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I Suppose You Expect Mail Delivery?

There are a few little things about the Pocono area that most of us locals have learned to accept as normal but may seem strange to newbies coming in.

One of these anomalies, for instance, involves having work done around your house. Most of us who live in these parts have accepted the fact that contractors around here don't need work. They don't call you back. They don't show up. They don't CARE if you tell all your friends that they didn't finish the job or do what they were supposed to do. They are a different breed, these Pocono Contractors. It is just a basic fact of life. Most of us have learned to adapt and by trial and error have found one contractor or handyman that is worth his weight in gold. (Yes, I have one but can't tell you his name, else I'd have to kill you) Some people have even resorted to bringing in help from their old neighborhood in New York or New Jersey, willing to pay the travel premium, give the dude free room, board and beer for the duration of the job, and/or wait for months 'til they can be scheduled in. Want to have some work done this summer? If you didn't line someone up around Thanksgiving last year, forget it.

June_08_002 Similarly, mail service up here is not like it is in other places. Sure, some homes in town or in a handful of other areas actually have a mailbox at the end of the driveway. And some actually have a normal looking mailing address like 1313 Mockingbird Lane or 199 Dogwood Lane. However, the likelihood that the house you are buying in the Poconos is thusly endowed is slim. MORE likely, you will end up with a mailing address like RR 5 Box 1234, or HC 88 Box 666, if mail is delivered to the house. MOST likely, you will end up with mail delivery at some location within your neighborhood with an address number not even closely related to the street address of the house you purchased.

Don't be alarmed, once you get used to it, you will actually receive your stuff if you follow these few simple Rules:

Rule # 1: If you buy a house in a community, your mailing address is not going to be the property address.

Learn this rule and learn it fast. Do not tell the utility company that your address is XXX SuchNSuch Lane, cuz it's not. Don't make up cute little change of address cards and mail them to all yourMailboxes_at_pe friends before you move, because your housewarming gifts will arrive very late if at all. And please, don't tell the IRS to mail your refund check there either cuz it will be returned undeliverable. I know you want to get everything done and lined up before moving day, but you can't, because...

Rule #2: It is very likely that you won't get to know your mailing address until after closing.

Yes, this is very inconvenient but it will all work out, I promise. After you close on your new home you will go to the post office and show your closing documents as proof that you are entitled to a mail box. They will then assign you a number and tell you what your address will be. You do not get to pick your number, nor will it match your physical address. Heck, it won't even match the mailing address that the previous owner had.

Rule #3: Some of the folks helping you with your home purchase here in the Poconos may not know these rules.

Tell your attorney, the title company, your agent (if it's not me!), everyone, to read this article. Those folks who handle your closing are most important, though, because they will be the ones putting your mailing address on the deed to the property, which will then trigger the tax collector to update her records. So, let the closing agent know that you will call her/him with new mailing address. You don't even want to know what happens if you don't receive your real estate tax bills in a timely manner!

Rule #4: If you are getting a delivery from FedEx, UPS, the florist, etc, disregard Rules 1-3.

I know, it's confusing. But if you get deliveries from companies other than the United States Postal Service, use the property address. If you are ordering stuff online or from catalogs, carefully review their shipping procedures so you know which address to give them. There is nothing more heartbreaking than receiving that hot new Victoria's Secret bikini after the first frost.

If you are unsure about the mail situation on the property you are buying, contact the post office responsible for the zip code your new place is located in. They may be able to help you out. Or not. Many of the post offices have hired retired Pocono Contractors and serving the customer is not exactly high on the priority list.

(If you are reading this and happen to work in the post office where I get my mail, I don't mean you ;) xo)

Edit: I happened upon this interesting series of photos done by a way-kewl real estate agent in Florida - check 'em out.


Richard Hetzel

In my community (A Pocono Country Place), all community business is handled by lot number, not postal address. When I first moved here, I was silly ehough to think that the number prominently displayed on my house was my mailing address, and I didn't get my bikini until winter!! =))

Some of us get our mail in cluster boxes, which may be several blocks from our homes. Others are privileged to be allowed to erect our own mailboxes (to replace the one that the previous occupants took with them...lol), and they may be within a short walking distance from our homes. So, our mail comes by our mailing address, not our lot number, I found out many change-of-address cards later.

Now, when UPS or FedEx delivers, they cannot see our mailing address street numbers, because the numbers on our homes are our lot numbers. (OK OK some have both) So, when you mail-order something that they will deliver, if you know what's good for you and your package, you will place your lot number in the address also.

Then, God help you if there's a big snow, or worse, an ice storm, and you haven't been able to clear out an area in front of your mailbox for the prima-donna carrier's car so he doesn't have to get snow on his shoes delivering your mail. You just won't get your mail, period.

So, you go to your unfriendly local (well, in our case, not very local at all) post office, and you get told you can't have your mail unless you pay them something like $640 for over-the-counter delivery (OK, it's good for a year, so you might squeak some of next winter out of it, too) or unless you hack away at the ice and produce a clear path which meets the Postmaster General's specifications. Even then, first the carrier has to see that the path is clear for him, and then, if he remembers, he might bring you your captive mail the next day...or it might have been the regular carrier's day off, and you can still whistle for your mail.

This is all not to mention that you frequently get mail addressed to people who have the same street number on a different street, making you wonder how many times they got mail intended for you. Or all the mail for the previous occupants who apparently skipped town without leaving a forwarding address.

You didn't think mail could be such an adventure, did you? Welcome to "rural" Pennsylvania. I knew "rural" would mean "primitive" in certain ways (like no such thing as a good restaurant), but I expected better from the U.S. Postal Disservice. How silly of me.

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