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Northeastern Pennsylvania Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Pocono area
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Old 03-09-2014, 07:19 PM
104 posts, read 141,229 times
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Where are these areas of NEPA where taxes go up that much?? Houses haven't been re-assessed in Pike County since the 1980s...property taxes have been the same for decades and there is no plan for re-assessment at this time. I thought Monroe was the same, no?

Or are you saying school taxes increased that much?

Last edited by Abundantly_Above; 03-09-2014 at 08:21 PM..
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Old 03-09-2014, 09:37 PM
136 posts, read 155,677 times
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Originally Posted by NSHL10 View Post
Will your husband's health insurance be in network at places in NEPA? That will also be something to consider. What good is health insurance if you can't use it where you live? How would you like to bring a screaming infant with a raging ear infection on a drive back to NY to see their pediatrician?

I have been a long time visitor to NEPA and thought often about moving there. Doing the math makes it not such a great idea. Local jobs pay poorly and it really is an economically depressed area unfortunately, hence the low housing prices. If living there was so great, the prices would be much higher. There is little demand for people to live there full time because of all the reasons others have said. Also, the commute also doesn't make much sense when you add in commuting costs, emotional stress etc. Starting his day leaving at 3 AM and getting back at 6 if he's lucky? Don't expect too much bonding/family time.

Have him try it for 2 weeks after the baby is born. Let him stay at a hotel and commute. He gets used to the daily grind, and you get used to the isolation. Then you can make an educated decision.

Yeah, our insurance transfers to PA and it's free there too. The coworker he'd carpool with has the same insurance there and it's just like NY.

I think he should do it before the baby comes; especially since it's still fairly cold/snowy. I don't think it would be a good idea for him to be away from a newborn for 2 weeks. I think his coworker had offered to let him stay there for a few day to try it out, but he seems hell bent that he would get used to it, with the first year being a little rough.

Only thing is, I'd have to rely on friends in the area, and if you say they aren't that friendly, it sounds similar to where I live on LI. Maybe it's different all over. Our next door neighbor watched me sliding to get to my car while 7 months pregnant and kept staring (keep in mind, I'm friendly and we do try to invite them over from time to time). I wouldn't want to move to PA and have neighbors have the same attitude as they do here. I'd hate to rely on meeting people when they don't seem to care about socializing.
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Old 03-09-2014, 10:32 PM
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Remember most of NEPA is rural with neighbors far spreadout. It isn't LI with its houses close to each other unless you go to a development. Then you need to add HOA fees to the cost equation.
What type of lifestyle do you live? Like to walk to everything? Like public transportation? Not likely to find that in NEPA as much as LI/NYC area.
On LI we tend to complain about everything without realizing that people in other areas struggle too. Yes we pay a lot in taxes, but our salaries are higher than many areas. Our property taxes are high, but so are home values. Some areas have much worse house value to property tax ratios that make LI look like a bargain.
Just make sure you do the math including heating costs, especially for electric heat which many houses have, commuting costs for bus (does it run at 3 am?) or cost of buying a new car every 3 to 4 years to the equation. There is a reason why so many people return back to NY making Monroe County one of the largest foreclosure capitals in the country.
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Old 03-09-2014, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Catlover84 View Post

Only thing is, I'd have to rely on friends in the area, and if you say they aren't that friendly, it sounds similar to where I live on LI. Maybe it's different all over. Our next door neighbor watched me sliding to get to my car while 7 months pregnant and kept staring (keep in mind, I'm friendly and we do try to invite them over from time to time). I wouldn't want to move to PA and have neighbors have the same attitude as they do here. I'd hate to rely on meeting people when they don't seem to care about socializing.
I have found people in the Poconos to be friendly and nice. I mean, it's not the south, no one came to our door to welcome us to the neighborhood with a freshly baked loaf of bread or anything, LOL. Also, I don't get the impression that people know everyone in the neighborhood--remember, most are away for long hours commuting to the city, they get home late, and then they stay inside and relax. But they will certainly speak to you and many will help out if you need something. During the snowstorms this winter, I saw several cars get stuck in our neighborhood, and every time, there were 2 or 3 other cars plus security pulled over helping.

In my community, about 25% of homes are vacant, either because they're vacation properties, for sale, or foreclosed on. So, that cuts down on the amount of people that could be in a potential support network right there. Then consider that the lots are mostly 1/3-1/2 acres, so there are only 4 houses that I can see from my own. 3 of those houses are set far back and hidden by trees and I rarely see anyone come or go because of that. This leaves us with one true neighbor, whose driveway is right next to ours.

For some things, though, you might be able to rely on your community's security patrol. We took the time to get to know ours very well, as well as the people who work in the HOA office. Security has helped out on everything from taking packages off our porch if we're out of town to checking to make sure the garage door is locked. Since you will be home alone with a baby much of the time, I would definitely advise you to pick a house in a community so you have someone looking out for you 24/7.
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Old 03-09-2014, 10:51 PM
Location: Hanover , Virginia
331 posts, read 521,613 times
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Your husband is nuts if he thinks he will just "get used to" that commute. I commuted into midtown every day for a long time from North Jersey and STILL struggled with the 1hr *minimum* commute time (each way). I think your husband's friend's POV has to be taken with a grain of salt. Remember he's out there alone and probably just wants a familiar face nearby.

I agree with the poster who warned of the relationship strain. My wife and I ran into issues from a long commute and I wasn't able to see my kids much at all. It makes for a miserable existence. There are days at work where everything just seems to go wrong, and adding a long haul of a commute after will just exacerbate the problem. I would strongly recommend NOT moving to Stroudsburg (or PA at all).
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Old 03-09-2014, 10:56 PM
Location: Shawnee-on-Delaware, PA
3,680 posts, read 3,262,911 times
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Originally Posted by dutx52 View Post
I did not have a large house I was in Middle Smithfield township. 1400 sq feet, 3 bedroom,2 baths and a basement and garage. Nothing out of the norm on 1/2 acre not in a private community. Yes it was a combination of school taxes and state taxes.
Wow, Middle Smithfield. That explains a lot, but I'm still shocked at $13,000 a year for a 1400-sq ft. house. I'm sorry you had such a bad experience with your house and it sounds like you got really shafted on taxes but knowing what went on in that township government over the years I'm sure you're not the only one.

I happen to be in Smithfield, just to your south and in a different part of the East Stroudsburg school district. My property tax is under a grand and my school tax is a little over 5k.
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Old 03-10-2014, 07:50 AM
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Thank you for understanding jtab4994. I know I am not the only one that got shafted. It happened mostly over a 10 year span. That is what I assess. At first the increases were gradual, then it just became a total slap in the face. I was also with the school district in town. I was still in Monroe County. My understanding is they are not done yet, my former neighbor told me the strip club is back in the limelight, therefore tax hike to pay the legal bills. It is very sad what happened and it used to be a wonderful area. When the bypass came through we ended up on the famous road to no where. The state used eminent domain and took all the houses except for the 3 on my street. That was horrible. We were in the same house for 30 years. I questioned the powers that be over the tax hikes, etc. I was told "We are a commonwealth. we can do as we want" I asked them if they knew what the definition of a commonwealth was and got a blank stare. So I can only guess at that point, we were no longer part of the 50 states. All the right planning but never saw it coming. The others on my street are either in foreclosure or sold at sheriff sales. We were lucky to get out even though it took 3 years and a good beating to sell. All I can say is good luck.
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Old 03-10-2014, 09:50 AM
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jtab, my taxes have more than tripled since we built in '99. Also Middle Smithfield. It's currently over $7K for a 1600 sq ft house (they don't count the bottom level of our raised ranch, because it's in the side of a hill with half below grade -- I should probably be grateful for that, though if we ever were silly enough or optimistic enough to try to sell, that same assessment would count against us in setting a price).

Anyway, yeah, the taxes are almost as much every month as our mortgage payment. We could get a house worth twice as much in the Lehigh Valley, in a great school district, and pay much, much less.

Drives me nuts.
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Old 03-13-2014, 01:59 PM
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My Advice, don't make the move.

I will attempt to make a long story as short as possible. We were young, we couldn't afford a home in Northern NJ/NY so we purchased a brand new home in Monroe County. On the surface, everything seems nice. We were nature lovers, enjoy open spaces, and were good educated law abiding folks. Why not move to Monroe County? Wrong, Very wrong. Our home was in a brand new development, with large homes some upwards of 3,000 square feet.

Please refer to the list below, based on my experience...

1. Commuting - I'd say whatever you expect as far as commuting, double or triple that time depending on the day. Rain, Snow, Accidents, Road Closures, etc. play a huge role.
2. Class or Lack Thereof - The newer developments are certainly a mixed bag. It has nothing to do with race in my opinion, it has to do with class. In our development, there were alot of folks who had never owned a home before. This being the case, lawns were unkempt, christmas lights were left on homes for the entire year, landscaping was never done. Further, you had people from the Bronx, Harlem, Brooklyn, etc. If reggae music blasting all day, people outside shooting guns and riding mini bikes is your idea of a nice day in the country, then so be it. There were also some very good folks, but they wanted to leave due to the classless folks.
3. Foreclosures/Short Sales - There is an OVER abundance of foreclosures and short sales in the area, which will only aid in lowering the value of your property.
4. Absentee parents -As others mention on this board, absentee parents lead to poor unbringings, which lead to poor schools, which lead to high crime. How can you raise a child when both parents don't arrive home until 8-9 pm?
5. Services - If you are from Long Island, you are used to a certain level of service based on the taxes paid. In Monroe County, count on the State Police to be there in an hour, maybe more. Good luck if theres an emergency.
6. Your relationship - As others have indicated, the notes listed above WILL put a strain on your relationship.
7. Cost of living - Monroe County taxes are not high compared to LI, but tack on the commuting cost, cost of vehicle maintenance, time lost, and they will be much higher.

I could list just about twenty more items, like access to supermarkets/recreation, treacherous winding roads, gangs, etc. but I don't have all day and night to type. We were lucky, very lucky, we bought a house in Monroe County and sold it JUST before the housing collapse. We lived in one of the more "upscale" developments with homes in the 2000-3500 square foot range, and THIS is the truth of the matter. I now own a home in a wonderful town in New Jersey, with great schools, high taxes, parks, and all kinds of conviences and I wouldn't trade that for the world. I learned my lesson, and got lucky. Don't make yours a hard lesson.

PS - I stumbled upon this board because my close friend was looking to buy in NEPA and I advised him not too.
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Old 03-13-2014, 07:50 PM
1,478 posts, read 1,392,111 times
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I moved from the Bronx to Carbon county a year ago, right outside Jim Thorpe. I commute to the Bronx for work. 125 miles one way. I get on the road at 5:30 and hope to be at my desk by 8. Some days it's 7:30 some 9:30. Few times due to closures for accidents on 80 closer to 11. Once it was noon.

Leaving work at 4-5pm it's at least 3-31/2 hours home. Seems the same amount whether it's 3pm or5pm. Forget Fridays in summer. That's taking a "short cut" bypassing the Cross Bronx and taking local streets thru the Bronx. Jersey traffic is worse than the CB imo.

Snow accumulation is expected overnight? Two solutions stay in NY or take the next day or two off.

Luckily my job is accommodating. In fall I can telecommute 2 days a week. This time of year I'm needed onsite everyday thru mid-sized. I drive e in on Monday and crash at my parent's house to Friday.

I'm engaged without children and it's really hard to not be home ever day. He works near Philly. So he has about an hour and half commute himself. It wears, when we're home together there's all kinds of errands to get done. I couldn't imagine adding kids into the mix.
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