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.
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 your
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)
BONUS: I happened upon this interesting series of photos done by a way-kewl real estate agent in Florida - check 'em out.
For more information about everything real estate related in Monroe County and surrounding areas of the Poconos, visit the Poconos Real Estate Blog