The Monarch Group Real Estate Blog

The Monarch Group Real Estate Blog

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...

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...

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...

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.  

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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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July 2012 Proves Stronger than July 2011

Are you ready for some good news? I hope so, because here it is! The sales numbers are in for July 2012 and show improvement compared to July 2011.

There were 1,196 homes sold in the Louisville Area last month, which is up from 1,048 in July 2011. An increase of 148 homes may seem small to some but any increase is worth taking after recent years. Homes always sold quicker in July 2012 compared to July 2011 with an average of 80 days on the market, down four days from the previous year.

Although July 2012 saw more sales in a shorter amount of days, prices did take a hit. In July 2011 the average sales price was $179,612 with a median sales price of $145,000. Those numbers fell in July 2012 to an average sales price of $177,871 with a median sales price of $144,500.

For a more in-depth look at the housing market in Louisville, contact the Elizabeth Monarch Group for a free market analysis.

 

*Kentucky Housing Statistics provided by the Kentucky Association of Realtors*

These statistics should represent residential sales of houses, condos and townhomes in your board area.
For this report, please use statistics for single-family residential sales only. Do not include lots or
commercial properties.

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Brooks of Hickory Hollow-10810 Silvermoon Court

The Elizabeth Monarch Group's new listing pratically sells itself! As the best deal in Brooks of Hickory Hollow, 10810 Silvermoon Court is sure to please any prospective buyer looking for the best home for their buck. If living near one of the best shopping centers in Louisville (The Summit), as well as a variety of restaurants and parks is a priority on your "home wish list"... Keep reading!

 How does a large open floor plan, with an abundance of natural light shining throughout your home sound? What about a eat-in kitchen with vaulted ceilings, and plenty of cabinet space? If you like what you hear, then you'll love finding out this home is over 1,500 square feet with three bedrooms and two full baths. Need storage space? This home has that too, and we're not just talking about the Master Suite's large walk-in closet! With a two car garage, equipped with pull down attic storage, you're bound to never run out of space!

This home sits on almost a quarter of an acre lot, which provides plenty of breathing room in this neighrborhood. Enjoy Louisville's mild Spring and Autumn seasons on your covered front porch, or have a barbeque on your back patio overlooking your large back yard. You'll love having your friends and family over to entertain!

 

10180 Silvermoon Court- at a great price, in great condition, in an excellent location- this home won't be for sale long! Make sure to schedule your private showing today!

 

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Tips to Save Energy and Add Value

When it comes to energy efficiency, look for smart features and expertise to help you save energy and money and add value to your home.

1. Begin with a Right-Sized Home.

If the home you buy is simply too large for you or your family’s needs or plans, you stand a good chance of wasting energy through excessive heating and cooling costs. If it’s too small, you’ll feel cramped and uncomfortable. It’s a big investment, so seek balance and buy it “right” from the outset. 

2. Purchase Energy Star Appliances Such as Your TV, Dishwasher, Washer and Dryer, and Microwave.

And especially the refrigerator, as it alone contributes about 10 percent of the energy use in a home. Also, unplug electronics not in use or turn off power strips to avoid phantom charges. 

3. Install Efficient Lighting Such as Compact Flourescent (CLF) or LED Bulbs in Every Fixture.

Lighting accounts for about 6 percent of an energy bill each year.

4. Get an Energy Audit and Have Tests Performed to Identify Ways of Improving Your Efficiency.

You can always upgrade your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system as well as your  thermal envelope, which includes insulation, windows, and doors  and the seals or weather stripping around them. Visit energy.gov/energytips for more tips.

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