Buying Here: What sold in 2012
The historic Thomas Wilson Shaw house at 1526 Butler Plank Road in Shaler was built in 1824. It appeared to be sold but the financing fell through and now is back on the market for $425,000.
The three-bedroom Colonial at 307 George St. in Turtle Creek eventually sold for $70,000 right before Christmas to the first person who saw it when it went on the market earlier in 2012.
This completely renovated three-bedroom home at 3943 Belrose Ave. in Dormont sold in October for $225,000 after being on the market for 35 days.
This four-bedroom home at 412 Bailey Ave., Mount Washington, was sold in April for $190,000. It had been on the market for almost a year before the sellers reduced their price.
The Penn Hebron Garden Club at 237 Jefferson Road in Penn Hills didn't sell, but the organization worked out a two-year lease with the Penn Hills Community Develpopment Corp.
A five-bedroom, three-bath Colonial with 6,000 square feet of living space at 1779 Hassam Road in Moon is still on the market.
Becker House, a century-old historical landmark at 511 Romine Ave., McKeesport, is still on the market for $80,000.
Second Empire Victorian home at 1515-1517 Lowrie Street in Troy Hill was built in 1876. The left half of the duplex, 1517, sold for $118,500 last month.
This Victorian at 9 North Ave. in East Washington sold on Dec. 6 for $220,000 after being on the market for 13 months.
This five-bedroom home at 3340 Perrysville Ave. in the Observatory Hill section of the North Side sold for $180,000 in November.
A Tudor at 300 7th St. Ext. in Patterson Heights, Beaver County, was for sale for $359,000 but couldn't find a buyer so it was taken off the market. Above is the home's rear exterior with patio.
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The Post-Gazette featured more than 50 properties in 2012. Many were the nicest houses on their respective streets, while others were works in progress. Did they sell for the asking price, or are they still seeking a buyer? Here are the answers for 11 properties:
Priced to sell
Location's important, but the price also needs to be right for a quick sale. A four-bedoom Colonial at 412 Bailey Ave., Mount Washington, profiled in January, is a classic example.
Even though the 2,000-square-foot house was in great condition, with many of its original details, it was on the market for almost a year before sellers agreed to reduce the price in early 2012 to $195,000. An open house held the day the story appeared in the PG drew huge numbers and resulted in a buyer, who paid $190,00 at the April closing.
"The article encouraged people to get out there and get started on their search," says Liz Caplan of RE/MAX Realty Brokers.
A new beginning
For more than 80 years the, Penn Hebron Garden Club met in the two-story structure at 237 Jefferson Road, Penn Hills, featured in February. But maintaining the 4,400-square-foot former barn, constructed in 1834 with giant hand-hewn oak beams, got to be too much for the group and so they put it on the market for $169,000.
In need of major repairs to bring it up to code, it failed to attract a buyer. But it did bring a tenant: Penn Hills Community Development Corp., which entered into a two-year lease in November. The nonprofit will use the building for meetings, parties, potlucks and coffee house events.
"It's advantageous to both of us," said Pat Bond, a 42-year member who lives in Penn Hills. "They now have a home, and rent brings in money to pay the bills."
Mon Valley charmer
Lee Borellis of Howard Hanna Real Estate's East Suburban office had better luck finding an owner for the colorful Colonial at 307 George St., Turtle Creek, also featured in February and priced at $75,000. The first person who saw the house when it went on the market a year ago couldn't get it out of her head, and ended up making an offer on the three-bedroom house, which had been given a total makeover by two performers/artists with Squonk Opera. It sold right before Christmas for $70,000.
Looking for a really big house? The ranch-style home at 1779 Hassam Road, Moon, featured in April, boasts more than 6,000 square feet of living space, including a 3,000-square-foot lower level that once was used as a dance studio. There's also a four-season room with access to a courtyard, five bedrooms and two full kitchens.
Originally listed for $559,000 through Prudential Preferred Realty agent Joseph Tarquinio, it's still on the market for $499,900 (MLS No. 921084; prudentialpreferred.com; 412-262-4630).
Beaver County beauty
Graced with an oak-beamed living room, gourmet kitchen, two-story master bedroom and screened-in back porch, the picture-perfect Tudor at 300 7th St. Ext., Patterson Heights has just about every amenity a buyer could wish for. The three-bedroom, 31/2-bath house was listed at $359,000 by Mary Anne Peluso of Town Center Associates 11 months ago.
"It's an unusual house because the price range is geared to young families, but there's no backyard" for kids to run around in, said Ms. Peluso.
The house has been taken off the market for the winter, but may be offered for sale in the spring, she said.
Move right in
A fixer-upper can save you money, but there's something really appealing about a house in turn-key condition. That might explain why it took Michael Bello of Buy-N-Sell Real Estate just 35 days to find a buyer for a completely renovated three-bedroom home at 3943 Belrose Ave., Dormont. Featured in the PG in July and priced at $239,000, the tasteful, old-meets-new redo featuring an open floor plan and an en suite master bath sold for $225,000 in October.
Seriously ... only one bath?
Pittsburghers love old houses, but they also love modern conveniences. The fact, then, that the five-bedroom house at 3340 Perrysville Ave. in the North Side's Observatory Hill neighborhood had just one bathroom made it difficult to sell, despite its seven fireplaces, elaborate balustrade and a butler's pantry.
"Every person to a T completely and utterly appreciated" the 1905 house's restoration, said Howard Hanna agent Brian M. Sergi-Curfman, "But they wanted that second bathroom."
After months on the market and an appearance on the "Today" show, the house listed at $185,000 in July finally found an owner. In November, a young couple paid $180,000. At closing, they mentioned big plans to celebrate the holidays there with lots of friends and family.
"Which is wonderful, because that's the kind of house it is," said Mr. Sergi-Curfman.
Grand old dame
Constructed in 1906, when steel ruled the Monongahela Valley, the house at 511 Romine Ave., McKeesport, proudly wears a historic landmark plaque from Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation. Though it is one of the city's grandest residences, the house is in need of some major repairs -- a fact not lost on potential buyers.
"People walk in and think, 'This needs so much work!' " said Tracy Janov of Prudential, who listed the six-bedroom house for $89,999 a year ago.
With a little elbow grease applied to its original woodwork, stained and leaded glass and ornate plaster molding, the house could be brought back to its former glory, perhaps as a bed and breakfast.
Featured in August, the house still is on the market at the reduced price of $80,000 (Tracey Janov: 412-759-0316) .
Piece of history
When the historic Shaw house at 1526 Butler Plank Road, Shaler, went on the market in May -- for only the second time in more than 180 years -- it drew an offer within weeks. The financing fell through, however, and the gracious Greek Revival-style home built in 1824 is back on the market for its original asking price of $425,000 (MLS No. 916396; pittsburghmoves.com; 412-487-0500).
In addition to five bedrooms, the house -- which sits on 4.6 acres -- has 10 fireplaces, two staircases, period wallpaper and original hardwood floors.
There are also two outbuildings that have been converted to rental properties and a three-car garage, said listing agent Beth Danchek, with a large second-floor loft that could be used as a home office.
Diamond in the rough
The East Washington Historic District is filled with gorgeous old residences, but not all of them have been meticulously cared for in this college town. Not so with the pretty Victorian at 9 North Ave., East Washington, showcased in October. Lovingly maintained over the years and filled with period details, it's one of the prettiest houses on the street.
"Other houses just aren't comparable," said listing agent Melissa Steffey of Northwood Realty.
Originally priced at $247,000, the house, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, sold Dec. 6 for $220,000 after 13 months on the market.
All in the family
It's a common story in Western Pennsylvania: A house is passed down through several generations until finally no one in the family wants it or can afford its upkeep. What makes 1515/1517 Lowrie St., Troy Hill, so unusual is the amount of time it remained in one family.
Adam Reineman built the huge duplex -- each side measures 3,400-plus square feet -- in 1876 for his extended family of German-American watchmakers, bankers and real estate brokers. In 1918, Bavarian immigrant Adolph Kaule bought 1517 Lowrie, the left side for his immediate family and in-laws. His grandson, Bill Botzer, was the last of three generations to love and care for the three-story North Side house with high ceilings, original mantels and woodwork and six bedrooms.
Mr. Botzer bought its neighbor, 1515 Lowrie, in the late 1990s, renovated it and sold it in April 2007 for $182,000. He passed away three years later. In June 2011, his family put 1517 Lowrie on the market for $194,900 through John Rettger of RE/MAX Heritage. This December, it sold for $118,500, much less than the family had hoped for. But they are pleased with the new owners.
"The new family loves it and it's an extended family, which is what it was meant for," said Mary Ellen Esquino of Marshall, Adolph Kaule's great-granddaughter.
First Published January 6, 2013 12:00 am