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IP - the property is in PA, Poconos area, so I was hoping to get your input on the PA market, and PA specific info. (Like..why is PA's school taxes so high???)

School taxes are so high in part because state income taxes are pretty low. Many schools receive very little state funding, and proceeds from lottery go to the elderly, not the schools. School taxes are typically due in Sept, so you will have a full year to pay on closing. It's a big state so the market will fluctuate with your location. Once you buy the place, you may be able to contest your school taxes based on sales price. Typically, the tax assessment is much lower than what the value of the house is, but I am not familiar with your specific area so YMMV. Has your Realtor shown you comps yet for the property? Prices are rising here in the Philly Burbs, but that is also where the jobs often are. PA can be one of the worst states for transfer tax, which is typically split between buyer and seller. This needs to be specified in your contract. The min is 2%, max I've seen somewhere around 5.5% of purchase price.

In the Poconos, you will need to be on the look out for fracking. If you have sewer, sounds as though you are not too rural, so this may be a minor concern. PA has very strong seller disclosure laws, requiring sellers to tell all or get sued later. Get a copy now, before deciding to put an offer in. Realtor should be able to get you a paper with all your anticipated closing costs. Ask for it if you are serious. Google the address to make sure there is nothing planned for the area, and go to or call the township offices to ask if there is anything you should know about that area or even that specific house. They should have a file of improvements made that got permits. No permits is sadly not unusual.

Even without a mortgage, GET TITLE INSURANCE!!!

Happy to field any other questions, details will help.

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