The Bankrate promise
At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for .
Pennsylvania’s second-largest city, Pittsburgh, is known for its rivers and hills. Many find the Steel City’s scenery, museums and universities appealing. However, home sellers here may find that the process takes longer than they’d like. Here’s what to know if you’re looking to sell a home in Pittsburgh — fast.
How fast can you typically sell your house in Pittsburgh?
Redfin data shows that, in March 2023, Pittsburgh homes spent a median of 68 days on the market before selling. That’s a long time compared to many other big cities, and 16 days longer than homes sat in March of last year. However, it’s pretty typical of the cold-weather market here. In the late spring and summer months, that median drops considerably — it was a much quicker 45 days back in June. All homes won’t necessarily take that long to sell, though: Properties in very popular neighborhoods, like Point Breeze or Regent Square, are likely to go faster.
Regardless of location, April and May are typically considered the best times to sell a house. These months tend to have the most active market and the most motivated buyers, as many families want to complete their move before the new school year begins.
Need to sell even faster?
If you have no time to spare and need to sell ASAP, here are some options to consider:
- Sell for cash: Look into companies that buy houses for cash. There are national companies, like We Buy Houses, and local Pittsburgh-area options as well. These businesses will make you an offer lightning-fast, sometimes on the same day, and the closing process goes much faster as well. The downside is that, in exchange for the speed and convenience, you’ll likely make less money than you would in a traditional sale. (The process is similar to iBuyers, but the two major iBuying companies, Opendoor and Offerpad, do not operate in the Pittsburgh area.)
- Price aggressively: Try getting buyers’ attention with a lower-than-expected listing price. Say your home is in a popular neighborhood where similar properties to yours typically go for around $300,000. If you list for, say $260,000, that number will lure many buyers in, and potentially start a bidding war. Enlist a real estate agent’s help with this, as an expert who knows the market well will be able to help with precise pricing.
- Be flexible: Make sure your real estate agent knows that speed is your top priority, then work closely with them to move things along as fast as possible. Respond quickly to all inquiries and consider all offers, even if the number is not as high as you’d like — you may have to sacrifice some profit to get the deal done fast.
Selling your home in Pittsburgh
Ask yourself — or your agent — these questions before putting your Pittsburgh home on the market.
Is it worth upgrading your home before you sell?
It really depends on the upgrade — most major home renovation projects won’t bring in a full return on investment. Instead of remodeling the kitchen or finishing the basement, consider cheaper, simpler ways to boost your home’s value, and remember that a little curb appeal goes a long way.
What should you fix before selling your home in Pittsburgh?
If you suspect your home may harbor some serious problems, consider getting a professional pre-listing inspection to clue you in to any issues that could deter buyers. If you wait until a potential buyer inspects your house, and they find a problem, they’ll likely ask you to cover the repair cost anyway. But it’s just as important to know what not to fix. Work with your agent to determine what repairs are worth the time and money, and what is best left for the buyer to deal with.
Should you pay to stage your home?
Professional home staging can pay off, especially if you want to get an offer fast. Staging sets up a home so buyers can really envision themselves living there. This can be as simple as decluttering and rearranging the furniture, or, particularly if you’ve already moved and the home is vacant, it can involve furniture rentals and more. Work with your agent to decide what makes the most sense for you.
How should you price your listing?
This might be where the advice of an experienced agent who really knows the market is most valuable. They’ll do the research to determine how much your home is worth based on comps of recently sold properties in your area. This is typically a much more accurate way of determining home value than using online estimators. From there, you can work together to set an asking price based on your priorities.
What do you need to disclose to a buyer?
All Pennsylvania home sellers must inform the buyer of any known property defects that are not easily visible. This includes things like the condition of the roof, any issues with water in the basement or crawlspace and any known pests. You will need to complete a disclosure statement which will ask you at length about problems with the property.
Closing day is the day every seller looks forward to — the day you get paid. Unfortunately, though, the full sale price doesn’t go directly into your pocket. For one thing, if you have a mortgage, you’ll have to pay that off. There are also closing costs to cover. Here are some of the costs you can expect.
Costs of selling a home in Pittsburgh
- Agent commissions: The seller typically pays the real estate agent commissions for both their own agent and the buyer’s. These average around 3 percent for each agent, or 6 percent total — so, if you sell your home for $200,000, 6 percent comes to $12,000.
- Title insurance: Depending on the terms of your contract, you may need to pay for title insurance. The cost will vary based on the sale price.
- Transfer taxes: You’ll need to pay state and local transfer taxes, which are the charge to transfer the title or deed from the seller to the buyer. This cost will also vary based on sale price, but Pennsylvania transfer taxes tend to range around 2 to 3 percent.
- Escrow fees: Typically, the buyer and seller split the cost of the service fee of an escrow account.
- Attorney fees: While you’re not legally required to hire a lawyer to sell a home in Pennsylvania, it’s smart to have a legal expert on your side to sign off on all the details. An attorney’s fees will depend on their hourly rate and how long they spend on your case.
What’s your next move? If you’re in a rush, reach out to a couple homebuying companies to see if they will buy your house for cash, fast. Just know you won’t get as much money as you would going the traditional, longer route. If you have the time, finding a real estate agent you click with can help you get the best price possible for your home. This can be especially valuable if you’re selling while also buying a new house, and you need the proceeds to put toward the new purchase. Whichever way you decide to proceed, good luck selling your Pittsburgh home.
The median time to sell a house in Pittsburgh as of March 2023, according to Redfin, was 68 days. But the median is the halfway point, meaning half of the homes took longer to sell and the other half sold faster. For popular neighborhoods, the time spent on market can be much shorter. And if you sell to a cash homebuying company, the process could even be complete in a week or two (though you’d likely make less money).
You don’t necessarily need a Realtor to sell a house in Pittsburgh — there’s always the for sale by owner route — but it’s smart to take advantage of a pro agent’s expertise and knowledge. The same is true for a real estate attorney: You aren’t legally required to hire one, but with so much money at stake, it’s a good idea. You will, however, need to fill out a seller disclosure form, per Pennsylvania state law, informing the buyer of any known problems with the property. You’ll also need to pay off the remainder of your mortgage (if applicable) and cover any closing costs, including real estate commissions.