Personal. Professional. Service.
Professional Real Estate Experience
Lauren is ranked as a top agent in the #1 Howard Hanna Mt. Lebanon Office, a Howard Hanna's Best of the Best Agent and she is in the Top 5% Nationwide as a Realtor. Lauren is also rated as a 5-Star Realtor on Zillow.com. She is a Full Time-Full Service Realtor, with several specialized designations.
Residential Relocation Specialist (RRS)
Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE)
Tips for Buyers: 5 Home-Buying Mistakes to Avoid
Buying a home can be exciting, but you don't want to rush into it. Making simple errors while going about the home-buying process can cause a lot of stress - both emotional and financial - for years to come. So, take some time to educate yourself about the common mistakes homebuyers make and your own home-buying experience will more likely be successful and exciting.
Don’t borrow more than you can comfortably afford. For example, don’t get a 15-year mortgage with high monthly payments when a 30-year mortgage will give you more wiggle room. Otherwise, you’ll be strapped for money and unable to save as much as you want. A rule of thumb: Total monthly debts, including your mortgage, should not exceed 43% of your total pretax income.
To figure out if you are getting a good deal, do a comparable market analysis. Figure in other costs, such as agent costs, escrow fees, title and homeowners insurance, property taxes, legal costs, notary fees and
Shop around for the best rate. Don’t go with the first one a bank offers you. A mortgage broker can help with this process, but you can also shop around on your own.
Just because you’ve been pre-approved doesn’t absolutely mean the mortgage is yours. If your financial situation is called into question during the underwriting process, your lender can refuse to give you the loan. That includes taking out new loans after being pre-approved or switching jobs. They will run your credit, bank and income statements again, so be prepared to answer any questions about discrepancies they might find.
Your new house doesn’t exist in a vacuum. If you don’t like the block or the town where the house is located, you’re asking for trouble. You won’t be happy there and you’ll have a hard time reselling the property if the neighborhood isn’t good.
Do your research by visiting the area during different times of the day and week. Observe what the neighborhood is like after dark and on weekends. Notice if your street is congested during rush hour. Are the neighbors noisy? Are these the kind of kids you want your children to befriend? Ask yourself if the standard of living most closely represents yours.
Don’t skimp on home inspections when buying a house, even if it adds to the cost. Hire a certified inspector who will thoroughly check the electrical and plumbing systems, heating and air conditioning, roof and walls, foundation and structure, drainage, garage and basement.
You should also inspect your potential property for radon, asbestos, mold, lead, insects and pests.
Tips for Sellers: Get the House Ready
A house that "sparkles" on the surface will sell faster than its shabby neighbor, even though both are structurally well-maintained.
A "well-polished" house appeals to more buyers and will sell faster and for a higher price. Additionally, buyers feel more comfortable purchasing a well-cared for home because if what they can see is maintained, what they can't see has probably also been maintained. In readying your house for sale, consider:
How much should you spend
In preparing your home for the market, spend as little money as possible. Buyers will be impressed by a brand new roof, but they aren't likely to give you enough extra money to pay for it. There is a big difference between making minor and inexpensive "polishes" and "touch-ups" to your house, such as putting new knobs on cabinets and a fresh coat of neutral paint in the living room, and doing extensive and costly renovations, like installing a new kitchen. Your REALTOR®, who is familiar with buyers' expectations in your neighborhood, can advise you specifically on what improvements need to be made. Don't hesitate to ask for advice.
Maximizing exterior and curb appeal
Before putting your house on the market, take as much time as necessary (and as little money as possible) to maximize its exterior and interior appeal. Tips to enhance your home’s exterior and curb appeal:
Maximizing interior appeal
Enhance your home’s interior by: