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Old 04-23-2010, 04:09 PM
 
Location: City of McKeesport
3,893 posts, read 3,759,092 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmyev View Post
You have to take this with a grain of salt; Pittsburghers have an extremely naive conception of 'dangerous.' I was one of them - I had very bad culture shock when plopped down in the middle of a safe neighborhood in Houston 17 years ago. It was like nothing I ever experienced. By comparison to Montrose, Swissvale is quaint. And as quiet as the Friendswood exurb I ended up living in.
I agree wholeheartedly. I am living in one of the so-called "bad" neighborhoods (McKees Rocks). You could hear a pin drop. All my neighbors seem pretty normal to me. Some of the houses are ugly. That's about it.
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Old 04-23-2010, 04:53 PM
Status: "Game recognized game from the start" (set 22 days ago)
 
30,327 posts, read 35,043,311 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dirimini View Post
After having read through several threads, over many days, regarding neighborhoods in Pittsburgh (as well as nearby suburbs), my head is spinning. So, with apologies in advance for adding yet another "where-should-I-live"-type thread, I'm hoping to get some input from forumites before driving over to Pittsburgh to look for a house.

I'm a single male, in my 40s, originally from blue-collar upstate NY, then 20-odd years in NYC, and a couple in Philly. I think part of my problem in deciding on where to focus is that I'm equally drawn, for very different reasons, to very different areas. On the one hand, I'm tired of urban living (noise, dirt, congestion, crime), and want to have a more peaceful/better standard of living; on the other hand, I like being an urban "pioneer," and being near creative/arts communities. Perhaps a decent compromise would be quieter areas within a reasonable commuting distance to the center?

I'm looking to buy a very modest multi-family home (to live in) and then, in the near future, another as an investment. I need to stay under $80K for each (cheaper is better), and plan to do much of the renovation myself. I know I can't afford the most beautiful, "trendy" areas (and don't necessarily want to live in them either), but I'm hoping to find a solid neighborhood (working class, etc.?) where there are still bargains to be had, and where there is potential for appreciation in value. I totally understand the vibe of transitioning neighborhoods/areas, and am not opposed to these; however, I know I definitely could not stand being someplace where there's a constant stream of SUV's blasting music all night, in part because of street drug traffic, or where I'd be constantly worried about safety (been there, done that). I'm also hoping, coming from NY State, to avoid insanely high property taxes, and have heard that looking outside of Allegheny County might be better in this regard.

Some of the many areas I've been looking at online - mostly based on price - include Brentwood/Carrick/Mt. Oliver/Baldwin; Brookline; Lawrenceville; Etna; Dormont, Heidelberg; and, in the city, East Liberty/Polish Hill/etc. I guess anyone reading this can probably see I'm pretty scattered (some might say clueless).

Any input would be greatly welcomed. Thanks in advance for all replies.
Where in Upstate NY are you from?
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Old 04-23-2010, 05:53 PM
 
194 posts, read 354,155 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopes View Post
2 unit brick building in Brighton Heights for 41k!

Brighton Heights Real Estate - 3264 Bainton, Brighton Heights, PA, 15212

AND ANOTHER

2 unit brick building in Brighton Heights for 47k (busy commercial road location though)

3890 BRIGHTON RD. , Brighton Heights, PA 15212 (MLS# 801962) - Coldwell Banker Real Estate Services - PittsburghMoves.com
That home in Brighton Heights looks great - and the taxes are $4K less than the one in Wilkinsburg. What's the catch??! What is the "vibe" of Brighton Heights?

AllghenyAngel, thanks for the tip on the West End - quiet is definitely a plus. And you are correct, once again, about "safe" being relative; I think it means different things to different people. My neighborhood in NYC has become highly desirable, despite there being significant crime just blocks away. In NYC, even in the diciest of dicey neighborhoods, far, far from the center of the city, you would pay upwards of $300K for any of the houses I've seen here - and that's a very conservative estimate.

I think I'll have to check out these neighborhoods in person, to see how they "feel" - and I'll be coming for three days next week, so I'm excited about that.

BrianTH, thanks also for the Swissvale information - and yes, that house also looks nice. What, exactly, is the EBA? I'm assuming it's a bus line to the city?

Thanks again, everyone for all this information. My head is spinning!
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Old 04-23-2010, 06:08 PM
 
41,719 posts, read 46,254,468 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dirimini View Post
That home in Brighton Heights looks great - and the taxes are $4K less than the one in Wilkinsburg. What's the catch??! What is the "vibe" of Brighton Heights?
Brighton Heights is a safe working class neighborhood with great old brick houses. It's a quiet neighborhood. My brother and his wife made a small fortune renovating a few houses there. Over just a few years, they bought and lived in 5 different houses. They didn't do much to them either. They would tear out the old carpeting, tile or vinyl flooring and paint the walls white or light beige. In one house, they replaced the kitchen. In two others, they did the bathroom. Anyway, they bought them all for between 20k and 35k and sold them all for between 70k and 90k. After they were done, they had enough money to buy 10 acres of land in another county and build a house.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dirimini View Post
And you are correct, once again, about "safe" being relative; I think it means different things to different people.
The important 'relative' is what most Pittsburghers think of an area. Afterall, they are the people you will depend on to rent or buy your property.
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Old 04-23-2010, 06:18 PM
 
194 posts, read 354,155 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopes View Post
Brighton Heights is a safe working class neighborhood with great old brick houses. It's a quiet neighborhood. My brother and his wife made a small fortune renovating a few houses there. Over just a few years, they bought and lived in 5 different houses. They didn't do much to them either. They would tear out the old carpeting, tile or vinyl flooring and paint the walls white or light beige. In one house, they replaced the kitchen. In two others, they did the bathroom. Anyway, they bought them all for between 20k and 35k and sold them all for between 70k and 90k. After they were done, they had enough money to buy 10 acres of land in another county and build a house.


The important 'relative' is what most Pittsburghers think of an area. Afterall, they are the people you will depend on to rent or buy your property.
Hopes, thanks for that great information; I really appreciate it.

And you are absolutely right - one has to be cognizant of the purchasers' ideas of "safe" or desirable. If the bulk of Pittsburghers don't like the area because it's perceived as "dangerous," then one narrows down one's potential pool of buyers (perhaps to NYC transplants!)

But if I like what I see in PGH when I arrive, I'm hoping to stay for a while - so selling quickly wouldn't be such a concern.
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Old 04-23-2010, 07:07 PM
 
1,140 posts, read 1,065,358 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dirimini View Post
What, exactly, is the EBA? I'm assuming it's a bus line to the city?
The EBA is the East Busway. It's a road dedicated to buses running from Swissvale to downtown with no stop lights and 9 stations. Travel time from the furthest station to downtown is 20 minutes; from Shadyside it's 10 minutes. It has the most frequent service in Pittsburgh, with buses scheduled every 6 minutes during rush hour and every 15 minutes at other times.

Carnegie, Crafton and Sheradin are connected to downtown by the West Busway, which is also relatively quick with frequent service. The upside to living along the West Busway is that you can easily catch a bus to the airport every half hour. I actually think Carnegie has the best transit/freeway connections in the area.

The other town mentioned, Dormont, is on the lightrail line (the T) going into the South Hills.
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Old 04-23-2010, 09:24 PM
 
20,274 posts, read 17,937,512 times
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The EBA is also a bus route, East Busway-All stops, but is often used as a shorthand for the East Busway.

Incidentally, the East Busway is going to become the Purple Line, and the EBA will become the P1. But because this is Pittsburgh, you can bet people will be using the old names for at least a decade.
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Old 04-23-2010, 09:42 PM
 
Location: City of McKeesport
3,893 posts, read 3,759,092 times
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Carnegie also strikes me as a nice, affordable west side neighborhood (it has a great business district IMO), only that area (and Millvale, Etna, Sharpsburg) have flooding concerns. Crafton is a lot nicer than Carnegie, though. It's kind of like the Shadyside of the west, architecturally speaking (lots of big Victorians without the big price tag).
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Old 04-23-2010, 10:34 PM
 
41,719 posts, read 46,254,468 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alleghenyangel View Post
Carnegie also strikes me as a nice, affordable west side neighborhood (it has a great business district IMO), only that area (and Millvale, Etna, Sharpsburg) have flooding concerns. Crafton is a lot nicer than Carnegie, though. It's kind of like the Shadyside of the west, architecturally speaking (lots of big Victorians without the big price tag).
Areas with flooding are still livable. A house can be bought up on a hillside away from the areas in the town that flood.

An advantage of buying in the low lying flood areas is the possibility of a total renovation financed by flood insurance.

Some houses in flood areas appear to be well maintained and in excellent condition. That's a direction result of the owner having flood insurance.

And flood insurance isn't super expensive in Pittsburgh. People living in flood zones are crazy for not having it.
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Old 04-23-2010, 11:41 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
486 posts, read 569,138 times
Reputation: 227
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopes View Post
Not brick, but Oakmont is a very desirable neighborhood:

Oakmont Real Estate - 1144 -1146 Oakmont Ave, Oakmont, PA, 15139
For quiet, safe and quaint, it's hard to beat Oakmont. I'm surprised at the price of this house, as it's hard to find a sub-100k house in Oakmont. It is kind of off the beaten path (which is not saying much, as it's a very small town). I'd definitely keep Oakmont on your list of places to see when you visit - it's really a Mayberry kind of place. It's a walkable town with restaurants, coffee shops, boutiques, the best bakery in Western PA, a retro artsy movie theatre, and a lovely park on the river.
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