Pittsburgh offers all the romance and history of a city founded in 1758, but relatedly, it also claims some of the oldest housing stock in the United States, with 51.4% of local housing units built before 1940. Rowhomes, Victorian mansions, and 18th-century houses are common here, as are bowed basement walls and aging roofs. While some traditional homebuyers may find these issues problematic, there are plenty of cash home buyers in Pittsburgh who are willing to purchase properties “as is” in the area while offering a quick closing.
Perhaps such a deal is of interest to you as a Pittsburgh homeowner. Whether you hope to trade your cottage-style home in Beltzhoover for a low-maintenance condo in Swisshelm Park — or can’t take another round of Pittsburgh’s 112 freezing winter days per year — this guide will walk you through the basics of working with buyers who offer cash for homes in Pittsburgh. After providing an overview of the types of cash buyers operating locally and how to request a low-hassle offer in the area, you’ll be ready to take action on getting cash for your Pittsburgh home, no matter if it needs a little or a lot of work.
Cash-buying landscape in Pittsburgh
Selling to a Pittsburgh cash buyer
Cash-buying landscape in Pittsburgh
The Pittsburgh real estate market draws investors with its budget-friendly home prices, profitable gross flipping ROI, and 90-plus neighborhoods to find a great investment. Here’s what to know about the cash buying real estate landscape in Pittsburgh.
Affordable housing entices Pittsburgh cash buyers
Lisa Jackson is now seeing the most cash buyers in her 13 years as a Pittsburgh real estate agent. “In my opinion, cash investing is happening on a large scale in Pittsburgh because our housing is so affordable, and investors can still get a return on a rental property even when paying market price,” says Jackson, a top-performing agent in her area and investment property specialist.
In addition to investors, flippers, and hedge-fund buyers, Jackson also works with many regular homebuyers who have cash on hand, including parents who are purchasing homes for their children.
Between 2015 and 2019, Pittsburgh’s home values increased from $110,000 to $180,000, according to data from HomeLight. Most recently, a nationwide home-buying surge has pushed values even higher — Howard Hanna shows a median sale price in Pittsburgh of $235,238, in 2021. While this translates as a nice equity increase for many Pittsburgh homeowners, homes in the city also remain budget-friendly compared to rivaling metro areas.
Steel City has become a ‘city on the rise’
Pittsburgh has been on the radar as an up-and-coming metro area for several years. In 2018, National Geographic Traveler Magazine named Pittsburgh among 29 smaller cities on the rise thanks to its plethora of craft breweries, “Instagrammable” aesthetic, and dog-friendliness.
And don’t be confused by reports of Pittsburgh’s shrinking population; in reality, it’s growing as people move to the suburbs and increase density across the metro. One report puts Pittsburgh’s urban population at 1.7 million, the metro area at 2.36 million, and the total combined statistical area at 2.62 million. Where you have residents, you have housing demand — which has only continued to spread throughout the city’s outer rings.
Profitable flips drive investor activity
In Pittsburgh, affordable home prices meet a strong employment sector, heaps of culture, and robust housing demand. This combination of factors creates the ideal environment for cash buyers who can find budget-friendly properties without risking an inability to rent them out or renovate them for resale.
In fact, the average profit a cash buyer in Pittsburgh can make per flip far exceeds the norm nationwide. A report from Attom Data Solutions shows that in the year 2020, flippers in Pittsburgh saw an average gross of 128.1% ROI, compared to 40.5% nationwide. Then, the city saw an 88% annual increase in flipping profits during Q1 2021 to a 225.6% average return, up from 102.1% in Q1 2020.
Pittsburgh suburbs attract cash investments
As far as where the cash sales are happening, Jackson sees a majority of them in surrounding suburban areas in South Allegheny County, which is known for its easy commuter routes (just jump on the highway), summer concert series, and South Park featuring 2,000 acres of green space. Particular communities Jackson highlighted as popular among investors include:
Bethel Park: Some of Pennsylvania’s most expensive real estate is in Bethel Park, located within South Allegheny County. Even so, the median home value remains an approachable $243,459, according to Neighborhood Scout. Here, 86.69% of the workforce are white-collar sales professionals, office workers, and managers living in sprawling suburban neighborhoods close to shopping and dining, South Hills Village, and attractions like Hundred Acres Manor. (Fun fact: The NBC TV show This is Us is set in Bethel Park).
Pleasant Hills: Residents of this historic community are close-knit — attending one another’s baseball games and baptisms — and the housing here offers a little something for everyone, from starter homes to trade-up homes to retirement homes. It also boasts high-quality schools (the borough is served by the West Jefferson Hills School District), nearby hospitals and medical centers, and a location that’s just a short skip to the airport.
Whitehall: This suburb is known for its proximity to bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. It also has a high concentration of older housing built between 1940 and 1969, a mix of small to medium-sized homes, with most real estate being owner-occupied. The peaceful and quiet atmosphere of Whitehall makes it a “retiree’s dream,” according to NeighborhoodScout.
Although these are some of the hottest neighborhoods for cash buyers right now, investors operate all across Pittsburgh, from the city core to the furthest ‘burbs.
Selling to a Pittsburgh cash buyer
You may be looking to sell your Pittsburgh property fast for several reasons. Perhaps you recently inherited a home you can’t afford to take care of, you’re going through a divorce, or the pandemic resulted in income loss that has put the cost of needed repairs out of reach. Alternatively, you could be looking for a non-traditional listing process, turned off by the prospect of opening up your home for viewings. In any event, here’s what you should understand about working with cash buyers in Pittsburgh.
Know the expensive repairs common to Pittsburgh housing
According to the results of a 2019 study that looked at 50,000 home inspection reports, the average seller had to pony up $11,000 in repairs. And for Pittsburgh sellers, that cost could be even higher. In Consumer Affairs’ list of states that were expected to have the most home repairs in 2020, Pennsylvania took the No. 3 spot.
If you’re facing expensive home repairs that would take a sizable chunk of your equity, selling to a cash buyer could eliminate the extra time, costs, and hassle required to get the property up to code and move-in ready. Below are some average cost ranges for common house updates in Pittsburgh:
- Foundation repairs: According to Manta, an online resource center for small businesses, the average cost for foundation repairs in Pittsburgh is $4,804, ranging from $3,538 on the low end to $6,071 on the high end.
- Roof replacement: If you own a Pittsburgh house with an old or damaged roof, the average cost to replace it would be $7,353, ranging from $6,435 on the low end to $8,272 on the high end.
- New HVAC system: To replace a furnace or AC system in Pittsburgh, you’ll be looking at an average cost of $7,000, ranging from $4,500 on the low end to $9,000+ on the high end.
- Water damage remediation: If your Pittsburgh home has sustained water damage, you can expect to pay an average of $2,453, ranging from $2,388 on the low end to $2,519 on the high end.
- Mold removal: If your property has experienced mold growth after flooding or water damage, it could cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000 to have a professional remove it.
A cash buyer may be open to waiving the inspection. However, even if they aren’t — and the inspection does turn up some issues, a cash buyer is often better equipped to tackle them on their own rather than requiring you to make the repairs.
Timeline of a cash sale in Pittsburgh
In cases where the seller is ready to move out right away, a cash closing in Pittsburgh can usually be wrapped up in a matter of days or weeks. A review of Pittsburgh cash buyer websites shows that companies are willing to provide anywhere from a 7-day to a 21-day closing.
In Jackson’s experience, cash transactions are quicker than financed deals but can take three to four weeks. “It still takes time to work through the title process, and our taxing authorities take longer to process the file than a lot of other areas,” she says.
“But it still saves about two weeks compared to waiting on a loan, which usually takes five to six weeks. And, of course, it’s more of a guaranteed thing without the risk of loan delays.”
How much will Pittsburgh cash buyers pay?
Most investors follow the 70% ARV (after-repair value) rule when calculating an offer on a property, which means they will typically pay no more than 70% of the home’s market value after all repairs or renovations are made. So if a house will be worth $350,000 after replacing the damaged roof, putting in new flooring, and fixing some faulty plumbing, the investor would offer no more than $245,000 (or less, depending on how much they plan to spend on the improvements).
That said, in 2021 Pittsburgh ranks among the most competitive housing markets in the United States and has seen more intense bidding wars than elsewhere in the country. The circumstances have given sellers leverage, and seasoned investors will do what they can to maximize what they’re able to offer and purchase the home.
Required disclosures when selling in Pittsburgh
Sellers in Pennsylvania are responsible for conveying certain information about the property to potential buyers. “It’s important that sellers disclose everything, regardless of whether or not it’s a cash sale,” says Jackson.
Pennsylvania Seller’s Disclosure Statement
When selling a home in the state of Pennsylvania, you’ll be required to fill out a Seller’s Disclosure Statement. This form requests details about the age and condition of the core components of the property, such as the roof, basement, structural items, water and sewage systems, plumbing, HVAC systems, and electrical components. It also asks about any known issues, including water damage, environmental issues, the existence of lead paint, radon levels, and more.
The ‘dye’ test
Jackson also points out that in most municipalities, Pennsylvania sellers are required to get a dye test done on the property. This test is performed to make sure that the drains and downspouts running from the house aren’t connected to sanitary sewers, which can result in rainwater flowing into — and overloading — the sewer system.
As Jackson explains, many properties in Pennsylvania were built long ago, which could mean the pipes are original and that there’s a greater chance of roots causing them to shift and crack. If the dye test fails, the homeowner will be required to correct the problem before selling. This can involve working with a plumber to replace either the section that is compromised or the entire thing.
“If work is needed to correct this problem, it can cost in the range of $15,000-$20,000, just to get the property compliant in order to sell it,” she says. “But if the seller is working with a cash buyer, that buyer may be able to step in and help share that cost, or try to work out a reduced sale price to cover it.”
The simple way to sell your home for cash in Pittsburgh
Even in a seller’s market, finding a reliable cash buyer on your own can be overwhelming. To get started, HomeLight’s Simple Sale platform makes it easy and safe to get a competitive cash offer. And yes, we cover Pittsburgh!
Here’s how it works:
- Enter the address of your Pittsburgh-area home and answer a few quick questions about it.
Tell us: Does your red-brick in Pleasant Hill, or a second empire in the city core need a little work, a lot of work, or none at all? How soon are you looking to sell? It could be ASAP or in 12+ months. Our easy questionnaire makes getting set up on the platform a breeze.
- We’ll provide an all-cash offer in as few as 48 hours.
You won’t be obligated to accept any offer you receive. If you’d like, HomeLight can also introduce you to a top real estate agent in your neighborhood for an expert opinion on what your home is worth. Feel free to check out our Home Value Estimator for a quick property value check-up as well.
- You sell your house in its current condition.
No additional repairs, prep costs, agent commissions, or hidden fees. No showings that require you to leave your home in the dead of winter or peak summer heat. This can save you time and money —a 2021 study we conducted found that on average, Pittsburgh sellers spend more than $5,000 prepping their home for the market. Original pipes, foundation issues, and mold are of no issue; our platform will provide a full cash offer for homes in almost any condition.
- You can sell your house fast for cash in as few as 10 days.
A 10-day closing translates as getting your home in some cases five times faster than with a buyer who needs financing in today’s market. According to the latest data from Ellie Mae, purchase loans are taking an average of 50 days to close as of May 2021. You’ll have the ability to pick a move date that works best for your schedule, too. That’s the ease of Simple Sale!
The cash buyer market in Pittsburgh is sizzling
When you need to sell your home quickly, it can feel like you’re already at a disadvantage with buyers, especially those willing to pay cash. However, Pittsburgh’s historic appeal and the area’s impressive suburban growth have put sellers in a position of leverage. Even if your house needs serious TLC or you’re in a major rush, a cash buyer could see enormous value in your property. Whenever you’re ready to connect with a cash buyer in Pittsburgh, HomeLight would be happy to provide you with a competitive offer.
Header Image Source: (Lance Anderson / Unsplash)