Opportunity arises in one of Pittsburgh’s booming neighborhoods


Oince plagued by blight, Sheraden in Pittsburgh‘s West End neighborhoods is finally making its mark on the area’s real estate market.

“People who have options are [choosing] moving to Sheraden now,” says neighborhood developer Kelly Carter, who grew up in Sheraden. “That was not the case five years ago. It happened very quickly, like in Lawrenceville.

Carter says she became an accidental developer nearly 15 years ago when the neighborhood was going through a period of serious deterioration.

“My mother didn’t want to leave the neighborhood, so I bought the house next to hers and then started buying all the houses around her that were in poor condition,” she says.


Carter’s personal residence was at 3312 Francisco St. With four bedrooms, 2½ bathrooms and over 1,700 square feet of living space on three levels, the home is listed at $225,000 (MLS # 1587746, Regina Mungo , Piatt Sotheby’s International Realty, piattsir.com). It is open by appointment.

With no real equity at the time, Carter cleverly created an unconventional opportunity to start his real estate journey.

“I bought houses from owners who had inherited them or who no longer wanted them,” she says. “I was like, ‘Hey, I’m going to give you $300 a month.'”

Because the homes were selling for around $15,000 at the time (and because she was planted in the neighborhood), Carter says sellers accepted her offers. After his third such purchase, Carter had enough equity to approach a bank and secure a conventional loan to pursue further sales.

“Sheraden was in bad shape at the time,” she says, noting that the neighborhood was dealing with a crime wave that seemed to be concentrated in the local park.


Things have all since changed for the better, and Carter says she started using investment houses as Airbnb properties. The commercial move proved successful; renters liked to stay in this part of town because it was an easy commute to the Pittsburgh airport — and it cost half of what they would pay in Bloomfield or Lawrenceville, Carter says.

Carter adds that she was already familiar with the Francisco Street home, which once belonged to a pastor who was reassigned to a church outside the area, when she purchased it.

“When I was a kid, I would get driven to school with kids who lived there, so there was a lot of history with the house,” she says. “I thought it would be cool to own it.”

Built in 1909, the house is located on a quiet street near Sheraden Park. Carter installed an aggregate walkway and new front steps along with a custom metal ramp fabricated at McKees Rocks.

The porch, which includes a new floor, is wide and spacious; the original tongue-in-groove ceiling is still intact. It is accented with wooden shutters which help to make it a charming place to relax before entering the house.


Carter remembers that there used to be a single front door that didn’t seem out of place in the house – a problem she solved by installing a double-entry door. With recessed panels and raised glass, as well as a glass transom, the door has a modern transitional style that complements the original design of the home.

Inside, the home has original woodwork, baseboards, and wood-paneled doors, complete with refinished hardwood floors and fresh paint. Featuring a lighted wall sconce, the spacious entryway accommodates a closet and a white paneled front staircase with the original wooden spindles.

Carter has done some work in the family room, installing bookshelves that flank the center fireplace. Custom crisp white plantation shutters surround all first floor windows. The dining room features an open-arm chandelier, built-in bookcases with teal accents, and a decorative fireplace topped with the original mantle.


Although the kitchen has been given a fresh paint job and new large format gray tiling, it is still very basic.

“This house deserves a great kitchen,” Carter said. “It’s a kitchen the size of a postage stamp – that’s a downside.”

The three bedrooms on the second floor and a completely renovated bathroom are all spacious and bright. With its painted floor, its paneling and its beautiful woodwork, one of the bedrooms would make a pleasant office. The other two bedrooms each have new carpeting.

Carter converted the third floor of the house into a guest suite.

“The idea was to put a nanny/granny apartment on the third floor. It’s part of the house,” Carter says. “We had a friend who rented this and the rent paid our mortgage.”


The spacious floors on the third level are painted dark teal with light gray walls. A kitschy red metal sink base with a white sink adds a splash of color to the basic kitchen, which is complemented by white appliances. The remodeled bathroom is a flip on the color palette and has black and white encaustic tiles, teal walls, and white fixtures.

In the basement there is a lot of usable space.

“I had a record store on the Strip and I moved it to this basement and ran it from there for six years,” Carter explains. “The basement is dry; I had a computer and an office set up there.

The house also has off-street parking in the back and a fenced yard.


A neighborhood in transition

Sheraden is considered a census tract development area, which means it is eligible for special loan programs for lower-moderate incomes or first-time home buyers.

“The programs are offered by the banks because they get tax credits; they’re low- to middle-income households,” says real estate agent Regina Mungo, who is familiar with the program’s operating procedures. “At Sheraden, the program is for households that earn 80-85% of the average median income and may qualify for low or no down payments on their programs.

Mungo notes that she still hears from buyers who would have liked to buy in trendy neighborhoods such as Lawrenceville or East Liberty before the boom.

“The West End is that neighborhood,” she says. “This is the last major neighborhood area within 4 miles of downtown.”


She also points out the development of the nearby Esplanade, which is expected to bring a Ferris wheel, water park, marina, skating rink and housing project to Pittsburgh’s North Side, will make Sheraden even more valuable.

“At Sheraden, there are a lot of rehabs going on,” she says. “I tried to help landlords get their hands on properties before they were gobbled up by investors.”

Carter adds that she once bought homes in the neighborhood for between $10,000 and $20,000, invested $80,000 in updating them, and then wouldn’t be able to recoup the cost when she tried to get them. to sell.

“I knew that, and it was a very risky thing, but I just thought I’d do some rentals and see what would happen,” she says.

These days, for her to be able to sell her properties for between $150,000 and $200,000 is “breathtaking,” she says. “I was able to get the houses for so cheap back then, but I had to go through some tough years.”

Hot Property, an inside look at unique and historic homes on the market. Each week, Hot Property goes behind the For Sale sign to share the story of a special Pittsburgh-area home. And four times a year, Hot Property provides an in-depth look at the area’s real estate market in Pittsburgh Magazine HOME, tracking home prices and sales and detailing where hot properties are located. Rosa can be reached at [email protected].

About: Sheraden
Population: 4,593
Planes, trains and automobiles: 20 minutes drive from the airport. Daily transportation via Pittsburgh Regional Transit. Carpooling, street parking and bus lanes.
Schools: City of Pittsburgh (pghschools.org)
Neighborhood: Surrounded by Esplen, Chartiers City, Crafton Heights and Windgap, Sheraden is an integral part of the city’s West End neighborhoods and is experiencing a renaissance. In 2020, the Pittsburgh Department of Planning completed the Sheraden Park Master Plan, which prioritizes park ecology, improves park access and visibility, and provides new amenities for the community. The neighborhood council is active and residents support many youth programs including Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, softball, baseball and football.

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