Vacation rental in the Poconos

3 Replies

Hi, 

My partner and I are looking to invest in the Poconos, both for vacation rentals as well as long term rentals. If anyone can guide us with contacts of Property Managers or sellers and any information that could be useful, we would appreciate it- What are the best areas to invest, any local laws we need to be aware of, what are the key things to look for , etc .

THank you !

Just a few words of caution. It's all about what development you buy in. I lived in the Poconos for over 20 years. Do not be tempted to buy in Pocono Country Place (PCP). It's one of the areas biggest developments. There are ridiculous deals there which entices out of state buyers. The problem is that development is like a separate community that unfortunately has a reputation of being less than desirable. Some will say it's a place with high crime, high turn-over, a glut of rentals that flooded the market and zero appreciation in values. They have been working hard to change that stigma for years but it does still remain. I know investors that go there and do make money. Some flip for small margins and make it up on volume. Others are slum lords that understand that game and play it well. That is not my cup of tea. Some Realtors will argue my opinion but it's just that, my opinion.

Something else to consider. Most of the housing volume in the Poconos is found in the developments that were created during the boom of the 80's and then again in the late 90's and after 9/11. Many of these homes built in the 80's were poorly constructed. There were zero construction codes to speak of at that time and they were slapping up homes as fast as they could to meet the demand. By the time the 90's rolled around, things did improve but there were still so many builders that did shoddy work. So be careful what you buy. If you do buy in one of the developments, make sure it's a sound structure. 

I would consider homes outside of a development anyway for straight rental. Stroudsburg/East Stroudsburg is great because of the college and hospital. Multi unit is probably the way to go there. Watch for taxes too. They went through the roof over the years. Still cheaper than NY and NJ for sure but the rent rates have not increased as fast as the taxes!

Vacation rental is a whole separate game. There you will most likely be in a development but they are different. They weren't built simply to cram as many house in one space, catering to commuters that drive back and forth to the city. They were built as getaway communities. They have lakes, ponds, pools and other amenities. They are close to ski resorts and other outdoor activities as well. I'd buy close to a highway. Route 80 or 476. It's easy and quick for people coming from Philly or NY/NJ to get to. There are hundreds of places to choose from.

The Poconos is actually not even "a place" really. It's more like a region. Its covers a HUGE area and several counties. I would stick with a local Realtor to which specific area you are looking at. For example if you want a vacation rental near Jack Frost/Big Boulder Ski Resort, I personally wouldn't go to a Realtor from Saw Creek Estates. They are almost an hour apart from each other. Both considered "The Poconos". Yes all those Realtors in that Board have access to the same MLS but you almost need someone that knows the area you want better than anyone. Many of the communities even have a Realtor that specializes in that development or community. 

Michael Knaus, Contractor in PA (#PA123146)
570-520-0971

Get itttttttt. 

I had 2 properties in the Poconos general area, and recently had to close 1 due to newly passed, but sure to be defeated, anti-Airbnb laws by a local township. 

There are a few townships that tried to ban it, but failed when the owner[s] took them all the way to the PA Commonwealth court, so PA state court so far are on the side of the home owners. 

Mt Pocono township and Strouds township are 2 of the few towns that failed the ban, so basically 100% legal to do [have to pay a fee].

I am adding another 1 hopefully in the next few months. Airbnb here is great, but it's very labor intensive unless you contract out the management side of things.

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