Monthly Archives: December 2008

Housing Prices Holding Steady in Pittsburgh

Again it is great to hear that statistics are showing the housing market in Pittsburgh, PA is better than most other parts of the country. The average home price in the Pittsburgh region is even up in recent reports.  This is great news for sellers. Buyers – take advantage of those incredible rates. Thinking about Real Estate investment, go for it.

The following quoted from a Pittsburgh News Service

“Although production of new housing is down 50 percent from the peak construction years of 2003 and 2004, the region is one of the few markets not seeing a decline in overall pricing levels,” said Frank Thompson, president of Sweetwater Builders Inc. of Cranberry.

In October, the median new home price in the five-county Pittsburgh region was $273,607, up slightly from $267,050 in October 2007, according to RealStats, a South Side-based real estate information service. The median price is the point at which half the homes sold for more and half for less.

Awesome Interest Rates Today!

If you are thinking of buying a house – Wow! I could not believe it when I got the rate quote from our in house lender for today. This rate is amazing. Shop the rates and see what is out there. This is probably one of the best times to buy a home ( interest rate being the key ) in the last 40 plus years. Take advantage of it while you can, you don’t know how much time will be left to take advantage of this buyers market.

Here is an good article about these historically low rates.

30 Year Fixed – Conventional, 4.875%, 0 points (Keep in mind rates are subject to change based on market conditions, credit score and LTV).

Town Home Living at it’s Best!

This three bedroom 2 1/2 bath home is approximately one year young. Immaculate – Ready to move in! The home has a huge lot going back 380 feet with a meandering pathway. You can cozy up to the gas fire place when it snows. The gas bills are low. There is a large full basement for all your storage needs. Things that have been recently added that were not included by the builder is new front storm door and cement front walk-way.

Excellent starter home or great for downsizing. Inquire about possible owner financing.


For more details click here.

Why Rent: Advantages of Home Ownership

It’s staggering when you think about the cost of living, especially if you’re a renter and not a home owner. If you are currently paying $1,000 a month for rented housing, over the next three years your property management company will effectively have reaped $36,000 of your hard earned cash. In most cases, you know your rent will go up every year, even if you live in an area that has rent control regulations. You’re paying the mortgage for the property owner, when you could be building equity in your own real estate investment.

The tax deductions available to homeowners vary, but there are solid rules the IRS lines out for us. Real estate taxes, mortgage interest, pre-paid interest, and interest on construction loans are all things to take into consideration as tax benefits.

Author: Todd Fletcher
Todd Fletcher
Mortgage Advisor
Equity Lending Group
Phone: 724-453-0335
tfletcher@equitylendinggroup.com
Published with Permission

If you or someone you know is currently renting, inquire about the many low- and no-down payment loan programs that are currently available to prospective home buyers.

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If you are renting seriously think about buying don’t give up. I have many people come to me and think their credit scores or too poor or they don’t have enough money. I suggest that they talk to their mortgage agent or suggest a few for them to speak to. Sometimes it is true and sometimes it is not. I closed a house this month, and the buyer had a 581 credit score. A score like this does not mean a loan will definitely go through, but you – never know. There are many things that go into getting a loan approved. – Amy

Curb Appeal Top Priority in Competitve Market

Curb appeal is more important then ever in this competitive housing market. With so much inventory, how can you make sure that a buyer will make it in your house?

This week I went to meet an agent that was working with me on another house. I met her at a house she was just listing so we could exchange some original documents. As we approached the house she asked me what I thought of it for the price she had just listed it at. It was a big house in a town, ok yard, and I thought, hmmm . . . that is kind of high. It looks like they put a new front door on the place and they want that much for it ??? . . . I proceed inside to take a tour since I was there. It was gorgeous. New carpet, refinished hardwood floors that looked amazing for being original -especially in a home that could be about 100 years old. There was a large updated eat-in kitchen. There was a huge new deck out the back and a great yard for being in town. The rooms were large through out the house, the main bath was enormous for the age of the home and it had beautiful ceramic tile. The fourth bedroom on the third floor had all new carpet and was bigger than any room in the house, spanning from back to front, which is a typical size for these type of homes.

The thing that is now sticking in my mind is the though of when I first got here. This house is so awesome with how it has been remodeled but how is anyone going to know this from the outside. It has old white siding that is very dirty and brown drip marks staining the house from rusted gutters. The yard looks like no one had done a thing to it in years and that no one cared a bit about it.

If the house was painted or sided and some modest landscaping put in and maybe a flower box on the large homey porch, it surely would stand out among its competitors. I am sure you would capture the emotion of the buyer as soon as they got there, and after seeing the inside, they probably would not have a problem getting a nice price for the home. But the key is getting them in there, if all they see is the outside.

Realtor.org has some interesting things to say about curb appeal as well.

Pittsburgh Area Old Fashioned Celebration of Lights and Fun

A fun place that my kids love to go in the Pittsburgh Area is Overly’s Country Christmas.

You can drive and then stroll through the village of quaint shops, festive lights, and the smell of the chocolate shop. You can even warm up by the bonfire and drink your hot chocolate.

There is also Hartman Station that has the area’s largest G-gauge model train display. Stop in at the Country Kitchen and get some grilled eats and hot drinks – perfect for warming up on a cold night.

You don’t want to miss the general store where you will find hand made items by local artisans. One-of-a-kind items that are only found at Overly’s. There more things to do and see at Overly’s. Don’t forget to get your hot fresh kettle korn for the ride home.

Bring your family, your entrance donation supports many causes.

Great News for Pittsburgh Area Home Buyers

Get ready to jump in to the housing market as this is a great time to buy.

“Amid all the bad news about the housing market, there is some good news—for buyers. Plummeting prices have made homes more affordable. And a new tax break could provide a federal income tax credit of as much as $7,500 for qualified first-time buyers.”

Pittsburgh again noted as top city for affordable housing.

“Other big towns were much more affordable; among them, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Denver, Dallas, Washington, and Las Vegas, where 60 to 80 percent of homes were within reach of median income families. ”

Read more from the article quoted here.

Lots of Fun Things Going on in Pittsburgh

I was delighted to hear that fun things are happening in Pittsburgh. Did you know that Pittsburgh has a large working population which has increased by 28,000 since 1996? Large companies have announced moving headquarters downtown bringing even more jobs in. Read more exciting news about shopping and restaurants.

“In the face of gloom and doom spreading across the country, Pittsburgh’s Downtown is enjoying a bit of a building boom in housing, office development and retail.

The former Lazarus store is being converted into condos, shops, restaurants and offices.” and there is more.

quoted from:Â http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08341/932158-65.stm

Should I pay for a Home Inspection? What You May Not Know.

A Pittsburgh area home inspector gives his insight on home inspections. Questions, may be directed to Ed Lampl. (Article published with permission)

Consider a home inspection prior to purchasing a home, condominium or commercial property. This can bring peace of mind when you sign the sales contract. Knowing what to expect both inside and out will help you make an informed decision about the value of the building and the future upkeep.

An ASHI home inspection accomplishes two important goals. First, it gives you a chance to determine the condition of the house, its structural soundness, and the condition of its mechanical systems. Second, it brings any problems to the seller’s attention at a time when they can be resolved before closing a sale.

If you sign a contract before inspection, consider including a clause that the sale is contingent upon a satisfactory ASHI certified inspection, and specify when the inspection is to be carried out. That way, you are protected.

A comprehensive inspection includes a visual examination of the structure from top to bottom, including the heating, air conditioning systems, the interior plumbing and electrical systems, the roof and visible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors, the foundation, basement and visible structure.

Following the examination, the inspector will provide a report that not only points out possible defects or areas of concerns, but also the positive aspects of the structure as well as the type of maintenance that will be necessary to keep the home in good shape.

Even the most experienced homeowners lack the knowledge and expertise of a professional inspection firm. For example, watermarks in the basement may indicate a chronic seepage problem, toxic mold or simply may be a result of a single incident. Consider using an inspector that a certified with mold testing/indoor air quality.

A professional assessment will provide complete information about the condition of the property you are considering and will help avoid any unpleasant surprises after the sale. In addition, a home inspector can remain totally objective, while you, as a prospective home buyer, may be emotionally involved.

A decision to have a home inspected is a good investment.

You might save many times the cost of inspection by being aware of defects, maintenance requirements, and upgrading requirements

Good decorating alone should not sell you on a house. Remember, you’re also buying structural and mechanical systems. Walk through a house twice before you hire an inspector. The first time, look at the rooms, the floor plan, and envision your own decorating ideas for the house. The second time, go back and look at the condition of the walls, doors, appliances, and plumbing. If the home still looks good after two visits and you’re getting serious about the purchase, hire an ASHI certified inspector.

Currently, in many states home inspectors are not regulated by any federal government agencies but in Pennsylvania must adhere to the Pennsylvania Home Inspector Law – ACT 114. Warren King, president of the Better Business Bureau of Western Pennsylvania Announces a new “Start with Trust” initiative to alert consumers and real estate professionals as to how to identify compliant home inspection businesses. This program is being promoted in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Regional Organization of the American Society of Home Inspectors (PRO-ASHI).

A home inspection usually lasts about three hours. Professional inspection companies will be happy to answer all your questions. Avoid firms that issue only a verbal report. The report should be in narrative form, not just a checklist of items inspected. The home inspector should also issue a written report and adhere to the ASHI standards of practice.

You may find it valuable to accompany the inspector as they goes through the house.

Property inspections are not limited to residential properties. Many inspectors help homeowners with analysis and solutions to specific problems such as energy conservation, wet basements or cracked foundations. Inspectors also inspect work upon completion to ensure that a contract has been properly fulfilled.

If you are considering purchasing a home in Pennsylvania, Ed Lampl, certified ASHI Inspector advises that you invest in an inspection by a reputable inspector that is ASHI verified and compliant with the Pennsylvania law.

When hiring any contractor to come into your house you should consider asking if they have child custody clearances.

Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you will make. Know what you are buying and what your future upkeep obligations will be. Make sure that your inspector is certified in areas such as mold testing, radon and pest.

For questions contact – Ed Lampl (412-222-5968) ASHI certified – PRO-ASHI verified State compliant – inspector –servicing –the city of Pittsburgh and surrounding counties –

Home Inspections + Environmental Testing – Sick Building Syndrome Specialist

ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) #246381

CMI & CMA (Certified Mold Inspector & Assessor) #2033

Pesticide Applicator #402710 + DEP PA. Radon Certified #2569

www.HomePlusIsUs.com – take a virtual inspection at our website

“We provide a superior level of service unmatched in the Testing and Building Inspection Industry”