If you’ve got $100,000 to spend on a house in Pittsburgh, choose a neighborhood where that money will stretch the furthest, says Dave Tumpa, a Northwood Realty Services agent in Ross.
“We all know it’s about location,” he adds. “Decide how much house you can afford, then scratch off the deal breakers, like the school district. Right now, in our market, that’s the number one driving factor. If the school doesn’t matter, that opens it up a little. There’s a pretty big spectrum of neighborhoods.”
Even if you can afford to spend more, Tumpa says, don’t buy a $300,000 house in a neighborhood populated by $100,000 homes, unless you don’t plan to move again.
“My father taught me, you never want to own the most expensive property on the street,” he says. “If you’re buying a house for the rest of your life, it doesn’t matter what you spend because resale value doesn’t make a difference. But today’s buyers are very different than a generation ago. Eighty percent of buyers today move within a 7- to 10-year time frame.”
Plenty of neighborhoods in and around Pittsburgh have $100,000 listings, but buyers snatch them up quickly. The median sales price in Allegheny County was about double that last year, Tumpa says.
“Any good property that comes to market will be sold immediately,” he says. “We had a listing in Shaler that we put up at 9 a.m. on Saturday and by 3 p.m. Sunday, we had 14 offers.”
Here’s a sampling of current listings in and around Pittsburgh at the $100,000 price point. Click here to see all the real estate articles in this series.
This brick home at 401 Venture St. that Tumpa listed for $100,000 has a contingency offer. Like many North Side neighborhoods, Observatory Hill offers the best of old and new Pittsburgh, with the convenience of a five-minute commute to Downtown. This buyer will get an open floor plan and updated kitchen with mudroom and pantry, but also original hardwood floors and woodwork, stained glass and built-ins. The house has a finished attic, large front porch and backyard that borders woods.
This $105,000 house at 21 Varney St. in Bellevue is within walking distance to restaurants, shopping and parks, says Erin Cordial, the Northwood listing agent. The owners updated windows, kitchen counters, flooring, paint, the furnace and hot water tank, electrical service and the roof. Tumpa believes Bellevue is a neighborhood where a $100,000 investment has real potential to grow—the once dry town repealed its prohibition on alcohol sales a little more than a year ago and is attracting businesses and young buyers.
Located one block from Provident Charter School in Troy Hill, 1344 Lowrie St. is listed for $100,000. Northwood agent Debra Merlina says its selling points include a large living room with a bay window, a private, covered deck off the dining room and a bedroom and two half-baths on the first floor. The second floor has three bedrooms and an additional room that could be used as an office or storage room. There’s also a backyard for children or pets, Merlina says.
Move-in ready in a great location—that’s how Keller Williams Realty agent Matthew McKenna marketed 1315 Hampshire Ave. in Beechview for $105,000 and secured a contingency sale. The three-bedroom house has hardwood floors, good flow between the living, dining and kitchen areas, a deck and a private, fenced yard. About three blocks from the T, this location also has quick access to Banksville Rd.
Coldwell Banker Real Estate agent Gina Fonzi held a recent open house at 1311 Bellaire Place in Brookline, which is listed for $99,900. It’s a well-kept home with new window blinds, paint and hardwood floors beneath the main floor carpeting. The rooms are large, with high ceilings, and the basement has two coal cellars that could be used for storage–along with the traditional “Pittsburgh bathroom” (toilet and shower). This house has easy access to Downtown via Brookline Blvd. or West Liberty Ave.
Three lots and a Cape Cod home make up the $96,500 listing at 158-162 Penn Ave. in Mt. Oliver. RE/MAX agent Joy Lamars calls it “an entertainer’s dream,” as it includes a covered patio, swimming pool, pond, two sheds and a play gym for the kids. Inside, the kitchen and pantry have been updated and the basement has lots of storage space. The second-floor master bedroom has an extra room that could be an office, dressing room or nursery.