4 Biggest Mistakes New Real Estate Investors Make Saturday, Jul 24 2021 

The real estate business can be a very lucrative option for your investing your money. However, it does take hard work and smart decision-making to do it successfully. It requires you to thoroughly know and research the market so that you know how to buy a property at the right price. For new real estate investors, this can be a challenge.

Photo of people working on laptop computers

Many real estate investors try to sell a house and use that money to purchase a new one. Regardless of how you plan to fund your purchases, real estate investing can be done successfully in many different ways. It helps to choose a strategy that will match your business strengths. 

From there, many people will partner up with other investors that have strengths they don’t possess themselves. As prepared as you can be, new real estate investors still commonly run into pitfalls, obstacles, and hurdles throughout their journey. To help you avoid those in the future, here are four mistakes that new real estate investors make too often.

1. Investing Blindly

Real estate is more than just buying or selling property. Don’t get caught in a trend and buy a house because the market is currently booming. Your first step into investing should be planned instead of a rushed decision. Plans and strategies set you up on the right foundation. Many factors can influence how you determine your real estate strategy. These include:

  • Where is the property located?
  • What is the property’s value?
  • Are your short-term investing goals reasonable?
  • How about your long-term investing goals?
  • What is the potential Return on Investment (ROI)?

2. New Real Estate Investors Don’t Do Their Due Diligence

The plan provides you a stepping stone to searching and finding your investment property. Ensure you are thorough in understanding your investment. Don’t limit yourself to a particular type of investment either. Instead, study the different options, and align them with your investment objective.

Research helps you avoid mistakes, such as underestimating your expenses or overpaying on a property. Another slight misfortune invoked by less research is overspending on renovations. Renovations should be practical and as cost-effective as possible, especially for new real estate investors.

3. Neglecting Tenants

The foundation of a good relationship with your market is your tenants. Although it’s better to leave the daily activities to an agent or property manager, you should always communicate with the tenants. The personal appeal stretches to accommodating the neighborhood or local community.

By creating a solid foundation of a relationship between you and your tenants, you help avoid issues later. What if your tenant does not speak up about a major roof leak in the living room? Create an environment where tenants can let you, or a property manager, know instantly about issues with the property. Additionally, if a tenant had a good relationship with you, they are more likely to take better care of the property. This typically lessens damages that occur throughout their tenancy because of their price in the property, and relationship with you. 

Their needs help you decide what investments you’ll make that will do well for your profits. The local market system and numbers are also important in the final decision. For example, if your local area is a university hub, securing affordable student houses is better.

4. Trying to do Everything Yourself

Some investors might think they know it all. This is typically at a detriment to their overall business performance. There are only 24 hours in the day. Investing alone, without guidelines or assistance, can slow things down tremendously once obstacles arise. Most successful real estate adventures featured stellar teamwork. Even if you don’t have a formal partner, getting a mentor can do you wonders. Try to find someone who has reached the goals that you have for yourself because they have been in your shoes, and can provide a roadmap for you to get there too. Consider adding these teammates to your real estate investing crew:

  • Real estate agents
  • Mortgage brokers
  • Accountant
  • Interior decorator
  • Contractor
  • Property inspector
  • Attorney

These common mistakes made by beginners in the real estate market are solvable through proper research and preparation. Get the relevant knowledge that you need, and make your money work for you. Consider teaming with others when it makes sense to do so.

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Realtors! 5 Ways to Stay Ahead of Your Competition Tuesday, Jul 20 2021 

It’s quite difficult to come up with original real estate marketing ideas. Especially when your full-time job requires you to meet with clients, stay on top of the market, and do 100 other tasks. And we didn’t even talk about your competition. We have to admit, real estate is a tough business. But don’t worry! In this article, you’ll learn how to stay ahead of your competition.

Photo of a professional Realtor
When people in your market think about different agents, what they’re really doing is comparing those agent’s brands. | Photo by mentatdgt

Here are five ways to up your real estate game and lead your industry. 

1. Build Your Own Brand

Building a personal brand is critical in order to stay ahead of your competition. It’s not really about your company or even your local agency. People need to trust the person they are hoping to find their dream home. And that’s you!

Your brand needs to speak to the factors that are important to clients. Highlight your professional qualifications, but also target what sets you apart from other agents in your market. It’s not a simple process but it’s very important.

A brand kit is all about logos, colors, and fonts that later on, you’ll use in your online and offline marketing material like brochures, flyers, business cards, and even on your social media platforms. Invest in a professional logo. Use colors that best represent your brand and communication style.

Invest in a photo shooting session then use those professional shots on your website. People need to put a face to a name. And don’t forget to include a memorable mission statement. You want to let your audience gain trust in you and your service through your own personal brand.

Once crafted, your brand needs to be consistently communicated via every part of your business—from your website to social media and business cards.

2. Use Interactive Digital Brochures to Showcase Your Properties

Printed brochures are fine, but digital brochures can help you make a long-lasting impression that will place you one step ahead of your competition. If you haven’t heard of the great asset digital brochures offer, well, say “hello” to your new marketing strategy that will actually have an impact on your real estate game.

Digital brochures are great because you can easily add, modify or delete properties and listings with just a few clicks. And you don’t have to carry their heavy baggage around for every meeting. You can also send them as an email to present your new listings or as a next-day follow-up to show your clients the properties they just saw in more detail. 

On top of digitizing your real estate brochures, with Flipsnack’s real estate marketing tool you can make them even more appealing by adding interactive elements. Engage with your audience and stay ahead of your competition with interactive elements like virtual tours and photo slideshows to give your potential buyers an immersive experience. 

You can also save time and automate the whole process of adding more properties with Flipsnack’s automation feature. This is really useful for big agencies that have to put together new listings and properties available on the market each day. 

The whole process of designing is with an easy drag and drop, so you don’t need any design skills. Just pair your stunning images with the right information and achieve a successful method of advertising that will impress your clients.

3. Be Active on Social Media

Yes, you’re right. Everyone is nowadays on social media. But we have to admit, social media is one of the most effective tools available under the marketing sun. And it’s crucial to be present and active on the platforms where your target audience is. 

Having a social media strategy is a must for a professional real estate agent. Don’t settle for a boring account on social media to just be there. Think of out-of-the-box ideas like offering real estate agent tips through which you show your professional expertise. Include images with the properties you’re selling and testimonials with your happy clients that bought their dream house through you. Try to be consistent with your content and mix up your personal brand with some professional insights from the market.

Being present on social media platforms can boost your recognition and differentiate you from your competitors. 

Also, don’t be afraid to stay true to yourself. Show your interests and passions. Do you love cooking? Or is traveling your greatest hobby? Let your audience know that and you’ll notice how much engagement and reactions you’ll attract. People will instantly feel like they know more about you and you increase your chances of getting more deals. 

See, you couldn’t do that on your agency’s social media platforms. But through your own personal brand and social media accounts, you can do anything and no one can stop you. So take advantage of every opportunity that brings you closer to potential clients and deals. 

4. Start a Real Estate Newsletter

If you’ve been a real estate agent for quite a while, you most surely have an email list with potential leads. The newsletter is a proven beneficial tactic when it comes to communicating with potential leads and when you try to be known as a trustworthy and real estate agent or agency. 

So take advantage of the great possibilities the newsletter offers and start one. Not only can you show your real estate expertise but you can also present new properties for sale and insights from the industry. 

There are various ways through which you can get closer to your audience by using the newsletter. You can send your interactive digital brochure I told you about previously, or make some real estate monthly brochures where you offer tips and tricks on the most common errors made by first-time home sellers, or what are the key elements to look at when you want to buy a house and so on. 

Just keep in mind to answer your target audience’s needs and be an influencer in that area. People will know who to contact when they’ll be in search of a property.

5. Offer Elite Service

Photo of a Louisville Realtor shaking hands with his client
Elite agents are the ones who go above and beyond the average agent.

In the end, to be a professional real estate agent you have to deliver top-notch real estate service. Focus on delivering only your very best service. Don’t think about money.

Realtors with a service mindset will certainly succeed. Always be improving. Build healthy and productive routines. At the end of the day, going the extra mile for your clients will be what puts you over the top.

Conclusion

Real estate is a tough business. There is a ton of competition out there and the barrier to entry is small. But if you take these five tips to heart, you’ll be in the right position to succeed.

Analyze what works best for you. Keep the good and throw out what doesn’t pay off. Keep working hard and you’ll stay ahead of your competition. 

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What Are Your Options for Selling a House with Code Violations? Wednesday, Jul 7 2021 

It’s time to sell your house but there is one surprise that you have to deal with first — you find out that your home has code violations. Before you go down a rabbit hole of worrying about how you are going to fix all of the code violations or whether you can even still sell your house, you can consider your options and the good news is, you probably have more options than you think. Here is an overview of how you can sell a house with code violations, with expert advice from Realtors, to help give you peace of mind. 

Raffle House in Louisville KY

Fix the Issues and Move Forward

Most likely the best solution will be to fix violations right away. Of course, whether or not this is viable will depend on how big of an issue you have and the market value for your home.

Whether or not it’s a good option to fix the problem will involve weighing all of the costs involved. Some of the fixes that can be taken care of relatively easily are moving a ceiling-mounted smoke alarm at least 4 inches away from walls and wall-mounted alarms 4 inches to 12 inches down from the ceiling.

However, if you have a piping issue and need to re-plumb your house, that may be a greater expense than you want to take on. It’s smart to get some quality advice from your real estate agent. Keep in mind, not all agents tell the truth.

In our current sellers’ market — where there is a lack of supply and high demand — you may be able to get away with selling your house without updating your house with code violations.

Offer a Credit at Closing

If you do decide to let the buyer foot the bill for code violation fixes, then there are a few ways to handle it. Some sellers might offer buyers a credit at closing. The amount should be roughly equivalent to the cost of the repairs. As long as the code violations aren’t a safety or health threat to buyers, this route may make the most sense.

Sell “As-Is” to a Cash Buyer

Cash buyers are the most likely type of buyer to accept a house “as-is” with code violation fixes. An iBuyer — who might be an institutional investor, national house flipper, or startup up, which is in the business of purchasing homes directly — may be a good candidate for this type of cash sale.

To get an idea of how much a cash buyer might offer you, you can do your research on HomeLight’s Simple Sale Platform, which partners with over 100 nationwide pre-approved iBuyers to connect sellers with cash buyers. Just keep in mind that will only appeal to a smaller pool of buyers. 

The right solution will depend on your specific situation. Find a local real estate agent who has a great understanding of the current market conditions so that they can advise you.

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Big 5 Reasons to Work with a Real Estate Agent Thursday, Jun 17 2021 

If you’re planning to sell your house, you might think that you can quickly do so since many online platforms can help you with that. So you have successfully sold a phone or a computer in the past. What could go wrong, right? Well, a lot. What follows are the top five reasons to work with a real estate agent.

Photo of two people shaking hands in front of a house
Image by Gerd Altmann

Selling an old cell phone, a dress or a bicycle is one thing. It’s pretty simple. Real estate is another story. but it’s way more complicated when it comes to real estate. Plus, it’s a huge transaction.

Trying to sell your house on a random or unlicensed website can spell trouble for you. This is where real estate agents come in. The value of an experienced real estate agent should not be underestimated. It’s their job to know their market, current trends and all the legal aspects of a home sale transaction.

Here are the biggest reasons to work with a real estate agent, even though they’re a good number more.

1. Expertise

A real estate agent has expertise in how a real estate deal works. But they also know who people think. They speak with both buyers and sellers on a day-to-day basis. As experts, they represent your goals first and foremost. So if you’re buying, they’re working to get the price down. Selling? Let’s push that price up!

Experienced Realtors will know the current market trends. They can point out the pros and cons of every situation. Maybe one neighborhood isn’t moving in the right direction so they can point you to better options.

They also have access to the most current data. This helps buyers understand whether a home is overpriced, a reasonable price, or, in a few cases, a great deal.

2. Privacy and Fiduciary Responsibilities

Whether you’re a seller or a buyer, every real estate agent has a responsibility to keep your trust and to move according to your best interests. This is what we call “fiduciary responsibility,” where they are legally bound to put their client’s interests first. This is very important.

Of course, this duty includes privacy and confidentiality, which is in a contract with a real estate agent. This is unlike an FSBO seller who can leak the private transaction, which can be dangerous for you. Of course, it’s the same for real estate agents, but at least, with them, your trust will not be wasted.

3. Negotiating

As everyone knows, you have to learn how to negotiate if you want to get the best prices for the house you’re selling. If you’re not confident in this aspect, having a real estate agent is vital. From the starting offer process to the inspections, your real estate agent can handle that for you.

Not only that, real estate agents know the time frames involved when it comes to pricing strategies. As we all know, timing is an essential factor in selling, and agents know better than anyone else how this works.

And, of course, this is stressful. One of the best reasons to work with a real estate agent is to reduce this stress. You don’t have to worry about the market, prices, and negotiations as they will do that all for you. And as we all know, when dealing with a stressful situation, we’re more likely to blurt out things that might hurt us in the process. Instead, your real estate agent will formulate a strategy with you, then carry it forward towards a more optional outcome.

4. They Have a Network

If your Realtor has experience, you can safely assume that they have built a network of important people. These are the people who can help make the deal go more smoothly or even save the day. Sometimes, these contractors that your real estate agent recommends are the heroes of your real estate transaction.

5. Putting You First

Real estate agents are there to help you accomplish your goals. Is it the best price? Maybe it’s a short deadline. Perhaps you just want to avoid any major pitfalls. Whatever the problem, your Realtor’s top priority is to help you achieve your top priorties.

In the world of real estate, there are a large number of things that could potentially come up. Some are quite rare. But if one of these unforeseen events occurs, chances are the real estate agent has encountered them before or knows a fellow agent who has. That’s the kind of expertise you want on your team. When interviewing agents, look for one with experience and a strong track record. Then you can move through the process with peace of mind knowing your agent has got your back.

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Vaccine mandates do more harm then good Friday, May 28 2021 

By Zachary Baker–

With the end of the pandemic in sight, hope of going back to normal is rising. For many of us, that means getting vaccinated, removing our masks and returning to work and in person classes. 

However, in spite of many of the restrictions being lifted, some colleges such as Berea College are requiring that students get vaccinated in order to return to campus in the fall. 

Despite my support for vaccination, I would say that this is a policy that is likely to do more harm than good. 

We have reached a point where state governments across the entire U.S. have begun to take away restrictions and focus heavily on reopening their states. This, too, is occurring within Kentucky. 

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said that “the state’s emerging economy is set for liftoff as final capacity restrictions related to COVID-19 will end Friday, June 11.” 

Right now, we are seeing plans to close vaccination sites across the state due to a lack of long-term demand. 

“Not since the week beginning March 9 has the state achieved its goal of administering 90 percent of the vaccine doses it receives each week. The week beginning April 13, just 84,968 doses were administered of 158,470 received — just 54 percent,” said FOX19 Reporter Brian Planalp. 

Herd immunity is incredibly important for the success of the vaccine, but it is obvious that many people are refusing to get it — either out of fear of the side effects, a lack of trust in the government and the manufacturers, or out of spite. 

While I can say that those decisions may be selfish, we also have to admit that the decision to get vaccinated cannot be forced onto people. Instead, we have to convince them to take those steps towards safety for all. 

Not only do mandatory vaccination policies affect those who have disorders or allergies that can prevent them from getting the vaccine, but it also harms those who have legitimate fears about how certain versions of the vaccine were created. 

For all of us who want to get back to normal, it makes sense to want everyone to get vaccinated so we can live with minimized risk. 

But the truth of the matter is that there is a lot we do not know about the long-term requirements for dealing with COVID-19, such as whether we will require boosters every year or whether there will need to be more vaccines for the various new strains that will appear. 

Punishing others who want to get back to normal but want to do so while waiting on more information does nothing to convince them to contribute to the vaccination efforts. 

Meanwhile, it is important to still encourage everyone to get the vaccine. The vaccine is a great step towards helping us move towards a full reopening. 

Dr. William McKinney, professor and associate dean of the School of Public Health and Information Sciences at U of L, said, “In many ways, vaccines have become a victim of their own success. Vaccines against polio have very nearly eradicated this deadly disease worldwide. Those against smallpox have already done so.”

“Persons who weren’t alive when polio was rampant in the U.S. don’t remember the extensive efforts to cover the population and how dramatic the results were in lowering risk of paralysis for generations of Americans, thereby taking this protection for granted,” he said. 

While the mandatory policies do seem rational for many, we also have to acknowledge how they can harm the very cause that we’re working toward. The policy will only push people away from getting vaccinated or make them resentful towards those who force them to get the vaccine without them seeing the value that comes from it.

Graphic by Eli Hughes//The Louisville Cardinal

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Craning for Change: Why Louisville Needs to Pay Attention to the Asia Institute-Crane House Monday, May 17 2021 

By Olivia Sin–

A Google search of “Asian places in Louisville, KY” yields only a list of Asian restaurants. A second Google search for “Historic Asian places in Louisville, KY,” which should uncover some history of Asian culture in this city, instead populates what food reviewers deem “THE 10 BEST Chinese Restaurants in Louisville.”

Why is it that Asian food is the only identifying characteristic for Asians? And why do Louisvillians think the word “Chinese” is synonymous with the word “Asian”?

The entire continent of Asia is comprised of almost 50 countries and over two thousand languages, yet people continue to muddle Asians together as if they are all the same. The lack of education surrounding Asian cultures coupled with the lack of support for Asian individuals during this alarming increase of anti-Asian violence in the United States is quite heartbreaking and exhausting. With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic casting a negative outlook on Asians and with every new Asian hate crime surfacing on the news, the demand for a local Asian community resource center and allyship is urgent. 

Racist rhetoric and xenophobia towards Asians is nothing new in the U.S. and will continue to exist unless challenged. The initiative to educate, raise awareness, and stand up for the Asian community is critical if we want to see change in the future…and that change starts at the local level.

We could start with the beige three-story house located near the corner of South 3rd Street and West Ormsby Avenue that sits subtly within the historic Old Louisville district. The house is unexceptional to the average passerby, except perhaps for the bright red double doors that welcome you. Right above those doors reads a white decal that displays the name of the building as “Asia Institute-Crane House.” 

The Asia Institute-Crane House (AICH) is an Asian cultural center, here to celebrate and support the many cultures within the continent of Asia. Most Louisvillians have no idea that this building exists. As an Asian American myself, I only discovered this center last year during the height of COVID-19 on my neighborhood runs when outdoor exercise became the new norm. I never put much thought into what this cultural center had to offer…until racially charged Asian hate crimes spiked this year.

The AICH is an under-utilized resource center that has the potential to support the Asian community and help educate both UofL students and the surrounding neighborhood. 

Helen Lang, the founder of AICH, originally named this center “Crane House, The China Institute, Inc.” in 1987. Feeling the need to expand the coverage of cultural appreciation to many more Asian countries, Mrs. Lang renamed the center in 1996.

While Mrs. Lang passed away in 2017, her legacy of educating the Louisville community on Asian culture and appreciation will remain forever embedded in the AICH. Over its 34-year history, the Institute has been considered one of the “premier Asian cultural centers” in the central United States. That the AICH continues to elude our attention speaks to how willing—or unwilling—we are as a community to educate ourselves about Asian heritage. 

The Asia Institute-Crane House is a promising establishment that can help educate the Louisville community about the experience of being Asian in this country, raise awareness about social issues stemming from anti-Asian racism, and provide solidarity to Asian community members.

Let’s turn our attention to the AICH and become more actively involved in working towards social justice. The AICH has the potential to ignite change and combat Asian hate, bringing about good fortune and happiness—much like what a crane symbolizes. 

Photo by Eli Hughes//The Louisville Cardinal

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Trust the science, trust the vaccine Wednesday, May 5 2021 

By Alexia Juarez–

On Dec. 11, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. One can hope that this is the first step in minimizing cases in this still-fragile pandemic. 

The Center for Disease Control claims that the vaccines are safe and effective, as they meet the FDA’s scientific safety, effectiveness and manufacturing quality needed to support its Emergency Use Authorization 

This announcement can give students at U of L hope that we can one day return to a COVID-19-free environment when we take the necessary precautions to ensure everyone’s safety. 

In early January 2021, the University of Louisville announced a COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan. U of L Health will administer the vaccine to members who choose to be vaccinated, and the first phase is distributed to those in patient care and over the ages 50 and 65. 

U of L announced that students can get vaccinated starting April 12, along with any individual 16 and up. Given this information, it is imperative everyone is granted the most accurate details to ensure their safety and well-being.  

“There are three vaccines that are currently being injected: Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna,” Paul McKinney, associate dean of the U of L School of Public Health said. McKinney said that support is needed for this vaccine in hopes to avoid another surge. 

The CDC states Johnson and Johnson has an efficacy rate of 66.3 percent, with Pfizer at 95 percent, and Moderna at 94.1 percent 

OApril 13, @POTUS on Twitter posted a video of Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, explaining that there will be a halt on the Johnson and Johnson vaccine due to a small number of adverse events.  

Fauci explains that these events were seen in six out of the 6.85 million vaccinated, and those who have already gotten the vaccine should not be worried because “The J&J vaccine has been shown in clinical trials to be highly efficacious.” 

Dr. Fauci further stated that these halts have not been found in Pfizer or Moderna.  

“Over 120 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccines,” said Fauci.  

“Only a small proportion–6.85 million–are J&J […] There have been no signals that there’s any concern about adverse events among these tens of millions of people.”  

The CDC lifted the pause on the J&J vaccine on April 23.

It is crucial that we trust the science provided by health professionals giving us the information we may not already know, in order to expand our knowledge on a virus that has impacted our lives exponentially.  

The CDC has also stated that the vaccines will undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history, which includes both established and new safety systems.  

They have also debunked several myths about the vaccine, including ones that claim it can make you sick with COVID-19, and that you can test positive for the virus after vaccination.  

Fauci encourages that everyone still get vaccinated, and that these halts have nothing to do with the vaccine’s efficacy.  

“The danger of COVID-19 as a disease clearly, overwhelmingly outstrips any risk of an adverse event from a vaccine,” said Fauci.  

For more information, see the CDC’s full myth debunking site here. 

Graphic by Alexis Simon // The Louisville Cardinal

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Yes, gas prices are rising. No, it’s not Biden’s fault. Monday, Apr 26 2021 

By Riley Vance—

As gas prices skyrocket, many Americans have taken to their Twitter feeds to point fingers at our newly inaugurated president, Joe Biden. Just earlier this month, Republican congressman Jim Jordan retweeted a tweet about gas prices rising 20.8% since January with: “Who took office in January?”

As college students struggling to afford living expenses and education costs during a pandemic the increasing price of gas is certainly frustrating, but can it be entirely Biden’s fault? 

Country music singer Travis Tritt also took to Twitter addressing his concerns. Tritt said, “Have you noticed gas prices lately? We’ve already returned to the highest gas prices since the Obama administration in many places. Thanks, Biden!”

Comments under his tweet were all in support of his viewpoint.

But, gas prices have steadily increased since May 2020. We saw a 45% increase in the price of gas in a short 10-month span. Prices went from $1.87 in April 2020 to $2.72 in February 2021. Since Biden has taken office, there has been a 10% increase in gas prices. 

The major argument from Republican leaders is that the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline is to blame for the spike in gas prices, but this claim can easily be debunked by the fact that the pipeline wasn’t even operating yet. 

Louis Jacobson, a writer for the Tampa Bay Times, said that the majority of the oil that would have been carried by Keystone XL would have been exported, meaning there would be little effect on prices in the U.S.

Changes in the price of gas due to the decision to cancel the pipeline or limit fossil fuels are not infeasible but would take years to develop. 

The more likely explanation for the increase in gas prices has to do with the simple concept of supply and demand. 

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) oil cartel and Russia have made cuts in production—this is the supply part of the equation. 

As far as the demand goes, we are recovering from a pandemic. People are getting vaccinated and returning back to a more normal lifestyle full of traveling (to work, on vacation or wherever else they please). 

According to NPR’s COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker, over 187 million Americans have been vaccinated and over 72 million have been fully vaccinated since the COVID-19 vaccine distribution started in December 2020.

This is the logical reason for the increase of gas prices. 

Rapier said you can place blame on Biden, but only for slowing the spread of the pandemic. 

“If you think Biden is responsible for hastening the end of the pandemic, then you can place some blame for the rise in oil prices on him. But that’s because the economy is beginning to recover, which is a good thing,” said Rapier.

“It’s definitely annoying that gas prices are so high, but I think they’ll go down eventually. I think it was a normal reaction from the impact of COVID,” said Alex Wesbrooks, a junior finance major.

An increase in gas prices can hurt a lot of Americans’ wallets, but a more optimistic perspective is that we’re getting closer and closer to “normal” every day with the rollout of vaccines.  

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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Incoming freshmen: Here’s how to prep for you first college semester Wednesday, Mar 31 2021 

By Catherine Brown–

Many prospective students will be receiving their acceptance letter from the University of Louisville soon. And while the college experience during the COVID-19 pandemic might look slightly different than your high school experience. Here are a few tips and tricks to make the best out of your college experience.

 

Come prepared.

Read the syllabus before the beginning of the semester to know what your professor expects from you.

In fall 2021, U of L will offer face-to-face and 100% distance education class options. Although classes will be marked as either 100% digital or face-to-face, professors can incorporate hybrid elements to their class. Ensure that the class meets in a way that you feel comfortable.

If you plan to live on-campus, make sure your housing situation allows you to be as safe as possible while being considerate of others. Bring plenty of masks with you and sanitize surfaces in your room often. If you live with a roommate, give them plenty of space within the room. If this makes you uncomfortable, consider living at home for at least one semester.

Have a contingency plan just in case you or someone you came into contact with catches the virus. Meet with other students in your classes virtually who can help you make up assignments or give you class notes.

 

Budget your money well.

As a college student, you’re going to be faced with several choices throughout your college career. For some of us, budgeting is a bigger issue during the pandemic. 

Don’t just buy all of your textbooks before the school year starts. The best tip to avoid breaking the bank is to wait until you get through your first week of classes to start purchasing textbooks. Give yourself time so that you can determine how serious the professor is about using the assigned reading.

Along the same vein–don’t purchase your textbooks from the bookstore unless you can’t find cheaper alternatives. Take time to shop around for an online version or rental copy of your textbook. Use the book’s ISBN to search on Amazon and Chegg for cheaper versions. The ISBN is located on the back near the barcode or within the first few pages of the book, it should start with the numbers 978 and be 13 digits long.

Take advantage of student discounts. Once you have access to your U of L email account, you have access to student discounts on many platforms including Amazon Prime, Spotify and Apple Music to name just a few.

Students also get all of Adobe’s Creative Cloud products for free, as well as, free visits to the Speed Art Museum (located on campus), and free TARC fare. The TARC, or the Transit Authority of the River City, is Louisville’s public bus transport system and can get you anywhere in the city.

These discounts could end up being life savers when you need textbooks shipped or don’t feel comfortable shopping in-person. Student’s Cardinal Card and email address offer great opportunities for students to cope with stress and take their mind off of things at any point during the semester.

 

Give yourself time to breathe.

Don’t schedule classes so close together. Give yourself time to travel between classes. If your class schedule requires you to travel to the other side of campus in just 10 minutes, you might be scheduling your classes incorrectly. Keep travel time in mind and make sure you have at least 15 minutes between the end of one class to the start of another. You never know when a professor might hold you later than expected.

If you attend all of your classes online, you might want to avoid scheduling classes so close together, too. With classes so close together, you could end up with burnout from Zoom fatigue and become overwhelmed from the constant meetings. Take at least 15 minutes to yourself between online classes at minimum.

The past three semesters have been unconventional. You probably didn’t expect your college experience to be so abnormal.

The college experience is supposed to include in-person classes and learning with their fellow peers about topics that they want to potentially dedicate their lives to,” said Abby Huether, a writer for Colorado State University’s features magazine College Avenue.

“But due to COVID-19, college students this semester were forced to make a choice between either continuing their education, which might mean potentially lower-value classes, all while paying the same tuition, or taking a semester off, leaving many students floundering with no idea of what to do with their life,” Huether said.

We all need to take a breather once in a while.

 

Most important of all–keep yourself healthy.

If you plan to take face-to-face classes, remember to keep your mask over your mouth and nose at all times and stay socially distanced from others.

Destiny Smith, a sophomore nursing major, recommends that all students wear a mask, wipe down surfaces that they touch, and wash their hands after leaving every class.

Be in tune with your mental wellbeing, as well. When you start to feel overwhelmed, look for ways to cope with this stress. The university’s Counseling Center offers a helpful toolkit for students to follow with tips and resources.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

The post Incoming freshmen: Here’s how to prep for you first college semester appeared first on The Louisville Cardinal.

While we may never “return to normal,” we can take the first steps Wednesday, Mar 24 2021 

By Catherine Brown–

After two semesters of hybrid and remote classes, U of L is finally offering face-to-face classes and 100% virtual classes in fall 2021. This can finally be the return to normal that many students have been anticipating.

U of L announced the transition in an email sent out earlier this month on March 12 via the U of L Update service account. 

In the email, Executive Vice President and University Provost Beth Boehm said that as vaccines are coming out, the university will be able to transition most classes from virtual to face-to-face in the fall.

This is the kind of news that many students and faculty have been looking forward to since last spring.

“I was very excited to see that we’d be going back to face-to-face,” Trevin Brent, a junior SPAD major, said. “As long as it is proven to be safe I couldn’t be happier about it!”

Brent added that he plans to schedule all in-person classes for the fall semester.

Meanwhile, Livi Westbay, a junior communication major, hopes that U of L keeps hybrid classes as an option for students to choose when registering for classes.

“I’m glad classes are going back to normal but I think U of L should keep hybrid courses an option,” Westbay said.

Accordingly, she plans to enroll in only online classes for the fall semester.

For faculty and staff, these changes mean planning out another semester of classes while also needing a contingency plan in case the pandemic rolls over into the fall.

Megan Poole, assistant professor of English at U of L, aims to make decisions for the class based on what her students are most comfortable with.

“The main practice I began during pandemic teaching that I will continue into future semesters is sending out a pre-course survey to ask what students expect to get from the course, how they plan to participate, and why they have enrolled,” she said. “This feedback allows me to tweak instruction plans to best fit student needs and interests, but it also gives students a stake in how the course unfolds.”

Poole said that she hopes other professors will be mindful of the physical and mental wellbeing of students as they plan for the future.

“More fundamental than whether I agree or not with the change to F2F or 100% DE is my belief that no matter what format our classes operate under next semester, professors should enter the classroom knowing that students might struggle with yet another transition in their learning environment.” 

Traditional freshmen in the 2020-21 school year might not have gotten the “college experience” that many upperclassmen got to enjoy in the 2019-2020 academic year, including in-person RSO meetings, school sporting events, and getting to meet classmates and professors in the classroom.

In fall 2021, incoming freshmen will get the chance to experience college life a little bit closer to the way it was before.

As more individuals across campus get the vaccine, we can anticipate a steady decrease in the number of COVID-19 cases.

We know that the virus will not be gone by the fall semester.

But we can still plan to return to a fraction of the way we once were.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

The post While we may never “return to normal,” we can take the first steps appeared first on The Louisville Cardinal.

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