Real Estate - Pocono Buying Tips
The Official Poconos Real Estate Web Guide
decided to move to the Poconos? Great!
... You are going to love it here. There's a lot to do, or if you are
moving for peace and quiet, this is available, too. IF you know where
Some Rules of Thumb:
mile you drive west from the Delaware Water Gap you can expect to pay
about $1,500 less for the same exact house. This is because of
the demand created by New Jersey and New York commuters and has been true
since the late 1950's.
with dues are not necessarily a good buy. You should purchase
a home in a community when you are absolutely sure the amenities will
provide value for you and/or your family over time. Think of dues as additional
taxes. Taxes are to provide services. If you don't use the services, why
pay the tax? And what is important here is to consider the future. If
you find value in the pool, tennis court and clubhouse for your children,
weigh in your decision just how long you expect them to be living with
you. If only for a few years, you might be better off living outside a
community and joining a local YMCA. Selling the house after you find they
are gone and you are not getting value for the amenities can be costly,
with transfer taxes, commission and etc. Questions
In the woods
or in town? There's not much suburbia here in the Poconos, with
the large amount of State, Federal and local parklands and unbuildable
property because of terrain and wetlands, we all seem to live either in
the woods or in town. If you want to live in town, you'll probably end
up in an older home requiring more maintenance. If in the woods, well
.... there are animals to contend with along with a drive of a few miles
for the basics. Plan on paying for a fairly new car that you will keep
in top condition if you choose to live outside of town. At least two if
you have 2 or more drivers.
new? If you would never buy a used car ... the decision is already
made ... you are going to build. If you enjoy tinkering and fixing, a
resale is more likely your choice. But, some of you fixers are going to
find out you just can not find the house you want in the resale market
... and you'll be converted to building.
Here in the Poconos
there is very little cooperation between real estate brokers and builders.
This is unlike the rest of the world. Here, if you ask most Real Estate
Brokers to guide you through the maze of builders .... you'll just get
a blank stare and an offer to show you another farmhouse. Find the right
Real Estate Broker, though and he/she can be invaluable in helping you
find the right builder for your lifestyle and help you understand, objectively
the pricing structure. See Poconos Builders Showcase for a Brokers perspective
and recommendation of the best builders. Rule: there are almost no new
homes in town .... So to get a new one, you're going to have to drive.
(You'll be in the woods)
a Real Estate Agent To Buy a Pre-Owned Home:
A young real
estate agent or a good real estate agent? Almost any agent can
show you almost any home (We have a Multiple Listing Service) So, if you
find an agent who you suspect is not experienced.... move on. The question
is not to be taken too literally, but the concept is important, you will
want to ask your potential agent some questions:
... how long have you lived here?" We get a lot of people
moving to the area who fancy they would like to sell homes.... yet know
little about the roads, neighborhood amenities, community restrictions
and zoning, building codes and etc. ... if the answer is "less than
10 years" ... move on and find another agent.
.... how many buying transactions have you handled?" If
the answer doesn't come back in the hundereds....move on and find another
agent. Or ask he/she to partner with a more experienced agent to handle
... where should I go for a mortgage?" If the first answer
is "a mortgage broker ?" and not "your current bank"
or a "local bank" .... be careful there may be an affiliation
and you may not be getting the best deal. Many mortgage brokers just process
your package, add fees on top and send the information to a local bank
anyway. You don't want to pay the extra fees.
... Should I use an attorney?" The answer should be "Yes,
let me recommend a few for you to contact, and at least, have them review
the agreements" AND he/she should recommend at least three. See PoconosBest.com
Real Estate Attorneys for a list of Specialists.
As mentioned earlier,
Builders and Real Estate Agents, traditionally are at odds here in the
Poconos. But, I think that you SHOULD have an agent work with you through
the process of purchasing a new home. Just be sure to have the right agent.
One with experience in new construction. He/she can help you understand
the process, the financing issues, and provide some guidance through the
selection of a neighborhood and builder. If you've selected the right
agent he/she will know the market, location issues and reputation of the
Select an agent prior
to registering at any new home model you visit. Discuss with your agent
whether the home you want must be new or whether you can find a similar
home in the resale market for less. Then have your agent accompany you
to the new home neighborhoods and models. He/She can offer advice about
the home and neighborhood, insulate you from any pressure in the sales
process and suggest other communities or builders for you to consider.
a Vacation or 2nd Home in the Poconos
to Buy -- House too small? Just need to get away more often?
Coming to the mountains a lot and want to save on hotel bills? Down The
Shore too expensive? Need a tax deduction?
are plenty of reasons folks buy a vacation home in the mountains. Some
suggestions to make your purchase easier and more profitable:
or Personal Use: Decide in advance if renting the home is important
to you. (Or if you need to, to afford it.) If so, the location of your
new rental home is the most important factor to consider. The best grossing
rental homes are next to ski mountains. This is a supply and demand issue.
Skiers will pay more to be near the slopes and since, in the summer, most
ski areas have activities like waterparks or festivals, homes adjacent
are also, in demand. Conversely, if you have a "house in the woods"
or in a "lake community" there may be some "one season"
demand but, if that season is the summer ... there is, also, a much larger
supply of homes available for rent and the rental rates are substantially
lower. Unlike other areas, there are only a few real estate brokers that
"makes a market" in rentals. Other than Baxter at Lake Naomi,
and USA Realty at Camelback most brokers are unsuccessful with rentals
and shy away from renting homes other than as a method to get homeowners
in the door to establish a contact for a later sales listing. Many, many
homes are rented by the homeowner's themselves by placing ads in newspaper
and online sites like PoconosBest.com.
to Buy -- Location Determined By Amenity Choice. Lakefront, lake
rights, river front, view, proximity to ski slopes, stream side, tennis
courts, social activities at a clubhouse are some of the amenities that
might drive you to a particular home. You can expect to pay a premium
for these choices.. it seems to run in this hierarchy Lakefront, Long
view, Golf Course, short view, riverfront, streamside, lake rights, access
to tennis and pool. Currently large lakefront lots are in hundreds of
thousands for the lot, long views around $150,000, ski slope $125,000
and if any view is combined it will be more. Add this to the cost of the
home (anywhere between $90 per sq.ft.to $200 per sq. ft.) and you can
estimate what you can expect to pay.
are scattered about the mountains with only two or three of any size that
allow boats with motors.
are five ski areas with homes adjacent (in order of size of ski area)
Camelback, Shawnee, Jack Frost, Big Boulder, & Alpine Mountain. The
vacation homes, near skiing, experiencing the most appreciation seem to
be at the ski resorts in the same order.
homes are mostly in second home communities scattered throughout the area.
front homes are generally on far east (The Delaware) or the far West (The
Lehigh). These both run high risks of flooding ... so there are very few
available (with not a lot of demand).
"gated" communities and a few ungated "Vacation" neighborhoods
have tennis and pool(s) some indoor and some out. The important thing
to be aware of if you buy in a neighborhood with these tow amenities is
that a pool (especially and indoor pool) is expensive to maintain and
operate. Due will be substantially higher in these neighborhoods and others.
So... If you can do without the pool.. you should probably not consider
a community with one.
to Buy - Find an agent who has been around the Poconos a long
time. Someone who is familiar with all the neighborhoods and their amenities
and reputations. Expect to spend sometime looking, unless you have specific
desires (lakefront, long view, close to skiing, or distance to DWG Bridge.
If you are wanting one of these, there will only be a few on the market
and you will want to act somewhat quickly when you find one that suits
to pay more for financing than you would on a primary home. -- Most banks
require either more than 20% down or a higher interest rate on a second
home. They also like to see the term about 20 years. This is to reduce
their risk. Many, Many people purchase a second home with an equity loan
on their primary residence. (Costs are less and the rate is usually better)
IF they have the equity available. There may be some tax advantages, (see
your accountant). Questions ?
Golden, Broker USA Realty (Let me know if I can help.)
41 Years of Poconos Real Estate Experience
570 517 2428
Ski Home Specialist
Hotels, Resort, and Inns Specialist