Location, condition and price. In any combination, these seal the deal for home buyers.
Sometimes price dictates. Say your budget can’t exceed $150,000—that’s $675 monthly for principal and interest at the current 3.5 percent rate, before taxes and insurance. What can you find in Pittsburgh for that price?
Quite a bit, as it turns out.
With this article, NEXTpittsburgh introduces a series highlighting the range of Pittsburgh’s housing stock at varying price points. The idea is to showcase available real estate and give you a better idea of what your money will buy in hot spots such as Lawrenceville and under-the-radar neighborhoods such as New Brighton.
“Generally, Pittsburgh’s advantage is as a metropolitan city our real estate market is so reasonable, you can get a great house for even $100,000,” says Preston Moore, president of the Realtors Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh. He’s fielded calls from investors around the country who are impressed with the quality of housing available at affordable rates in Western Pennsylvania.
Zillow puts the median home value in Pittsburgh at $116,300; the median price of homes currently listed in Pittsburgh is $176,900. Among the listings in city neighborhoods and suburban communities are quite a few with an asking price of around $150,000—though location and condition are obvious factors.
Patty Broderick Cappelli, a real estate agent with Howard Hanna, tells buyers to study comparable homes in neighborhoods they like and to consider what’s not in a listing’s description.
“If they don’t say ‘new’ anything but just ‘lovingly maintained’ or ‘same owner for 40 years,’ what does that tell you? It tells you that it’s dated,” Cappelli said. “And if a house has been sitting on the market for a long time, it’s obviously not worth what they’re asking for it.”
Buyers who shop around typically develop a good sense about whether a house is a deal for the neighborhood. Cappelli will point out things that could be problematic for eventual resale—if the house doesn’t have a garage, for example, or if there is an electrical tower nearby.
“You might not care but when you go to sell, the next buyer might care,” she said. On the other hand, “Sometimes I’ll say, ‘You are nuts if you don’t put in an offer on this house.’ You’re never going to find the perfect house but if it has what you’re looking for, if it stands out for location, condition and price, typically the house that’s their favorite is going to be another buyer’s favorite, too.”
Here are five single-family homes on the market for $150,000:
Neighborhood: Brighton Heights – 1841 Chellis St. (See main photo at the top of the page)
Asking price: $149,000
Property tax: $2,569
Style: Colonial foursquare
Description: With hardwood floors and gorgeous woodwork, this 91-year-old brick home has front and back porches and a fenced backyard. The listing agent calls it “comfortable,” “well designed” and “move-in ready.” The master bedroom has a walk-in closet; the driveway and detached garage provide off-street parking. “Just the right balance of original design and fixtures with clean and modern updates . . . Lots of charm—French doors, pocket doors, original Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired stained glass,” says the listing agent.
Neighborhood: Coraopolis – 1616 State Ave.
Asking price: $149,500
Property tax: $3,179
Description: This 138-year-old home has a huge front porch, large rooms, hardwood floors and decorative fireplaces. Its kitchen, with plenty of storage, opens to former offices for a medical practice, with a reception room and five smaller rooms. “There is also easy access to the lawn and gardens and detached two-car garage from the kitchen,” says the listing agent. “The second level features four bedrooms.” Most rooms have wallpaper that might require some work to remove. It has one bath but space to add one near the back staircase or on the third level.
Neighborhood: Beechview – 2356 Bensonia Ave.
Asking price: $150,000
Property tax: $1,367
Description: This 87-year-old, three-story home has off-street parking, a patio, and large basement with laundry area, half-bath and storage. Its backyard is fenced; the floor plan’s open flow is accented by hardwood floors. “The entire home has been custom updated,” including a finished attic, says the listing. The house has new insulation and a thermostat tied into its security system.
Neighborhood: Lawrenceville – 169 Almond Way
Asking price: $149,900
Property tax: $986
Description: Yes, you can buy a house in Lawrenceville for $150,000. This two-story rowhouse is 116 years old. It has two bedrooms with shallow closets, an eat-in kitchen, and a small, fenced backyard. “Located in the heart of Lawrenceville, steps away from Butler Street and close to the Riverfront Park, dog parks and walking trails,” says the listing agent. “City living at its finest.” Recently painted, the house has newer flooring and carpeting, a new furnace and air conditioner. It has no fireplace and parking is on street.
Neighborhood: Edgewood – 218 Oakview Ave.
Asking price: $147,900
Property tax: $5,679
Description: This 101-year-old, three-story home has a unique Craftsman style. Its two owners in 52 years maintained and updated the home. Among its charms: a front porch, hardwood floors, large closets, recessed lighting, oak kitchen cabinetry. “Living room and dining room have large picture windows,” says the listing. “Spacious rooms with a lot of natural light.” A room off the master bedroom could be a nursery or sitting room. A third-floor bedroom or family room has a half-bath. But this all comes with a high real estate tax.