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Channel 11 investigates flipping houses in Pittsburgh



PITTSBURGH - House flipping has quickly become the newest booming industry in Pittsburgh.  In fact, it's getting national attention.  Channel 11's Katherine Amenta tells us why it can pay off, if you know how to do it.

“It’s fun,” said house flipper Evan Hazlett.  “It's a good business to be in.”

Evan Hazlett is tapping into one of the hottest trends in Pittsburgh, house flipping.

“The first thing is, don't let yourself get too excited about it,” said Hazlett.

It's hard not to, after RealtyTrac recently ranked the Steel City as No. 2 in the country for flipping homes.  According to the survey, local investors turned nearly a 90 percent profit in the first quarter, second only to Reading, Pennsylvania.

So why Pittsburgh?  Channel 11 went looking for answers at this Fox Chapel home that Evan's team is hoping to flip in just four to six weeks.

“They can come here and get a rock-solid house for a quarter of the cost for what they would have paid in a different city,” said Hazlett’s real-estate agent, Ally Mahon.

The cost of living may be good, but if you don't do your homework, the flip could backfire very quickly.

“Today's flips are more full-house guts, take it down to the joist,” said Mahon.  “What kind of work needs to go back into it?"

“You really have to know what you're doing,” said Hazlett.  “There's always going to be a lot of unexpected costs.”

But, Mahon says, if your team can get their hands on one of Pittsburgh’s many older homes, in good condition, it can really pay off.

“The charm of the older home, with the conveniences ... of a new renovation,” said Mahon.

Mahon added that, on average, investors in Pittsburgh are looking for a 20 percent return.  Also, make sure you have a real estate agent who knows the city.  In Pittsburgh, two homes 10 streets apart are in completely different markets.