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April 2008

Buying in the Poconos - Real Estate Links

The Vacation Home as an Investment Strategy

The Poconos is a unique area for many reasons but, fortunately for those of us who buy, sell, own, and make our living from real estate, property remains uniquely in demand despite major market meltdowns elsewhere. This is not to say that things haven't slowed down this past year, but I consider this a mere blip in the overall picture of a vibrant real estate market.

There are three key factors which feed the market here: 1) The proximity to New York and New Jersey via I 80 and I 78 attracts commuters looking for a better, more affordable quality of life; 2) The population growth of the area, especially Monroe County, has beckoned to investors from far and wide bringing lots of commercial development; and 3) The time-honored tradition of the Poconos as a year-round resort area, recently rejuvenated by new attractions like Great Wolf Lodge and the Mount Airy Casino.

It is this last sector of the market that my favorite mortgage broker has chosen to address in his latest guest post. ~L

From the Desk of:Lake_in_the_fall

Abacus Regional Mortgage

It may not have occurred to the regular Pocono resort visitor that their yearly vacations here could be making them money, or to the real estate investor that a vacation home can be a lucrative way to round out their portfolio.

Because the Poconos is classified as a resort area, the purchase of a vacation home or second home and renting it out for weekend and weekly rentals has more than just the obvious financial benefits. Yes, cash flow is maximized by structuring your offering as a short term rental rather than  as a long term (monthly or yearly) lease, but there are two major advantages to purchasing your investment as a second home as opposed to the more common investment property scenario:

  • The purchaser qualifies for a mortgage as a 2nd-home buyer rather than as an investor, allowing her to qualify for a better interest rate. Investor rates are normally 1/2% higher or more.
  • If the investor spends two weeks but only two weeks in the property annually, he gains numerous financial advantages. The two week occupancy allows the owner to write off all the expenses on their Schedule E, which takes advantage of deductions like depreciation and mortgage interest in order to save on the investor’s income taxes. If the property shows a loss, and the investor earns less than $ 150,000 in income, they can write it off as a loss on their income tax returns.

DISCLAIMER: I am not an accountant and this is only my understanding of the tax advantages. Always seek professional advice from an accountant to fully weigh the advantages or disadvantages of this kind of scenario.

The ability to treat the property as a rental for income and tax purposes, while still getting the best available interest rate to finance the purchase, makes buying a vacation home in the Poconos a no-brainer. The 2nd home market in any of the many amenity communities in the Poconos is perfect for weekly rentals, and you can have your very own getaway spot reserved for your favorite weeks of the year.

For information on the best rates and programs available for your vacation home purchase, please call me at 610.837.1600. I will provide a complimentary consultation and mortgage advice you can count on!

Cheap Land in Stroud Township!

Land_in_stroudsburgReal pretty building lot in Stroud Township (18360) is ideal for a modest ranch or cape, or even a modular home, as these are the types of houses nearby. The neighborhood is generally well kept and very convenient to both Stroudsburgs and all major routes (I80 and Routes 611, 191, 447 & 209).

Stroudsburg School District in the vicinity of Stokes Avenue.

Public water and sewer available at the street.


Oct_2007_002_2Property next door with mobile home and big garage (which has heat, water & electricity) is also available for sale separately at $75,000.

Download survey.pdf (98.2K)

Spring To-Do List For Penn Estates Homeowners: 5 Things You Should Do Outside To Impress Your Neighbors &/or Prepare Your Home For Sale

Keeping a tidy property is the cornerstone of being a good neighbor and projecting good cDaffodils_web_sizeurb appeal. This short list will have you well on your way in no time. Plus it will get you out of the house as the weather breaks and get your winter-weary body moving again.

1) Clean the Yard & Decks
Pick up & dispose of litter and 'stuff' accumulated this winter; pick up sticks and branches, and remove dead vegetation as necessary; blow leaves away from house & off of driveway, walkways and landscaping.

2) Clean your Culvert
The culvert pipe under your driveway at the street, as well as the drainage ditch along your property, is your responsibility and very important to the welfare of the drainage system of Penn Estates. If your pipe clogs, it can cause back-ups and flooding in places we don't want it, and ruin driveways, landscaping and roads. A clean culvert will keep the water flowing where it should and show that you care about your neighbors and community! Mark your calendar to do this again in the Fall, after the leaves come down.

3) Clean up after the Dog
Most people don't stay on top of this chore through the winter months so when spring hits, and BEFORE the heat sets in, it is time to break out the shovel. Nothing ruins a picnic or a showing of your home like a shoe full of doo-doo.

And speaking of it, don't forget to take your baggies along when walking your dog. Remember, Penn Estates Rules require you take your puppy-prizes home with you.

4) Wash the Windows
Inside and out, panes and screens. And if they are foggy between the panes, have the panes replaced.

5) Identify Yourself
It is very important that your Lot & Section be clearly visible from the street, so take care of that now. You will want people to be able to find your house if they are visiting, delivering a package, or (most important) in case of an emergency!

Did you know:

Stroud Township Spring Cleanup for 2008
Thursday, April 24th through Sunday, April 27th 8 AM to 4 PM - Gaunt Rd. Maintenance Yard
Stroud Township residents are invited to bring unwanted junk and clutter from their properties to our Gaunt Road Township Maintenance Yard, located ½ mile north of the Stroud Mall on Rt. 611 from April 24th through 27th between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m..  Accepted items are: furniture, car batteries, automotive waste oil, car tires, appliances and yard waste (brush, leaves, clippings).


Fees: Car Load $5
Van or Pick-up load $10
Utility trailer load $50
One-ton truck load $75
Tires: Car $4 each, Truck $5 each
Tires on rims or wheels $5 each
Appliances requiring freon removal are $20 each


COMPUTER & ELECTRONICS RECYCLING! Drop off up to 2 of the following items at no charge: computers, fax machines, scanners, keyboards & mice, main frames, VCRs, stereos, monitors, printers, telecommunications equipment, speakers, wire, televisions, DVD players. ($5. charge for each piece exceeding 2 free units)

If you are only bringing the following items, there is no fee: car batteries, waste oil, yard waste, branches, brush, grass clippings


Materials NOT accepted:
No hazardous materials such as paint solvents or thinners, paint cans with contents, pesticides, herbicides, or chemicals will be accepted. (Monroe County Waste Management (570-643-6100) is working on ways to dispose of these items. No construction debris.)
Also not accepted: automobiles, dirt, cement, loose nails or screws. NO CONTRACTORS REFUSE!

Penn Estates 1st Quarter Sales Data

By popular demand, I am publishing this info here. Apologies to regular Harmony readers who missed my usual Real Estate Update in this last issue.

Here is a comparison of this year's 1st quarter sales data (Jan 1 - Mar 31) with 1st quarters of previous years (clicking the image will give you a larger view):


Here is some previously published historical data, repackaged for clarity: