True or false: If a real estate office moves, it’s bad news for the rest of the neighborhood.
Answer: Absolutely false, according to Dave Mattingly, co-partner of RE/MAX Metro, which moved its office last month from the Douglass Loop to a new location a quarter-mile away. “Business is moving, and a lot of good things are happening in the Highlands,” he says.
Mattingly, who co-owns the operation with fellow realtors Marla McGough and David Bischof, pulled up stakes last month to make room for a growing roster of agents, including an additional team, bringing the total up to 22. The new office, at 1829 Bardstown Road, brings plenty of residential and commercial real estate expertise to the table, and particularly involves the very neighborhood it has called home for the past four years.
RE/MAX Metro isn’t wandering far from its roots. “Our board is really full right now,” Mattingly says of their list of available properties. “The warm weather this year really helped the season kick off to a good start. I can see the difference already over last year’s spring market.” He concedes that it’s still a buyer’s market, but adds, “By the same token, it could also be called a seller’s market because prices are starting to increase.”
Mattingly, a former manufacturing supervisor, started out flipping houses. “I had always enjoyed taking a home that was torn up inside and out and turning it around and making a profit,” he says. “I came to a point where I did not want to do manufacturing anymore.” He went back to school, got his license and began selling for others. Starting out at Keller Williams, Mattingly moved to RE/MAX before cofounding the RE/MAX Metro office with Bischof and McGough.
Mattingly sees some of his own entrepreneurial spirit in many college students who buy real estate for themselves, or even families who buy real estate for their young adult offspring. “The parents are doing an investment, and it’s cheaper than student housing. The students can get three or four of their friends in to pay rent.” And how does Mattingly explain this apparently new phenomenon? “I think people are much more savvy about their investments,” he says. “You look at how the stock market is doing, and real estate is still a safe investment, at least in this area. When you talk about Butchertown and the Highlands and Crescent Hill, you’re looking at a solid area. The Highlands in particular is incredibly stable and a great investment for people.” He cites low down payment plans that make it easy for people reaching for their piece of the “American Dream,” as he puts it, but is firm in his assertion that the rules have changed. “We’re not talking about adjustable rate loans, and they’re not zero percent. These loans are FHA, where you have to have the credit and job and sustainability that shows you can buy. It helps people who are starting out, but they need to qualify.”
Mattingly is content to keep his home close to work and his work close to home. He and his husband of six years, David Finn, a manager at Humana, recently bought a home on Cherokee Road. “I would never, ever leave the Highlands because I believe it’s the most unique place to live in Jefferson County,” Mattingly says. “Your neighbor doesn’t have the same house you do. The business owners are zany and crazy and fun. I pride myself on having a business in the Highlands with such great people; I have two great partners and we have a great relationship.”
For his customers, the accessibility of the Highlands in particular appeals to Mattingly. “You can find a house for $70,000 and a house for $400,000 on the same street,” he says, “and there’s great resale value. You have a different income ratio between the houses, which is great because that’s what the Highlands is all about and what makes us unique.”
If you aren’t in the Highlands, though, it doesn’t mean that you’re missing out on a good buy or a great neighborhood. Mattingly recommends Germantown for college kids and people starting out; and, along with the aforementioned areas, there are plenty of gems to be found. “You’ll find properties that have not been updated for generations, and they’re selling at the bottom of the market because they’re not remodeled. With a bit of work, they’re going to be incredible, incredible homes.”
RE/MAX Metro is located at 1829 Bardstown Road. Their phone number is (502) 895-2222. Visit them online at www.metro.remax-kentucky.com.