New Listing in Swissvale!

We’ve had a crazy few weeks here! We moved. And we have 3 kids and the house that we bought needs a lot of work, so it’s been a bit crazy. But we have a new listing that just went up earlier this week.

Check it out here: 7311 Whipple Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15218

This house is a great price for the location. It’s in Swissvale but walkable to Regent Square and Frick Park. It has 3 bedrooms and 1 and a half bathrooms. Two of the bedrooms have walk in closets! It actually has more storage and closet space than the house that we just bought and our house is almost twice as big (as I sit here typing this surrounded by boxes and no place to put them…)

We’re doing an open house this Saturday (8/17/19), 11AM to 1PM if you’d like to check it out. It’s a really great, move in ready house!

New Listing in Regent Square

New listing in Regent Square! 1311 Lancaster Ave. The location is amazing! You’re practically living within Frick Park and also very close to the Regent Square business district. It’s a very functional house. There aren’t any scary elements. You can basically just buy it, move in and not worry about it.

Wonderful community with very active and friendly neighbors. I love it for the walkability. It has 3 bedrooms on the second floor plus a large 3rd floor bedroom or bonus room. Solid surface kitchen countertops, double vanity in the full bath and 2 car detached garage.

We’re holding an open house this coming Saturday, June 15 from 1-3 so come and check it out!!

Our house is for sale!

We’ve been busy over here. For the last few months, we’ve been looking for a house that is closer to Sam’s (and soon to be Tucker’s) school and to our friends. That area of Pittsburgh is pretty expensive and in demand right now so we’ve mostly been looking at fixer uppers.

A few weeks ago, we looked at a house that is a five minute walk from Sam’s school. It was tenant occupied and a complete disaster. It’s a little over 2100 square feet but only 3 bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms. The layout is terrible and there is a ton of wasted space. It needs SO MUCH work. But…we made a low offer, they countered, we countered, they countered, we said no, they said no. We thought it was over but then a couple of days later, they came back and accepted our offer! So we’re closing July 10th, hoping that the tenants are out of there by then and hoping to have our current house at least under contract by then.

We listed our house (<—link to the listing) on Tuesday but didn’t allow any showings until the open house on Sunday. We mainly did this because we have 3 kids and we could get the majority of the showings out of the way that day. The open house went great! We had about 20 groups come through in the 3 hours. We’ve also had 5 showings since then (it’s Wednesday). I’m hopeful we’ll get an offer soon.

We only bought this house a year ago and did a lot of work to it so I thought it would be fun to post the before and after pics. Here we go:

The living and dining area became the living room and kitchen. The hardwood was refinished and we laid porcelain tile in the kitchen/dining area.
The old kitchen area became the dining area so we could add a back door and build a deck.
Another picture of the kitchen.
The old bathroom lost its pink wallpaper and got new drywall, vanity, toilet, mirror and light fixtures.
The back of the house lost its window awnings and we built a deck with slide.
We tore out the old carpeting in the basement, put in carpet tiles, painted and put in recessed lighting.
We also added a new full bathroom off of the basement.

We really liked this house and will miss certain things about it. But we’re really looking forward to being able to walk to school and to Frick Park!

Just Listed in East Liberty!

I just listed this house today in East Liberty. It’s only a couple of blocks from Whole Foods, Bakery Square and Highland Park! It’s currently set up as a single family home but it’s zoned 2 family so it could easily be made into a two unit.

I really love the farmhouse style of this house and it would have great curb appeal after being painted.

Here’s the link to the listing: 522 N. Euclid. Check it out!

Farmhouse design ideas below. I love the very first one. Navy + wood.


New Listing & Sold Listing

We just closed on 4724 Wallingford yesterday! It was under contract in about a week.

We listed a new house about a week ago and I just added it to the Current Listings page. It’s an end unit townhouse in East Liberty. It’s really an amazing location. Walkable to everything in East Liberty. It’s been completely gutted so it’s ready for a renovation to begin immediately.

Here’s a map to show you the location. Just a few blocks from Highland Park.

I haven’t had a lot of time to write on here but I’m hoping to write more soon. I’m interested to learn more about renovation loans and post on here. I didn’t realize it was really a viable option until recently. Also, I told Aaron that I’d like to become a real estate attorney. lol. That’s a long term goal.

505-507 California Ave, Oakmont, PA

First off, this is not my listing, I just love this house. It’s AMAZING! I would like to buy it but Aaron said, “you don’t want to live in Oakmont.” Whatever AARON. I’m willing to run an Air BNB to make this happen.

It’s walkable to a trail, library, restaurants and more.

Plus, I really want a house that has a separate apartment included. This one has a full separate mother-in-law suite with its own address. The apartment is two stories and 3 bedrooms, 1 bath. I really want to go see it.

I’m just posting it here because I think it’s a really unique house in Pittsburgh. It’s 6,000+ square feet on half an acre in Oakmont. It would be a great Bed and Breakfast. Here’s a link to the listing.

Here’s the real estate tax calculation. It’s assessed for $399,600. The millage in Oakmont is 31.4673.

$399,600 x .0314673 = $12,574 eeeek

Alright, I’ll just be over here calculating mortgage payments and possible rental income on the in-law suite. 🙂

Pittsburgh: Regent Square

I’ve started two blog posts about different types of mortgages but there is just so much information to include, it’s been hard for me to complete. Still working on it!

In the meantime, I thought I’d talk a little bit about the area of Pittsburgh known as Regent Square. This little area East of Frick Park is a very hot real estate market. It has a business district, its walkable, it has Frick Park. I love it (and would love to move there 🙂 ) But Regent square is also a unique area of Pittsburgh because it is not its own municipality.

The area outlined in orange on the map below is Regent Square according to Google.

Regent Square is made up of parts of Swissvale, Wilkinsburg and the City of Pittsburgh. This means that depending on where you live in Regent Square, your real estate taxes (and income tax) could vary wildly. The school district also varies depending on the part of Regent Square.

In terms of real estate taxes, the total millage for the 3 municipalities that make up Regent Square are:

  • City of Pittsburgh: 22.63
  • Wilkinsburg: 48.23
  • Swissvale: 38.08

As an example, if you were buying a house for $250,000, here is what your total annual real estate taxes would be in each of these areas:

  • City of Pittsburgh: $5,657
  • Wilkinsburg: $12,057
  • Swissvale: $9,520

These are big differences! This difference in real estate tax greatly affects the value of real estate here. In my experience, a house in the city of Pittsburgh portion of Regent Square will be worth more than a similar house in the Wilkinsburg or Swissvale portion. The real estate taxes make a big difference in what people can afford. Your mortgage payment would be significantly different depending on the area.

In the city of Pittsburgh, you would be paying $471 per month toward the real estate tax portion of your mortgage payment. If you were in Wilkinsburg, the real estate tax portion of your mortgage payment would be $1,004.

Just to be a little more clear, if you took out a mortgage for $250,000, here is an estimate of what your mortgage payment would be. (Principal+Interest+Taxes) (Using an estimated interest rate of 4.25% and not including home owner’s insurance)

  • City of Pittsburgh: $1,701/month
  • Wilkinsburg: $2,234/month
  • Swissvale: $2,023/month

And just a quick note about schools: Wilkinsburg is Wilkinsburg School Disctrict, Swissvale is Woodland Hills School District and the City of Pittsburgh portion is Pittsburgh Public Schools.

You can check the municipality of a particular house on the Allegheny County Assessment Site. (I bring up that website on pretty much every post…but it’s really full of useful information). Search for the address and then on the General Information tab, it will list the municipality. The one below is 14th Ward – Pittsburgh.

Hope that is helpful to you! I think it’s pretty interesting information. I also recently found out about an area of Pittsburgh near Regent Square that is called Park Place?! Who knew??

New Listing in Shadyside!

We just posted a new house for sale in Shadyside and it is amazing. It has over 4,500 square feet and 6 bedrooms. It’s on the North Oakland side of Shadyside and is walkable to so many places. It’s on a fairly quiet, one way street but still convenient to Pitt, CMU, Shadyside business districts and pretty much everything in the East End. Here’s a map for you:

It has 3 full stories of living space and a long driveway for lots of off street parking. There used to be a garage at the end of the driveway but had to be torn down because it was in bad shape. A new garage could definitely be built.

The back yard is large, flat and fenced. It needs a fair amount of work but it could be amazing. I would guess if it’s renovated nicely, it could be worth $800-900,000. It’s currently listed for $500,000 and probably needs $200,000 of work. (These are all my estimates).

We have 9 showings scheduled over the next few days so there is definitely interest. Honestly, I wanted to buy it for our family and then Aaron reminded me that that’s insane and we just moved 6 months ago. Ha. It’s a bit big for our family. And…you need quite a bit of cash to do the work.

If you are interested in seeing it, please let me know! There are more pictures in the listing. My contact info is here. It is absolutely amazing and I think someone is going to buy it and make it even more amazing very soon.

Calculating Real Estate Taxes

One of the things that always comes up when discussing real estate are questions about property taxes.  Will I be reassessed?  What is millage? What’s the homestead exemption?  How do I calculate the taxes?  

I thought this would be a good first topic because it applies to every single person that owns a home.

Here is the definition of millage: The millage rate is the amount per $1,000 of property value that is used to calculate local property taxes. Assigned millage rates are multiplied by the total taxable value of the property in order to arrive at the property taxes.

For example, if the assessed value of your home is $100,000 and the millage rate is 30, you first convert 30 to a decimal by moving the decimal place to the left 3 spaces.  30 = .03 or 3%.  Next, multiply $100,000 x .03 = $3,000 which is your annual tax amount.  

Now let’s talk about figuring out your municipality’s millage rate.  This is all going to be based on Allegheny County.

There are three parts that make up your millage number:

  • County
  • School District
  • Municipality

All municipalities in Allegheny County have the same County millage which is 4.73.

You can find the list of school district millage rates here: http://apps.alleghenycounty.us/website/millsd.asp

You can find the list of municipal millage rates here:  http://apps.alleghenycounty.us/website/millmuni.asp

For an example, here are the millage rates for the city of Pittsburgh:

  • County – always  4.73
  • School District     9.84
  • Municipality         8.06
  • TOTAL MILLAGE : 22.63 or 2.263%

If you live in the city of Pittsburgh and your assessed value is $100,000, multiply that by the millage—
100,000 x .02263 (millage converted to decimal) = $2,263 would be your annual real estate tax amount.

You can find your assessed value on the Allegheny County Assessment Site. Click the link in the line above, click I Agree at the bottom and then search by address. The General Information tab comes up first and this is where you will see your assessed value. In the screen shot below, the assessed value is $78,800.

Note: City of Pittsburgh has the lowest real estate taxes in Allegheny County but the local income tax that you pay if you live within city limits is higher (3%). Most other municipalities have a local income tax rate of about 1% so factor that in when thinking about your purchase.  You’ll probably be paying lower real estate taxes but higher income tax if you choose to live in the city.

Homestead Exemption

Now let’s talk about the homestead exemption also called Act 50.  When you buy a house, or already own a house, and it is your primary residence, check to see if you have the homestead exemption.  It’ll take $18,000 off of the assessed value of your home.  Meaning, if your home is assessed at $100,000, you would only pay taxes based on $82,000.  ($100,000 minus the $18,000 homestead exemption). 

Here’s a link to the county page where you can download the Homestead Exemption application. You can check whether you have the exemption on the Allegheny County Assessment site. Just click the following link and then search for your house by address: Allegheny County Assessment Site.

This is problably enough info for my very first blog post but how about fun real estate trivia?

Which municipalities have the highest and lowest tax rates?
(other than city of Pittsburgh) 
Leave your answer in the comments and I’ll put the answer in the next post.

I’ll also be posting a spreadsheet of all of the total real estate taxes in order for each municipality in Allegheny County.  🙂