The interior of 11 Fifth Ave., Apt. 401, a Downtown condo that lislts for $399,000. All photos courtesy

In Pittsburgh’s competitive real estate market, savvy homebuyers start looking before they really need to and prepare themselves for potential rejection.

Though May is one of the best months for home sales, inventory remains low and many listings sell within days — even those in the $400,000 range — after real estate agents call in offers and counter-offers, says Brian Teyssier, a top-selling realtor with RE/MAX.

His tips to buyers in a multiple-offer situation: “Write the love letter, with pictures, or even better, send a video” to the sellers, says Teyssier. “Do not ask for a home warranty or pest and radon inspections. And if you’re making an offer contingent on a home inspection, put a credit in there.”

Above all, he says, “do not lowball.”

Since finding the right home may take a while, working with an experienced agent is helpful because real estate agents often share information: “They may have a clue of ‘coming soons’ that may never make it to the market,” Teyssier says.

Another tip? “Look on the ‘for sale by owner’ sites,” he says.

Here’s a sampling of what $400,000 will buy in Pittsburgh right now:


A unit in the former McCleary School is priced at $424,888.

Neighborhood: 5279 Holmes St., Lawrenceville

Asking price: $424,888

Style:  Condominium

Description: Teyssier listed this three-bedroom, 2.5-bath unit in the former McCleary School in one of Pittsburgh’s most popular neighborhoods. Many architectural details, he says, including “some of the building’s most beautiful features,” such as marble stairways, a glass dome and ornate metalwork, remain intact. A 10-year tax abatement applies to this property, where the developer used quality products such as Alside casement windows, Wellborn cabinets, American Olean porcelain tiles and Shaw flooring.

5646 Bryant St. in Highland Park lists for $423,500.

Neighborhood: 5646 Bryant St., Highland Park

Asking price: $423,500

Style: Foursquare

Description: Built in 1920, this three-story, five-bedroom, 2.5-bath home is located close to the park, zoo and East End shopping destinations, with easy access to Downtown via Route 28. “Bones are terrific,” listing agent Pia Colucci with RE/MAX says of this spacious home with high ceilings. The kitchen opens to a fenced backyard and large deck; there’s also a full-width front porch. The home has central air. Parking on the street is rarely, if ever, difficult, says Colucci.


1094 Greentree Road, Green Tree, lists for $414,900.

Neighborhood: 1094 Greentree Rd., Green Tree

Asking price: $414,900

Style: Three-story

Description: This contemporary home, built in 1999, has four bedrooms, 3.5 baths, a gourmet kitchen and open dining/living area with cathedral ceilings, large windows and a log-burning fireplace. The second level has a laundry and bedrooms with large closets; the third-level family room has French doors to a patio, hot tub, bar and full bath. This home has details: an oversized driveway, a steam room in the master shower and ironing board behind the mirror in the master bedroom. It’s located next to Sodini Parkette, “your own personal oasis,” says Erin Connolly Autenreith, the RE/MAX 300 listing agent.

203 Tudor Lane, Robinson, a patio home under construction, lists for $390,000.

Neighborhood: 23 Tudor Lane, Robinson

Asking price: $390,000

Style: Patio

Description: This one-level patio home is under construction and will be ready for occupancy soon. With three bedrooms and two baths, it has a “Florida feel” with a grand entry to an open floor plan, Berkshire Hathaway agent Michael Reed says in his listing. Features include Pella Windows, granite counters and KraftMaid cabinetry in the kitchen, hardwood flooring and 10-foot tray ceilings. The master suite is located just steps from the great room. The builder will customize finishing touches if the home is purchased before construction is completed.


2437 Bellwood Drive, Franklin Park, lists for $419,900.

Neighborhood: 2437 Bellwood Dr., Franklin Park

Asking price: $419,900

Style: Colonial

Description: Built in 1989, this four-bedroom, 2.5-bath home in North Allegheny School District is well maintained and the owners have made improvements, says listing agent Sue Neal with Coldwell Banker Real Estate. The kitchen has a center island and sliding doors that lead to a screened-in porch overlooking the wooded lot. With multiple decks, this home has ample outdoor living space. Its rooms are large, with new paint and carpeting. There’s a two-car garage. Its location has easy access to Downtown and the airport via Interstate 79.

110 Colwyn Road, Ross, lists for $399,900.

Neighborhood: 110 Colwyn Road, Ross

Asking price: $399,900

Style: Contemporary

Description: Coldwell Banker agent Gene Oswald calls this 1963 Don Owens-designed contemporary home “nicely updated.” Its many windows provide natural light and great views of the wooded landscape, he says. The two-story entry foyer has slate flooring and the two-story family room has a floor-to-ceiling fireplace. The kitchen was remodeled in 2017. A loft sitting room overlooks the family room. There’s a screened-in porch, new multi-level deck and flagstone patio.


Sandra Tolliver

Sandra Tolliver is a freelance writer, editor and public relations professional in Upper St. Clair.