Owning Land In Pennsylvania: Pros & Cons | askBAMLand

More people are choosing to make Pennsylvania their home in recent years for work and education. So, what are the pros and cons of owning land in Pennsylvania?

As more people migrate to the state of Pennsylvania to attend college or university, to make career moves, or simply invest in the budding real estate market, if you are someone looking to invest yourself, or you are looking for a quality place to relocate, you may find that Pennsylvania has a lot to offer that may make any type of land or property purchase fruitful. But you should always fully investigate any place you are intending to move to or invest in.

Some of the pros and cons of owning land or property in Pennsylvania include a quality standard of living concerning education, public services, and infrastructure, close proximity to many major metropolitan areas, a diverse selection of activities available, and a budding real estate market.

Always, the best way to find out about what it is like to live in a particular place, or invest in a property there, is to ask people who you may know who already live there. However, that is not always possible. You may have questions like what is the weather like throughout the year? What do people do there for a career? For fun? If I own a rental property there, what are the tenants like? What kind of tax implications should I be aware of? These are the types of questions you may want to consider before moving or investing in land or property in Pennsylvania.

Let us take a deeper look at these types of questions and more when it comes to figuring out and understanding what the true advantages and disadvantages of living or investing in Pennsylvania may look like.

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What are some of the pros and cons of living in Pennsylvania?

Sure, many people may know or have heard some of the historical significance that the state of Pennsylvania possesses. From originally being founded by Quakers, the state of Pennsylvania was at the forefront of the American revolutionary war with the signing of the Declaration of Independence and subsequently became the site of many famous battles during the American Revolution, and then later, the Civil War.

Aside from the historical significance Pennsylvania brings, there is always the city of Philadelphia and its reputation of being an industrial and economic powerhouse during the 19th and 20th centuries, and later, its food, culture, and infamous sports teams. This information is interesting, however, it doesn't really do anything to inform someone about the pros and cons of living in the state full time. Not just a tourist.

Pros

Reasonable cost of living

Pennsylvania is only a few hours or less away from New York City, New Jersey, Washington DC, and other locations that can have outrageous rent, high transportation costs, and much higher taxes. Living in Pennsylvania, you would still be able to easily access those destinations if you wish without needing to pay the rent prices that those cities require.

Pennsylvania has an incredible higher education system, good public transportation, and many outdoor recreational opportunities all within a short distance of any city or town in Pennsylvania. The cost of rest, groceries, transportation, utilities, education, and recreation are equally as abundant as other major cities in the area, but at a fraction of the cost.

If you are looking to purchase a home in Pennsylvania, the median home price can be up to 25% less in Pennsylvania than the national average. Utilities are about 3% under the national average, and health care costs are equally less.

Additionally, Pennslyvania does have about a 6% sales tax on all goods and services, which is right at the national average, however, they have sales tax exemptions on many goods that can save you money. There are sales tax expectations on groceries, almost all clothing, textbooks, computer services, medicines, and residential heating fuels like natural gas.

Lower state income tax

The state of Pennsylvania has a flat state income tax of around 3% no matter the income. Although that tax rate is pretty normal and can be higher than other states in the country, when you compare it to neighboring states like New York and New Jersey, a 3% flat state income tax rate is quite low.

Additionally, if you are planning on retiring soon or you are already retired, Pennsylvania does not tax any retirement income like social security, pensions, or 401k and IRA withdrawals.

Many recreational activities

Pennsylvania is part of the Appalachian Mountains and because of this, there are vast parts of the state that contain mountains, lakes, rivers, and lush forests that can provide opportunities for camping, trekking, hiking, fishing and hunting, kayaking, and more. There are also plenty of state and national parks in the state that bring visitors from all over the country and the rest of the world.

If the outdoors are not your thing, then there are plenty of sporting events, concerts, world-famous restaurants, and tourist sites to choose from all over the state and especially in the cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Both cities have some of the most legendary franchises in history. Also for foodies, there are some really amazing restaurants in Pennsylvania in addition to famous foods like the Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich and Pennsylvania Pizza. Last, do not forget that Hershey, Pennsylvania is where the iconic chocolate company got its start.

World renown colleges and universities

Pennsylvania is home to some of the most famous universities in the world that people from all over strive to gain admittance to. There are Bucknell, Drexel, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Penn State.

Cons

Higher crime rates in urban centers

The crime rates in cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburg can be quite high and some neighborhoods in these cities are not for the faint of heart. Although this is true in many large cities, Philadelphia has in recent years has not lived up to its nickname as the “City of Brotherly Love”. Plus homelessness and drug use has made many parts of Philadelphia no go zones.

Harsh winters

Pennslyvania winters can be brutal, especially in the western parts of the state where they can see epic snow storms, blizzards, and sub-zero temperatures. The winters in Pennsylvania are no joke, however, with proper heating in your home, and proper attire, in some areas of Pennsylvania, winter can be quite beautiful.

Intense traffic

Because of Pennsylvania’s location along the eastern seaboard, many people need to commute either to Philadelphia or through the area to get to NYC, Baltimore, or DC. This can make for heavy traffic congestion, angry drivers, and just an unpleasant experience trying to drive anywhere in the metropolitan areas of Pennsylvania. Also, be prepared for tolls, tolls, and more tolls. Although Pennslyvania has lower income taxes and sales tax exemptions on crucial purchases, they still figure out ways to slowly tax you through tolls, gas taxes, and local sales tax.

What are some of the pros and cons of investing in Pennsylvania?

If you are looking to purchase property as an investment opportunity in Pennsylvania, you should understand some of the pros and cons of being a property owner in the state.

Pros

Renters can pay your mortgage

The rental market all throughout the state is extremely strong due to the many colleges, universities, industries, and corporations that are located all throughout Pennsylvania. Because of this, purchasing a home or a multiunit complex could make a great investment opportunity where the mortgage is paid through the rental income you acquire. Many landlords can depend on always being able to find strong tenants and have a nice monthly income that they can rely on as long as they own the property.

High return on investment

Because of the complex makeup of the state of Pennsylvania and its location, property investments are almost a sure thing as the housing markets throughout the state are strong, continue to increase in value, and will most likely stay that way for the foreseeable future.

Cons

Property taxes and additional costs

Owning rental properties is not easy. There are additional taxes to be paid, the cost of maintenance, and the added stress of being responsible for each property you own. You may have to continuously invest in upgrades to appliances, infrastructure, and repairs, and the entire ordeal can become overwhelming. If you are looking to invest in multiple properties, then it may be in your best interest to hire a property management company to run the day-to-day as you take care of the bigger picture requirements like taxes, financing, and making decisions about hiring staff and large investments like remodels.

There is still some risk involved

Although the rental and housing market is incredibly strong and will most likely stay that way for a long time, there is still the possibility of housing market crashes, economic recessions, and other market fluctuations that could quickly put you underwater. For example, if the rental market in your area should happen to drop and rents get lower, most likely your mortgage payments will still be the same.

About THE AUTHOR

Brittany Melling

Brittany Melling

Brittany has been in the land business since 2020 when the world was starting to shut down because of COVID-19. Since then, we’ve sold to dozens of people from ATV weekend warriors to camping enthusiasts to retired truck drivers. Our inventory spans mostly in the western United States. We’ve been trained by experience, land acquisition courses, and hundreds of hours meeting with county assessors and clerks, zoning officials, realtors, and land investors. We’ve answered hundreds of questions from people regarding the buying and use of land.

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