What are some good neighborhoods close to downtown Pittsburgh?

Asked by Ne, Sun Jun 15, 2008

A little bit more about our situation: We are a young couple looking to buy for the first time. We don't want anything too big, just a nice little starter home (2 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms, a nice little yard) in a safe, reasonably priced area. We don't want a condominium mainly because we don't want to pay the maintenance fees for something we can do ourselves. Is there something out there that would fit our needs and come in under $700/month (including insurance and taxes)?

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Channie Hill, , Pleasant Hills, PA
Sat Jul 19, 2008
The best option is to contact a real estate professional who has access to MLX listings. To determine a GOOD neighborhood is up to the buyer themselves, no real estate agent should determine whats good or bad areas. The are many websites to view neighborhood stats, http// http://:www.realtor.com has alot of info for buyers. Also if your interested in a certain address you can use google map the address and virtually look at the neighborhood right from your house. Gas prices being high as they are this some times can save you time and gas. A real estate agent can easliy type your criteria including price range and map out all properties that fit. And have these homes emailed directly to you. The first step to purchasing any property is get a pre-approval letter(this has a dollar amount of a loan and interest rate of loan) from a financial institution, secondly find an agent, and finally find a house and place a bid. Your credit score, the amout towards the purchase,intrest rate all have a say on what your monthly mortagage will be.
2 votes
Jeffrey Benn…, Agent, Pittsburgh, PA
Sun Jun 15, 2008
Compared to many areas of the country, pittsburgh is still very affordable! With 20% down at current interest rates, city taxes, average insurance costs, etc., you *might* be able to go as high as $90,000 or so for $700/month. Of course, there are a *lot* of variables, and you'll have to sit down with a professional and work it out with real numbers. If you can't put 20% down, or your credit is less than perfect, or the house happens to be assessed higher than most, etc., your "price ceiling" will come down a bit.

City property taxes are around 3% annually (of county assessed value). There is a 4% transfer tax as well (commonly split between buyer and seller). If you are moving into the city from outside it, be aware of the 3% income tax. (On the other hand, cutting your commute can save money and offset this, especially if you drive at $4/gallon.)

Remember there will be closing costs, including tax and insurance escrows, so your first year costs will be higher. You'll have to figure in maintenance costs as well; a home warranty is often a wise investment when you're short on savings. And make sure the home inspector is thorough. Ask to see a sample / blank inspection -- the best ones write long, narrative reports with pictures, as opposed to simply checking off boxes.

As for your specific question, it's tough for Realtors to answer, since Fair Housing laws prevent us from characterizing neighborhoods. http://www.callpittsburghhome.com/community_reports.shtml has community reports by zip code or school district (city/county as well). All we can really do is refer you to such third party resources and have you tell us what neighborhoods you're interested in. You should drive through them yourself (including at night), before looking at houses there with a Realtor.

A quick search of the MLS reveals over 60 2-bedroom single family or town homes (not condos) within the city limits, between $60K and $90K. These listings are all over the place, from north side to south side, east end to west end. There should be plenty of choices for you. Good luck!
2 votes
Lynn, Home Seller, Dravosburg, PA
Tue Jul 8, 2008
We are selling our first home in Dravosburg, PA. A quiet little town about 5 minutes from Kennywood and 15 minutes from Downtown Pgh. Actually it's 15 minutes from everywhere, very convienent.
0 votes
lacolangelo, , 15001
Wed Jun 25, 2008
Hopewell Township is just a short drive to Pittsburgh. There are lots of nice neighborhoods, schools, and homes from custom built large homes to homes with lots of acres for the kids to enjoy. Enjoy Beaver County at its finest!
0 votes
Bam, Both Buyer And Seller, Greenville, PA
Mon Jun 23, 2008
carnegie!! What a great place to live. Close to the city and airport. A great main street area and incredible library. Lots of eating establishments in walking distance. Public transportation readily available. I understand that there will be some energy efficient homes built soon.
0 votes
Rebekah Sieg…, Agent, Pittsburgh, PA
Sun Jun 15, 2008
Hi! Your monthly payment will depend on how large your down payment is - the more money you're able to put down, the less your payment will be. When you choose an agent to represent you, he or she should be able to give you an estimated cost sheet, which will help guide you in terms of choosing the right price range and making sure you have enough money to cover the closing costs. In terms of neighborhoods, Pittsburgh has many great ones, and because our city is so compact, many of these neighborhoods are within 10 minutes of downtown! You can research the neighborhoods here: http://www.trulia.com/real_estate/Pittsburgh-Pennsylvania as well as on other websites like http://www.coldwellbanker.com, and your agent can help you to narrow down your choices by gaining a better understanding of what amenities and features you're looking for in a home, and using their professiona expertise to direct you to the area that best matches your price range and desired features. Good luck in your search!
0 votes
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