What Will Buying An Investment Property In Pittsburgh Really Cost you?

Are you interested in buying an investment property in Pittsburgh or the surrounding areas?  Before you agree to purchase, take an inventory of all the expenses you are likely to encounter.  In our latest post, we will explore some of the costs you can expect when buying an investment property in Pittsburgh. 

Buying an investment property in Pittsburgh is a great way to increase your income; however, it is important to be prepared for your purchase by understanding all associated costs.  Below we cover a few of the different types of expenses with a general idea of what you can expect to pay.

Down Payment

Investment properties are not eligible for FHA loans unless you are buying an owner-occupied property with 1-4 units.  If you are not planning on living in the home yourself, you will likely need to use a conventional loan, which will require up to 20% down.  The larger down payment you are able to make, the less interest you will need to pay in the long run.  If you are able to pay in cash, even better.  Cash is king & you will eliminate interest expenses and likely be preferred over buyers who require financing.  Paying in cash will allow for a quick closing and lower the odds of the sale falling through due to a low appraisal.

Closing Costs

Typically, closing costs will run you about 2-5% of the final sale price.  Closing costs will include things like title searchtitle insurancetransfer feeslegal costs, and administrative fees.  Buyers are not always prepared for these additional costs, so make sure you have budgeted for these ahead of time.  You can also negotiate with the seller to arrange for them to cover a portion of these costs or possibly pay for closing completely.

Property Management

You may be able to handle one or two properties on your own if you are experienced and know what you are doing… and live nearby; however, once you find yourself owning a few properties or properties out of the area you live, it will likely be time to bring in a property manager to help you with some of the associated tasks.  Your property manager can help schedule repairs, handle tenant complaints, and be responsible for collecting the rent.  In exchange for their services, you can expect to pay around 10% of the amount you are collecting in rent each month. With that said, the right property management company can be worth their weight in gold.


Depending on where you live, property taxes can become a big factor when it comes to calculating your profits.  Make sure you know the tax history of the property and any local changes that will affect the amounts you are paying in the coming years.  You can look up the tax history on the property appraisers site and even sites like Zillow.  Use a property tax estimator or the Allegheny County Assessment and Property Tax Calculator to find out what you might be in for in the upcoming year.   If your margins are slim and you are stuck with a property tax bill costing thousands of dollars, the property may not be the right one for you.  Don’t get hit at the end of the year with a high tax bill simply because you failed to research ahead of time.


The insurance you carry for investment property will be different than your standard homeowner’s insurance policy.  It is recommended that you carry $500,000-$1,000,000 in liability coverage.  The policy will likely be more expensive than what you pay for your own home.  It is important to make sure you have landlord protection in case you are ever sued by a tenant or someone else in regards to the property.  When adding up the costs for the home, do not neglect to include your insurance expenses.

Maintenance & Repairs

Maintenance and repairs should never be overlooked when considering the true costs of your investment property.  A good rule of thumb is to budget 1% of the property value for the minor repairs needed each year.  You will also want to set up an emergency fund for the larger repairs that will be needed over time.  You will want to have the money available if something major breaks or for when you require a major repair like a new roof, etc.

Tenant Screening

While this might be an area where you feel you can save a few bucks using your good old intuition, now is not the time to be frugal.  It is extremely important to conduct a full background check on every single person applying to live in your house.  Even if you already know them, and even if they are a friend or family member.  Get a background check completed.  Many landlords find themselves stuck with bad tenants all because they failed to spend the time and money to fully screen their tenant. Many hassles and expenses can be avoided with a fast and thorough background check.

How To Choose The Right Neighborhood For Your Pittsburgh Investment Property


Ready to buy an investment property in the Pittsburgh area?  The location of the property will have a huge impact on what kinds of profits you will be able to attain.  In our latest post, learn how to choose the right neighborhood for your investment property in Pittsburgh.

When deciding where to buy, it is important to consider more than your opinion of the area.  While you should like the neighborhood, it needs to be a hit with potential renters too.  Some of this can be judged by putting your feet on the ground and exploring the neighborhood for yourself.  For other things, you will need to take a look at the numbers.  Keep reading to explore our tips for choosing the right neighborhood for your Pittsburgh investment property.


What does the rental market currently look like?  Are there many homes available for rent?  If so, it will tell you that the demand is low, and you will possibly have trouble finding tenants for your property.  Ideally, you will want to have a property in a high-demand area.  There should be a few, well-priced rentals or listing on the market for you to compete.  Having the right property in a high-demand area is sure to generate profits for years to come.

School District

Even without kids, living in an area with a good school district will help to ensure you are in a quality neighborhood.  There are many ways to check out how schools in your buying area are ranked.  Great Schools or Best School Districts in the Pittsburgh Area is an excellent resource that offers rankings based on a number of factors.  It is a great way to get a quick snapshot of the schools in your area.

Job Market

The area in which you buy your investment property should have a strong job market with even more growth on the horizon.  This ensures that your tenants will be able to find a long-term and well-paying job.  These are all critical considerations to think about if you plan on receiving your rent payment each month!  You can check with the local chamber of commercelocal classifieds, and the US Jobs Report to get a better understanding of employment in your area.


The property should be in a convenient location.  You will attract many more prospective tenants and/or buyers in a place that is easy to get to than you will in remote locations.  Shops, restaurants, and access to major roads are all great things to have nearby.  Walkability is a huge factor nowadays and can really increase the response to your property.  A property with many shops and things to do in the area will be much more in demand than a house located in the middle of nowhere.

Public Transportation

More and more people are choosing to rely on public transportation to get around.  If there are viable options within your city, make sure your property is in close proximity.  Many renters, especially those of younger generations, will be looking for houses specifically with easy access to public transportation.  Whether it be a train, subway, or bus-line, being able to get around without a car is becoming more and more appealing.


You want to purchase a property with a great neighborhood and lots of things to do socially.  There should be great parks, sidewalks, and other amenities that make people want to be there.  If possible, stop to chat with neighbors you see out and about.  Of course, you do not want to bother anyone, but if you are able to get the low down from a local, you will be more likely to find an awesome property in a great location.  You will also be able to get a feel for what your neighbors may be like.  Some people like a neighborhood where everyone knows everyone, while others prefer a more quiet and private space.

Crime Rates

Nobody aims to live in a high-crime area.  While you will likely be able to find affordable properties in these areas, you are not as likely to find buyers or tenants who want to live there.  Check out the crime rates for your neighborhood using sites like Crime Reports and Neighborhood Scout can give you a good idea of what to expect in your area.

Future Development

Before buying, do as much as you can to understand what future development in your area will look like.  New homes and businesses will have an impact on property values and the amounts you are able to charge for rent.  Check with your city and county to learn more about development plans for your area.  Buying in a hot up and coming part of town is an excellent way to secure high a return on your investment.  By understanding what's coming, you’ll be able to find the property that is right for you.

How Do I Find Investment Properties in Pittsburgh

Lots of investors are looking to get started, and as active real estate experts in Pittsburgh PA, we get asked to share our secrets quite a bit.

Fortunately, we love to share 🙂

One of the biggest questions we get from local investors is ” How do I find investment properties in Pittsburgh PA?

The flood of foreclosure and bank owned deals have all but dried up (compared to where they were a few years back)… people are having to get more creative in finding the best deals on local Pittsburgh investment properties.

We source properties from a variety of marketing routes… tv, radio, newspaper, offline, online, etc… so there is no single way that is best to generate leads for solid investment properties in Pittsburgh.

Below we will walk you through a few ways you can take action to find great properties to add to your investment portfolio.

Remember, if you do not want to work for someone for the rest of your life, then you will need to plan accordingly to have any sort of retirement these days.

Most investors are afraid of competition – they think that if they share their secrets, someone will steal their ideas from them and threaten their business earnings.  We see this all the time with other less experienced small business owners in Pittsburgh.  The fact is, there is more than enough business to go around for everyone, and working together is often the best way everyone will win.

We operate in kind and make a point to work with other like-minded investors to strengthen the local community.

We share our learning and our philosophies to improve the quality of investment in Pittsburgh and build stronger communities.  Ultimately, we are all investing in the same areas, there is plenty of business available for everyone, so it makes sense to do it right.

How Do I Find Investment Properties in Pittsburgh?

There are a few core principles that are important to understanding if you want to get the best investment property deals.

First:  Think Long Term

Thinking long-term means learning from the past to better anticipate the future.

Real estate does not move like the stock market.  Properties are physical structures where people work, live and socialize – they are not just numbers on a screen.  Making a windfall of cash on a short-term real estate deal is possible, but those come seldom so your best bet is running the marathon and not the sprint when it comes to your strategy.  Be consistent and try for singles and doubles instead of home runs with each deal.

Thinking long term also means that if you do not find the local investment properties you are seeking right away… you need to keep trying and taking daily action.  Remember, this is not a sprint… it’s a marathon.

It is a great idea to find several resources of properties that fit your criteria (like our Pittsburgh Investment Property Buyers List >> ) so you have a consistent flow of great deals to preview.

Second: Focus on Relationships

The investment community in Pittsburgh is much smaller than most people think.

There are only a handful of brokers and investors who conduct most of the business in the market.  Ever heard of the Pareto Principle?  We have:-)

Most investors are accustomed to working with the same people on a regular basis.  It is worth the time to build quality relationships and make an effort to learn from those with more experience than you.  If you can, seek out and work with your local professionals. They are your best source of good deals, now and in the future.

How do you get to know these people?  Go to your local Real Estate Investor Association meetings and find the people who are most active and talk to them.  Ask them which real estate agents they use, what wholesalers in the area are active (and get their info) and let everyone know that you are looking for investment properties that fit your criteria.  Learning how to find a good investment property in Pittsburgh is not that difficult and building relationships can be a key element in getting some of the best deals on properties that no one else has access to in the Pittsburgh PA market.

Who should you get to know?

  • The top investment friendly real estate brokers in Pittsburgh
  • The top real estate appraisers who deal w/ the types of properties you are seeking
  • The top property Wholesalers in the area
  • The top property Rehabbers or Flippers in the area
  • Title agents that often work with investors or investment properties regularly

Third: Identify Your Target Investments

Investment is like many other aspects of life – the people who are the most focused often succeed the most.  You have to find your niche.  Some people make millions just in parking garages or storage units.

Others specialize in residential apartments, while others deal strictly with retail.  If you take the time to do your homework, you can analyze the different segments of the market to see which opportunities are truly the best for you – and not just the best marketed.  Once you find exactly what you want to own, you can create a plan to find out who owns that particular property…and make sure that the property owner knows to call you when they want to sell!

This takes a lot of work, but it is a tried-and-true method for creating long-term wealth.

Forth: Utilize Technology

Sign up for our list of exclusive properties, and we will notify you instantly when we find a great investment.

We frequently source properties for deep discounts, secure them and then sell them for a discounted rate to the people on our list who are ready, willing and able to invest.  There are other ways to get notified about properties on the open market – you should get familiar with searching the multiple listing services with the rest of the herd because every once in a blue moon a great deal shows up.

We do not deal with average deals – we only pass along great deals to our partner investors.  We are not real estate brokers, and our business is in Pittsburgh is a niche.

If you are looking to seriously invest in Pittsburgh, we would love to chat with you to learn your specific wants, wishes, and objectives.

So… hopefully you now know how to find great investment properties in Pittsburgh.  If you have any questions please do not hesitate to give us a call or join our buyer’s list below!