What to Look for in an Investment Property in Pittsburgh, PA

Investing in real estate is a powerful way to build wealth and secure your financial future. However, choosing the right investment property can sometimes be overwhelming, especially in a city like Pittsburgh with its diverse neighborhoods and unique market conditions.

If you’re a real estate investor or first-time home buyer in Pittsburgh, understanding what to look for in an investment property is crucial for success.

The right investment property in Pittsburgh can provide you with steady rental income, potential tax benefits, and long-term growth opportunities. It can also serve as a shield against inflation and help diversify your portfolio.

On the other hand, a poor investment choice can lead to financial strain, unforeseen expenses, and considerable stress. In this blog, I’ll walk you through the 6 factors to consider when buying an investment property in Pittsburgh.

From location and market trends to financial considerations and property condition, I’ve got you covered. Keep reading for valuable insights and practical tips to help you find the perfect investment property in Pittsburgh.

Key Takeaways:

  • Location is crucial; choose properties in growing Pittsburgh neighborhoods with high rental demand, top-rated schools, safe environments, and good amenities.

  • Assess the property’s condition and age to avoid costly repairs, ensuring structural integrity and understanding potential renovation costs.

  • Understand your financing options by exploring traditional mortgages and private loans, and be prepared for larger down payments compared to primary residences.

  • Evaluate rental income potential by setting a competitive rental price that covers your mortgage and provides steady income, considering local job markets and economic trends.

  • Research market trends and property value appreciation to focus on areas with high appreciation potential, understanding rental prices, vacancy rates, and community vibes for smart investment decisions.

Understanding Investment Property

what to look for in an investment property

An investment property is a property bought specifically to make money. You can do this either by selling it at a higher price later (known as flipping) or by renting it out to generate income. Purchasing an investment property purely focuses on business purposes to generate profit.

In today’s world understanding real estate investments is no longer an option, but a necessity. These types of investments can offer attractive returns, if you manage them right. 

That’s why it’s essential to identify what kind of property is profitable and the best time to purchase in Pittsburgh, PA. Understanding these factors will help you make informed decisions, maximize your returns, and minimize risks.

6 Factors to Look for in an Investment Property

Here are the key factors to consider when you are a first-time home buyer for investment property in Pittsburgh:

what to look for in an investment property

1. Location, Location, Location

The location of your property is crucial for investment success. To find a good location in Pittsburgh, consider these key factors:

  • Local Market Vibe: Assess whether the market is growing or shrinking. In growing markets like Lawrenceville and East Liberty, rental demand is higher, which can reduce the risk of vacancies.
  • Top-Rated Schools: Properties near good schools, such as those in the Mt. Lebanon or Fox Chapel areas, can attract families looking for long-term rentals.
  • Safety: Safe neighborhoods, such as Squirrel Hill and Shadyside, are in higher demand and have lower tenant turnover rates.
  • Amenities: Properties near shopping centers, parks, and transportation hubs, such as those in South Side Flats, enhance tenant experience, allowing for competitive rents and maximizing rental income.
  • Future Development: Monitor future urban development projects, such as the redevelopment plans for the Lower Hill District, as they can increase property values and rental prices.

2. Property Condition and Age

Assessing the property’s condition and age is crucial when finding investment properties in Pittsburgh. Whether you’re considering single-family homes, apartments, or vacation rentals, check its current state before making an offer. This ensures the property will yield solid profits in the future.

Moreover, examine visible aspects like walls, floors, and ceilings for any signs of damage. Well-maintained properties are more attractive to renters and require less immediate investment. Also inspect critical systems such as water heaters, wiring, and heating and cooling units to avoid costly repairs later.

In addition, structural integrity is also vital. Look for foundational cracks, sagging roofs, and ensure the plumbing system is in good condition. A professional inspector can provide detailed insights into necessary repairs, helping you make an informed decision.

Finally, consider potential renovation costs and how they might impact your investment. Extensive repairs can significantly reduce your profits.

3. Financial Considerations

Understanding how to finance investment properties is also important. There are various type of loan, including traditional mortgages, hard money loans, and private lenders. Each option has its pros and cons, so it’s essential to choose one that aligns with your investment goals and financial situation.

One critical factor is the down payment needed for an investment property. Unlike primary residences, investment properties typically require a larger down payment for multi-family and commercial properties. This is ranging from 20% to 25% of the purchase price. While in single-family homes, it can be as low as 15%, but this varies based on the lender and property type.

Proper financing can make or break your investment, as it directly affects your cash flow and profitability. Therefore, understanding your financing options and down payment requirements helps you make informed decisions. Which result on increasing your chances of successful property investment.

4. Rental Income Potential

Evaluating potential rental income is essential. Your monthly rent should not only cover your mortgage payments but also provide a steady income stream. Therefore, it’s important to set a rental price that ensures a good profit margin while remaining competitive.

To begin with, understanding local job markets and economic trends can significantly impact rental income. Areas with high job opportunities, like those near Pittsburgh’s tech and healthcare sectors, attract more people willing to pay higher rents.

Conversely, high vacancy rates can drain your profits. Therefore, focus on features that attract tenants, such as proximity to parks, restaurants, and transportation hubs.

And if you’re setting for the rent price, keep in mind that If you set the rent too high, you may deter potential tenants. On the other hand, if it’s too low, you will reduce your profit. That’s why find a balanced rate and analyze average rents in your area.

Understanding market trends and property value appreciation is essential for successful investment. First, focus on areas with strong community vibes, top-notch schools, and promising future development. Next, research average rental prices and vacancy rates to gauge demand.

Additionally, look for neighborhoods with low vacancy rates, as this indicates high demand. Also evaluate the property’s potential return on investment (ROI) by considering renovation costs, upkeep expenses, and tax implications.

Furthermore, gather insights from real estate agents, property managers, and local residents for a comprehensive market view. By staying informed about market trends and focusing on areas with high appreciation potential, you can make smart investment decisions that ensure steady income and long-term growth.

6. Investment Goals and Strategy

Clearly defining your investment goals is crucial for success. Decide whether you aim for short-term gains through property flipping or long-term wealth building via rental income.

Short-term strategies focus on buying undervalued properties, making quick improvements, and selling for a profit. While, long-term strategies emphasize purchasing properties in growing areas for steady rental income and potential appreciation.

Assessing your financial situation and risk tolerance is important when choosing the right strategy. For long-term investments, prioritize properties in neighborhoods with good schools and low vacancy rates.

For short-term investments, look for properties needing minor renovations in up-and-coming areas. Remember, a well-defined investment strategy helps you stay focused and achieve your financial objectives. With the right goals and strategy you will make an informed decision.

Investment Property vs Primary Residence

An investment property is a property bought to earn money, either by renting it out or selling it for a profit. It’s a business transaction that aimed to generate a passive income. While a primary residence, It’s a place where you and your family reside.

Here is the guide to help you distinguish between investment property and primary residence. This is essential when evaluating potential investment properties.

FAQs in Relation to What to Look for in an investment Property

What is the 2% rule for investment property?

The 2% rule says a rental property’s monthly rent should be at least 2% of its purchase price. This helps you estimate potential cash flow.

What is the 1% rule for investment property?

The 1% rule states that an income-producing property should generate monthly rent equal to or greater than one percent of its total cost.

How to buy an investment property with little money?

You can buy an investment property with little money by exploring options like FHA loans, which have lower down payments. Also you can partner with other real estate investors to share costs.

How to buy your first investment property?

Start by researching the market and getting pre-approved for a loan. Look for properties in desirable locations, conduct thorough inspections, and consult with real estate professionals. Consider using loan programs for first-time home buyers to reduce costs.

What should I consider when building an investment property?

When building an investment property, consider the location, local market trends, and demand for rental properties. Factor in construction costs, permits, and timelines is also crucial. Lastly, ensure the property design meets the needs of potential renters to maximize occupancy and rental income.

what to look for in an investment property


Choosing the right investment property in Pittsburgh, PA is a powerful step toward building wealth and securing your financial future. By focusing on the 6 factors I mention on this blog, you can make informed decisions that maximize your returns and minimize risks.

Remember, investing in real estate requires careful planning and strategic thinking. Whether you aim for short-term gains or long-term wealth, understanding what to look for in an investment property is crucial for success.

Ready to take the next step for your next real estate journey? Schedule a FREE consultation now with eFunder and let us help you find financing option perfect for investment property. Your successful investment is just a click away!

Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to us at no cost to you if you decide to make a purchase.

Picture of Terence Young
Terence Young

Founder of eFunder

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