Below you’ll find some resources that I may or may not have used since I first moved here:
Real Estate Agents
My one and only agent during my house hunting experience was Ginger Walsh. We were introduced to her by our friend that first introduced us to this area. She had done a superb job for them and did the same for us. It was not easy for either of us. It was our first time buying a house and we were coming from a completely different environment. Still, she was very patient all along and basically hand-held us all throughout the process. She steered us away from situations that may not be suitable for us, even though her commissions may have been higher if we did so. She is my number one pick in the area.
There are some excellent school districts in this region. The most prominent ones are Stroudsburg School District and East Stroudsburg School District. More information to come on these and other schools and districts.
The PA DMV website is the place to go to get more information. If you are coming from out-of-state, the process is very straight forward and fairly quick. The locations are fairly smaller than your average NYC DMV, but are usually better staffed. Please beware that all new residents with out-of-state non-commercial driver’s licenses must obtain a PA Driver’s License within 60 days of establishing Pennsylvania residency. This is where you would go for more details.
Here‘s a good place to start. Right off the bat you will get this warning, all new residents are required to make application for Pennsylvania title and registration of their vehicle(s) within 20 days of establishing residency in Pennsylvania. The reason why the driver’s license posting comes before the car registration, even though the deadlines would make you think they are in the incorrect order or priority, is because you must obtain your driver’s license before you can register your vehicle. As to why the deadlines contradict each other, your guess is as good as mine. We had Northeast Title do our registration for us. They are a one-stop-shop and Mary, their representative, was extremely helpful. She has in her favor the fact that she is also a former resident of New York, which means she’d been through the process many of us are experiencing.
This part was completely different from our experience in Queens. Here you get to choose who picks up your trash and the size and types of containers you want. We went with County Waste and have had a good experience so far. We had our carpeting removed in the first few weeks we were in the area. It glutted our garage for a long time, but the guys from County Waste were very friendly and took care of it for us, taking a few rolls with them every week aside from the normal trash. Also, in the few times they missed on their pick up, the issue was quickly resolved in a few seconds over the phone. Most of the times they came in the same day to empty our can.
Water Purification Systems
Out here you might have a couple of different water sources, depending on your exact location: public and well. We only had the former and the taste and feel were simply not like NYC public water. In fact we had a worsening sulfur hydroxide problem when we first came in, which is basically a filthy smell in the water that permeates everything, including drinking and laundry water. After tinkering with it a bit we gave up and went with Professional Water Services, which we got to know after submitting a free water test at our local Home Depot. They installed Rain Soft equipment, which has a great reputation. So far it has been less than two months since installation and the service is spotty lately, with the foul smell and taste coming back intermittently. Can’t say I recommend them over any other brands and/or services out there.
Another process we found very flexible here in Pennsylvania was choosing where our electricity would come from. It was sure more transparent than any experiences we had had before. You can go to a website and pick your supplier yourself or stick with the one your utility chooses for you. It really depends on your usage throughout the year, whether you have alternative power sources (e.g. propane, diesel generator, wood stove for heating), the size of your property and how many people live in your house. The options include renewable or non-renewable energy, fixed or variable rates (there used to be an unlimited supplier, but last I checked it was no longer available) and obviously price-per-kWh.
Future topics will include: propane, solar energy, contractors, landscaping and pool maintenance. Stay tuned!