Category Archives: Regional News & Events

Enjoy Pittsburgh

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. One thing that amazes me is all the bridges in the city. 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. There are also a lot of great restaurants at the top. So if you are a photo buff like me, or even if you are not, take your camera and get a shot of you and whomever you are with. 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

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Photo: Copyright 2009 Amy Myers

Home Buyers Don’t Miss the Opportunity For Your $8000

If you are a First Time Home Buyer time is running out. If you desire to take advantage of the First Time Home Buyer tax credit your property must close by December 1, 2009. Buyers should have a signed purchase contract with the seller signed by early October to have plenty of time to close.

For my buyers that need to finance, I always suggest about 6 weeks for closing, especially with inspections. In most “normal” cases that is enough time. I have seen other odd cases where it can take longer and the reasons can vary.

Just recently I was going to close on a home. It was delayed because the buyer for my seller’s home had to close on her house first.  Well, this buyer for the buyer in our transaction lost their financing and had to start all over. When all was said and done, the house closed about two months after it was suppose to and everyone involved was happy.

So consider this with only 6-8 weeks (hoping there are no snags), you need to find that house in the next 2 to 2 1/2 months or sooner. If you are eager to take advantage, hurry. If you are not sure where you stand with your credit, just take that step and talk to you loan officer.  Happy Hunting.

Details on First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit

Existing Homes Sales Rise

Interest rates are still great but rising. If you are on the fence for buying, now is the time to take a serious look and get out there and get moving. Take advantage of this great market of inventory, rates, and tax credit benefits. I was looking through the home stats yesterday to send a client a list of homes in a few different towns, what I found to were a high number that have recently gone under contract.  Buyers are buying, don’t miss out. If you are selling, make sure you have a competitive price.

“Sales of existing homes showed another gain in May, benefiting from favorable affordability conditions and a first-time buyer tax credit, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS ®. May’s increase was the first back-to-back monthly gain since September 2005.


Existing-home sales
– including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – rose 2.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.77 million units in May from a downwardly revised level of 4.66 million units in April. Sales remained 3.6 percent below the 4.95 million-unit pace in May 2008.”

Quoted from Realtor.org


First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit to Rise?

Lawmakers are hoping for an expansion of the tax credit helping first-time home buyers and current home buyers that have a home to sell. First time home buyers make up about 40% of the current home purchases. This statistic, lawmakers feel, is not stimulating the housing industry enough.

Here are some key points of what lawmakers would like to see happen:

*Â Changing the top Tax Credit amount from $8,000 to $15,000.

* Extend the purchase deadline from November 30, 2009 through to mid year 2010.

*Â Extend the tax credit from first-time home buyers to all home buyers

* Offer another tax credit of up to $3,000 for home owners who refinance.

Remember there are income caps and you do have to stay in your home for 3 years to avoid paying back the tax credit.

Read more in this USA Today article.

Related Posts:

A CONSUMER GUIDE TO THE FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYER FEDERAL INCOME TAX CREDIT

First-Time Homebuyer Federal Tax Credit Info

First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit Details

Great News! Tax Credit Can Be Used for Down Payment

Frequently Asked Questions for First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit from the National Association of Realtors website, Realtor.org

First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Loans

First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Question

Great News! Tax Credit Can Be Used for Down Payment

Exciting news has hit the housing market. FHA is allowing its lenders to apply the $8000 tax credit to the down payment when purchasing a home for first time home buyers.  Great reasons to buy today:

1)Â Interests Rates are Historically Low

2)Â Housing Inventory is plenty

3)Â Up to $8,000 tax credit

There are also, special programs in certain areas where you can get no money down and closing cost assistance. If you are in need of that, please inquire.

Here is what Realtor.org had to say:

“Shaun Donovan, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, on Tuesday said that the Federal Housing Administration is going to permit its lenders to allow home buyers to use the $8,000 tax credit as a down payment.

Previously, most buyers wouldn’t receive the funds until after they filed their tax return, and that deterred some people from using the credit. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® has been calling for the change.

“We all want to enable FHA consumers to access the home buyer tax credit funds when they close on their home loans so that the cash can be used as a down payment,” Donovan says. His remarks came in an address to several thousand REALTORS® gathered Tuesday morning at “The Real Estate Summit: Advancing the U.S. Economy,” at the 2009 REALTORS® Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C..

He says FHA’s approved lenders will be permitted to “monetize” the tax credit through short-term bridge loans. This will allow eligible home buyers to access the funds immediately at the closing table.”

-Realtor.org Read More . . . .

Check with your lender on specifics and further qualifications for your situation.


Previous Posts

First-Time Homebuyer Federal Tax Credit Info

First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit Details



The House That was Missing Something . . .

With real estate, every day something pops up that you have never seen or done before. Even for agents that have been in the business for years. My, you would be surprised too of the kinds of things we have to see or deal with. Funny thing is you can run into very interesting properties when looking at bank owned properties, foreclosures, and HUD properties.

Last week, I showed one of my young investors a property in an area that neither of us were sure about. Both of us showed up with companions and it was a good thing we did. We got a good taste of the neighborhood with a bunch of about 15 to 20 kids or young adults hanging on the street right near the house. They were eying up the cars. The plumbing was gone to say the least. My buyer quickly passed on that.  A key thing I always tell my buyers is to come and watch the neighborhood or talk to the neighbors. That was an easy one that night.

So today, we looked at another property. Pretty good price for what you are getting. The lot alone is worth the asking price. It has been on the market quite some time. So we go and and check it out. Hmmm . . . plumbing is all here, wiring is all there. Toilet in basement – common for this area. Keep in mind this is a very old home. Probably about 100 years old. Now usually homes of this age have some kind of updating over the years, but with a quick look, it was from an era gone by except for maybe a bit modernized because electricity was installed. LOL I say this too because the original gas pipes for gas lights in the home were still there with the fixtures. Often I have seen the capped pipes but never the actual fixtures still installed – How funny.

Also, the wall paper literally looked 80 to 100 years old. The original pocket doors to the living room were still there. The ceiling in the pantry area was waynes coating. No cabinets in the kitchen – now it did not appear that there ever were any cabinets. The whole kitchen was tiled to ceiling and had a circular florescent ceiling light. There was Wool carpet that was not wall to wall. Even original windows were still there.

Next we went up to the second floor. There was some nice hard wood. The rooms were ok. Some of the walls needed repaired. Although really not bad considering the age. So I checked out the one and only bathroom on the second floor – but wait there was a toilet in the basement – hmm . . they must not be counting that. I am thinking that the bathroom is kind of small. It has a claw foot tub and all . . .  And then I think hmmm . . . something has to be missing.  Well I look behind the door in the cramped room and . . . there was no toilet. And it appeared that there never was. I have never in my life seen a bathroom with no toilet. Now how strange is that? The one and only bathroom in the house (the only one that there ever appeared to be) and it only had a sink and tub – Crazy.

If my buyer decides she likes it I will have to go back and get a photo.  I am going to have to find a way to perch myself in the corner with a superwide angle lens and get you a shot of this funny room. The house could be great with the right touch and a toilet in the bathroom. :) I hope there is a happy ending for the house and the buyer.

Fun In the City

I was down in the city for an appointment yesterday. Things went great, so on the way back to the office, I made two quick stops. I really had to control myself because I could be in these places for a long time. I stopped at a couple of specialty food places in the Shadyside section of the Pittsburgh.

One of my favorites is Whole Foods on Center Ave. I always love when you enter the store and they have their daily or weekly specials quite often by the door. It could be fruits, flowers, or at Christmas time even a little Christmas tree. When you walk-in you immediately walk into an amazing selection of produce. Some regular and some organic. There are many things that are not in your regular local market and the selection changes based on season and availability. There is a wonderful meat and fish selection and the list goes on. I have some of my favorite items that I always pick up because those items are hard to find or if you can find them quite often the item is cheaper at this store. Their store bands are a great value.

At the end of the isles on occasion, you can sample some snack products – delicious. You have to see the amazing selection of cheese – mouse heaven. Ok, so the next favorite thing I love about the store is the deli where you can get pre-made sandwiches, salad or MTO’s and . . . the hot food bar and salad bar is so unique, fresh, and delicious. When you are done your trip, relax and enjoy some lunch right on the way out. Good food. You are not going to find that anywhere else. Every time I have been there the place is bustling.

There are a couple of other places right near this store to compete with it. One is Giant Eagle’s Market District. I have never had the time to go here, because with so little time when in the area. I always pick Whole Foods. But I did get to spend about 15 minutes at a store called Trader Joe’s. They had some great specialty foods. The store is not nearly as big but I found some unique things. I had never seen mini seedless cucumbers – so cute for a salad.

Outside the city there is also a bulk health/specialty food company called Frankferd Farms in Sarver, PA – North East of the City. You can get a wide variety of various types of specialty foods. Most people order for pick up or have shipped as this is not your traditional food store – it is more like a warehouse. They have an amazing selection.

I have also been to another specialty food store that I did not realize was just that until recently. This place is called McGinnis Sisters. Their store NE of the city in Monroeville, PA is bigger than the Trader Joe’s. Their hot sausage is fabulous and so lean. They have a great new store in Mars, PA – Love it.

So stop in and check out the Pittsburgh Area’s specialty food stores. You will have so much fun.

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I love passing this church on Center Ave on the way to Whole foods. It deserves a better shot but I had to shoot from the car because the traffic is crazy in the city.

Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show Starts February 27

The Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show is at the Convention Center, downtown Pittsburgh on February 27 to March 8, 2009. This is the largest Home show in Pennsylvania. There will be over 1500 vendors featuring home and garden products. You will be able to see fully furnished model homes, attend seminars on home improvement, get great home decorating ideas and even see sample model kitchens and bathrooms.

Believe it or not there will also be 9 acres of landscaping including exhibits of with gardens and patios. You will see a wide variety of things like decks, sun rooms, furniture and pools. Check out the kitchen section where you will see cabinets, appliances, fixtures, specialty food products and more!

The Hours for the Home and Garden Show are:

Monday-Thursday, 4-10 PM
Fridays & Saturdays 10 AM-10 PM
Sundays 10 AM-6 PM.

Admission:
$10 for adults
$4 for children ages 6-12
Free for children under 6

Check out the Pittsburgh Home and Garden Website to get full details.

You will find a discount coupon to to download.

Local Scenery

A few weeks back, I had the opportunity to see some unique scenery created by the winter weather. In downtown Leechburg, PA, near where my office is located, we spotted some interesting ice formations in the Kiski River. We saw huge pieces of ice all jammed together. Some large pieces even sticking straight up and refrozen.

Leechburg is connected to Hyde Park by a nearby walking bridge so that was a great place to get a view. The day was warm enough to sneak out with out a coat and be semi comfortable as the ice in the river started to break up. I was delighted with the wonderful photographic opportunity. So my family and I walked on out to get some cool shots. It was a tricky to get shots when you were not standing near one of the bridge supports because the bridge did sway. It was really hard to get an idea of how large the pieces were because, it was not possible to go pose near any of them. I never thought to look at the river this time of year.

Here are some of the photos:

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Photos by Amy S. Myers, Copyright 2009