Uncategorized May 22, 2024

Seasoned Sellers: Is Now The Right Time To Move To A New Pittsburgh Home?

Even seasoned sellers can experience emotional upheaval when selling and moving after many years in one home. Leaving is always challenging. 

 

Such a transition can open exciting new opportunities – whether downsizing to a lower-maintenance lifestyle, relocating closer to loved ones, or finally moving to your forever dream home. Whatever your motivations, having an experienced real estate agent as a trusted guide is invaluable when navigating this significant life change. Here are some key considerations for seasoned Pittsburgh sellers evaluating a move.

 

Making an Informed Decision 

While the sentimental pull of remaining in a beloved home is strong, evaluating your current property’s condition rationally and whether it still aligns with your needs and finances is essential. Needed repairs, an inefficient layout for aging in place, too large, too small, high taxes and utilities – all are pragmatic factors to weigh against the nostalgic desire to stay put. The most necessary step is obtaining an updated market evaluation and estimating your potential profit from selling from a reliable real estate agent. Crunch the numbers on the ongoing costs of residing in your current home versus the one-time expense of moving to a more suitable property.

 

Managing the Sentimental Side

For seasoned sellers, leaving the family home where you may have raised your children, celebrated holidays, and made decades of memories can be hard. It’s healthy to work through those emotions—reminisce by taking photos or videos, allocate sentimental belongings to loved ones who will cherish them, and find meaningful ways to preserve favorite memories. Viewing the transition as an opportunity for a fresh start and decluttering can invigorate your next phase of life.

 

Tax/Investment Implications

Pittsburgh sellers need to understand their home sale’s tax and investment implications. Capital gains taxes may apply if selling for a sizable profit (although exemptions for reinvesting in a new primary residence can minimize impact). For investment property sales, IRS 1031 exchange rules could defer taxes. Depending on a long-distance relocation, existing retirement/pension income sources and tax burdens may shift. 

 

Making the Right Move

Ensuring your next home meets your newly revamped lifestyle goals and priorities is equally important. Evaluate ideal locations – are you looking for somewhere with milder weather, more cultural/recreational activities, or closer proximity to loved family members like aging parents or grandchildren? Determine your actual “right sized” home needs – single-level living, lower maintenance requirements, and amenities conducive to your interests. An agent’s knowledge of specific neighborhoods, community profiles, school zones, and more is invaluable. Their expertise can ensure your following home checks all the boxes.

 

For seasoned sellers, the complexities and emotions of leaving a longtime residence can be daunting and inspiring. You must balance the pragmatic financial realities like tax burdens, investment of profits, and budgeting for the future against influential sentimental factors and pinpointing an ideal next home. 

 

Being a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES), Seller Representative Specialist (SRS), Pricing Strategy Advisor (PSA) and Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR), I can skillfully guide you through every step of the buying and selling phases. As a full-time Pittsburgh Realtor® for over 20 years, I have earned the confidence of my clients, who were seasoned sellers, during major transitional moves. 

 

If you’re interested in buying or selling a home, contact me here, by phone at 412-848-3907, or by email at Kim.Esposito1@pittsburghmoves.com to schedule a free consultation to discuss your real estate needs. 

Uncategorized February 20, 2024

How Can You Be Successful in a Hot Spring Real Estate Market?

As winter slowly bids us farewell, we look forward to the warmer weather and all the opportunities it brings for buyers and sellers in our Pittsburgh spring real estate market.

As the snow melts away, it’s not just the flowers that begin to bloom – the real estate market starts buzzing with activity, too. If you’re considering selling your home, now is the perfect time to prepare and make the most of this bustling season. And for buyers, the spring market offers fresh listings and possibilities to find your dream home.

Recently, WTAE News aired a story about the expectations of the 2024 Pittsburgh real estate market. David Onufer, 2024 President of the Realtors® Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh, forecasts our area’s strong real estate market.

 

The expectations for our Spring real estate market are:

  1. Strong Demand – lower interest rates are expected, making home buying more desirable.
  2. Low Inventory – As we have seen over the past several years, the inventory of available homes for sale remains low. Low inventory often leads to increased competition among buyers.
  3. Affordability – Although home prices increased over 2023 by 4%, the average home price in the Allegheny County area is $230,000 – $240,000. According to Forbes, Pennsylvania’s median sales price is $276,000.

 

Given the optimistic predictions, what do sellers or buyers need to know in this Spring real estate market?

  1. Competition – with the expectation of high demand and low inventory, competition can be increased for a home that is properly prepared and priced correctly.
  2. Fast-moving market – Spring is traditionally a busy season in the housing market. Homes will move quickly. Home buyers should be prepared to act quickly. Home sellers should prepare plans for their new housing needs.
  3. Market Awareness – keeping current on the local market conditions in your neighborhood will help a seller set a realistic price, and buyers craft competitive offers.

 

In preparation for a hot spring real estate market in Pittsburgh, both buyers and sellers can take proactive steps to position themselves for success:

 

For Buyers:

 

  1. Get Pre-Approved: Start by getting pre-approved for a mortgage. This helps you understand your budget and demonstrates to sellers that you’re a serious buyer ready to make a competitive offer.

 

  1. Define Your Priorities: Clearly define your must-haves and nice-to-haves in a home. You may need to be flexible with limited inventory, but having clear priorities can help you focus your search.

 

  1. Stay Informed: Keep a close eye on the market trends, including median home prices, average days on the market, and new listings. This information can help you make informed decisions and act quickly when the right property arises.

 

  1. Work with a Local Agent: Partnering with a knowledgeable local real estate agent is invaluable in a competitive market. They can provide insights into specific neighborhoods, guide you through the buying process, and help you navigate negotiations effectively.

 

  1. Be Prepared to Act Quickly: In a hot market, desirable properties can go under contract within days or even hours. Be prepared to move quickly when you find a home that meets your criteria, and be ready to submit a strong offer.

 

 

For Sellers:

 

  1. Prepare Your Home: Invest time and effort into preparing your home for sale. This includes decluttering, depersonalizing, making necessary repairs, and enhancing curb appeal. A well-presented home stands out in a competitive market.

 

  1. Price Strategically: Work with your real estate agent to price your home competitively. While aiming for the highest price is tempting, overpricing can deter buyers and prolong your time on the market. Strategic pricing can attract more interest and lead to multiple offers.

 

  1. Maximize Exposure: Utilize multiple marketing channels to maximize exposure for your property. This includes professional photography, online listings, social media promotion, and traditional marketing methods. The goal is to reach as many potential buyers as possible.

 

  1. Be Flexible with Showings: Accommodate showings and open houses to make it easy for buyers to view your home. Flexibility can attract more interest and increase the likelihood of receiving competitive offers.

 

  1. Communicate Your Moving Timeline: Understanding your plans can help buyers make informed decisions, especially if they have specific timing requirements. Being transparent about your moving timeline can streamline negotiations and ensure a smoother transition for both parties.

 

Preparation, knowledge, and agility are essential for buyers and sellers in Pittsburgh’s hot spring real estate market. By taking proactive steps and working with experienced professionals, you can navigate the market dynamics successfully and achieve your real estate goals.

 

Having spent the last 20 years in the Pittsburgh real estate market, I know how to successfully help you navigate our spring market. Contact me here, by phone at 412-848-3907, or by email at Kim.Esposito1@pittsburghmoves.com to schedule a free consultation to discuss your real estate needs.

 

 

Uncategorized January 3, 2024

New Year, New Home: Why Living In Pittsburgh, PA Can Bring You Joy!

As we ring in the new year, you might wonder what makes living in Pittsburgh enjoyable. Pittsburgh has a rich history, vibrant communities, and growing opportunities. Let’s explore why making Pittsburgh your home in 2024 could be your best decision.

A City of Neighborhoods with Unique Flavors

One of the most charming aspects of living in Pittsburgh is its diverse neighborhoods. Each area offers its unique vibe, from the hip and happening Strip District, known for its bustling markets and nightlife, to the serene and scenic Squirrel Hill. Whether you’re a young professional, a growing family, or looking to enjoy your golden years, there’s a neighborhood you will love.

Affordability Meets Quality of Life

Pittsburgh consistently ranks as one of the most affordable cities in the U.S., especially regarding housing. The cost of living here is below the national average, yet the quality of life is high. This balance makes Pittsburgh an ideal place for first-time homebuyers or those looking for more value for their money in the new year.

Rich Cultural and Educational Scene

Living in Pittsburgh, you will find world-class universities like Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh. The vibrant cultural district provides plenty of opportunities, from contemporary music and modern dance to thought-provoking theater. It’s also home to classical music performances, opera, and ballet, alongside famous musical theater and art films. Numerous museums are found throughout the area. There’s always something to learn and explore in the city.

A Green City with a Vision for Sustainability

Pittsburgh is not just another industrial city; it’s a leader in green initiatives. Its numerous parks, rivers, and bike trails offer many outdoor activities. The city’s commitment to sustainability is evident in its green buildings and community projects, making it a forward-thinking choice for eco-conscious residents.

Economic Growth and Career Opportunities

The new year is a time for new career goals, and Pittsburgh’s economy is bustling with opportunities, especially in the tech, healthcare, and education sectors. Companies like Google, Uber, and Duolingo have offices here, making the city a burgeoning tech hub.

Community Spirit and Sports Enthusiasm

Pittsburghers are known for their strong community spirit and love for sports. Home to the Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates, the city’s sports scene is electrifying. A strong sense of camaraderie and pride ties the community together.

A Foodie’s Paradise 

Pittsburgh’s food scene thrives, from traditional Polish and Italian dishes to innovative farm-to-table restaurants. The city has become a hotspot for foodies, offering a range of cuisines that cater to all tastes and budgets.

As you look towards the new year with hopes and aspirations, consider Pittsburgh, PA, your new home. It’s a city that combines affordability with a high quality of life, making it an ideal place for new beginnings. If you’re ready to explore the real estate opportunities in Pittsburgh or want to learn more about this incredible city, I’m here to help. Contact me, Kim Esposito, at Kim.Esposito1@pittsburghmoves.com.

Here’s to a Prosperous and Fulfilling New Year in your New Pittsburgh HOME!

BuyingSelling December 11, 2023

Buying and Selling During the Holidays: A Festive Advantage

Let’s unwrap the mystery of whether or not you can sell or buy real estate during the holidays. Contrary to popular belief, the holiday season can be a beneficial opportunity for buyers and sellers. As a seasoned real estate agent with 20 years of experience in the bustling Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, market, my journey through countless transactions during these festive months has consistently revealed advantages that can make this period particularly rewarding for real estate endeavors.

Buying and Selling real estate during the holidays can be a golden opportunity for several reasons:

1. Less Competition, More Attention

The holiday season means fewer buyers are on the hunt, and fewer homes are on the market. This is excellent news for you! As a buyer, you’ll face less competition, giving you a better chance to snag your dream home. As a seller, you’ll deal with serious buyers who are likely more motivated and ready to make a decision.

2. Motivated Parties on Both Ends

The holiday season brings out highly motivated individuals. As a seller, you’ll encounter buyers eager to move and enjoy the winter months in their new home. As a buyer, you might find sellers keen to close quickly for various reasons, such as relocating for a job in the new year.

3. Job Promotions and Relocations

The holiday season can be a time of significant career changes, including job promotions and relocations. This shift can lead to an urgent need to buy or sell property. While there’s a common belief in a hiring freeze during this time, the reality is more nuanced. While some companies might freeze hiring, others rush to fill positions before the year’s end, leading to unexpected job changes and relocations​​​​.

4. Showcasing Holiday Charm

Homes can shine during the holiday season. As a seller, you have the unique opportunity to showcase your home’s warmth and character. A tastefully decorated home, with subtle hints of holiday cheer, can be incredibly inviting. It helps potential buyers envision their holiday celebrations in the space, creating an emotional connection that can lead to quicker sales.

5. Harnessing the Power of Online Listings

With colder weather keeping people indoors, potential buyers are more likely to begin their home search online. The increased online activity ensures that your property gets ample visibility, and as a buyer, you enjoy the convenience of exploring properties from the warmth of your home.

The holiday season is not just about festivities; it’s also a unique time for buying and selling real estate opportunities. Whether you’re looking to buy a dream home or sell your current property, the end of the year could be the perfect time to make your move.

If you’re considering taking advantage of the holiday real estate market, I’m here to help. Let’s connect and explore how we can turn this season into a time of great opportunity for you in the real estate world.

Contact me, Kim Esposito, at Kim.Esposito1@pittsburghmoves.com, and let’s unwrap the potential of buying or selling real estate during the holidays.

Uncategorized September 25, 2023

Why Homebuyers Should Understand Debt-to-Income Ratio

Understanding your debt-to-income ratio when purchasing a home is essential, especially now that interest rates have risen.

A debt-to-income ratio (DTI) measures how much of your monthly income goes toward debt payments. The Debt-to-Income (DTI) ratio is a revealing metric, indicating whether your debt aligns reasonably with your earnings. Striking a balance in debt obligations is vital to fostering stable financial health.

If you’ve ever explored mortgage options, you’re likely already acquainted with this computation. Your debt-to-income ratio plays a critical role in the assessment made by lenders to gauge your capacity for meeting monthly payments on the funds you intend to borrow.

Lenders employ the DTI as a yardstick to determine the sum they can prudently lend you for a home purchase or mortgage refinancing, all while mitigating their financial risks. Undoubtedly, your credit score’s significance in loan qualification is common knowledge. Yet, the DTI is equal to the credit score regarding its importance.

The 28/36 Rule is typically used by lenders to calculate the debt-to-income ratio.

28% of your gross monthly income is allowed by lenders for housing expenses, including principal, mortgage interest, real estate taxes, and insurance.

36% of your gross monthly income is what the lender will allow for your total monthly debt payments. This number will include housing expenses, credit card payments, child support, car loans, and other long-term debts.

Calculating the debt-to-income ratio is simple:

Monthly gross earnings: $6,000

28% $1,680 maximum monthly mortgage payment*

*Your maximum monthly mortgage payment includes principal, interest, taxes, and insurance (PITI).  Lenders will typically limit this amount to a conventional monthly mortgage payment, translating to the amount of home you can afford.

Monthly gross earnings $6,000

36% $2,160 total allowable monthly debt*

*This figure represents your total of all allowable debt.

Total allowable monthly debt $2,160

Less maximum monthly mortgage payment $1,680

Allowable additional recurring monthly debt $ 480

If your monthly obligations on recurring debt exceed $480, the size of the mortgage you’ll qualify for will decrease proportionally. For example, if you pay $600 monthly on recurring debt instead of $480, the lender must reduce your monthly mortgage payment by $120 to $1,560 or less. The difference means a lower mortgage amount and a smaller home.

It is important to note that car payments are a part of that $480 allowable recurring monthly debt. With the increase in vehicle costs, having a $500+ monthly car payment is common, even for a modest vehicle. There is little room for any additional debt.

Each lender evaluates the debt-to-income ratio based on the guidelines they set. Some lenders may allow percentages over 36%, depending on their set parameters.

Simply put, too much debt can derail your mortgage approval.

You can reduce your debt-to-income ratio by:

  1. Paying down your debt.
  2. Increasing your income.
  3. Avoiding additional debt.

It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your debt-to-income ratio whether or not you’re in the market for a home. Access to other lines of credit makes it easy to get over your head.

A home purchase is an exciting time in one’s life. Understanding the home-buying process is crucial whether you are a first-time homebuyer or an experienced one.

Over my 20 years of experience in the local Pittsburgh real estate market, I have helped many home buyers achieve their dream of homeownership. Contact me here, by phone at 412-848-3907, or by email at Kim.Esposito1@pittsburghmoves.com to schedule a free consultation to discuss your real estate needs.

Uncategorized August 15, 2023

Pittsburgh Homeownership: Your Path to Financial Stability and Wealth Building

Pittsburgh homeownership is an avenue toward building wealth. Wealth building is simply increasing the net value of your total assets. Calculating your net worth is simple: Subtract the amount of money you owe (liabilities) from the value of your possessions (assets).

There are two ways you can build your net worth through homeownership:

Equity 

Owning a home allows you to build equity over time. With each mortgage payment you make, a portion goes towards reducing the outstanding balance. As the years pass, more of your payment is applied to the principal. This gradual reduction in your mortgage balance translates into increased equity. You accumulate wealth and increase your net worth by consistently paying down your mortgage.

Appreciation

Real estate in Pittsburgh has historically appreciated, making it an attractive investment. Pittsburgh tends to experience a stable housing market, not a boom-and-bust market. You can benefit from this appreciation by owning a home, leading to substantial wealth growth.

A simplified example of wealth building through Pittsburgh homeownership:

You purchased a home for $400,000 (to simplify the calculation, you made no down payment.) Over the next 10 years, your mortgage payments reduced your outstanding balance by $100,000, and your home increased in value to $500,000. The value of your home as a net asset has grown to $200,000 [$500,000 (market value) – $300,000 (mortgage balance).] You would have missed $200,000 in wealth if you had rented during this time.

Growing equity not only enhances your net worth but also opens up opportunities. The equity you’ve built becomes valuable. Some borrow on their home’s equity to make home improvements, or you can use your equity to purchase your next home.

Homeownership vs. Renting

Unlike renting, homeownership offers stability in terms of monthly payments. With a fixed-rate mortgage, your monthly payment remains the same, allowing easy budgeting and financial planning. On the other hand, renters often face annual rent increases, affecting their ability to save and invest.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) created a report that details homeownership trends and statistics. The report concluded that a homeowner’s net worth was about $300,000, while the wealth of a renter was about $8,000. Therefore, a homeowner’s net worth is roughly 40 times higher than a renters. From this information, it seems homeownership is a key factor in your net worth.

Gallup Poll found that real estate remained a favored investment by Americans since 2013. A significant advantage of homeownership is that you have a place to live, unlike other types of investments.

Pittsburgh homeownership offers a way to build wealth and secure your financial future. Factors that can help you grow your net worth are decreasing your mortgage principal, property appreciation, and leveraging your accumulated equity. Homeownership’s stability contributes to long-term financial security.

If you are ready to improve your wealth building through homeownership, contact me here, by phone at 412-848-3907, or by email at Kim.Esposito1@pittsburghmoves.com to schedule a free consultation to discuss your real estate needs.

Uncategorized May 2, 2023

Understand the Benefits of a Home Warranty Protection Plan

Have you ever seen a for sale sign with a “home warranty protection plan included” rider? If so, you may wonder what a home warranty is and whether it’s worth it.

There often needs to be clarity surrounding a home warranty and how it works. A home warranty protection plan is a service contract rather than an insurance policy. Standard home warranties typically cover some or all of a home’s major systems, such as electrical, plumbing, heating, and air conditioning. However, coverage of home appliances and other components will vary depending on the company from which you purchase the warranty.

It’s not uncommon for sellers to offer a home warranty when they list their Pittsburgh home for sale, as these warranties have become a popular inclusion in property sales. However, if a seller refuses to include a home warranty with the sale, buyers can purchase one themselves within a certain time frame after closing.

Home warranty protection plans are not just for newly purchased homes; existing homeowners can also purchase them.

What is the difference between a home warranty protection plan and a homeowner’s insurance policy? 

Homeowner’s insurance typically covers your home and personal belongings from significant dangers like fires, storms, and theft. It also covers liability for injuries of people who do not reside in your home if something happens while they’re on your property. In contrast, a home warranty provides reduced rates for repairs or replacements of the systems and appliances defined in the policy coverage.

In this previous blog post, you can learn more about homeowner’s insurance. Although mortgage lenders require home insurance, a home warranty is optional.

How does a home warranty work?

There are benefits to having a home warranty, but it’s essential to understand how it works. Contacting the warranty company is required before calling a service provider. The warranty company will approve the repair and provide the service technician’s contact information. The homeowner pays a predetermined service fee.

Coverage varies by company, so you must thoroughly evaluate what is covered and what is not before deciding whether it’s the right home warranty protection plan. Consider looking at several different warranty companies before deciding.

There are several reasons why a seller might want to purchase a home warranty when they list their Pittsburgh home for sale:

  • They will receive limited coverage during the listing period.
  • The seller is responsible for maintaining the property in its current condition until closing.
  • The service fee may be their only expense if a covered item needs repairing before closing.
  • A home warranty can incentivize a buyer, who will likely ask for one in their offer.

Buyers also have several reasons why they want to have a home warranty protection plan included in their home purchase:

  • It provides buyers peace of mind that unexpected qualified repair costs are limited to the service fee.
  • After paying closing costs, they may have to restore their savings before they can begin home repairs.
  • They can access vetted service providers with one call if they are new to an area.
  • Depending on their DIY experience, they may be unable to do the repairs themselves.

According to SoFi Learn, the average costs to repair are:

  • Electrical – $141 – $419 for minor repairs, $2,000 – $6,000 for full electrical wiring
  • Roof Repair – $300 – $2,000 for partial repair
  • HVAC – up to $577 for A/C repair, $5,000 – $12,500 for replacement

An average home warranty costs between $300 – $800. One significant repair can cover the cost of the warranty.

Evaluating your needs, comparing various plans, and understanding the coverage before purchasing a home warranty protection plan is crucial. Then, with the right coverage in place, you can protect your Pittsburgh home and save on unexpected repairs during the coverage period.

With over 19 years of experience in the Pittsburgh real estate market, I can help you through the home-buying or selling process. Contact me by phone at 412-848-3907 or email Kim.Esposito1@pittsburghmoves.com to schedule a free consultation to discuss your real estate needs.

 

Buying March 16, 2023

Understanding Homeowners Insurance for Your Pittsburgh Home

Pittsburgh home buyers must obtain a homeowner’s insurance policy when they obtain a federally backed mortgage to purchase their new home.

There are two reasons you will want to purchase a policy for your Pittsburgh home.

 

  1. To protect your possessions.
  2. To satisfy the mortgage lender’s requirements.

If you are financing your home with a mortgage, the lender will require a one-year prepaid homeowner’s policy to be in place before you can close on your home. Most lenders require the insurance company to list the lender on the policy. In addition, lenders require dwelling and liability coverage on the house at 100% replacement value. This requirement protects the lender from loss should something catastrophic happen to your home.

 

The coverage required by the lender is not the only insurance you should have on your Pittsburgh home. In addition to dwelling and liability coverage, you should also consider the following:

 

  1. Other structures not attached to the home, such as detached garages, sheds, fences, and guest houses.
  2. Personal property coverage to reimburse you for replacing possessions like furniture, electronics, appliances, jewelry, and clothing.
  3. Living expenses during renovations if you cannot live in your home due to damage.
  4. Medical expenses if someone gets injured on your property.

 

There are also different types of homeowner’s policies. The kind of policy you need will depend on the type of home you purchase and the level of coverage you desire. Here is a thorough outline of the different policies in this post from Bankrate.

Pittsburgh home buyers will need to choose a deductible amount. A deductible is an amount of money you will pay out of pocket before insurance coverage takes over—a higher deductible typically results in lower premiums. You will pay the deductible on each claim.

Homeowners’ insurance typically will not cover natural disasters, “Acts of God,” or acts of war. However, you can obtain additional insurance policies like flood insurance, mine subsidence insurance, and windstorm insurance.

Pittsburgh home buyers choose to add other types of coverage to their homeowner’s policy: drain and sewer line coverage, identity theft, and business property coverage for a home-based business.

You may need a rider policy that extends the coverage of your standard policy. You should check with your insurance agent and review your coverages periodically.

 

What can a Pittsburgh homeowner do to reduce the expense of their homeowner’s insurance?

 

Costs may vary from insurer to insurer, so compare several companies before deciding on your provider.

 

  1. Choose a higher deductible to lower your premium. A higher deductible will cost you more out of pocket for a claim but will save you on your annual premium.
  2. Using the same insurer for your home and auto policy can be a cost saver.
  3. Improving your home security can save money.
  4. Maintain a good credit history. Then, you can check your credit score regularly and correct any mistakes you may find.
  5. Review your policy annually and adjust for any changes. For example, improvements to the home and the value of your personal possessions may call for adjustments to your policy.
  6. Maintain your home. Preventative maintenance on your home can save you in the long run for many reasons, including your homeowner’s insurance claims.

It is essential to understand your coverage under your homeowner’s insurance policy. Consult with your insurance agent to ensure you have the right coverage for your needs at the best cost possible.

It is vital to maintain adequate insurance throughout your ownership of your Pittsburgh home. Hopefully, you will never have to make a significant claim, but you will have the peace of mind that comes with knowing you can face any potential issues.

Finding the right insurance coverage for your new Pittsburgh home is essential. With over 19 years of experience in the local housing market, I can help guide you through every step of the home-buying process. Contact me by phone at 412-848-3907 or email Kim.Esposito1@pittsburghmoves.com to schedule a free consultation to discuss your real estate needs.

Buying February 18, 2023

Four Benefits of Pittsburgh Home Ownership

There are many benefits to Pittsburgh homeownership. Homeownership has long been considered the American Dream. It can mean different things to different people. There has been a steady rise in homeownership since the 1900s.

Let’s take a look at four benefits of Pittsburgh homeownership.

Financial Benefits

The most apparent benefits are financial benefits. A home purchase is one of the most significant financial investments one will make in their lifetime.

The benefits of investing in a home are:

Strengthening Credit

Making your home mortgage payments on time consistently will build your credit rating, which allows you to obtain other types of credit, like purchasing an automobile or investing in other properties. In addition, as you pay down your mortgage, your credit score will almost always increase.

Fixed Housing Cost

A fixed monthly payment helps you budget your monthly income more consistently. Your landlord can increase your monthly payment at determined intervals when you rent. With a fixed-rate mortgage, your principal and interest payment remain the same throughout the life of the loan.

Equity

Each month, a portion of your mortgage payment goes to paying down the principal amount. Equity is the difference between what you owe on your mortgage and the current value of your home. Over time, appreciation and the decrease of your principal amount will increase the equity in your home. You can leverage the equity for other financial needs.

Personal and Emotional Benefits

Home has become our haven, primarily through the pandemic. Homeownership has become more important to us throughout the pandemic.

Sanctuary

Through the pandemic, our homes became our offices, schools, gyms, churches, synagogues, and a place to eat, sleep and be with family.

Security

Many homeowners felt a sense of safety in their homes throughout the pandemic by controlling any potential exposure. As a result, people found refuge in their homes.

Importance

Our homes have gained more significance in our lives. More homeowners admit they love their homes more now than they did pre-pandemic.

Health

According to a study by the National Association of Realtors, more people feel they have better health due to homeownership, having more control over their lives, and higher self-esteem.

Social Benefits

Achieving the American Dream has long been associated with success. But owning your home also provides some social benefits.

Community

Living in a community provides a level of stability. Homeowners are vested in keeping the community vibrant and contributing to maintaining property values. Many become involved in community organizations and government to improve their neighborhood’s livability.

Financial Education

As homeowners gain the financial knowledge that comes with homeownership, they will likely pass this down through the generations.  This unexpected benefit of homeownership can change generations as parents teach their children the importance of managing mortgage payments.

Privacy

Community involvement is part of Pittsburgh homeownership, but having a place to unwind in private is also a benefit many homeowners enjoy. You control when you invite others into your home and when you just need an evening of quiet enjoyment.

Tax Benefits

Our tax laws have changed, but some tax benefits are still available for homeowners. The IRS Publication 530 outlines the tax information homeowners need when filing their federal returns.

You may have eligible deductions if you recently purchased a home. Check with your tax professional to determine what you can use as a qualified deduction.

The capital gains tax exclusion may allow you to exclude up to $250,000 of the gain on the sale of your home or up to $500,000 if filing a joint return and you meet the homeownership test. You can find out more information about the sale of your home on the IRS website.

It is always wise to consult with a tax professional to determine if you have taken advantage of all the tax deductions you are eligible to receive. This is because tax laws change frequently.

There are many considerations to buying a home. Having an experienced agent guide you through the home buying process is your first step to becoming an educated Pittsburgh home buyer. This previous blog post helps you learn more about buying a home.

As a full-time Realtor® for over 19 years in the local Pittsburgh market, I have the experience you need. Contact me by phone at 412-848-3907 or email at Kim.Esposito1@pittsburghmoves.com to schedule a free consultation to discuss your real estate needs.

 

Selling January 18, 2023

How can you maximize on the value of your Pittsburgh home?

Can you maximize the value of your Pittsburgh home? Many homeowners are questioning this, especially now that the market is shifting from the unprecedented sales we have seen.

However, the cooling market does not mean you can not sell your home for the best price. I have seen the market shift several times over my real estate professional career. Homes will continue to sell even in a market shift.

As a Pittsburgh home seller, it is understandable that you want to sell your home for top dollar. Homes that are in good condition and priced correctly will sell in any market. Your real estate professional can help you prepare for the sale of your home.

Let’s look at five tips to help maximize your Pittsburgh home value:

1. Do your homework.

The local market conditions for your neighborhood are the first place to research. Depending on your area, there may be a better time to sell than others.  In a changing market, there is greater importance on the proper pricing of your home.

As the market is shifting, it is best to use the services of a full-time real estate agent who knows your local area. A real estate agent can expose your home to the largest pool of buyers, which may increase the demand for your home.

You need to find a real estate professional who can do the best job for you. Ask about their experience, familiarity with your area, designations, communication style, marketing strategy, and how they can help you prepare your home for sale. Finding the right agent to work with can alleviate some stress in the home-selling process.

2. Thoroughly clean and prepare your home.

To increase the value of your Pittsburgh home, you will need to do a top-to-bottom cleaning and decluttering of your home. Hire a cleaning service if possible.

You may need to paint walls (neutral colors are best) or remove dated wallpaper. If your flooring is worn or dated, consider replacing it. Check and repair damaged or unsightly caulking in tubs and showers. Finally, make sure there are no offensive odors in the house. Odor is the first thing buyers notice; this is almost always a permanent turnoff.

3. Make your home a potential buyer’s new home.

Removing your personal pictures and other items will help potential buyers visualize living in your home. The psychology behind staging is to make rooms feel larger and help the buyer feel like they are at home. This article from Better Homes & Gardens discusses staging.

4. The outside of your home also needs your attention.

A buyer’s first impression of your home may be a simple drive down your street. However, if the home’s exterior is neglected, the buyer’s impression may be that the inside of your home is also unkempt.

Winter is not conducive to planting flowers, but there are some things you can do. First, keep your snow shovels and ice melter tucked away and your porches inviting and welcoming. After a snowfall, clear sidewalks and the driveway.  Put away holiday decorations. Clean the landscaping where possible.

5. Make your home available for showings.

When you’re selling a home, you need to be flexible. If buyers cannot see your home when they are available, they will not see your Pittsburgh home’s value. Your hard work to prepare the home will be to no avail.  It’s often disruptive to have a house ready to show on the spur of the moment, but the more often someone can see your home, the sooner you’ll find a buyer.

Buyers don’t want to offend current owners, so they may be more hesitant to consider your home if you are present for a showing or open house. Also, they feel funny about opening cabinets and closet doors with you in the room.

Whether you are moving for a job transfer, upsizing, or downsizing, the experience can be overwhelming. This is because so many factors go into the sale of a home.

Remember, the best time to sell your Pittsburgh home is when you are ready. Even though the market may shift from time to time, you can still sell your home for the best possible price if it is in good condition and priced appropriately.

Working as a full-time Realtor® for over 19 years in the local Pittsburgh market, I have helped hundreds of sellers get the best possible price for their homes. I can help you do the same. Contact me by phone at 412-848-3907 or email at Kim.Esposito1@pittsburghmoves.com to schedule a free consultation to discuss your real estate needs.