Lauren Coulter
CNE®, RRS®

Extraordinary Service, Extraordinary Results

Mt. Lebanon Office, PA
701 Washington Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15228
(412) 561-7400

Personal. Professional. Service.

Just like a home, every client is unique and deserves personal attention and service. Whether you are buying or selling, Lauren's expertise paired with her client centered approach sets her apart from the rest.

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)


Specialties

Custom Home
Dream Home
Executive Home
First Time Buyers
Luxury Homes
Move-Up Home
New Construction
New Home
Quality Home
Relocation
Residential

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.

1. Going Over Budget

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

2. Not Loan Shopping

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.

3. Banking on Pre-Approval

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.

4. Only Loving the House

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.

5. Ignoring Inspections

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
  • exterior and curb appeal
  • preparing the interior

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:

  • Keep the lawn edged, cut and watered regularly.
  • Trim hedges, weed lawns and flowerbeds, and prune trees regularly.
  • Check the foundation, steps, walkways, walls and patios for cracks and crumbling.
  • Inspect doors and windows for peeling paint.
  • Clean and align gutters.
  • Inspect and clean the chimney.
  • Repair and replace loose or damaged roof shingles.
  • Repair and repaint loose siding and caulking.
  • In Northern winters, keep walks neatly cleared of snow and ice.
  • During spring and summer months consider adding a few showy annuals, perhaps in pots, near your front entrance.
  • Re-seal an asphalt driveway.
  • Keep your garage door closed.
  • Store RVs or old and beaten up cars elsewhere while the house is on the market.
  • Apply a fresh coat of paint to the front door.

Maximizing interior appeal
Enhance your home’s interior by:

  • Giving every room in the house a thorough cleaning, as well as removing all clutter. This alone will make your house appear bigger and brighter. Some homeowners with crowded rooms have actually rented storage garages and moved half their furniture out, creating a sleeker, more spacious look.
  • Hiring a professional cleaning service, once every few weeks while the house is on the market. This may be a good investment for owners who are busy elsewhere.
  • Removing the less frequently used, even daily used items from kitchen counters, closets, and attics, making these areas much more inviting. Since you're anticipating a move anyhow, holding a garage sale at this point is a great idea.
  • If necessary, repainting dingy, soiled or strongly colored walls with a neutral shade of paint, such as off-white or beige. The same neutral scheme can be applied to carpets and linoleum.
  • Checking for cracks, leaks and signs of dampness in the attic and basement.
  • Repairing cracks, holes or damage to plaster, wallboard, wallpaper, paint, and tiles.
  • Replacing broken or cracked windowpanes, moldings, and other woodwork. Inspecting and repairing the plumbing, heating , cooling, and alarm systems.
  • Repairing dripping faucets and showerheads. Buying showy new towels for the bathroom, to be brought out only when prospective buyers are on the way.
  • Sprucing up a kitchen in need of more major remodeling by investing in new cabinet knobs, new curtains, or a coat of neutral paint.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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