Home Guide

With the arrival of spring this month comes the urge to usher out the old and bring in the new. For some that means parting with a home and moving to a new one. For others that means renovating or repairs to an existing home. Whatever your springtime objective, Northern Connection’s Annual Home Guide can help you to find the right professional. 

This is Part III of a Three-Part Series on Investing in Real Estate 
Should You Flip or Rent Out the Property? 
by Vince Parrucci

When it comes to investing in residential real estate, you need to ask yourself a question: Do you want to flip or rent out your investment property? This goes back to your financial goals. Each scenario comes with its own set of issues or rewards and benefitsFlipping entails buying a house on the cheap, renovating it and reselling it. When you do this, you need to be exact in your estimates and make good use of your time. If you overspend on the renovations, that cuts into your bottom line, and if you take a long time getting the house into shape for resale, you not only are shelling out money for renovations, but you are also paying the mortgage on the place and other carrying costs, and you may miss out on a stronger seller’s market. The longer you hold a property, the less your profit. One drawback from flipping a home is that once you sell that asset and take your proceeds, that property is no longer working for you.  

When you buy and hold an investment property, you will need to have tenants rent it if you are to make any money on it. Therefore, you need to be equipped to be a landlord. Do you know how to screen and secure tenants? Can you do maintenance, or do you have someone you can contact who can do it for you? Unlike flipping a property, if you keep the property, you still have an asset that is working for you. 

Most experts believe that acquiring property and holding on to it to amass a portfolio is a good strategy for building wealth. Flipping properties is more suited to making a profit when other types of assets likes stocks and bonds aren’t as attractive.  For both scenarios, you should have a team of professionals supporting you—everyone from financial and insurance professionals to contractors and crafts people. 

Keep in mind that you can do both. You can flip houses and build a rental property portfolio. Everyone knows that a portfolio should be diverse, and there is nothing wrong with diversifying your real estate investments as well.  If you would like to explore investing in residential real estate, give me a call and we can set goals and set you on the right path. 

Lasting Impressions Interior Design

My name is Jean Swanson, and I am the owner of Lasting Impressions Interior Design. I have over 25 years’ experience in interior design, and I have worked extensively on hundreds of projects from a small color consultation to new construction projects both residential and commercial. I have been directly involved in all aspects of the finishing selections, both exterior and interior. I am dedicated to my client’s complete satisfaction. In addition, I have a vast resource of high-quality vendors and contractors at my disposal when applicable. I have dealt with many and use only those who treat my clients the way I want to be treated. 

Benjamin Moore Colorize of Pittsburgh 

Colorize of Pittsburgh is a small, family-owned and operated Benjamin Moore paint store with three locations on Perry Highway in Wexford, Route 19 in Cranberry and under the clock in Robinson Town Centre. They were quickly known for giving excellent customer service and professional advice to both contractors and the do-it-yourselfer. Their full-service stores stock and sell paints, stains, primers, specialty finishes, wall coverings, Festool equipment and supplies. With over 30 years of experience in the paint industry, they are here to help with product selection, color and stain matching and advice for getting your project finished efficiently. Are you having trouble with color? Stop into any of their stores, and they will guide you through the color selection process. If you want more in-depth help, then take advantage of their in-home color consultation service. Experience Colorize of Pittsburgh and make them your one-stop-shop for all your painting needs. Refer to their Google Reviews and website www.colorizeofpittsburgh.com to get a better sense of who they are.  

 Why Use a Realtor®?
by Deb Walton

There are many out there who enter the home buying or selling process and wonder why they may need a Realtor®. What exactly do Realtors® do for their clients? More than 80% of buyers purchase their home through a real estate agent. If you don’t use an agent to sell your home you risk losing exposure to 80% of the buying population. On the home buying side a Realtor® can help you navigate through an extensive process full of important decisions and legally binding paperwork.

Another question that comes to mind often is what is the difference between a Real Estate Agent and a Realtor®? Although both must be licensed to sell real estate, the main difference between a real estate agent and a REALTOR® is the latter is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®. A REALTOR® must subscribe to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, which includes 17 articles. 

Pat Vredevoogd-Combs, past president of the National Association of REALTORS®, testified before the House Financial Services Committee on Housing to address government complaints about industry pricing.
As part of her testimony, she submitted a list of 184 things that listing agents do in every real estate transaction.
“By all accounts,” she said, “the general public is not aware of all the services that agents provide to sellers and buyers during the course of the transaction, probably because most of the important services are performed behind the scenes.”

A Realtor® is responsible for a myriad of activities during the pre-list process, the listing appointment presentation, after the listing agreement is signed, while entering the property in the Multi-List database, whil marketing the listing throughout the selling process, while navigating the home inspection process, while following up on appraisal, during closing preparation and duties, during follow-up after the closing. These activities can range from reviewing comparable listings on a regular basis to ensure the property remains competitively priced to receiving and carefully reviewing closing figures for accuracy.

Please use this link for the complete list of 184 tasks Pat Vredevoogd-Combs:


Sears Home Services – Still Here! Still Serving!

My name is Greg Heibert and I am the local owner of Sears Home Services in your neighborhood since 2001. My family and I have lived in Pittsburgh all of our lives and currently reside in Wexford.

If I had a dollar for everytime I hear  “I did not know Sears did these services”  or   “I thought Sears was out of business”  or  “You use subcontractors”    I would be able to retire!

Yes, we are here to stay. Yes, we have great services such as carpet cleaning, air duct cleaning, furniture cleaning, tile and grout cleaning, handyman services and new/used garage door sales and services. Yes, our technicians are employees and not sub-contractors.

Our work is backed by Sears since 1893 – our home services division is in over 1 million homes daily, and the local Pittsburgh branch is ranked No. 3 in customer service. We are because we only exist if we have dedicated employees (many who have been with us for 15 years) and back what we say. We want to earn your trust, so we can provide other services that you might need.  No store, no problem – our office is in your home.

We are competitively priced, our guarantee is backed by me personally – I do want to know how we did and will go out of our way to keep you as a satisfied customer.

Thanks for trusting us for so many years and hope to see you soon.