should I buy a rental in Pittsburgh PA anyone?

Asked by Max, 11418 Mon Sep 15, 2008

should I buy a rental in Pittsburgh PA anyone?
I live out of state I found a single family for $17000 the rent is $500, tennant pays all utilities.
Is this a good move?

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Jeffrey Benn…, Agent, Pittsburgh, PA
Mon Sep 15, 2008
In general, the rental market in Pittsburgh is doing quite well, fueled in part by the foreclosure crisis that turns many homeowners (and would-be homeowners) into renters! Here's one metric I've noticed -- our office used to have a single rental agent. Now, we have six rental agents plus a rental manager!

As for whether this is a good buy for you, here are some of the factors to consider:

1) If you're out-of-state, are you going to come look at it first? Are you familiar with the area it's in? If not, that's a high-risk proposition (but not impossible if you do a careful, professional inspection, preferably by someone local you know and trust).
2) How will you manage the property? There are several property management companies (Coldwell Banker has one, for instance). They will typically charge 8-10% / year.
3) You'll need to do a cash flow analysis. Are you paying cash? If not, you'll need to include financing costs in your calculations, as well as taxes, expected vacancy rate, utilities, maintenance, etc. I have a comprehensive worksheet (annual operating expenses and 5-year cash flow projection) I use to help my clients here.
4) What sort of tenants are you looking for? There is Section 8 (subsidized housing), which can be profitable (but presents its own set of challenges). The property management company can handle credit checks, security deposits and other such issues.

Good luck, and let me know if I can help you further.
1 vote
Max, , Jamaica, Queens, NY
Wed Sep 17, 2008
I would consider buying cash if I can refinance cash-out quickly.
0 votes
Jeffrey Benn…, Agent, Pittsburgh, PA
Mon Sep 15, 2008
Max,

Thanks for the clarifications.

>You'll need to do a cash flow analysis. (500X12X65% / $15000=26%Profit)
Well, it's rather more involved than that! There are closing costs related to the sale (title insurance, pre-paid taxes, transfer stamps) Unless you're buying it with tenants already in place, there will be a vacancy period before rent comes in. If there's no tenant, you'll pay a month's rent for the managers to find one. Property management is then 8-10% annually (say $50/month). You have ongoing taxes, maintenance, and homeowner's insurance (a special landlord's policy). You may have periodic large bills (e.g., roof replacement, new furnace), and possibly periods of vacancy when there's no money coming in.

>I'd rather finance it!
Tough in that price range! Under $40K or so, it's very hard to get a mortgage these days. Assuming you have good credit, many investors either use an unsecured line of credit for such purchases, or they secure a loan against other property (e.g., your own home).

If it is a bank-owned foreclosure with utilities off, you can't finance it in any way that requires an appraisal (e.g., a mortgage). You generallly can't do an appraisal with utilities off anymore, and the bank is not going to turn utilities on for you.

>I prefer regular renter Section8 is risky (the house in Question is rented month to month)
The advantage of Section 8 is you get paid by them, instead of by the tenants directly. You have to pass Section 8 inspection (no peeling paint, rooms a certain size with windows, etc.), and you get paid a calculated rate (calculated by them!) per bedroom. The Section 8 recipients have "vouchers" they apply to the property. House rentals in that price range are all risky, Section 8 or not, especially when you're am absentee landlord. The property management company may handle it all for you anyway.

>The property is located in industry Street near E Warrington Ave Zip15210. Do you know the area?
Yes; I've bought and sold there. It's probably technically Beltzhoover (not Mt. Washington proper). I had a listing on Gearing, and another on Southern, and I've had lots of buyers there, from Chatham Village to Knoxville. Nothing's listed there now (except 50 Industry, a foreclosure for $8,500), so I assume this is a "For Sale By Owner?"

You can usually still use a Realtor for those, and that's a lot safer than going it alone, especially long distance. There's a broker fee agreement (sometimes called a "one party show") where the seller pays only one side of a commission (buyer's side, since it's not listed). That is most often cheaper than paying an attorney hourly, even if you end up paying part of the commission.

Coldwell Banker mortgage is 888-803-7264, but I don't think they can help you under $40K. Not directly, though they may be able to refer you to a lender who writes loans like that. I think your best bet is to talk to your bank first and see what they'll do.

I know lots of inspectors, of course; we can talk about what you want done and what sort of report you prefer (I recommend one who writes a detailed narrative). You can email me at jeff.bennett@pittsburghmoves.com. I'd be happy to help you further.
0 votes
Max, Home Buyer, 11418
Mon Sep 15, 2008
thank you Mr. Bennett.
answers to your questions:

1) If you're out-of-state, are you going to come look at it first?
yes I'm flying to look at @ the property it first .

Are you familiar with the area it's in?

NO!
(but not impossible if you do a careful, professional inspection, preferably by someone local you know)
I DO NOT KNOW ANYBODY THERE!

How will you manage the property?
Property management!

You'll need to do a cash flow analysis. (500X12X65% / $15000=26%Profit)

Are you paying cash?
I'd rather finance it!

What sort of tenants are you looking for?
I prefer regular renter Section8 is risky (the house in Question is rented month to month)

The property is located in industry Street near E Warrington Ave Zip15210. Do you know the area?

I may travel this week to see a few properties. If you can connect me with a real estate attorney an inspector and a mortgage broker, that would be great.
0 votes
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