August 2018 Newsletter
Updated July 15th 2018:
The median home value in Pittsburgh is $143,500. Pittsburgh home values have gone up 16.1% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 9.3% within the next year. The median list price per square foot in Pittsburgh is $144, which is higher than thePittsburgh Metro average of $121.
The median price of homes currently listed in Pittsburgh is $225,000. The median rent price in Pittsburgh is $1,350, which is higher than the Pittsburgh Metro median of $1,200.
Foreclosures will be a factor impacting home values in the next several years. In Pittsburgh 0.6 homes are foreclosed (per 10,000). This is lower than the Pittsburgh Metro value of 1.1 and also lower than the national value of 1.6.
Mortgage delinquency is the first step in the foreclosure process. This is when a homeowner fails to make a mortgage payment. The percent of delinquent mortgages in Pittsburgh is 1.6%, which is higher than the national value of 1.6%.
With U.S. home values having fallen by more than 20% nationally from their peak in 2007 until their trough in late 2011, many homeowners are now underwater on their mortgages, meaning they owe more than their home is worth.
The percent of Pittsburgh homeowners underwater on their mortgage is 8.9%, which is higher than Pittsburgh Metro at 7.9%.
Whether you want to stay close or travel far, we are here to give you a list of some of our favorite vacation spots and getaways from our eight states.
Pittsburgh is a great spot for a weekend trip to see the best in food and art. Are you a true foodie? If so, Pittsburgh can meet all of your culinary needs. Whether you go to the Pittsburgh classics like Primanti’s and Pamela’s, or other fantastic local culinary options, your inner foodie will be satisfied. Take a trip to the Strip and find the best in specialty foods and eccentric shops. Pittsburgh is also home to the Carnegie Art and Natural History Museum. See the work of the iconic Andy Warhol at the Warhol Museum. Pittsburgh is also known for their strong theater scene. Come to see some of the shows that are playing this summer at Heinz Hall, the Benedum Center and more. If you are feeling more adventurous, go boating or kayaking on the three rivers. Take a trip on the Incline and see a perfect view of the city’s stunning skyline. And be sure to head to PNC Park, one of the nation’s best baseball stadiums, for a Pirates game.
Looking for the best combination of adventure and relaxation? Ohiopyle is the perfect destination. Located in the Laurel Highlands region of the Allegheny Mountains, Ohiopyle offers fun for everyone in the family. Hike or bike along the 135-mile Great Allegheny Passage. Go fishing along the river’s edge or go on a whitewater rafting adventure with your family. Splash around in the natural beauty of Cucumber falls or slide down the natural rock waterslide. Explore the inside of the Laurel Caverns and its over three miles of passages. Take tours of the exquisite and iconic architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright and his three homes in the area, Fallingwater, Duncan House, and Kentuck Knob. Just minutes away from Ohiopyle is Necomalin Woodland Resorts. This four-star resort offers world-class accommodations, a spa, fine dining, golfing, zip-lining, high ropes course, a wildlife academy, and so much more. Ohiopyle offers so many opportunities for an amazing summer vacation.
Beautiful Lake Erie is another great vacation spot. Go swimming, fishing, sailing, boating, hiking and biking in Presque Isle State Park, or relax on the 11 miles of beaches. Every week during the summer nights, set up a picnic and listen to great music as the beach is turned into an open-air concert venue. Take a trip to the Erie Zoo & Botanical Gardens. Check out the lighthouse at the North Pier. Go kayaking or canoeing in the lagoons. Bike the Multi-Purpose Trail. Enjoy spectacular sunrises or sunsets. Visit the exhibits in the Tom Ridge Environmental Center and learn about the history of the park. Kids will love to learn and have fun in the ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum. Go to the top of the Bicentennial Tower to see amazing views of the lake from its observation decks. Have a fun-filled day at the Waldameer Park and WaterWorld.
Lake George offers plenty of opportunities for adventure on a great summer trip! Go rafting, tubing, and kayaking in the nearby adventure center. Lounge on Lake George’s “Million Dollar Beach”. Rent a boat and spend the day out on the water. Splash around at the Six Flags Great Escape amusement and water park. Climb high in the trees with a great ropes course and zip-lining at Adirondacks Extreme. Set up shop in one of the nearby campgrounds or spend time relaxing at the spa. Enjoy horseback riding through the beautiful landscape, and if you are not afraid of heights, go hot air-ballooning to see the lake from above.
Put on a swimsuit and head down to one of the many lakeside beaches in Chautauqua, NY. This lakeside town is a great destination for tons of summer fun! Spend a day out on the water boating and sailing. Rent stand up paddleboards, canoes, or kayaks for a fun day on the lake. Take classes and enjoy a diverse set of phenomenal entertainment at the Chautauqua Institution. Go bird-watching at many great observation sites. Take a hike in the surrounding state forests. Midway State Park is one of the oldest continuously operating amusement parks in the country. The park offers fun rides, games, and treats for the entire family. Get a bird’s eye view of Chautauqua Lake on a ride in a two-seat silent glider with dual controls. Hidden away in an ancient forest is the unexpected beauty of Panama Rocks. Hike and climb through its 60-foot-high rocks, forming crevices, passages, and caves.
Learn why Columbus was ranked as one of Trip Advisor’s Top U.S Cities to Visit in 2018, when you visit on your summer trip! Go on a tour of the Ohio Statehouse! See exotic animals at the famous Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is home to the world’s only botanical garden with a permanent collection of glass artwork by Dale Chihuly. See a show at the stunning Ohio Theatre, a historic movie palace. Visit art galleries, shop in specialty boutiques and grab a bit to eat in the Short North Arts District. Explore the city’s natural beauty with a zipline canopy tour. The Scioto Mile is a fantastic 145-acre park, where you can cool off in the interactive fountain, go climbing on some of the county’s largest climbing walls, or have a picnic and enjoy its free summer concert series.
Take a summer trip to this cool Ohio City! Rock out at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Explore the city’s many museums, or go the Cleveland Zoo or the Greater Cleveland Aquarium. Visit the iconic West Side Market. Go on a FREE 90-minute walking tour of the city this summer. Also enjoy the great nightlife, dining and world-class entertainment with the Cleveland Symphony and the many other live music events throughout the summer. On July 24th, take the kids fishing at the Kids Fish Cle for Free event. Swim, surf, and sail on Lake Erie and enjoy the many beaches that surround the city. Whether you want to explore the city or relax by the lake, Cleveland offers you a great summer adventure!
Located on Lake Erie, Sandusky is another great summer destination. Enjoy a walking tour of historic downtown, Sandusky. Did you love Merry-Go-Rounds as a kid? Visit the Merry-Go-Round Museum. Hop on a ferry from Sandusky and visit the two Islands Kelleys Island and South Bass Island. While on the islands, hike, lay out on the beach and go on a wine-tasting and vineyard tour at one of the wineries. You can have a drink at the longest continuous bar in the world! When you’re back from your trip to the islands, spend the day enjoying the rides and thrills at Cedar Point, one of the world’s best amusements parks.
The Outer Banks
Pinned as “America’s First Beach” the Outer Banks is the perfect spot for a summer beach vacation. Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway or lots of family fun, the Outer Banks is sure to have something for everyone. Climb to the top of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Sled down sand dunes at Jockey’s Ridge, where you can also go hang-gliding, or simply enjoy the sun while relaxing on the pristine beach. You can visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial. Watch the Lost Colony Outdoor Drama and learn about the mystery of the Roanoke Island colonists. Take a stroll through the Elizabethan Gardens. Get close with the wildlife at the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. You can also see wild horses galloping on the beach near Currituck. There are also fantastic dining options at the over 100 locally-owned restaurants. End your days by having s’mores and bonfires on the beach at the permitted locations.
Looking for a great weekend trip? Look no further! Norfolk is a great spot for a weekend getaway. Go on the USS Wisconsin (BB-64). This battleship served in both World War II and the Korean War, and it is open for visitors to tour its quarters. After touring the battleship, spend time examining the science and technology exhibits at Nauticus. Take a tour of the city on the water with a boat cruise or charter tour. Or, if the sky is more your scene, take an aerial tour of the city on a helicopter. Go fishing and crabbing or even learn to sail. Norfolk has a thriving arts and entertainment community, including the Chrysler Museum of Art and its extensive collection. Norfolk Botanical Garden offers an ideal spot for nature and bird lovers alike, especially with its hummingbird garden. Home to more than 500 animals, the Virginia Zoo can also be found in Norfolk. Explore the city’s culinary scene with a food tour of Norfolk specialties.
Located where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic, Virginia Beach is home to gorgeous beaches and plenty of fun for the entire family. Relax on the pristine beaches or have fun at the Oceanfront with its outdoor restaurants and live performers and entertainers. Spend a day on the bay paddle boarding, kayaking, parasailing, and boating. Go shopping in the area’s wide selection of boutiques and specialty stores. Grab dinner at one of the locally-owned restaurants at Virginia Beach’s art hub, the ViBe Creative District. In August, watch the East Coast Surfing Championship. Go dolphin watching or take a tour of an oyster farm. Climb to the top of Cape Henry Lighthouse. Go golfing in the more than 170 holes of golf in Virginia Beach. Ride one of the 15 rides at the Atlantic Fun Park. Visit the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center which feature more than 300 hands-on marine exhibits, and bay and ocean pavilions. Before you leave, be sure to take a selfie with the iconic King Neptune statue on the Boardwalk.
This historic town is an ideal getaway for any history buffs. Go back in time to the 1700s and the Revolutionary War at Colonial Williamsburg, where you can take tours, shop in authentic shops and try 18th-century meals. Check out the gorgeous Governor’s Palace within Colonial Williamsburg, or if you’re in the mood for a thrill, go on a ghost tour. Water Country USA is a great water park in Williamsburg, perfect for cooling off on a hot summer day. See history come alive when you visit Jamestown, where some of the very first colonists lived, and take guided tours through this living-history museum. Busch Gardens has something for all ages with the Sesame Street Forest of Fun, thrilling rides, excellent shows, and country-themed areas. Enjoy wine tasting on the Colonial Wine Trail. Williamsburg is rich in history, culture, and fun for everyone in the family.
Detroit, the largest city in Michigan, has so much to offer for a great summer trip. Admire Van Gogh’s “Self Portrait” at the Detroit Institute of the Arts, one of the largest art collections in the country. Go on a riverboat tour of the city. Walk around beautiful Belle Isle Conservancy. Learn why the city is hailed as “Motor City” at the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. Car lovers will also love the Automotive Hall of Fame. Try Detroit-style pizza and Coney Dogs. Get your groove on at the Motown Museum and learn about the birthplace of Motown. Have some delicious Greek cuisine in the Greektown district. Take in all of the rich cultures that Detroit has to offer.
This unique town offers a great and unexpected destination for a summer trip. Little ones will love searching the town for the “fairy doors”. Kayak down the Huron River. Walk through the beautiful campus of the University of Michigan. Visit one of the many museums in the area. Summer in Ann Arbor is filled with many food, art, and music festivals. Ann Arbor also has an extremely diverse culinary scene, so you will be sure to find something that will satisfy your taste buds. Go shopping in Kerrytown, the historic district of Ann Arbor. The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library can also be found in Ann Arbor. This eccentric town offers many opportunities to make a great trip.
Catch a water taxi from the Inner Harbor, the heart of the city, and begin to explore Baltimore. The scenic Inner Harbor is also home to the USS Constellation, the last all-sail ship in the Navy. Visitors can tour the decks of the ship and watch daily cannon demonstrations. Find more than 20,000 sea animals at the National Aquarium. Engage in the national pastime by watching a baseball game at Camden Yards. Check out the unconventional American Visionary Museum that exclusively features the work of self-taught artists. Have your mind blown at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! In late July, find a masterpiece at Artscape, which takes places in Mount Vernon and is considered the largest free arts festival in America. Poetry lovers can visit the home of Edgar Allan Poe. Have a history lesson at Fort McHenry, and learn about the battle that inspired the “Star Spangled Banner” And of course, be sure to eat some fresh Maryland crab at one of Baltimore’s many great restaurants.
Soak up the sun at this iconic beach! Bring the family to the Boardwalk for the outrageously fun rides, games, and treats. Relax on the beach or have fun on the water jet-skiing, tubing or parasailing. Check out the famous Assateague Island’s Wild ponies and other fascinating wildlife. Enjoy some delicious and fresh Maryland crab. During the summer, Ocean City offers free family events almost every night of the week. From beach dance parties, movies on the beach, Family Olympics, fireworks, sunset party nights and more!
Located just miles from Morgantown, Cheat Lake is a beautiful spot for camping, biking, hiking, fishing, and exploring. Have fun tubing and water-skiing on the lake. Tap into your inner lake yogi, and do some yoga on a standup paddle-board. Also, close by is Coopers Rocks State Forest for even more scenic views and adventure. Go into town for a great meal, or prepare your own at your campsite. Cheat Lake is the perfect spot to get outdoors this summer.
If you are in the need of an experienced, full time agent, then give me a call to discuss your real estate needs.
Howard Hanna Real Estate
Direct Phone: (412) 889-6661
FAQ: Why should I list my home with an agent?
I’m certain that, by now, you’ve heard about this year’s mystifying real estate market. More than likely, you’ve heard the painstaking groans and desperate cries of frustration from a friend or family member looking to purchase a home.
If you’re a buyer this year, I’m so sorry. The frustration associated with a tremendous lack of inventory and the unavoidable bidding war has, unfortunately, become an inevitability. But hang tight! Some of us agents have a few tricks up our sleeves…
As for sellers, if you’ve ever thought about listing your home, now is absolutely the time to do so. You’re probably well aware of the lack of inventory and the possibility of selling your home for top dollar in an incredibly short amount of time. So, you might be thinking why even bother with an agent? Beyond the obvious, I can think of an endless list of reasons as to why you should employ the expertise of a real estate agent. For now, I’ll share a few of the ones that I would consider to be most important and relevant in today’s market…
You’ve probably heard a lot about bidding wars. (Hopefully, not solely in the context of losing out in one…) I would venture to guess that the average seller does not realize the work that goes into managing multiple offers on a property. There is an art to this type of negotiation – one that, if done correctly, will yield the highest profit! This is probably the biggest drawback to not using a licensed real estate agent. A skillful realtor knows how to ethically secure top dollar for their clients in the negotiation process. He or she knows how to play one offer off of another, maneuver through prospective buyers’ emotions, and utilize timing to their advantage. This, ultimately, puts the most amount of money in the pockets of the seller!
A real estate agent can also connect you with attorneys and mortgage representatives with whom they’ve established relationships with. These can come in handy when you need to coordinate closing dates or secure mortgage commitment from your prospective buyer. Trust me, there is nothing worse after all of your hard work than a surprise right before closing…
A common mistake made by sellers who choose to forgo an agent is not knowing what types of updates yield a profit. The benefit of a real estate agent (well, a good one!) is that they’re able to tell you exactly how much more you can get for your home if you update your kitchen or paint the interior. They can also help you to avoid costly mistakes such as replacing a roof that was perfectly functional or painting all of your interior walls white – neither of which will put more money in your pocket.
This one may seem pretty straight forward. In short, an agent can front the costs of print and digital advertising for your property. They can post pictures on their Facebook and generate a buzz via social media. They can schedule open houses and broker’s opens. That being said, good agents are plugged in and connected with the community, which maximizes your property’s exposure to prospective buyers. The larger their network, the more likely they are able to personally market your home and expose it to a refined subset of buyers. This network of prospective buyers means the potential for more interest in your property and, ultimately, more money in your pocket!
We do all the work
Most importantly, employing the services of a real estate agent means that you get to kick your feet up and let someone else handle showings, inspection contingency removals, mortgage commitments, etc. Even if your home sells within the first 24 hours, there is still a tremendous amount of paperwork and follow up needed to transact a purchase offer. Let us do this work for you!
We’re not quite sure where the summer went here at Howard Hanna Insurance Services but, if you haven’t noticed, it’s already time for the new school year! As you think about how to get your kids organized and ready, consider doing the same thing for your home. In many instances, removing clutter also means removing distractions, which can help both you and your kids focus.
Getting startedYou can start wherever you like, but it might be best to organize your activities before you start in on the daunting task of tackling all of your stuff. With sports and other activities, the school year can be a blur for parents. A family calendar — whether it’s a dry-erase board or a printout on the fridge — will ensure everyone knows where they’re going, and when.
Reducing your stuffEliminate as much clutter from the house as you can, perhaps by following the classic 80/20 theory: 80% of the time, most people use only 20% of their stuff. If the item you’re looking at isn’t in that 20%, ask yourself: Do I really need this? Donate stuff that doesn’t fit or that your kids simply don’t like and won’t wear anymore.
Buying new stuffNow that you’ve de-cluttered, don’t head out for back-to-school shopping just yet. First, do an inventory of school supplies, clothes and shoes so you aren’t buying things you don’t need. If you’re going through a closet and you’re not sure what fits, have kids try on pants until you find a good pair. Then use that pair to compare the length of all the other pants.
Doing homeworkIf possible, designate a study space where your kids have the tools they need for success. It should be well-lit, quiet and free of distractions. Different kids have different learning styles, so pay attention to what works well and what doesn’t, and adjust as needed.
Staying on top of thingsYou’re off to a good start in the battle against clutter — so keep things rolling! Each week, set aside time to go on a “search and destroy” mission. And make sure the kids are involved, too. Everything — homework, school forms, backpacks — should have a home. And when everything has a home, you’ll be happier in yours!
Selling a home fast is all about the PREP: to make something ready for something.
That something you’re getting ready for is getting a home sold. So how do you get ready?
Wanting to know how fast you can sell your home is definitely a question that I’m frequently asked from those wanting to sell a home. Here, in today’s Real Estate article, I’ll tell you just how to make it happen: How can I sell my home fast?!
Perhaps the most misunderstood key element of any home sale is the importance of setting the right price when your home is initially listed for sale.
Select a price that is reflective of your home’s current condition and how it compares to nearby sold homes that are like your home and are considered a good match to your home. Note that I indicated “sold” homes and not “active” homes currently for sale. Know that a home actively for sale is not necessarily priced accurately, therefore one should not assume that its list price should be used as being reflective of its current fair market value. You do not know whether or not a home is priced accurately until it sells: until a Buyer determines what they will pay for said home. Homes currently active for sale, simply assist in knowing how your home, priced right, should be placed amongst the list of homes for sale in your area. Nothing is better than an overpriced home as your competition. So if you see your neighbor’s home price on the high side, you can celebrate as that just makes your home that much easier to sell if you follow all of the other recommended preparation steps.
The right REALTORⓇ representing you in your home sale can make or break your success at selling your home.
The “right” REALTOR, just how do you determine that?! Start by looking at those Agents that sell homes at top dollar and in the shortest amount of time: this is what skilled REALTORⓇ’s do routinely. They should be in the top percentages of REALTORⓇ’s in their local Real Estate office. Simply ask them what percentage that they produce at in their office.
So if you need a “skilled” REALTORⓇ, how do you find out whether or not the Agent is skilled? Simple. Again, ask them. Ask them what they do that sets them apart from other Real Estate Agents? Be leery of any dog and pony shows that have no meat on the bones. Research about them by searching over the internet to discover what they write about and what their prior customers have written about them. You could even call their prior customers to confirm what it is they’re telling you. It’s pretty easy to get a good feel about a REALTORⓇ simply by visiting their web site and the various social platforms that they frequent. Never before has it been easier for a home Seller to discover the skill set of a Real Estate Agent than in today’s digital age where you have access to information for free and quickly. If they’re the secret Agent that you can’t seem to discover anything about them, you’ll proceed cautiously in the direction of even thinking about hiring them to sell your home: the last thing you want is your home sale to be a secret!
When it’s time to sell your home, making sure it’s seen by well-qualified, interested home Buyers is crucial.
Posting a sign in the front yard and praying that it sells will get you nowhere, absolutely nowhere. In today’s fast paced digital market, your home must be exposed across a multitude of social media channels and online sites. Why should this be, you ask? Indisputably, it’s due to the fact that this is where home Buyers are shopping for homes. Well over 92% of home Buyers sit in front of a desktop computer, plop a tablet on their lap or hold a mobile phone in their hands and search to their hearts content searching for the place to start making memories and dreams come true: in a new home.
Don’t you think it makes sense to be where the Buyers? Or how about answering this question – where would you go when you begin a home search? You’re either sitting behind that computer, tablet, or mobile phone on hand. Case closed.
Now that we’ve determined that exposure is a must, you now know that you’ll want assurance that the REALTORⓇ you hire better be proficient at exposing your home to the world of home Buyers. It’s relatively easy for you to confirm this task of exposure is perfected by checking out them out online and whether or not they’re exposed. If they’re exposed it will be easy to determine your home will get the exposure it needs.
Here is where the list price you select for your home is critical also, as the right price ensures your home is exposed to Buyers who are looking for homes for sale within your price range. You don’t want to miss the “right” Buyers who are those well qualified to buy your home.
Pretty as a picture, a picture is worth a thousand words, or it has been said; one Monet is worth a 1000 Shakespeare’s.
These are expressions of what has been said when that first glance reveals intrigue in wanting to find out more of what’s before you. Favorable first impressions can be formed even if you don’t necessarily have an updated or remodeled home as it’s all in the presentation. Work with what you have and make it shine. Exposure cited above will be the avenue in which the home’s presentation is revealed to prospective home Buyers.
Presenting a home through top-notch photos and videos, will always make your home stand out from the homes you’re competing with. Make sure that your home grabs the attention of prospective Buyers so they want to see more; lure them in with a winning presentation.
Yes, it’s true; selling a home is all about the PREP. Price, Representation, Exposure and Presentation will get you to the closing table of a selling a home. Whether you’re selling a home here in Southeast Florida or across this great nation or world, for that matter, it is not something that you attack willy-nilly. No, you need to make your home ready to be sold.