • Dallas
  • Denver
  • Des Moines, Iowa
  • Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Minneapolis
  • New Orleans
  • Ogden, Utah
  • Salt Lake City
  • Seattle

Other markets with strong potential for attracting Millennial homebuyers include:

  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Omaha, Nebraska
  • Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Washington, D.C.

NAR President Steve Brown, co-owner of Irongate, Inc., Realtors® in Dayton, Ohio, said favorable affordability in these markets will ultimately be met with inevitable life milestones to increase homebuying activity.

“Millennials will eventually settle down, trade their roommates for spouses and want to raise a family,” he said. “As long as median income continues to support purchasing power in most areas, the demand and opportunity will be there for Millennials to purchase their first home with guidance and insights from a Realtor®.”

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

# # #

1 Areas are generally metropolitan statistical areas as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. NAR adheres to the OMB definitions, although in some areas an exact match is not possible from the available data. A list of counties included in MSA definitions is available at:

Regional median home prices are from a separate sampling that includes rural areas and portions of some smaller metros that are not included in this report; the regional percentage changes do not necessarily parallel changes in the larger metro areas. The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to seasonality in buying patterns. Quarter-to-quarter comparisons do not compensate for seasonal changes, especially for the timing of family buying patterns.

Median price measurement reflects the types of homes that are selling during the quarter and can be skewed at times by changes in the sales mix. For example, changes in the level of distressed sales, which are heavily discounted, can vary notably in given markets and may affect percentage comparisons. Annual price measures generally smooth out any quarterly swings.

NAR began tracking of metropolitan area median single-family home prices in 1979; the metro area condo price series dates back to 1989.

Because there is a concentration of condos in high-cost metro areas, the national median condo price often is higher than the median single-family price. In a given market area, condos typically cost less than single-family homes. As the reporting sample expands in the future, additional areas will be included in the condo price report.

2 Millennials are generally categorized as those between the ages of 20-34. For the purposes of this research,...