The Monarch Group Real Estate Blog

The Monarch Group Real Estate Blog

Featured Listing - Wolfpen Woods

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

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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 Claire@ElizabethMonarchGroup.com

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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.

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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

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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 HomeBuyerSeminarLouisville@Gmail.com

 

Home Buyer Seminar March 8, 2014

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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.

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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 Bankrate.com, 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...

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. 

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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.

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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...

Louisville Ranks Number 3 on Best Places to Retire in 2012

Louisville Ranked #3 in “25 Best Places to Retire”

We “Louisvillians” love our city, and we are reminded everyday that Louisville is a great place to live. But now, we aren’t the only ones recognizing what Louisville has to offer. Recently, CNN.com named Louisville its number three Best Place to Retire in 2012.

As residents of Louisville, we are well aware of things like the Kentucky Derby and Thunder Over Louisville. Such events the article lists are now things we may take for granted; but to a newly relocated family these are events they could only watch on TV.

The abundance of walking and biking trails, along with countless parks helps make Louisville a “friendlier” city.  Some of us like to say “It’s a big city with a small town feel”, meaning there’s countless of things to do but the sense of community is still strong. Louisville also provides a variety of performing art venues, such as the local Broadway shows and Louisville Ballet.

The CNN article states Louisville is an affordable city, with the median home price being $116,000.00 and the top sales tax of 6%.  If you or anyone you know is thinking of retiring in the Louisville area contact us if you have any questions! We love helping people learn about our great city!

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Getting Your Home Through the Winter



The winter always brings some of the prettiest weather scenes to our area, but that beautiful winter wonderland can come with a price: your home’s well being. There are several things you can do to help keep your home looking and feeling good throughout the winter months. Here’s a few:

1. Give your furnace a “Check Up”. Call an HVAC professional and have then inspect your furnace and clean the ducts. Also, make sure to stock up on furnace filters and change them out on a monthly basis.
2. Check the exterior, doors, and the windows. Heating bills can be through the roof in winter months. First make sure to replace any cracked glass in the windows. Then caulk the windows, and use weatherstripping around the doors to prevent unwanted cold air from entering.
3. If you have a fireplace, be prepared. The last thing you need is birds and rodents getting moving in for the winter. Place a cap or screen at the top of the chimney to keep out unwanted house guests! Purchase chop wood or firewood and store it away from the outside of your home.
4. Inspect the gutters and roof.  Look for worn shingles or titles, and check the flashing to ensure water can’t enter your home. Consider additional insulation in your attic to prevent cold air from hitting your roof and causing ice. If you didn’t install leaf guards during the fall months, make sure to clean the gutters of any debris.
5. Prepare your landscaping and exterior. If you have trees, be sure to trim the branches that hang too close to the house or electric wires. Louisville has had it’s fair share of ice storms, and trees can cause a large amount of damage. Seal your driveway and your patio too.
6. Prevent your plumbing from freezing. Insulate any exposed plumbing pipes, and drain the air conditioning pipes. If your AC has a water shut-off valve, turn it off. If you leave for vacation during the winter months, make sure to leave the heat...

5 Tips on Buying a Foreclosed Home

5 tips to buying a foreclosed home:

In today’s market we have a large inventory of foreclosed homes to choose from. Many times these homes will offer great financial return in the future, but other times they will not. It’s best to do all your research before purchasing a foreclosed home, and using these 5 tips will help you get started!

  1. Find an agent who knows foreclosures. The more of these foreclosed deals an agent has done, the better familiarized they are with the intricate details that go along with submitting an offer (e.i must be in blue ink). 
  2. Get pre-approved for a mortgage or get your “proof of funds” ready. If you’re getting a loan to purchase the home, make sure you have your documentation from your lender. Often times you are required to submit lender and loan information with your offer. If you’re paying cash, you must show the funds are ready and available.
  3. Know how long it takes. These homes DO NOT close quickly (especially if you’re getting a loan). Be ready to sit and wait. These homes must go through processor after processor and checklist after checklist before they even talk about closing the home. If you’re in a hurry, don’t bother. These homes can take up to 90 days to close, if not longer.
  4. Make sure you know the value. Have your experienced agent pull comps and breakdown the numbers for you. Look at the value of the homes around it, take into consideration if the home needs an work to be done, and figure out what type of return you’re really getting. At times, you might just be getting a cheaper home. 
  5. Remember, these homes are sold “as-is”. If you did your research in Tip 4, you’ll know how much work you will need to put into the home, and you need to know that the seller (aka bank or government) will not be doing any of...

Things to Know Before Selling Your Home

We think it’s safe to say that when selling a home, there’s a chance you’ll run into some bumps along the way.  There are normal complications that can be avoided with an experienced agent, but no agent has seen it all!  Before you decide to list your home, make sure you’re aware of the common problems people face when they try to sell:

The home doesn’t appraise.

  • If a buyer plans to buy your home with borrowed money, be prepared to go through the appraisal process. Be extra prepared to lower your price if the sales price comes back too high.
  • How to avoid this? Hire an honest agent who gives your the real numbers, not the highest ones. An agent who is experienced knows the process well, and knows you will most likely have to face an appraiser.

The home comes with a “past”.

  • And we aren’t talking about age. A title search will be preformed when someone tries to purchase your home which will provide any liens, missing permits, or other blemishes that can halt a deal.
  • How to avoid this? Hopefully you bought title insurance when you originally bought the home, which will fight off any claims to the home that aren’t yours. If you didn’t, make sure your proactive in clearing any title issues with the closing attorney/title company.

 The home needs work.

  • We mean major work. Since the inventory of homes for sale is larger than we’ve seen in recent history, buyer’s have more to choose from. This means buyer’s have a better chance of finding a home that’s “move-in ready”  AND priced to sell. Not to mention that some loans require repairs be made to the home, and it they are not...

Quick Tips: Getting Through the Appraisal

If you've sold your home or tried to sell your home in recent years, you know one of the most challenging obstacles during the process is the appraisal.

Here's what you need to know: They don't have to be an obstacle!

Now, here's what you can do:

1. If you really want an exact number, hire an appraiser.

*Important Tip: Make sure they are local! Some appraisers travel from long distances, you want someone who knows your area.

2. Hire a Real Estate Agent to complete and in-depth Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)

*Important Tip: Hire someone who is honest and someone you trust. You don't want to hire an agent just because they are giving you the highest numbers for you home. The highest numbers aren't always the right ones.

3. Have Realistic Expectations.

*Important Tip: Try and become as emotionally detached to the value as you can. We know, no one loves your home more than you, and rightfully so. You've put alot of hard work and memories into the place! However, appraisers don't include those factors when deciding their appraisal.

4. Make your home look as good as possible.

*Important Tip: This is like your home's job interview, so "dress to impress!" Just as you would clean up for your big interview, clean your home up and make it stand out!

5. Don't use automated website values

*Important Tip: Real Estate Websites now feature "Automated Values" and are not a reliable form of information. Even though you might start there, don't end there. Make sure to do further research!

 

If you are interested in finding out what your home is worth, contact us for a free CMA!

 

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How to Avoid Buying a 'Money Pit'

Buying a home is one of the most exciting times in a person’s life. But it can also be a the most nerve racking. How do you know the home you’re buying truly is a good investment?

Here’s how you avoid buying a “Money Pit”

Always make sure to check the quality of the construction of the home, especially in areas that matter most. The structural stability of the home is always the most important feature.
Check for a basement, and if the home has one, take an in-depth look. The basement is the most revealing part of a home, allowing you to see the plumbing, heating and air conditioning, and construction quality and materials. You’re standing in the foundation of the home!
Examine the foundation. Don’t worry about calling in a structural engineer, just look for a few warning signs in and around the home. Such as, are there large trees close to the homes exterior? If so, the roots can grow towards the home and cause the foundation to become weak or crack. Also, check floors and dry wall for cracks.
Look long and hard for water damage. Some of the most costly damage that can happen to a home comes from water leaks. Be sure to find if any exist. Check the bathrooms and kitchen, but also check around windows and other seals to see if storm water is leaking through.
Don’t forget to check cosmetics. They may seem like quick fixes or things you can look over, but unless your budget calls for a major face lift you will eventually find yourself in a money pit.

Having a good real estate agent helps avoid the stress of investing your money in the wrong home. We are here to help you seek out these answers and make sure you’re getting the best home possible, for the best price possible.

Contact the Elizabeth Monarch Group for more information.

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What Roof is Best for You?

Picking the right roof for your home is important, especially after the storm damage several Louisvillians experienced this year. After a few treacherous storms rolled through the Louisville area, many home owners were faced with the question: which roof is best for our home?

Home owners and potential home buyers know the importance of choosing the right roof for their home. When considering your roof options make sure to ask yourself these questions:
1.How long will it last?
2.What types of Natural Disasters occur in your area, and will this roof hold up against them?
3.How much does the potential roof weigh and does your existing roof frame support the new weight?
4.How eco friendly is this roof?
5.Are there any neighborhood or local building codes that prohibit this sort of roof.
6.How good will the roof look on the home?
7.Last but not least, how much does it cost?

Today there are more roofing options available than ever before and while that is a good thing, it can also make your decision making process more complicated.  The types of roofs available now are:
Asphalt Shingles
Metal
Plastic Polymer
Clay Tile
Concrete Tile
Wood
Slate

The Slate roof option is the most expensive and requires a special installation. The Asphalt Shingles are the cheapest option, but are not very durable.

Make sure when choosing your roof you pick something that has good wind resistance and a high fire rating. Also make sure to check during installation if there is anything that can be done to raise those ratings even higher.

In the end, picking the right roof for your home comes down to what your willing to spend and what’s the most important thing to you. However, always be sure to check warranty information! Whether you pick the most expensive roof or not, you want to make sure that regardless of what happens you have coverage.  

For further...

Old Louisville Charm, but with Updated Features!

 

Old Louisville Buyers: Are you Ready to Have Your Cake and Eat it Too?? Take a look at this rare opportunity to own a large historic home in the heart of Old Louisville, with all the updates of a newer home!

This charming brick home features gorgeous hardwood floors, four decorative fireplaces, high ceilings and a brand new deck! Move-in-Condition! You will smile upon entering the front yard and porch that offers nice landscaping and rod iron fence. The lovely foyer area greets you upon entrance. Entertain in the spacious living and dining room that features beautiful Old Louisville details. The second floors offers a fabulous update bathroom and four bedrooms, with one having entrance onto the new two tier deck. Dont forget about the extra storage in the attic area and the adorable backyard court area. This home is a must see!

 

What's the best part?? How about the recently reduced price of $220,000! You won't find a better home in this location! Contact the Elizabeth Monarch Group Today for more information.

 


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