The Monarch Group Real Estate Blog

Quick Tips

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.


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.


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...

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...

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...

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!