The Monarch Group Real Estate Blog

The Monarch Group Real Estate Blog

Kitchen Remodels & ROIs: What Buyers Are Looking for Today

In 2017, a minor kitchen remodel offers the 4th best return on investment (ROI) out of any home improvement projects, so when doing so, it’s important to do it right. Since the kitchen is likely one of the first things potential buyers see when going through your home on an open house or showing, it’s easy to see how making a good impression with your kitchen can help sell your home quicker and for more money. However, you do want to be sure not to overdo it. As a general rule, don’t spend more than 10% of your home’s value and prioritize projects that will as value without putting a dent in your wallet.


For kitchen improvements to help sell your home quicker, look at things that will increase visual appeal such as backsplashes, appliances, and cabinets. A backsplash can brighten a kitchen and make the kitchen seem cleaner. New appliances will keep buyers from having to purchase them on top of purchasing their new home. (In most cases, stainless steel are the best in terms of upkeep and visual appeal). Cabinets can make the kitchen seem cleaner, newer, and show...

Projects to Boost Your Home's Value

Whether you’re looking to sell or just sprucing up your place, there’s some projects you can do around the house to boost the value of your home and help you when it comes time to list.

Kentucky Realtor magazine conducted a survey in spring of 2017 of consumers, industry professionals, and real estate agents on what projects can boost a home’s value and by how much. Results are listed below, with curb appeal projects such as new doors, windows, and siding showed a higher return on investment (ROI).


Top 10 projects with greatest ROI:

-Attic Insulation (Fiberglass)

-Entry Door Replacement (Steel)

-Manufactured Stone Veneer

-Garage Door Replacement (“Upscale”)

-Minor Kitchen Remodel

-Entry Door Replacement (Fiberglass)

-Garage Door Replacement (“Midrange”)

-Window Replacement (Vinyl)

-Window Replacement (Wood)

-Grand Entrance (Fiberglass)


Bottom 10 projects with lowest ROI:

-Bathroom Addition (“Midrange”)

-Backup Power Generator

-Backyard Patio

-Deck Addition

-Bathroom Addition (“Upscale”)

-Bathroom Remodel

-Major Kitchen Remodel

-Master Suite Addition

-Bathroom Remodel


These are important to pay attention to if you’re looking at an addition, replacement, or remodel because what you’re putting money into now, may or may not give back when you go to sell. Consider what you want in your home right now, what you can afford, and what makes sense.


For more information on these lists and companies that can help you with replacements, remodels, or additions, contact The Elizabeth Monarch Group or visit our website at If you are looking to buy or sell, call us at 502-371-1155.


The Great Outdoors: Small Projects to Make Your Outdoor Space Feel Bigger

For many buyers this time of year, an appealing outdoor space is much of an asset in potential properties. And in this country’s culture, outdoor entertaining is a large part of peoples’ summer and fall activities. When it comes to selling your home, a piece of staging that may get overlooked is that of the outdoor spaces of your property. Some buyers may look for smaller spaces for less upkeep, and some may look for larger spaces for room for grilling and sports! Whatever it may be, there are some small projects you can do to open up your patio, deck , or backyard to increase appeal to potential buyers.


Tipping the Scale

As with any staging project, decluttering is a good place to start! This is important to keep in mind because overcrowding a small space with too much décor or furniture can make it feel even more cramped. It’s crucial to pay attention to the size of the outdoor space when deciding what furniture to include and what plants may fit well. Make sure that tables and chairs are of a suiting size and that plants aren’t blocking any architectural features such as an outdoor fireplace or patio door.


Focal Points & Reflections

In smaller spaces, it may benefit you to select a certain feature as a focal point. For example, focus on arranging furniture, plants, and other...

Seller Staging Basics: What You Can Do on a Budget & How it Can Help You Sell Your Home

When it comes to selling, a big word many sellers hear is “staging”. And afterwards come many questions. What is staging? Do I have to hire someone to do it? Why do I even need to stage my home? Staging can be influential in selling your home and it doesn’t have to be a long process that breaks the bank!

What is Staging?

Home staging is when you prepare your home for sale both inside and out, focusing on the appearance and atmosphere it creates for the potential buyers. Staging is like putting on your home’s best outfit for picture day. When adding small touches to your home before listing it, staging helps the potential buyer get the feel that it’s more than just a building for sale, but a home. A place where they can live and raise a family, bond with roommates, or entertain on holidays.

Benefits of Staging

Like I said, staging can be influential in selling your home. Ask yourself, “Would I buy my home as it is now?” If the answer is “no”, then staging can help change the answer to “yes”. Going through the staging process will help you pack up for moving, de-clutter and organize, and gather items for sale or donation prior to leaving, smoothing out the transition process. Staging will also make your home look its best for photos, videos, open houses,...

Summer Spruce Up: Easy Home Improvements for the Whole Family

With summer come barbecues, deck parties, gardening, and lots of outdoor fun! The summer is also one of the biggest times for both indoor and outdoor home improvement projects. But with kids, working on home projects can be challenging. How do you include the kids without making a mess or sabotaging the outcome? Here are some simple, fun, family-friendly projects you can enjoy with kids of all ages this season!



When it comes to painting, many fear the involvement of kids or even teens. Paint is a semi-permanent improvement that can easily be ruined by lack of attention or unexpected messes. However, there are some tips and ideas that can make painting a stress-free experience for everyone involved!

Involving children in painting can actually be very advantageous. While the adults and taller kids paint higher up the walls or on ladders, the smaller kids can work on the lower part of the wall. To prevent messes, always prepare and protect. Prepare by teaching the kids how to use paint brushes and rollers. You can even tape out certain areas in fun shapes across the wall to keep the kids painting in certain areas and make it more fun! Protect by dressing everyone in old clothes, taping off crown molding and fixtures, and laying plenty of drop cloths and plastic to save the floors from accidental messes.

You can also try painting other non-traditional surfaces for more fun and flair! If you have concrete or outdated linoleum...

Rising Mortgage Rates: What it Means for Buyers

After historically low rates in the past few years, back in March, Federal Rates increased. With this, mortgage rates started to increase as well. When hearing this, some buyers may be scared to venture into the market to look to purchase a new home, but it’s not all bad. There are a few things that you need to know, as a buyer, about the effects of the risen mortgage rates.

In March of 2016, rates for a 30-year fixed mortgage were at 3.68%. In March of 2017, rates for the same 30-year fixed mortgage were at 4.21%. At this 4.21% rate, buyers will pay about $57 more per month compared to 2016. This will also make it harder to refinance. When mortgage rates dropped in the past years, many people took advantage of refinancing and locked in amazingly low rates. Today, it would be hard to knock off a ½%. However, about 55% of mortgage applications in late November of 2016 were form refinancers, according to Mortgage Bankers Association. So if you didn’t take advantage of refinancing with the historically low rates in the recent years, you should do it now, as they very well may continue to increase.

As Bill Banfield of Capital Markets at Quicken Loans says, higher rates could translate to the expectation that growth, wages, and home prices will continue to increase. It could also translate to the expectation that the home inventory shortage will continue. All of which we have been seeing lately.

With these higher rates and lower inventories, it can be very scary and tricky to try and navigate the market as a buyer. When it comes to looking for a new home, it’s best to hire a licensed Realtor with good experience and great success rates to help you through the process. The Elizabeth Monarch Group is the team that you want to help you with the buying process!

If you’re in Louisville or surrounding areas, The Elizabeth Monarch Group is the team of experienced Realtors that you need! Whether you’re buying or selling, The Elizabeth...

Selling Your Home to a Family Member: Tips to Ease the Process

There’s a noticeable difference between selling your home to a stranger and selling your home to a family member. A difference that you might not quite recognize until you are in the process of doing so. It can be fun and exciting for the family, but also awkward and uncomfortable at times. Here are some great tips on smoothing out the process and making this transition a bit easier.


Tip #1: Hire a Professional Title Company

It’s always important to usea professional title company in real estate transactions and in this specific situation, they also act as amutual third party between family members. The title company will help with important documents needed for the transaction and work alongside your Realtor towards closing to make sure both buyer and seller are happy.


Tip #2: Put It All in Writing


Buying in a Seller's Market: 3 Mistakes to Avoid

If you’re currently looking to buy a home, you’ve probably noticed the current state of the real estate market. Prices are up, inventory is down, and properties are being sold in record time! It’s a seller’s market out there, and it can be tricky navigating it. As a buyer, there are some very important things to know when house hunting today that can smooth out the process majorly. I read one of the latest Zing! blogs by Quicken Loans and learned a lot from Maegan Wyrzykowsi about what to avoid as a buyer in this current market. Most may seem like common sense, but can also be easily forgotten in the shuffle.


Mistake #1: Skipping Preapproval

As Maegan points out, skipping preapproval can be a horrible mistake as a buyer in this seller’s market. Preapproval essentially tells your agent what you can afford and tells the seller that there is a lender willing to back your offer. Generally, getting a preapproval letter is the first thing you should do and always have on hand when looking to buy. If you’re competing with another potential buyer, having a preapproval letter will help put you ahead of the game. As a general note, most preapproval letters are valid for up to 90 days, so keeping up with these and getting updated ones is important. You can contact us for our list of Trusted Affiliates who can help you with your preapproval.


Mistake #2: Offering Low...

Featured Listing - Wolfpen Woods

Click more to see the Monarch Group's Featured listing! It's been recently reduced by $20,000!


The Upcoming Home Buyer Seminar!

Thinking about moving? Investing? Selling? Get insights into the current housing market and ask your questions to a panel of the industry's leading professionals. From start to finish, each step in the home buying process will be covered-from Financing to Closing and everything (and we mean EVERYTHING) in-between. Mark your calendars Saturday, March 7th, 2015 from 10a-12:00p at Kaden Towers located at 6106 Dutchmans Lane, Louisville KY 40205. Spaces are limited so reserve your spot today by calling 502-271-7771 or by email to


Senior Care & Elder Law

Don't miss this week's radio show.  Misty Vantresse and Kelly Gannote with Kentucky Elder Law will be our special guests.  Learn about how they can perserve your family assets.  Dealing with nursing home related issues or questions about Medicaid.  Tune into 970AM WGTK at 10AM this Saturday and learn more.  Have a question, call 502-571-0970.


Don't Even Think About It: Why You Should Not Sell Your Home Yourself FSBO

Don't Miss this weeks radio show on 970AM WGTK.  I will be talking about why you should not try to sell your home yourself.  The method most used to sell a home has changed in recent years. A higher share of sellers are relying on the expertise of real estate agents and brokers to sell their home, rather than trying other methods.  Here are a few statisics.

  • From 1991 to 2011 the share of home sellers who used a real estate agent or broker to sell their home increased from 77 percent to 87 percent.
  • Over the same time period, the share of sellers who sold their home as a FSBO (For-Sale-By-Owner) decreased from 19 percent to 10 percent.
  • Sellers use real estate professionals to help them sell their home in a reasonable timeframe, to market their home to potential buyers, and to price the home competitively.

Hope you tune in.  We are on the air every Saturday from 10-11AM.  WWW.970WGTK.COM


Upcoming Home Buyer Seminar!

Thinking about moving? Investing? Selling? Get insights into the current housing market and ask your questions to a panel of the industry's leading professionals. From start to finish, each step in the home buying process will be covered-from Financing to Closing and everything (and we mean EVERYTHING) in-between. Mark your calendars MARCH 8, 2014 from 10a-12:30p at UofL's Shelby Campus located near the Shelbyville rd. and Hurstbourne Ln intersection. Spaces are limited so reserve your spot today by calling 502-855-8998 or by email to


Home Buyer Seminar March 8, 2014


Part 1 of 2: Lender Series | Frequently Asked Financing Questions

Elizabeth Monarch Group, Louisville Realtors

As a Louisville KY Realtor, I have noticed there are a lot of questions regarding the financial aspect of purchasing a home -- especially from first time home buyers. So I have put my reporter cap on and interviewed two of Louisville's premier sources of homeowner financing, Barb Jeffries with Chase Bank and Nick Ellis with Benchmark Mortgage. During the interview I asked the questions that I get asked on a regular basis in the hopes that some of you readers at home have similar questions about how the financing aspect of buying a home really works. By interviewing two financing experts we get to compare the two types of providers, one representing general Bank Lending options and the other representing general Mortgage Broker options. The following information reported below is part one, which highlights the banker's perspective. 

What is the average credit score range (in your experience) for a first time home buyer in Louisville, KY?  

Scores range from 640 – 760 as far as First Time Homebuyers go.  We (Chase) can go down to a 620 credit score with as little as 5% down payment.

What is the minimum credit score that would more than likely get approved for a home loan? 

620 for Conventional and VA and 640 for FHA


Home of the Week: 8501 Whipps Mill Rd!

Louisville Home for sale: 8501 WHIPPS MILL RD LOUISVILLE, KY 40222This week’s Louisville Real Estate market showcase features a great cape cod on a corner lot right in the heart of Bellemeade.  This neighborhood sits in one of Lyndon’s more established neighborhoods and is just off Shelbyville Road, near the Lyndon Ln and Whipps Mill Rd intersection: 8501 Whipps Mill Rd. Louisville, KY 40222.

Location here is prime with easy access to schools, shopping, entertainment, dining and expressways! Here, you are less than 10 minutes from either Mall St. Matthews or Oxmoor Mall – two of the East End’s major shopping centers.  Don’t feel like cooking? Check out the local restaurant scene! There’s Bravo!, J. Alexander’s, BJ’s, Yang Kee Noodle, Chuy’s, Logans Roadhouse, Outback, BW3’s, Starbucks, Havana Rumba, J. Gumbo’s, Joes, Corner Café, Jade Palace, Mr. Gatti’s, Napa River Grill, Comfy Cow, Wild Eggs, Qdoba…the list could go on and on! There is also quite a selection of grocery stores: Kroger, Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market, Whole Foods, Trader Joes are just a few! With bowling alleys, movie theaters, cool places like Lazer Blaze, and the St. Matthews Batting Cages – you will never have to go far for something fun to do! Schools close by are Wilder Elementary, St. Margaret Mary’s, Crosby Middle, Kammerer Middle, Ballard High School, Eastern High School, Waggener High School, Trinity; there are plenty of options!

Home for sale in Louisville: 8501 WHIPPS MILL RD LOUISVILLE, KY 40222...

Real Estate Terms: What Do These Words Mean?

If you’ve ever bought or sold a piece of Real Estate, you know there are plenty of questions that you have to ask.  One question you may be thinking, but never ask is: “What does this word mean?” Real Estate “lingo” has evolved and expanded over the course of time. Agents are used to throwing around these terms from day to day and can sometimes overlook the consumer’s need for an explanation. Although the list goes on and on, here are a few terms that you should learn for your real estate transaction:

Amortization: The repayment of a mortgage loan by installments with regular payments to cover the principal and interest. Your Amortization Term is the amount of time required to pay the loan back.

Closing Costs: A fee or amount that a home buyer must pay at closing for a single service, tax, or product. Closing costs are made up of individual closing cost items such as origination fees and attorney's fees. Many closing cost items are included as numbered items on the HUD-1 statement.  Expenses (over and above the price of the property) incurred by buyers and sellers in transferring ownership of a property. Closing costs normally include an origination fee, an attorney's fee, taxes, an amount placed in escrow, and charges for obtaining title insurance and a survey. Closing costs percentage will vary according to the area of the country.

Closing Statement/HUD 1: The final statement of costs incurred to close on a loan or to purchase a home.

Earnest Money Deposit: A deposit made by the potential homebuyer to show that he or she is serious about purchasing the property.


A look at the 2013 Real Estate Market

The 2013 Real Estate Market is in full swing! If you haven’t heard the news, this year is shaping up to be the best year in real estate since the market fell in 2007-2008.

Here’s some brief insight on how the year is shaping up:

  1. Demand is up, supply is down. What does this mean? Home prices are rising! According the National Association of Realtors, the median home price is up 10.1% for an average of $180,600.  Since interest rates are still historically low, buyers are acting fast to purchase their dream home.
  2. Speaking of interest rates… 2012 was a great year for the home loan borrower, and 2013 won’t be too bad either. Although interest rates are forecasted to rise in the next year, the rates are still lower than we’ve seen in previous “hot” markets.  According to, rates are expected to fluctuate between 3.5% and 4%.
  3. We mentioned supply is down, and we mean way down.  The national listed inventory is down 22.5% from 2012.  Completed foreclosures have been decreasing for 16 straight months now.  With low interest rates and fast acting buyers, if you’ve considered selling your home you may want to act fast too!
  4. Even though foreclosures have slowed, they’re still in the works.  According to Corelogic, the overall number of distressed homes is down to about 2.3 million. Yes, the number is down but the reason is due to processing delays. Wonder why this is good news? Two words: Property Value.  A “pause” in foreclosed homes being purchased gives property value a chance to battle back. More good news for sellers!
  5. New Construction is on the Rise! And we mean that literally. New building permits for single-family homes and condominiums are 27% from last year. According to the Census Bureau, new home sales are up 15.3% since last year and the prices are rising quicker than existing homes.  If buyers can’t find the home...

Thinking About Purchasing A Second Home?

Are you thinking about purchasing a river or lake property?  Dreaming of that cabin on the lake? Prices are good and mortgage rates are low, so its a good time to be thinking about that vacation getaway.

According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), sales of investment and vacation homes jumped in 2011, with the combined marketshare rising to the highest level since 2005.

NAR’s 2012 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey, covering existing- and new-home transactions in 2011, showed vacation-home sales rose 7 percent to 502,000.

Here are some interesting numbers, according to the 2012 NAR survey:

• In 2011, 42 percent of vacation-home buyers paid in cash, and 39 percent purchased distressed properties.

• Vacation-home sales accounted for 11 percent of all transactions in 2011, up from 10 percent in 2010.

• The typical vacation-home buyer was 50 years old, with a median household income of $88,600.

• Purchased vacation homes were located a median of 305 miles from the buyer’s primary residence. Thirty-five percent of vacation homes were within 100 miles, and 37 percent were more than 500 miles.

• Typical buyers plan to own their recreational property for a median of 10 years.

So are you thinking of Rough River, Nolin Lake, Lake Cumberland or Barren River in Kentucky?  These are great places to purchase your second home. 


Should I Buy or Build?

If you’ve been contemplating recently whether or not you should build your next home or buy an existing one, you’re not alone. We are currently working with numerous buyers’ who are in the process of building their dream home and we’ve had to help them make the same decision. For most of them it was not an easy one!

According to Joe Pusateri, author of Building your Dream Home, here are some key questions to ask yourself before deciding you want to build a home:

  1. Do you have a hard time making decisions?

  2. Do I have a hard time sticking with the decisions I’ve made?

  3. Am I a perfectionist?

  4. Is my schedule already jam-packed that I don’t have time for everything I enjoy?

  5. Does uncertainty and lack of control add unwanted stress to my life?

  6. Am I disappointed easily?

  7. Do I handle conflict by looking for the win/win outcome?

  8. Am I realistic enough to realize that things aren’t always perfect?

  9. Do I have some available time for the next year?

  10. Is our family life stable enough to handle the additional activity?

Pusateri says that if you answered "no" to the first six question and "yes" to the last four, you are ready to build! Of course, there are no right or wrong answers when asking yourself these questions.  Just make sure you’re as honest in your answer as possible, and realize this is used only to help you make the best decision possible at this point in your life.


10 Things to Take the Stress out of Buying a Home

1. Find a real estate professional that relates to you. Home buying is not only a big financial commitment, but also an emotional one. It’s critical that the agent you choose is both skillful and the right match for your personality.


2. The “right” time to buy is now, IF you’ve found the “right” home. Don’t try and second-guess the current interest rates (why would you at these rates) or the housing market by waiting. Changes don’t usually occur overnight, or fast enough to make a notable difference in price. Plus, if it’s a truly good home it won’t be on the market long!


3. Be careful asking for too many opinions.  Just like any other buyer, you want reassurance on such a big decision. However, too many ideas from too many people will make your decision harder to make.


4. No house is completely perfect- know that going in. When buying a home it’s important to “choose your battles.” Decide what is most important to you let go of the minor issues.


5.  Don’t over negotiate on terms. It’s always our goal to get you the best deal possible on your home, but trying to “win” be getting an extra low price or too many provisional terms could end up costing you the home of your dreams.


6.  Make sure to check around the home. Don’t focus only on the home your buying and it’s features like room size, updates, and garage. Make sure you take into consideration things like noise level, commute, future plans for you and the area.


7. Get preapproved for a mortgage FIRST. Don’t make the mistake of falling in love with a home, or looking at countless homes you can’t end up affording. Talk to a lender before you start your search, that way you know...