Monday, March 25, 2013

Real Estate Monday: Introduction

Some of you have asked how the heck we found the church that we bought in the middle of Wilkinsburg. Really it's just a matter of camping on some realty sites, like zillow, until I see something that peeks my interest.  The church was a foreclosure (the second foreclosure we've purchased, the first being our old house in Edgewood), so I knew we had to act fast.
It's not all rainbows and butterflies. Owning a foreclosure comes with a lot of risks. In both cases, we knew nothing about the previous history of the building. And in both cases, we've had to drop a significant amount of cash, sweat, and tears (yes, tears!) to get them up and running. But in the end, when it's all come together and you have something you've made into your own with your own two hands, it feels really, really good.
I'm kind of addicted. Unfortunately, I don't have hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep buying all the properties I see. So what's the next best thing? Sharing them with you, of course. Every Monday I'm going to highlight a different house that I find interesting. For the most part, they'll probably be somewhat concentrated to the east end of Pittsburgh. Sorry, it's what I know best, and you gotta write what you know, but I'll throw a curve ball in there somewhere, don't you worry.
Today, I'm going to start with a little house down the street from me in Forest Hills. My mom and I happened to be on a walk the day they were having an open house. Having already seen it online, I, of course, wanted to see it in person. I really liked this house for a few reasons:
1. They have a studio apartment under the garage with a separate entrance. It has a kitchenette, it's own heating, and a half bath. Unfortunately, you'd have to add a shower to rent it out, but I LOVE that it has rental income potential.
2. The living room is HUGE. How many Pittsburgh homes actually have a decent size living room? I can probably count them on my right hand. You can seriously have a couch, a love seat and two chairs, easily in this room. Plus, there's a beautiful window seat and built-ins.
3. The kitchen is adorable. It doesn't look like a cookie-cutter new kitchen. They took some short cuts to update it- i.e. granite tiles, instead of granite, white appliances, etc. But honestly, I'm a little sick of seeing the same look in every kitchen, and I found this one very refreshing. And they have a cedar ceiling with sky lights. That's a bonus in my book! Plus, a half bath off of a hall way, not right into the kitchen. You know what else is off that hallway? A greenhouse. The surprises never seem to end. I'd probably be sitting in that green house on a day like today.
4. A master suite. It's small, but as someone who currently shares a bathroom with the rest of the guests that stay at my house, I'd take a small bedroom with a connected, private bathroom any day. How much living do you actually do in your bedroom, anyways?
5. A dining room with a killer table that seems to be included with the house, and some more built-ins (albeit, dated, but always up-datable!) Seriously, storage is not an issue in this house. Which happens to be a huge factor in our house. I hate not having a place for a broom or vacuum.
 You can see its listing and pictures here, but here a couple pictures I took, that they didn't. I hope you enjoyed my first Real Estate Monday posting. I certainly enjoy looking for them! Stay tuned for next week's.
The outside: a breezeway connects the garage to the house

The  semi-finished basement or man cave: I'd love to paint these built-ins a fun color! 

The attic bedroom: awesome kids bedroom, only con is that you access it through the third bedroom closet. My solution would be to make the third bedroom either an office, nursery, or walk-in closet, and just use the attic room as your third bedroom instead.

The sunny four seasons room enjoys a beautiful view and a serious garden below. 



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