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Your Dream, My Mission

Posted by Lauren Klein on May 24, 2017  /  in Buyers, News, Sellers, Trends  /  Comments off

 

I’m pleased to kick off my Spring/Summer marketing campaign. Thanks, as always, to Rapid Pulse Marketing for the fantastic work they do with my social media, print and video marketing. They are first class! And speaking of first class, I think the key to being a first class Realtor is making sure that all of my clients, buyers and sellers alike, feel they are being treated that way.

Buying or selling a home is a deeply personal and emotionally involved transaction. It represents the end of a chapter and the beginning of a new one for many people. My job… my mission… is to take that personal connection and emotional energy and guide you through what can and should be one of the most exciting times of your life. It’s Your Dream… and My Mission.

Home-buying regrets (and how to hopefully avoid them!)

Posted by Lauren Klein on March 13, 2017  /  in Buyers, Home Buying Tips, Pittsburgh, Tips  /  Comments off

Happy March, everyone! Here we are in the last month of the first quarter of 2017; can you even believe it?

TrAs we all chug along with our busy lives, I thought I’d take a moment to share some interesting research  that was recently conducted and published by NerdWallet regarding home buying — more specifically, the regrets some buyers feel and why. I thought this research was interesting because the results are broken out by the generations of survey respondents: Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. As my clientele spans all three generations, it was interesting to see how responses varied.

Of course I hate to hear of any homebuyer feeling regrets, but it does happen (although I hope not to any of my clients!). The most common regrets found in this survey center on the process of applying for and securing a mortgage. I know what a stressful beast this can be; but I believe with my whole heart that it doesn’t have to be, at least not horribly so. My two best pieces of advice for buyers before they start down the path of purchasing a home are:

  1. Know your financial picture. Understand your debt-to-income ratio, know where all your paperwork is (pay stubs, W-2s, etc.), and decide what your limits are when it comes to making a home purchase. Your limits will be based on your financial security and comfort, and they’re different for everyone. Stick to them.
  2. Find allies you trust. Buying and financing a home is a complex undertaking. Don’t do it alone. Hire a real estate agent that you trust to guide you through the process; one you know will be available to answer all your questions. In addition to a good agent, you’ll need a good mortgage broker, too. As they say, you don’t know what you don’t know. You should be able to rely on your agent and your mortgage broker to give you all the information you need to make a sound home-buying decision that you won’t regret. So do your research and surround yourself with people who will be your trusted allies.

As any of my current and former clients know, I’m on your side. I will work hard to answer all your questions, calm your worries and guide you through your home purchase. I will also work to connect you with more allies, including excellent mortgage brokers. My goal is always to help my clients feel confident and happy with their decision, from the beginning of the home search to the closing table. You don’t want regrets and I don’t want you to have them, either!

If you’re considering purchasing a home, whether it’s your first time or not, I’d recommend you read the NerdWallet report. It’s helpful to learn from others’ regrets. After all, what are mistakes for if not to learn from them! Arm yourself with as much information as you can from the beginning. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

And of course, if you need an ally in Pittsburgh…I’d love to help!

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Guest post: So much to be thankful for

Posted by Lauren Klein on November 23, 2016  /  in Buyers, Testimonials  /  Comments off

Have I ever told you how grateful I am for all of my clients? Not only do they trust me to guide them through the major financial transaction of buying or selling real estate, they also allow me into a very special snapshot of their lives. I love that; it never gets old. This guest post is by Sara Smith who along with her husband, Ryan, purchased a home with me this fall. Thank you for sharing your experience, Sara! And to everyone, I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

My husband and I are native Pittsburghers. We love so many things about this city: the diversity of activities it offers; its relatively small, quaint size; and the robust public-transit options it has. We knew this was where we wanted to set down our roots with the purchase of our first home.

What we didn’t know, however, was how to get started. We had spent many months looking at homes online, poring over tons of pictures and deciding together what it was we were looking for in a home. Turns out, we’re very particular! With what seemed like a daunting task ahead of us, we saw Lauren’s name on a for-sale sign in a yard and called her. That’s the first thing — on a list of many — for which I’m grateful!

From the beginning, Lauren was kind and reassuring. She helped us focus. She advised us to get pre-qualified and referred us to a banker that she knows. He treated us very well and got us one step closer than we were before.

With our pre-qualification in hand, it was time to start searching with Lauren. Three days before we started the search, my husband and I were spending some time with my young nephews. One of them drew a picture of our future “dream home.” It was complete with Ryan and I in the driveway along with our two dogs, Franklin and Odin. We loved his drawing, but at the time had no idea how much it actually predicted the future!

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As it happens, the first house Lauren showed us was the one we ended up buying. She was also the listing agent for it, and we were the first and only people to whom she showed the house. She just knew that we would love it, and we certainly did. From the moment we walked in the door, it felt like home. It had been well maintained and updated, and it even had a sound-proof room in the basement that the seller used as a music studio. One of the things on Ryan’s wish list, though I don’t think he ever actually thought we’d find it, was a music studio! It felt like it was all meant to be.

With Lauren’s help, we navigated the closing process and got the keys to our Monroeville home on Sept. 19. It was a perfect gift to us both to celebrate our first wedding anniversary, which had been on Aug. 1!

After we moved our things into our new home, my nephew’s drawing resurfaced. We looked at it again…and were floored. He had drawn our home!

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We are hugely grateful to Lauren. She did so much more than “help” us. She joined us at a critical time in our lives, giving reassurance and sound advice. In the end, she made our dream come true. We’re so excited to celebrate our first of many Thanksgivings together in our beautiful home.

Thank you, Lauren!

Fall is for Buyers!

Posted by Lauren Klein on October 05, 2016  /  in Buyers, Home Buying Tips, Sellers, Trends  /  Comments off

Fall is officially here and its beauty all around us is undeniable. Brilliantly colored leaves, crisp air and of course, in this town, football! But with the change in weather comes another change for real estate — one of which you may not be aware. While summer is typically a seller’s market, the entrance of fall shifts the market more in favor of buyers. And if you’re searching for your dream home, that’s great news!

A buyer’s market means you, as a buyer, are in a better position for negotiating and getting a great price on a home. There are a few reasons for this but chief among them is that by the time fall rolls around, families with school-age children need to be settled in new homes before the school bell rings for the first time. That means that a significant portion of potential buyers in the market, possibly even buyers you were competing against if you were also searching in the summer, drop off the radar. This decreases competition for inventory and can also increase a seller’s willingness to negotiate.

If you’re considering searching for your dream home — and you’re not governed by the school calendar — I’d recommend you pick up a pumpkin-spiced something-or-other from your local coffee shop and see what the fall real estate market has to offer! I would love to show you around our great city of Pittsburgh and see if we can find you exactly what you’re searching for.

Another thing worth noting about the fall season for real estate is that it’s a great time to purchase a vacation home, if you’re in the market. Purchasing now leaves plenty of time to get the home ready by spring, and also allows you to check out what the new locale has to offer in fall and winter.

As always, please don’t hesitate to let me know if I can help you in your real estate journey. I wish you a very happy fall!

When the best REALLY IS the best

Posted by Chris Klein on September 19, 2016  /  in Blog, Buyers, Sellers, Testimonials  /  Comments off

Lauren’s talent and dedication to her clients constantly amaze me. Her reviews are always such a pleasure to read, and this one was too good not to share. I thought I’d turn it into a guest post for the blog. I want to thank Jason for taking the time to share his kind words for Lauren; they mean a lot to us.

When the best REALLY IS the best

By Jason Beattie

At the beginning of this year, my wife, Alicia, and I knew that we had some big real estate transactions in our near future. Our 5-year-old son, Mason, is an active guy, and we were quickly outgrowing our first home. On top of that, kindergarten was coming up in the fall. Our dream was to be in the Plum School District because of the fantastic schools for Mason, so we decided we’d start looking for a great real estate agent who could help us sell our Pittsburgh home and buy a new one within our limited timeframe.

We found Lauren on Zillow, where she came up as a preferred agent. Looking at all her reviews and numbers, it was clear that she was the best choice. But I was leery. Sometimes working with the best really isn’t the best; I worried she’d be so busy with all her clients that she wouldn’t have time to give us the guidance and support we knew we’d need.

I can say unequivocally that all those reservations disappeared after our initial interview with Lauren. She was so prepared, knowledgeable and approachable, we knew she’d be our agent even before the meeting was over. We hired her, and it was the best decision we could have possibly made.

The first step was to sell our house. Lauren was brilliant and fair in her advice, telling us exactly what our house was worth and at which price point it would not only sell, but sell quickly. She could not have been more spot-on, and our house sold in five days. It was unbelievable.

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From there we had to find our new home. The fourth house we looked at with Lauren was the one we fell in love with. From the moment we walked through the door, we knew it was where we were meant to be. But putting the deal together proved difficult, and had it not been for Lauren’s impressive knowledge, consummate professionalism and unwavering dedication, we would have lost our dream home.

The difficulties began when our home inspector (a top-notch referral from Lauren) found several major system repairs that the home needed in order to be a safe place for our family. The seller was cash-strapped and unable to make the repairs that we knew we needed. Their agent floundered, and the deal began to unravel. In came Lauren with her broad network of certified contractors, who agreed to make the repairs to the home and allow the sellers to pay them after the sale of the home. It was a win for everyone, and the deal went through. We were in our beautiful, safe home by May, giving us plenty of time to get settled and get Mason ready for kindergarten at a stellar school in the Plum School District.

For everything that Lauren did for us, we are forever grateful. I cannot possibly say enough about her endless knowledge, her professional connections, her kind demeanor and her never-ending responsiveness. She answered every question we had within minutes of receiving it; I’m not kidding. In my own job as a corporate banker, responsiveness to clients is of the utmost importance. I hold myself to the highest standards in that regard, and even according to my own standards Lauren put me to shame! She was truly amazing.

There is a reason Lauren has a reputation as the best, and frankly…it’s because she is. In her we found not only an irreplaceable real estate agent, we also found a friend. Someone we will remember and refer our closest friends and family to any time they need real estate guidance. When we have our housewarming party, she’ll be on the invite list! Thank you so much, Lauren!

 

 

Changes to TRID: What it means for you

Posted by Chris Klein on September 05, 2016  /  in Buyers, News, Sellers, Tips, TRID  /  Comments off

Beneficial TRID Changes

I know how daunting and complicated the real estate world can seem to those who don’t live and breathe it every single day. My greatest focus as an agent is to provide clarity and guidance to all of my clients on their real estate journey. The last thing I want you to feel is overwhelmed or confused — or both!

As a buyer or seller, you don’t necessarily need to be up on all the latest changes in the real estate industry. That’s my job. But sometimes it can be helpful to have a cursory understanding of the rules and regulations that shape your experience as a real estate consumer. In that spirit, I want to let you know of some recent developments.

In June, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) sent a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in which they outlined three proposed changes to the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule, which is commonly known as TRID or “Know Before You Owe.” The intent of TRID is to protect and educate consumers before they borrow money to purchase a home. The CFPB enacted TRID in October, and in April announced that it would be drafting new language to clarify the rule.

If you’re interested in reading all the nitty-gritty details about the NAR’s letter, you can do so here. But for this blogpost, I just want to share with you how these changes would affect you as a buyer or seller.

One of the biggest impacts to come from TRID was a change in how (or if) real estate agents were given access to the Closing Disclosure form prior to their clients closing on a real estate transaction. In the past, agents were granted access to these forms and it allowed us to review them for accuracy and to explain them to our clients. Since TRID went into effect, the industry has seen an increased number of errors on these forms. Not to mention a decreased ability to help our clients understand the forms they sign when they sit at the closing table.

For me, this is a problem. I want to make sure the details of your real estate transaction are correctly reflected in your official documents, and I want to be able to answer any questions you might have about those documents. After all, a real estate transaction is a big deal!

On July 29, CFPB’s response to NAR’s letter implemented these beneficial changes. You can read more about this here. I’d be happy to discuss this — or any other real-estate-related question — with you. Just let me know. As always, I’m here to help.

The real estate market is strong in Pittsburgh!

Posted by Lauren Klein on September 02, 2016  /  in Blog, Buyers, News, Pittsburgh, Sellers, Trends  /  Comments off

As we head towards the fall of 2016 — and launch our brand-new website and blog — I’m finding it’s a perfect time to reflect on the strength of this Pittsburgh real estate market. Pittsburgh Property Diva is having a great year so far, and it’s on the heels of several great years already in the books.

Last year, we closed 94 real estate transactions and generated more than $17 million in sales volume. From high-end condos in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh to starter family homes in the suburbs, I helped clients buy and sell homes all over Pittsburgh in 2015. It was a fantastic year, built on the momentum from 2014 when we generated $14 million in sales volume.

I’m so excited to see our numbers go up each year, because it means I get to help even more people through the emotional and often complicated real estate world. There’s nothing I love more than meeting people and building relationships. I have a true passion for this industry, too, and being able to combine those two loves is such a blessing for me.

As always, I have my wonderful clients to thank. You trust me to guide you through what is likely the largest financial transaction of your life, and I am honored to give you my expertise and advice throughout the entire buying and/or selling process. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for the past two (and more!) amazing years in the real estate industry. I look forward to many more!

Pittsburgh is one of America’s most livable cities

Posted by Lauren Klein on August 31, 2016  /  in Awards, Blog, Buyers, News, Pittsburgh, Trends  /  Comments off

You know, I’m a Pittsburgh native and I love this place. It’s really a great city to call home. But you don’t have to just take my word for it.

Pittsburgh consistently ranks on numerous lists and surveys of America’s top cities. Our economy is a big reason: the job market is strong and the housing is affordable. Check out this 2015 story from Money magazine, which named Pittsburgh the No. 1 city to live in the Northeast. That’s a pretty awesome title, considering the other great cities that are also here in the Northeast.

And in 2014, The Economist ranked Pittsburgh the most livable city in the continental United States. We scored high for stability, health care, culture and environment, education and infrastructure. Read more about it here.

You can also learn more about Pittsburgh on the About Pittsburgh page on Pittsburgh Property Diva’s new website. We’ve compiled some great information there, covering topics from schools to entertainment. And of course, I’d love to be a resource for you. I can tell you much more about my home city as I take you around to look for your perfect new home. Please get in touch if you’re considering or planning on a move to Pittsburgh!

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3865 Reed Boulevard
Murrysville, PA 15668
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