Buying Here: West Mifflin


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When you get your first look at 4503 Lebanon Church Road in West Mifflin, with its five bedrooms, four decorative fireplaces and stained- and leaded-glass windows, it's the price that makes you look twice.

$109,900 for all that? What's the catch?

No catch, just a motivated seller.

Chris Ploskunak of York, Pa., who works for a large painting contractor based in Akron, Ohio, bought the century-old, three-story brick house (MLS No. 929365) in August 2010 as housing for employees working on a long-term project in Pittsburgh. As many as 10 men lived in the house at one time, he said.

"They called it 'Animal House,' " he joked.

But unlike Bluto and other fictional fraternity brothers in the movie, the resident painters took pretty good care of this grand old house, which will be open from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday through Howard Hanna Real Estate agent Mario Rudolph (412-882-9100, ext. 240, www.howardhanna.com).

The leaded windows, fireplace mantels, hardwood floors and other woodwork are all intact, and the rooms are freshly painted. Especially note the original finish on the front staircase and paneling in the entry, which measures 11 by 9 feet. There's even an original set of pocket doors between the living room and dining room.

"And the ceilings are close to 10 feet on the first floor," Mr. Rudolph said. "It's like a big old farmhouse."

The living room and dining room measure 14 by 13 feet and 17 by 14 feet, respectively, and each has a fireplace. The other two fireplaces are in second-floor bedrooms. Mr. Ploskunak said he never looked into what it would cost to get them working again.

The 14- by 13-foot kitchen is sparse, with old wood cabinets and an even older sink and set of steel cabinetry. There are two full bathrooms also in need of updates and an unfinished basement.

On the way to the second floor, a charming stained-glass window fills the stair landing with light. The two bedrooms measure 17 by 15 feet and 14 by 14 feet and a third room was probably a bedroom at one time. It now has kitchen cabinets and a counter but could easily be converted back to a bedroom. The three bedrooms on the third floor measure 21 by 14 feet, 18 by 11 feet and 12 by 9 feet. And there's more.

Above the two-car detached garage is a mother-in-law suite that could be an apartment. With a separate entrance, the space includes a large living room, 11- by 9-foot bedroom and bath.

The property's Realtor noted that few visitors use the steep set of front steps from busy Lebanon Church Road. More often, they park on one of the side streets behind the house and use the back door. The house's location offers easy access to Century III Mall and surrounding shopping centers in West Mifflin and Pleasant Hills. Yet its height cuts down on street noise, Mr. Rudolph said.

"On top of the hill you don't hear the traffic," he said, adding that an alley behind the house offers access and privacy to the apartment above the garage.

The property, which was sold for $90,000 in 2010, has a county assessed value of $85,100 (www2.county.allegheny.pa.us/RealEstate/Default.aspx).

Over the past three years, nine residential properties have sold on Lebanon Church Road for prices ranging from $18,000 in January 2011 to $138,000 in October and December 2009 -- one property sold twice for the same amount (www.realstats.net).

Mr. Ploskunak hopes the house's size and condition will make it sell. "Bring offers!" he suggested.


SALES SNAPSHOT

CLAIRTON

20112012
SALES111114
MEDIAN PRICE$13,400$15,000
HIGHEST PRICE$106,000$122,500


DRAVOSBURG

20112012
SALES1529
MEDIAN PRICE$36,000$28,000
HIGHEST PRICE$95,000$122,000


ELIZABETH BORO

20112012
SALES1314
MEDIAN PRICE$58,000$45,000
HIGHEST PRICE$150,000$86,150


ELIZABETH TOWNSHIP

20112012
SALES122133
MEDIAN PRICE$104,900$99,000
HIGHEST PRICE$270,000 $375,000


GLASSPORT

20112012
SALES7857
MEDIAN PRICE$22,000$24,000
HIGHEST PRICE$89,900 $90,400


HOMESTEAD

20112012
SALES3449
MEDIAN PRICE$15,000$13,000
HIGHEST PRICE$100,000$99,000
JEFFERSON

20112012
SALES152136
MEDIAN PRICE$210,000$209,500
HIGHEST PRICE$593,500$570,000


MUNHALL

20112012
SALES126140
MEDIAN PRICE$55,000$50,000
HIGHEST PRICE$258,000$185,000


PLEASANT HILLS

20112012
SALES8089
MEDIAN PRICE$127,500$143,000
HIGHEST PRICE$340,000$1,098,900


WEST HOMESTEAD

20112012
SALES1920
MEDIAN PRICE$81,000$80,000
HIGHEST PRICE$150,000$176,000


WEST MIFFLIN

20112012
SALES214221
MEDIAN PRICE$65,000$66,500
HIGHEST PRICE$190,000$249,900

homes

Kevin Kirkland: kkirkland@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1978. First Published September 22, 2012 4:00 AM


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