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With the help of housing counseling, become a home-owning landlord in Pittsburgh, PA

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is home to one branch of Advantage CCS bankruptcy counseling, debt management, and online credit counseling services. It is also consistently rated as one of the top cities in which to live in the United States by The Places Rated Almanac. Its low cost of living, cheap housing, abundance of medical and science-related jobs, plethora of green spaces, and easy commutes from the suburbs to the city all contribute to Pittsburgh repeatedly earning this distinction.

If you’ve decided that Pittsburgh is your dream city, you’re probably also thinking about home ownership. But you might be telling yourself, “No, no, I can’t afford this.” Maybe you’re on a debt management plan, or perhaps you don’t have a high-paying job. Schedule some housing counseling sessions, either in group format, or one-on-one with a counselor. You might find that home ownership is within your reach, if you’re willing to rent out a part of your home.

Talk it over with your counselor: How being a landlord can help you own housing in Pennsylvania’s Steel City

Pittsburgh is a college town. CNN MONEY Magazine says that Pittsburgh has roughly 33 percent more universities than the average, top-ranked places to live, and has many more technical and trade schools than most American cities. College students always need housing. And, as the cost of tuition rises, and students increasingly turn to credit cards to finance living expenses, affordable housing is an essential score for students. Many of the neighborhoods surrounding Pittsburgh, PA’s university pockets feature housing that stands in disrepair, with crime, noise, and pest problems. Certain Pittsburgh neighborhoods are notorious for housing so bad that several University of Pittsburgh graduate students created the Web site LandorSlum.com to expose repeat offenders.

These conditions — low-cost housing, many renters, a need for affordable, quality housing – make owning property as a landlord seem like a sweet deal. Before you embark upon this housing journey, however, it is imperative that you seek either housing counseling or credit counseling – possibly, both – to determine what you can afford; how purchasing housing will fit into your debt management plan, and what steps you should take to become a reputable Pittsburgh landlord.

With your housing counselor, or during a housing counseling session, you will learn how you can finance housing, and how much housing you can afford. You will learn which price brackets you should be looking in, and how to raise your credit score so you can qualify for the best mortgage package possible. Supplementing your housing counseling sessions with online credit counseling is a great way to get your finances under control so that home ownership is a hassle-free experience rather than a chore. Housing counseling at Advantage CCS will also help you to decode the complex terminology associated with buying a home or multi-unit property, such as HUD Settlement Statements or title insurance. You want to enter into the experience of being a Pittsburgh landlord as informed as possible.

The most important considerations when becoming a landlord catering to the college student housing demographic are:

  • types of property, and
  • locations of those properties.

A good number of college and graduate programs are located in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh, including the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, and Carlow College. Other schools in the eastern part of the city include Chatham University and Duquesne University. Some of these schools require that freshmen live on campus; however, upperclassmen, medical, law, and graduate students typically seek out rental housing.

Get to know each neighborhood before you buy, as each has its own particular quirks and perks, and you’ll want to feel as comfortable living in your neighborhood as you should renting out your house. For example, Bloomfield is a neighborhood with low-cost, multi-unit row houses, and has distinct Italian and Polish ethnicities. Shadyside is a high-status neighborhood with more expensive housing, but landlords can charge higher rents, and many college students like classy living. Lawrenceville and Friendship are highly desired by members of Pittsburgh’s young “creative class;” however, as development takes off in those neighborhoods, prices can vary widely.

Before you rent to any student, it is imperative that you check his or her credit score and determine his or her ability to pay rent in a timely fashion. Asking for references from employers and past landlords are other great screening tools. The aim of becoming a landlord, from a debt management perspective, is to offset your mortgage payments with income acquired by rent paid to you. You wouldn’t want to face bankruptcy or credit score ruin because your student tenants can’t or won’t pay on time!

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