Try to find a buyer's agent who understands, and is familiar with, investment properties. Most Realtor's do not! Investment properties are very different from residential properties - so WHEN you find a good agent that you want to work with, make sure he/her has some understanding of the basic terminology that you yourself should be aware of - NOI, ROI, etc. Also, we are from the Pittsburgh area as well - and you might want to consider Westmoreland County. Jeannette and Monessen are great areas for investment.
Generally it's a good thing when any radon issues have already been corrected. So it should have a positive affect on home resale.
You sound like an excellent candidate to get a loan...maybe FHA is the way to go for you, but definetly talk to a mortage lender. And talk to more than just one because some can do things other can't. Good luck.
We've found that anytime of the year is fine. In the Spring, there are more buyers out looking, BUT there are also more homes on the market, so you're competing against that. During the holidays/winter months, there will be less buyers actively looking, but the inventory may be less. So it evens out.
Being Realtors that value honesty and always strive to conduct ourselves with intergity, we get sick of 'lies' from other agents too..."I have another offer coming in on this property" or "My buyers just don't have any more money".....so we feel your pain. I guess it's just the nature of the business.
You have to remember that banks do price a short sale property fairly close to what they expect they'll get, so you certainly do not want to 'low-ball' the offer. But if the offer is reasonable - (based on the condition, etc), by all means, go for it! Good luck.
If you want to stay somewhat close to Maryland, Western Pennsylvania (specifically east of Pittsburgh in Westmoreland County) has some great bargains. We are actually currently listing an updated 4 bedroom home for $69,900!!! Plus, you can become a Steelers fan!
One advantage renting does have is that, for the most part, you would not have to pay for many expenses a homeowner would normally pay for. e.g. taxes (property/school), homeowner insurance, maintenance costs (upkeep on furnace/AC/ and EVERYTHING else you have to maintain around a house.) So you should consider those expenses in the $1000 vs. $1800 comparison.
Sure - about this time of the year, buyers are coming 'out of the woodwork' to see what's out there on the market. Where we live, spring seems to have come early - so we are seeing more people at Open Houses etc. Just hope it continues!
It also depends on the actual Home Warranty company... some are better than others. The one that we are familiar with is very good - but you do have to pay for additional coverage like "pre-existing conditions" - which could be applied to almost any component failure! But overall, we think they are a good investment - especially if the components/appliances are getting up in age.