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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.

How to Avoid Scary (and Pricey) Winter Home Repairs

Posted by Lauren Klein on October 31, 2016  /  in Pittsburgh, Sellers, Tips  /  Comments off

Happy Halloween! I hope you all are enjoying your day!

I thought I’d take this opportunity, as fall slips into its final weeks, to talk about some industry tips for winterizing your home. All of them are relatively simple, and keeping up on them can help you avoid some SCARY (as in potentially very expensive) house repairs.

I’ll just highlight a few things, but you can read a more detailed, complete list from HouseLogic  here.

OK, here we go:

  • Cover outdoor faucets. This is a super-easy and inexpensive (we’re talking $2 at the hardware store!) step that goes a long way in preventing your pipes from freezing. Frozen pipes can mean burst pipes, which can mean water, well, everywhere. And that’s never good. Take a few minutes and a few bucks to protect yourself from that situation.
  • Remove icicles immediately. Icicles on your roof or gutters can indicate ice dams — places where water backs up and isn’t able to flow and drain properly. Not removing ice dams, and not investigating the REASON they’re happening in the first place, can lead to spendy roof repairs.
  • Clean those gutters. If you’ve ever noticed water pouring over the side of a gutter, it’s a sign that the gutter is clogged and needs to be cleaned. Those ill-placed waterfalls can allow water to pool near the foundation and cause problems over time.
  • Seal the cracks that let cold air in. A good pro-tip is to look for visible cracks around windowsills, doorframes and dryer vents. You can do it yourself, or a handyman can help you out.
  • Service the furnace. Be sure you keep up on regular service dates, and also don’t forget to replace filters when they’re due. These little things can go a long way in extending the life of your furnace, which can cost around $4,000 to replace.

Please remember that I’m always here to help, and my network of home contractors in Pittsburgh is pretty extensive. Don’t hesitate to ask if you ever need help in that arena. Hopefully this advice I’ve shared is helpful, and perhaps it will make it so that the SCARIEST things you encounter at your home this fall/winter are the spooky Trick-or-Treaters at the door tonight!

trick-or-treat-ghost

The Seller’s Dilemna

Posted by Lauren Klein on October 11, 2016  /  in Sellers, Tips  /  Comments off

We’ve done it!  The home we’ve listed to sell has found a buyer!  Of course, your buyer’s lender wants an appraisal… fingers crossed?

The appraisal process can be confusing and stressful, but having your home priced according to market conditions, updates, square footage and over all property condition are a good start. When you are under agreement & the buyer makes application the appraisal will be ordered by the lender. The appraisal is ordered through a lottery system and is accepted and completed typically with 10 days to 2 weeks of the appraisal order. If there are any value issues or “conditions” to the appraisal we will be notified by the lender.

HERE ARE SOME TIPS TO MAKE SURE YOU ARE READY FOR APPRAISAL

SQUEEKY CLEAN

squeaky-clean

Prepare as if it were a showing for the first time. Organize the garage (doesn’t need to be spotless, just tidy); vacuum carpets, clean floors, wash the windows & have bathrooms & kitchen in tip top shape. Make the beds & put away miscellaneous clutter. On the exterior, have the lawn mowed or sidewalk shoveled; replace old mulch & trim the shrubs. The cleaner & fresher your home appears on the inside and out the more value it has to the appraiser. You’ll also want to make sure the appraiser has easy access to the electrical panel, attic & mechanicals – don’t hesitate to leave a note behind with any special instructions or information about your home.

UPDATES ARE GREAT

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Updating your home, even with a fresh coat of paint and some modern lighting go a long way. Hopefully, we’ve covered all of this during our listing appointment & by recommendations I’ve made to you along the way. New kitchens, appliances, bathrooms, flooring are more expensive but can really make an impact on the value of your home. These items are taken into consideration along with square footage, age & the area in which you live.

IF IT’S BROKE, FIX IT

fixing-faucet

If you’ve noticed in the last weeks, months or years that something needs fixed or tuned up, please have it done before the appraisal. Leaky faucets, broken cabinetry, chipping paint, dirty furnace or rusty hot water tanks are just an example. If you get anything serviced or repaired prior to listing or appraisal, please hang on to those invoices – your buyers will appreciate it & so will the appraiser.

ASK ME FOR AN UPDATED MARKET ANALYSIS

market-analysis

I’m always cautiously optimistic when it comes to appraisals. Despite the research and the improvements you’ve made to your home appraisals can be tough. I try my best to give you an accurate pricing forecast for your home, but the appraisers use formulas, comps and their own subjective opinion when it comes to the value of your home. If we are on the fence about value, ask me for an updated market analysis & we can review together.

As always, my goal is to provide you with the most up to date information on the market and make the home selling process as stress free as possible. By preparing you in advance and letting you know the market conditions & the expectations of the appraiser I’m hoping the process will be a little less frantic. I’m always available for any questions or concerns.

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!

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3865 Reed Boulevard
Murrysville, PA 15668
(724) 327-0123

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