Made the list for 2011 Five Star Real Estate Agents for Pittsburgh Magazine.
Category Archives: Personal
Blizzard February 5-6, 2010
The strangest thing happened during the blizzard this weekend.Â Last night we had about 12 inches of snow when we let the dogs out before bed.Â They made quite a trail and then came in.Â So in the morning we got up and the trail they made was totally gone – no sign at all.Â There were some other tracks in the yard that came from the front of the house and went about 25 feet behind the house.Â So ok, there was probably some deer that came through.
Over where it appeared deer went, was, what looked like a piece of wood under the tree.Â In our yard, is very common that large pieces of wood drop as there are many dead branches wedged far up in the trees.
Our puppies sleep by the door.Â In the morning, Titan, was suddenly very distressed about something outside.Â But you must know that is normal for him.Â He will bark at anything that is out of place or even if garbage bag or balloon gets loose and blows through the yard – he freaks out.
We made a path out the back door so we could all move around easier and get to our picnic table to measure the snow.Â The dogs went right to the wood in the yard and were going crazy.Â So we soon discovered it was actually the ear of a deer – poor thing.Â It came in to our yard and went to sleep.Â By the morning it smelled pretty bad.
We got the driveway cleared and got the quad out.Â The boys tied up the deer, dragged it out front, tied it on the quad and drove it to an undisclosed location.Â Â I also took over 800 photos and probably 30 plus movie clips all the action the whole day.Â What Fun!Â My kids have never seen this much snow.
Other Real Estate Markets
It is really interesting to me to hear about other real estate markets and what things sell for around the country and the world.Â One of my favorite TV channels is HGTV.Â I love watching people compare and pick out houses.Â Â Â I also enjoy seeing how they decorate them after a few months of living there.Â It also gives you a really interesting view of these various markets.Â Sometimes you can see some very strange and exotic things.
One of show that really sticks in my mind is a House Hunters.Â The couple on this show was looking for a home in the Mediterranean.Â I cannot remember if it was Greece or not.Â They picked a house that I thought they would not because the long walk and steps to the door on the side of the hill was lengthy.Â This couple ended up buying it for $750,000 US right on the sea and believe it or not it still needed fixing up.Â It was practically ruins and had no plumbing.Â I wonder how they dealt with that on the side of a hill.Â I have no idea how they would get their furniture up there but they may need a mule.
Here is another interesting house that sold recently in NY City called the Skinniest House that was reported by Realtor.org and the Associated Press
” ‘Skinniest House’ Sells for $2.1 million;” A property dubbed New York Cityâ€™s skinniest house sold recently for $2.1 million. The two-story Greenwich Village property is 9.5 feet wide and 42 feet long and has two bedrooms and two baths. The townhouse was listed last August for $2.7 million by Alex Nicholas, senior vice president of the Corcoran Group. It last sold in 2000 for $1.6 million. It is now for rent for $10,000 per month.”
Also see this Article From Washington City Paper, where the photo is from – by Ruth Samuelson.
Hope you are keeping warm this season. This is the most snow that I have seen in my life over the Christmas season living in the Pittsburgh Area (or NJ where I grew up). It was so cold last night and the snow was glistening out the back door. So before heading up to bed I had to shoot some snowflakes. They did not come out too bad considering a macro lens was not used. The photos are only cropped. No color editing was done. Happy New Year!
photos copyright 2010, Amy S Myers
Pittsburgh Comes in at Number 4!
Pittsburgh and the Metro Area proves time and time again a great section of the country to live. Â Home prices and Mortgages are stable and affordable in the region. The days on market are lower than other cities.
Top Cities that were least effected by the Recession from Forbes:
“To identify these cities, Forbes magazine ranked the 100 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas by employment rates, the conventional mortgage home price index, and the average days on the market for properties currently for sale.
The top cities on Forbes list were:”
* Omaha/Council Bluffs, Neb.
* San Antonio, Texas
* Austin-Round Rock, Texas
* Harrisburg/Carlisle, Pa.
* Dallas/Fort Worth
* Rochester, N.Y.
* Raleigh/Cary, N.C.
* Baton Rouge, La.”
Quoted from Realtor.org and Forbes, Francesca Levy (11/19/2009)
Heinz Stadium, Pittsburgh, PA
Photo Copyright, 2009 Amy S Myers
Interesting Sightings . . .
As a real estate agent, I really enjoy looking at homes.Â As you may have read from previous posts, there have been some rather outlandish things and ancient items and decor.Â Today, I was out with a buyer looking at multi-unit properties.Â The first one we went to was curious and intriguing.Â There were two sides, and on each side was an upper and lower apartment.Â One of the up stairs had the bath out in the hallway – not inside the locked apartment.Â We later found out when speaking to the owner that the home used to be a hotel about 100 years ago.Â There were old original stair cases on both sides that were in excellent condition with ornate detail in the woodwork.Â There were fireplaces in most of the rooms.Â Each room had been a keeping room in the hotel which was mainly usedÂ by guests for the opera houseÂ next door.Â Â Since the owner happen to be there, she took us through and told us many stories about the house and the neighborhood being that it was in her family for years.Â She even told us where the secret cubbie holes where, that her dad had made as a child.Â The original hotel had four stair cases instead of the two that were currently there.Â Additional staircasesÂ made the traffic flow smoothly.Â Below is a photo of a stove that was in one of the apartments.
The next home we viewed had a rather strange pipe coming out of the house.Â This duplex had a room on the third floor and there was a sink in it.Â There was no toilet and no tub – just the sink.Â Now even stranger, the sink drained out the side of the house and connected into the drain pipe from the rain gutter.Â Â If anyone has any idea what they were thinking, I would be interested.
Will The First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Be Extended?
Many recent transactions and potential transactions that I have dealt with have been buyers who were enticed by the first time home buyer tax credit.Â Since you must close by November 30, 2009, the window is no longer open.Â Â The market has changed this month.Â I believe buyers are holding out to make their next move.Â Â It appears that the tax credit has done its job by pumping up the economy and reducingÂ inventory.Â The National Association of Realtors is pushing for an extension of the tax credit.
Here is some information from the National Association of Realtors:
â€œThe data on the present home buyer tax credit show that the credit has had its intended impactâ€”sales have jumped in recent months to a projected 5.1 million for the year and housing inventory has been trimmed, thus stabilizing home prices noticeably,â€ Phipps said.Â He also pointed out that each home sale generates approximately $63,000 in additional economic activity, providing a tremendous economic boost to the national economy.”
Read more . . . .
Additional Tax Credit Info
Will The First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Be Extended?
Times are Historic to Buy a Home
Use Tax Credit Down Payment?
Homebuyer Tax Credit Window is Ticking Away
Record Lows for Mortgage Rates Still Exist
Homes are Being Swept Up Quickly
Home Buyers Donâ€™t Miss the Opportunity For Your $8000
First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit to Rise?
More Tax Credit Info Surfacing
First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Question
First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Loans
Great News! Tax Credit Can Be Used for Down Payment
First-Time Homebuyer Federal Tax Credit Info
Home Staging Makes a Difference
Staging is a very import process in selling a home.Â Some are more talented than others and some have larger budgets than others.Â Recently, I sold a home that was staged very well by an investor.Â We were quite surprised at the closing when my buyers and I met the home owner.Â This young single woman in her mid to late 20’s was quite the investor with 300 rentals and close to 10 house flips in the process.Â One of her special talents was staging her properties.Â She has the man power to do the renovations and then she runs out and picks some a few pieces of furniture, throw rugs and some accents.Â She does such a great job with the cosmetic items, fresh paint, flooring and decor, it makes the place hard to resist.Â The staging really brings out the buyers emotions and draws them in.Â I must say it might make some people jealous being able to go out shopping each time she flips a house – which she pretty much does.Â She does not always use the furnishings over because most of the time theÂ buyers ask her to include her furniture and accents with the sale of the house.Â It sounds like a win win situation for the buyer and the seller.
So sellers out there, are your walls and carpets dirty?Â I had a seller that was not able to see this even after potential buyers made comments.Â If you don’t have extra funds for special accents, at minimum make your home squeaky clean and clutter free.Â You need to be competitive in this buyers market.
Times are Historic to Buy a Home
It is a great time for people to get into the housing market as I have mentioned over the last few months.Â Â There is still time to take advantage of the market conditions but don’t wait too long.Â Things will change.
Believe it or not but I have had different buyers bidding and buying properties less than $20K and some that do not need that much work.Â It is anÂ amazing deal and some did not need always need a major overhaul.Â As the market begins turn turn around there are going to be less opportunities like this.Â The deals that are there will be more competitive.Â Some houses such as these can have mulitiple bids on themÂ (as many as five or ten bidders or more).Â If you see a deal move fast and bid competitively whether for investment property or for owner occupied.
It appears that first time home buyers have really taken advantage of the tax credit.Â Â Â “”First-time homebuyers, most between the ages of 25 and 45, accounted for about 45 percent of home sales from January through July 2009, according to the National Association of REALTORSÂ®”.
“This is a historic time,” says George Jaramillo, a 35-year-old business analyst in Atlanta, who recently bought three homes, two of them foreclosures. “It’s a great opportunity to make some great gains in the future.”Â – Realtor.org, Associated Press
Recently I had an opportunity to take some photos from Heinz stadium in Pittsburgh (I love taking photos). There are lots of fun things to do and observe in the city of Pittsburgh.Â One thing that amazes me is all the bridges in the city.Â Did you know that Pittsburgh has 720 bridges within the city limits?
One fun thing you must do while you are there is ride the incline to the top of Mount Washington and see the amazing view.Â There are also a lot of great restaurants at the top.Â So if you are a photo buff like me, or even if you are not,Â take your camera and get a shot of you and whomever you are with.Â Make a great memory and enjoy the city.
Here are some fun facts about the city:
- Pittsburgh audiences enjoy the nation’s fifth oldest opera company.
- Pittsburgh ranked in the top five Most Livable Cities in the 1983, 1989 and 1985 editions of the “Places Rated Almanac.”
- The fountain at Point State Park, right at the tip of the golden triangle (downtown Pittsburgh) is fed by a glacial formation and sprays 6,000 gallons per minute.
- Pittsburgh is home to nine Fortune 500 companies.
- The Carnegie Museum of Art opened in 1895 as the world’s first museum of modern art.
- Mister Rogers’ real neighborhood was Oakland, home to WQED (the first public television in the country) and the “Neighborhood of Make Believe.”
- Allegheny County has more than 1,700 bridges, 720 within city limits, and 15 major bridges crossing downtown Pittsburgh alone.
- Pittsburgh lost the “h” in its spelling in 1891, but after 20 years of protest, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names relented and the “h” was restored.
- First Retractable Dome – September 1961
Pittsburgh’s Civic Arena boasts the world’s first auditorium with a retractable roof.
- The First Baseball Stadium in the U.S. – 1909
In 1909 the first baseball stadium, Forbes Field, was built in Pittsburgh, followed soon by similar stadiums in Chicago, Cleveland, Boston, and New York.
- First Motion Picture Theatre – 1905
The first theater in the world devoted to the exhibition of motion pictures was the “Nickelodeon,” opened by Harry Davis on Smithfield Street in Pittsburgh.
and more . . .
Fun Facts Quoted From:Â About.com:Pittsburgh
Photo: Copyright 2009 Amy Myers