Louisville Magazine

AUG 2013

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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she's out making lives better." Her real estate website rejoices in red, white and blue, "Making the American Dream Come True!" right next to a picture of Houston smiling warmly. It's the same eager grin that greets me one gray July morning. "I don't know what day it is because I just live life!" she says, juggling papers and a cell phone in her red pickup truck. She's about to show some of the neighborhoods where property values have dropped precipitously since 2009. She's now well into her second decade in real estate, selling property all over Louisville. Her truck rolls west, down Broadway, a rosary dangling from the rearview mirror. She's lost a few sales because a home didn't appraise well, including the home on Cedar Street that Louisville Urban League's REBOUND program recently rehabbed and only appraised for $35,000. "It's unfortunate because it does a huge injustice," Houston says. As we drive down the 2100 block of Cedar, she points to the two-story brick home with a white-gated porch. Much like McGruder's home, it certainly doesn't appear to be worth just $35,000. In fact, the whole block looks healthy: occupied homes, hanging basket plants. Houston suspects there just weren't enough comparable sales in the area. "Te appraisers now are calling me," Houston says. "Because when they appraise they have nothing to compare it to." REBOUND ended up accepting a cash deal — selling the house to an investor for just more than $50,000, not the closure they strive for. Tat investor will likely turn the property into rental housing. In Russell, the percentage of rental properties has grown from about 47 percent in 2009 to 58 percent in 2013. In Park Hill, rental properties now account for 71 percent as compared to 46 percent in 2009. Homeowners tend to take better care of their properties, Houston says. Attracting families to settle in the area, raise kids, plant gardens, could help stabilize neighborhoods. Houston turns onto 28th Street headed for Parkland. Where Cedar Street looked welcoming, the landscape shifts. White shotgun houses in a row wear long, shaggy grass and boarded windows. "It's like a war zone," Houston says, pointing to the shotguns. "Look at these three — bam, bam, bam — this is real." Block after block — down 28th, east to 22nd, left on Garland Avenue — our laps through Russell, California and Parkland show siding splintered like brittle bone. Roofs sag with old age. Gashes remain from fre, break- www.facebook.com/teamjulianna www.bellarmine.edu/womenscouncil 8.13 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 37

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