2241 Valera Avenue Overbrook
2241 Valera Avenue in Overbrook. Photo by Garey Scott courtesy of Realty One Group Gold Standard.

“Real estate can sometimes be pure magic. If cauliflower can become pizza, you can become a homeowner,” says Molly Aura, an agent with Berkshire Hathaway.

When embarking on the process of finding the right home — whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or new to the Burgh — it can be tempting to let your search be guided by the age-old question: “When is the ideal time to buy a house?”

According to Paul Sinnett, also with Berkshire Hathaway, the answer should come back to: “The right time to buy a house is when you can afford to and when you find a house that works for you.”

Data from the West Penn Multi-List shows that the median sales price for a home in Allegheny County was $230,000 in August 2022. This August, it’s $236,625.

“The most important step is to find the right agent who will advocate for you. My favorite aspect of real estate is that everything is negotiable. You need an agent who’s willing to take creative risks while keeping you in the driver’s seat with your seat belt on. Not risks like waiving your home inspection contingency (please don’t do that!). Risks like making an offer on a property you think you have no chance of getting accepted or putting in a backup offer on a contingent home,” says Aura.

“Real estate moves quickly and every seller has a unique situation; it isn’t always about the highest cash bid. The process for both parties is emotional, so knowing the seller’s needs can set you apart. The healthiest deals have a little pinch on both sides.”

Even though interest rates are at a 20-year high (7-7.5%), there’s hope.

“Explore programs and grants that can cover your down payment or closing costs. It’s still a seller’s market, but the market has leveled out since the pandemic. You can always refinance later,” says Sinnett.

While scanning Zillow and attending open houses, Sinnett suggests: “Do your own research; pull the house up on Google Street View and visit the neighborhood at different times of day. Look at the house on a rainy day; go down to the basement and into the attic. One of the best times to visit a home is during bad weather.”

Sinnett says Pittsburgh is a great place for first-time homebuyers with the majority of homes sold in the $150,000-$200,000 range.

With that in mind, here’s a sampling of Pittsburgh homes for sale under $200,000:


139 Locust St. in Emsworth. Photo courtesy of Berkshire Hathaway.

139 Locust St., Emsworth
Asking price: $199,900
Style: Colonial

Just 10 miles from Downtown, this 3-bedroom, 1-bath home built in 1932 is close to Sewickley and local amenities. Located in Avonworth School District, the 1,118-square-foot property sits on a double lot with new retaining walls, a fenced-in yard and parking for four cars. The updated kitchen has stainless-steel appliances, a breakfast bar and ceramic tile flooring. Features include built-ins, updated windows, a decorative fireplace and a renovated bath. The front porch is begging for a swing and the one-way street provides privacy.

  • Ranch home for sale in Shaler
  • Shaler home
  • Shaler home
  • Shaler home

204 Sandy Drive, Shaler
Asking price: $179,900
Style: Ranch

If the ranch life is for you, this one-level residence built in 1955 fits the bill. The formal dining room opens into a spacious living room and eat-in kitchen with ample cabinetry and counter space. The finished lower level has loads of potential with knotty pine, built-in storage, a full bath and sliding doors to a wooded backyard. The 888-square-foot brick home includes a covered patio and extra parking space.


Kitchen of a house for sale in the South Side
20 Regina St. in the South Side. Photo courtesy of Janus Realty Advisors.

20 Regina St., South Side
Asking price: $200,000
Style: Framed 1 ½-story

This is your opportunity to own a home on a dead-end street with city views from the South Side Slopes. Built in 1926, the 2-bedroom, 1-bath property has been fully renovated from the top down: new roof, bathroom, drywall and utilities. The brand-new kitchen connects to an open-concept living room separated by an eat-in island. Close to SouthSide Works, the property has a vacant lot that can be included in the sale.

2241 Valera Ave. in Overbrook. Photo by Garey Scott courtesy of Realty One Group Gold Standard.

2241 Valera Ave., Overbrook
Asking price: $180,000
Style: American Foursquare

Blending classic charm and modern updates, this 3-bedroom, 3.5-bath home makes for an easy city commute. Home chefs will love the large baker’s island, countertops and pantry. Entertain in the sitting room with a wood-burning fireplace or on the new front porch and brick patio. Upstairs is an en-suite bedroom, walk-in closet and laundry room. The attic could be an additional bedroom and there’s a full bath in the basement. Built in 1920, the 2,318-square-foot house includes a new roof, water heater and sewer lines.

1049 Biltmore Ave. in Dormont. Photo courtesy of Howard Hanna.

1049 Biltmore Ave., Dormont
Asking price: $195,000
Style: Two-story brick

Built in 1930, this 1,794-square-foot corner home is minutes from parks, the T and the Dormont and Mt. Lebanon business districts. The open layout features a living room with French doors leading to a spacious dining area and an eat-in kitchen. Sip your morning coffee or evening cocktail on the covered porch. There’s lots of natural light upstairs with 3 bedrooms and one full bath.

  • Exterior of a Beechview home for sale in Pittsburgh

1429 Alton St., Beechview
Asking price: $199,000
Style: American Foursquare

A grand foyer with a Tiffany-style chandelier, Pergo hardwood and 9-foot ceilings greet you in this 2,025-square-foot residence. Major updates include a new roof, central air, front porch and fresh paint. Built in 1903, the 4-bedroom, 1-bath property is steps away from light rail transit. Details include decorative fireplaces, an antique clawfoot bathtub, built-in bench seating, tile backsplash, a walk-in closet, and den space. The backyard is fenced-in with a garden trellis.


Exterior of a home for sale at 1660 Morningside Ave. in Morningside.
1660 Morningside Ave. in Morningside. Photo courtesy of Compass.

1660 Morningside Ave., Morningside
Asking price: $199,900
Style: Two-story brick

Built in 1930, this 3-bedroom, 1-bath home is your chance to own in the city but still retain neighborhood charm and tranquil green space. The layout of the 1,334-square-foot home connects the living, dining and kitchen areas, while the large backyard offers space for gardening and outdoor dining. There’s a spacious front porch, refinished hardwood floors, a decorative fireplace, and two on-street parking spots.

Exterior view of a home for sale at 143 Westward Ho Drive in Penn Hills
143 Westward Ho Drive in Penn Hills. Photo courtesy of Berkshire Hathaway.

143 Westward Ho Drive, Penn Hills
Asking price: $198,000
Style: Cape Cod

This 3-bedroom, 2-bath home beckons with its intriguing maritime street name and expansive green space. Built in 1955, the 1,638-square-foot home has well-kept hardwood and tile flooring and abundant closet space. Situated on a .37-acre lot, the private property includes walking paths, a gazebo and garden, a vast yard, and a tool shed. There’s an attached 1-car garage and a convenient carport.

  • Dining room of a home for sale at 718 4th St. in North Versailles.

718 4th St., North Versailles
Asking price: $179,900
Style: Ranch

One-story living awaits in this 948-square-foot residence with an airy layout connecting the living, dining and kitchen spaces. Natural light opens up the 3-bedroom, 1.5-bathroom home built in 1965. As a bonus, there’s a finished lower level for entertaining with a wet bar that could double as a home office, gym or media room. The property includes a large backyard, front porch, 1-car garage and tool shed.


  • Interior of a home for sale at 122 Noble Ave. in Crafton
  • Exterior of a home for sale at 122 Noble Ave. in Crafton

122 Noble Ave., Crafton
Asking price: $199,900
Style: Farmhouse

Completely remodeled, this 3-bedroom, 2-bath home built in 1915 has fresh paint and new carpet, exposed brick and a first-floor laundry room. The brand-new kitchen is equipped with Shaker cabinets and stainless-steel appliances. The large en-suite bedroom has a decorative fireplace and floor-to-ceiling tiled vanity, while the third-floor bedroom is bathed in natural light. For outdoor living, there’s a fenced-in backyard, patio and covered front porch. A garage could be built on the off-street parking area.

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.