Good Advice

Stroud Landlords: Register Your Tenants

Stroud township logo
All landlords with residential rental properties in Stroud Township are required to register tenants with the Township every year by May 31. You must also report any tenant changes or vacancies within 30 days. There is no fee for this. Read more about the Tenant Registration Ordinance #5 - 2010 here, and print the required form here.
Don't forget that if your rental property is located in a homeowners association like Blue Mountain Lake or Penn Estates, you most likely have to register your tenants with them as well. 
This is probably a good time, too, to make sure your properties are properly marked with the new  911 addresses issued last year.
If you own rental properties in other municipalities in the Poconos, you should check to see if there is a tenant registration requirement. Here is contact information for all municipalities in Monroe County, PA.
Looking for a property manager? Contact us at [email protected]

Why Do Home Buyers Choose The Poconos?

The GapI-80 and the Delaware River from the Appalachian Trail,  Delaware Water Gap

The decision to buy a house is a major one and there are a lot of things to think about when selecting where to live and what kind of property to buy. There are obvious things like personal style preferences, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, etc, but anyone who has been in the real estate market lately knows that it's much more complicated than that. Especially for people considering a move to a new area. Here I will outline some of the things that may help you decide if the purchase of a vacation home here or a full-blown relocation is right for you. And if you find that a conversation via phone or email would help get some of your concerns answered, feel free to contact me anytime.

Why come to the Poconos to buy real estate? 

This is a key question in my interviews with potential buyer clients when I meet with them to evaluate their needs. Creating the real estate consumer's perfect-home profile is an important step to get us focused on the right properties, as this question really helps hone in on priorities. Answers obviously vary but there are a few answers that come up all the time, and they just might help you make the decision to dive in to the Pocono real estate market:

Location, location, location

Whether they are looking for a primary home to live in full time, a weekend getaway place, or a potential retirement home, people are drawn to the Poconos' location because of its ideal proximity to New York City and Philadelphia, being less than two hours to either city. Those who work in or around either of these places find that commuting from here to their job in their own car or via the commuter bus is very manageable. I find that business owners, entrepreneurs, and self-employed people who need access to the major metropolitan areas only a couple of times a week, especially, appreciate our location and access to major routes such as I80, the Northeast Extension of the Turnpike, and I78 via Route 33. 

Breathing room

Living in an apartment in a city has its benefits: close proximity to public transportation, walkability to stores and other conveniences, the energy, the nightlife...lots of pluses! Sometimes people get to a point, though, where they want to spread out. "Space" is one of the most often mentioned priorities of potential homebuyers as they describe what they need in their new home, whether it's living space inside, or space between houses outside. Privacy and space to spread out are very available here in the Poconos. Property sizes here are very attractive to purchasers used to postage stamp sized, or smaller, yards. A quarter, half, or one acre property is normal here. As for inside space, I can't tell you how many times I've showed homes here and buyers look at a closet and say,"that would be called a bedroom in the city!"

Price, value, and affordability

Prices may have come down all over, but the fact remains that a real estate purchase in some areas, such as Upstate New York, is still out of reach for some home buyers. Even if the prices are within reach, many buyers have trouble justifying spending more money somewhere else when we have such values available here. And as prices begin to increase in other areas, we remain affordable. Granted property taxes are not as affordable as they used to be, but our prices reflect that and a bit of savvy shopping with the right professional help can go a long way in finding a good value. 

What are YOUR priorities?

Each real estate purchaser has his or her own priorities when it comes to selecting where to buy. The considerations listed above are usually the ones that push buyers to investigate the real estate market in the Poconos, but there are many other considerations in narrowing things down to a specific area, neighborhood, or school district, and in eventually selecting THE house. Your financial situation, the type of mortgage you qualify for, the size of your household and your lifestyle, and myriad other things will determine where you look and what kinds of homes you look at. When the time comes to select a real estate agent to help you, make sure they understand what is important to you and how to guide you toward your perfect house. A keen understanding your needs along with industry and market expertise and local knowledge are invaluable traits of the professional you'll select to help you. 

 Search for your dream home via the Poconos MLS/IDX here

...and then call me! :)



Take A Cue From Investors And Vacation Home Buyers

2013 vaca home buyer survey cover

It’s no surprise that the share of homes sold to vacation home buyers and to real estate investors is up. Housing affordability and low interest rates have combined to make investing in real estate a no-brainer for the well-informed purchaser. According to the 2013 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey published this month by the National Association of REALTORS, the share of homes sold in 2012 to investors remained at the second highest level since 2005, and slightly more vacation home buyers made the move to buy a getaway over previous years.

Further, the report found that seventy-eight percent of these buyers agree that now is a good time to purchase real estate and around half of them found the mortgage process to be not difficult or easier than expected.

Granted, these buyers, generally speaking, tend to be financially savvy and have lots of spare cash, but their confidence in real estate as an investment should bolster yours. If you are able to buy, don’t wait. Reports of low housing inventories in some areas, multiple offers, and rising rates mean the the tide is turning.

Here in the Poconos it’s no different. Foreclosures are getting snapped up at a fast pace, with buyers competing for the real ‘steals,’ inventory of the ‘nice stuff’ is low, and rentals are hard to find. It won’t be long before we start to see home prices inch up.

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Wanna chat about whether the time is right for you to get in the real estate market? Give me a shout!

Just wanna check out houses? Try my Pocono Mountains Association of REALTORS MLS/IDX Search.

Some Home Sellers Consider Renting Instead

Renting pocono homes

It is tough to be a listing agent in the Poconos these days. With home values in some areas reaching almost 10-year lows, advising clients about selling their properties is not always pleasant. The realities of the marketplace mean there are many tough decisions to be made, including whether to take a loss on a sale or to even move at all, or to rent out the house so you can move on with your life. My job is to help you to weigh the pros and cons of selling and/or renting your home, allowing you to make the most well-informed decision possible.

The rental market here in Monroe County and surrounding areas is very good right now. There are many potential tenants looking for homes to move in to, so lease prices have been increasing. There are some drawbacks, though, as tenant applications show the effects of a tough economy - low credit scores, bankruptcies, foreclosures, job insecurities, etc, all require thorough screening of potential renters. And, while monthly rental amounts may be higher, in many cases the rents collected may still not be enough to cover mortgage payments, taxes and homeowners' association fees. Sometimes it is a matter of minimizing losses rather than eliminating these financial obligations altogether.

All this is not to say that renting out your house is a bad idea, however. Every situation is different and you need to evaluate the benefits and risks of doing so. I am happy to discuss any of this in detail with you if you'd like, as well as describe the process of marketing your rental, screening tenants, document preparation, and even managing your property after the lease is signed. I can be reached at 570.421.4693 x 4006, or [email protected].

If you would like to see what homes are currently available for rent and what kind of rental amounts owners are asking for, click here: Homes for Rent in the Poconos

Sham-Wow Your Home Listing To Sell

Staging your house to make it easier to sell doesn't have to cost a fortune. Watch this video and learn some easy and inexpensive tricks to make your home stand out from the competition.

(A big thank you to Lani at AgentGenius for the video!)

A Few More Staging Tips

If you are looking for even more home staging tips, use this checklist of thoughts as you go through your house to get your staging juices flowing!

  • 1st impressions are critical so start out at the curb and work your way in to the property and home. What stands out?
  • Engage all your senses when going through your home and planning changes: sight, smell, sound, mood, etc.
  • Imagine how your home would be displayed in Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, or if it were a model home. Of course you must be realistic but these kinds of images are helpful comparisons.
  • Simplify, simplify, simplify.
  • Renting storage space is cheaper than your listing languishing on the market.
  • Accentuate the positive, downplay the negative.
  • You are selling a lifestyle so make sure your home speaks the lifestyle language to your perfect buyer.
  • Think clean lines, utility of space & functionality, and lots of light.
  • Try to let go of thinking of your home as your home. This will help as you contemplate changes to the decor and in the de-cluttering process.

You don't have to spend a lot of money to improve your home's show-ability.

For more information on turning your home listing in to a product that Pocono home buyers want to buy, contact me via email [email protected] or call 570.421.8950 ext. 394