A Guide to Buying a House in: Kentucky

(Because you're feelin' lucky)

Rumor has it that you're thinking about buying a house in Kentucky. Well you're in the right place - we've already put together a little guide to all things house buying in The Bluegrass State (bingo: their nickname). We'll cover the important stuff, and sprinkle in some fun tidbits about the state as a bonus. Let's get down to it.

The Most and Least Expensive Cities in Kentucky

No one likes making big decisions, especially uninformed ones. So when paring down your list of specific cities to buy that new house in, it could be super-helpful to know which areas in the state are more/less pricey. We were able to make up a short list of a few of each.

Most expensive cities:

  • Douglass Hills
  • Middletown
  • Jeffersontown
  • Lydon
  • La Grange 

Least expensive cities:

  • Monticello
  • Williamsburg
  • Corbin
  • Princeton
  • Hazard

And there you have it. Now you're all set to pick out that future destination while keeping the feelings of your money friends in mind. They'll appreciate it. No matter where you choose to buy your new home, you can find affordable home insurance within our network.

Kentucky's Housing Market

Before you look into houses in a new state, it's helpful to know a bit about the market there. So, we're movin' right along to an overview of Kentucky's housing market next.

Kentucky's currently lacking the housing goods it needs to make buyers happy. It's a seller's market right now and home prices are on the rise, BUT there's still a better turnout in buyers than last year. And it's all good - 'cause homes here are more affordable than in many other states. 

In fact, median homes are about 30%-35% lower (in some parts of the state) than the US average - now THAT'S a significant difference. Homes are staying on the market for an average of about 116 days, as of the beginning of 2018. 

THE place to move in Kentucky is Louisville. Why? Because it's got that southern charm mixed with that "big, small-town" vibe thing goin' on, plus it's got lots of great nature-ish activities, such as cave explorin'. There's also a serious bar and arts scene. And of course, the Derby is a BIG deal. 

Home values in Louisville currently average $154,700, with the price per square foot averaging $133. Homes are listed in the city for about $199,900. Renting a house costs about $1,145/month, and home values increased 3.5% in 2018.

And get this - Kentucky's new construction scene is seriously happenin' right now. There's LOTS of new development all through the midline of the state, from Covington, Frankfort, Lexington and Richmond to Monticello. There's also a bit underway to the west, around Paducan, and a bit to the east, around Pikeville.

Home Property Values and Costs in Kentucky

It's good to know WHERE to start your house search, but wouldn't you also like to know HOW MUCH the thing will cost? We're off to an overview of home values/prices next.

For starters, the average home value in the state is $138,800. The price per square foot is about $112. Homes are listed on the market for around $182,994, and are closing for about $152,200. Renting a house will cost you about $1,100/month. As far as home appreciation goes, values were up 4.4% in 2018, and are predicted to rise another 3.6% over the next year.

Well that's all well and good for house seekers, but how about those apartment/condo-hunters? Check out these average monthly rental prices:

  • Louisville - $896
  • Douglass Hills - $1,044
  • Frankfort - $662
  • Fort Wright - $802
  • Fort Thomas - $814

Never fear, townhousers - we didn't forget about you. The rent for a townhouse in Kentucky ranges from $450/month for a one-bed/two-bath OR a two-bed/one-bath joint to $4,450/month for a three-bed/three-and-a-half-bath joint.

Make Sure You've Got Tornado Coverage in Kentucky

So you've got a better idea of where to search for your house and what it might cost, which is great. But what about Kentucky's specific homeowners insurance policies? Listen up, Kentucky gets visits from a LOT of tornadoes. Western and southern Kentucky are in the HEART of Tornado Alley, and the state's one of the most likely to see tornadoes in the country. 

But what does that mean for you? Well, that you'll need to review the insurance you've got, to make sure you don't need any more. Luckily most homeowners insurance policies include coverage for tornadoes, but you'll need to double-check your specific policy to make extra super-duper sure.

Some policies may require you to get an additional, separate tornado insurance rider, or to specifically name tornadoes among events that you want them to cover. Damage to your actual home and personal possessions are typically covered by a regular homeowners policy. 

If you're a renter, your renters insurance should cover your personal property, while your landlord should cover building damage. Your policy is also likely to provide short-term housing in case the storm is extra-nasty and leaves you temporarily homeless, which wouldn't be cool.

Basically, you've gotta know what YOUR policy covers, because you do NOT wanna find out too late that you weren't covered. Call your agent if you're even the tiniest bit unsure. They won't mind. For real.

Quality of Schools in Kentucky

Those on the quest for knowledge might wanna know about the quality of the school system in their new state, so next up we'll take a peek at the overview for Kentucky.

Here are some WalletHub stats about how Kentucky schools ranked in the country:

  • #20 overall for the US
  • #20 for quality
  • #19 for safety 

The top-rated schools in Kentucky are duPont Manual High, in Louisville, and the University of Kentucky, in Lexington.

Reasons to Move to Kentucky (...or not)

Alright, more-serious stuff over, so now we can dive into a bit of the more-fun stuff (yessssss). So why would someone even WANT to move to Kentucky, you ask? Well, let's hear some of the arguments for/against living here - from some people who already do.

PROs (as voted by real-life Kentuckians):

  • Low cost of living: Kentucky's got low property taxes and low rent, plus pretty cheap education. The overall cost of living score is 90, compared to the national average of 100. Housing came in at 74, utilities at 93 and health at 91. Basically, you can save yourself some green if you move here.
  • Food scene: You'll learn to love good ol' southern cookin' in Kentucky. Derby pie (stuffed with chocolate and walnuts) is a local favorite, as well as Louisville chili and bourbon balls (crushed cookies, pecans and bourbon rolled up). They're also HUGE into BBQ. Feel those tastebuds watering?
  • Derby season: Known as the "fifth season" in the state, each May there are several weeks of concerts, parties, festivals, golf tournaments and more - all in honor of the Kentucky Derby. Who would pass up an annual state-wide party month?
  • Proximity to major cities: Kentucky is just a day's drive away from major metropolitans like Cincinnati, Nashville and St. Louis. Tired of all the Derby hooplah? Just hop in your car and hit up one of these other awesome destinations.

CONs (also from the mouths of real Kentuckians):

  • Super-hot summers: Locals say that summers not only have high temperatures, but also super-high humidity. It's not uncommon to see that thermometer read in the triple digits, and it's even LESS uncommon to feel yourself getting soaked when outside in the summer sun - from sweat OR the humidity.
  • Landlocked: Kentucky's surrounded on all sides by other states, and is a good distance away from the closest coast, the East Coast. That landlocked feeling can cause some people to feel claustrophobic, and beach bums might go through some serious withdrawal. 
  • Dangerous rainy day driving: Kentucky was ranked as the third-worst state for driving in the rain by Courier Journal, behind only Mississippi and Arkansas. In 2016, 67 fatal crashes on rainy days were reported by SafeWise. Practice your severe weather driving before moving here.

Stuff to Do in Kentucky

Well, now that you know WHY you might wanna move to Kentucky, you might wanna know WHAT there is to do here. We talked to some locals to find out the insider's hot spots to check out in the state for some good times - from caves to castles and more.

Here are just a few of the state's coolest attractions:

  • Colonel Sanders' Grave: The father of Kentucky Fried Chicken now rests in Louisville. The bust on his grave was sculpted by his own daughter (how sweet). Sanders is somewhat of a legend in Kentucky, though his first ever KFC location was actually a small restaurant in Salt Lake City, UT. It didn't take long for word to spread about the tasty fried chicken, and it didn't take long for KFC to become a huuuge franchise with more than 6,000 locations in 48 countries. Come out and pay your respects.
  • Cumberland Falls State Park: You'll find this gorgeous waterfall along the Cumberland River in southeastern Kentucky. Called the "Niagara of the South," this spot is known for the "moonbow" phenomenon that you can see on a clear night - it's essentially an all-white rainbow in the dark, and they're super-rare. In fact, there are only a few known places on Earth that you can see them on the reg. So check it out.
  • Mammoth Cave: The world's longest cave system spans more than 400 miles. First explored by Native Americans some 2,000 to 8,000 years ago, today the park features several different kinds of tours for exploration-happy visitors. There are 85 miles of trails above ground, too - full of hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding adventure opportunities. 
  • The Kentucky Castle: In Versailles, this modern castle-turned-hotel/b&b is THE place to stay if you're looking for a medieval experience (or you're a huge Zelda fan). It's also got a restaurant (that's said to be quite tasty) and hosts several different kinds of events annually. People even get married here. It's pretty much a big deal.
  • Dinosaur World: In Cave City, this outdoor museum features trails with more than 100 dinosaur statues on display. There's also a playground with a fossil dig for the little ones. It's a nice way to get your exercise AND your prehistory fix.

Marking Your Territory in Kentucky

Alright folks, there you have it - our little sneak preview of all things Kentucky housing market, seasoned with a few fun facts about the state, for taste. We won't lie and say that we were able to hit on EVERYTHING you might be concerned about before buying a house here (we've got caves to explore and a derby to watch), but we're hoping you've soaked up some tasty knowledge on your journey.

If you think Kentucky (with its southern charm, Derby pie and dinosaurs) seems like the right place to buy your new house, then hop on the next car/train/horse and ride on out here. Make sure your new home is covered properly with an affordable home insurance policy.

Good luck.

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