Jeremiah graduated from the Honors Program of La Salle University near the top of his class (maxima cum laude) with a double major of Mathematics and Secondary Education. He also picked up an Accounting minor from the prestigious business school at La Salle. He came to the Poconos to become an Algebra and Geometry teacher at the East Junior High School. Jeremiah loves teaching and did not realize that his lifelong passion would become the growth and development of small businesses. However, he quickly found the Poconos is a prime area of opportunity and got to work in various side hustle's. In 2009 he bought his first house. In 2011 he got started in a multi-level marketing business and gained an education in entrepreneurship and marketing which propelled his life in a new direction. In 2014 he became a landlord accomplishing a dream held for over 15 years. While at the Pocono Mountain School District he was laid off with about 200 other positions and found himself changing careers into outside sales. In 2016 he moved back to the Poconos to resume working in the school district. That year he started and finished his real estate classes in just two weeks and scheduled the state certification test. Within 2 months he started working with Century 21 Select Group and with the help of his broker closed his first sale in 6 weeks. In the Fall of 2019 Jeremiah had the option to quit a job he loved so that he could pursue property management and real estate sales full time, but decided to stay for the sake of the students. Over that year as COVID fundamentally changed education Jeremiah decided the time was right to make his side hustle his full time profession. By that point he had been a buyer or seller agent in over $10M of real estate transactions and was managing 3 short term rentals and 24 long term rentals. Jeremiah had also been a part of 2 home flips and developed skills in construction and renovation due to his own interests and the unreliability of local contractors. In January of 2020 he paid off $76k in consumer debt (cars, credit cards, and student loans). This feat took 23 straight months of financial discipline. In January of 2021 Jeremiah finally was able to hire Steve Matthews. Steve proved to be the first reliable, loyal, and competent contractor Jeremiah worked with in the Poconos. Over the next 12 months they together built a team of skilled contractors who together can do anything. In January of 2022 Jeremiah hired a property manager to help manage what was at the time 48 long term rentals. In March he hired a property host to develop further the short term rental wing of the business. Jeremiah is on track to get his real estate broker license in 2022 and become an associate broker with RE/ MAX Property Specialists.
Jeremiah dreams of sailing someday with his wife of 14 years and kids around the world, but specifically to Peter Island in the BVI's . This would accomplish a dream held since 2011, when he was a teacher, up to his eyes in debt, and living in a little 600 square foot ranch. Even in traveling the world you can expect Jeremiah to continue building businesses and serving others.
Its common knowledge that renovating a house in a good location will improve its value over and above the cost of the improvements. So for one to find a really good opportunity at a good price some renovation should be considered. Its for this reason that I walkthrough homes with investors and describe the property the way it could be rather than how it is. I like to see the potential in a property whenever and wherever possible. I think the ideal property for vacation rentals is one that will draw a very high occupancy rate through attractive features and photos as well as price and marketing. For that reason I really appreciate the small houses that are very nice and unique. Properties such as 137 Caddo Terrace and 461 Mountain Rd have less than 600 square feet of indoor living space, but are very attractive in their quintessentially “Pocono” character. To get this feel its important to decorate/finish a house with rustic/mountain features such as solid wood paneling, local stone, vaulted ceilings, large decks and outdoor spaces, privacy, and natural light. An attractive fire pit and hot tub are a must. Additionally, the ideal property will have one or more gimmicks which make the guest willing to pay a few dollars extra per night to book this specific property. Also, consult with an interior decorator or read a few blogs. You know how to decorate in your style, but others know how to decorate with a theme.
In order to get positive reviews its important to have the features people expect like a fully stocked kitchen with enough silverware for all guests, cooking utensils, pots and pans, crock pot, mixer, and a dishwasher. Not all guests expect cable TV, but they do expect wifi and air conditioning. On days with bad weather you can expect guests to be stuck in the house, so have enough board games, cards, video games, and arcade games like ping pong and billiards. Indoor activities such as ski ball are typically durable and create a unique experience for kids and adults. Pool tables take up a lot of space and have components which can be damaged easily. Also when children play they tend to drop pieces and can fracture balls. Pool sticks also are subjected to abuse. Hot tubs offer a great return, but can be costly to maintain. Its important that whoever is maintaining it do so on a regular schedule instead of just after guests leave, because there could be a week or two or three between bookings, but the hot tub should not be neglected that long. There should be enough parking for the number of cars that your guests will bring. This may be about the number of sleeping rooms you have. Make sure nobody has to park on the grass or the street. Have a binder for the property on the counter so guests can look up who delivers food and where they can look for hiking or other attractions. A map makes a useful piece of decoration too. Posting the wifi password in the book or in an area easy to see will save you time replying to emails too.
Community amenities are important as well because the guest may be looking for a house with a pool, but as you know pools are expensive to maintain, so get a house in a community which has a pool, or consider a lake with a sand beach for swimming. Playgrounds on the property are great, but if you don’t have space or don’t want one then look for one in the community and make sure to have a photo on your rental listing. Is there a place nearby to fish or boat? This doesn’t have to be in the community, but it should be close by. Most places are going to be near ski areas and indoor water parks, but sometimes its the ski area which a renter is looking to be near, so choose a location thats not to far from winter attractions. Some of the larger communities have become name brands (Arrowhead Lakes, Lake Naomi, and Towamensing Trails) which some renters will try to stay in because they’ve liked the community in the past. If your house does not have a pool table, it could be good to have a community center with a pool table.
Some gimmicks I have seen work surprisingly well: 347 Clearview Long Pond was a renovated 3 bedroom colonial with $50,000 per year in rental income. The kitchen was nice, but not enough to generate that kind of income. They had a fire pit that looked amazing in the photos. There were 5 porch swings around it. Porch swings and deck furniture are attractive, but so are hammocks. They would just get used in the summer/fall, but they’re inexpensive and unique. 137 Caddo Terrace was an unrenovated, old style 2 bedroom chalet with $26,000 of annual rental income. Its under 650 square feet, but its cute with a swiss charm. Theres also a grand fireplace in the center of the living room and a nice hot tub on the deck. 461 Mountain Rd is a 2 bedroom ranch with a hot tub and a playground. The interior is lined from floor to ceiling with unstained pine wood paneling. It gives the house a rustic cabin feel. This is offset with modern lighting on the walls and the bed frames. Its a unique looking house for sure, and it makes people want to relax there. This house brought in around $40,000 per year at under $150 per night.
Where some people focus is on making the house itself more efficient, but $ for $ I think its better to make the house more attractive and get the occupancy numbers higher. For example, last summer a property owner had to choose between a central air system ($16,000) and a few AC window units ($2,000). The central air might increase property value, be convenient for renters, and lower electric bills in the winter by doubling as a heat pump. But the difference of $14,000 could be used to make the property more appealing by putting windows in the screened porch and making it an insulated 4 seasons room. Smart home features such as wifi connected light switches, thermostats, and an alarm system make no difference in occupancy and present nominal savings. However, I am a fan of wifi connected thermostats. Expensive furniture is a liability, instead focus on comfort and durability. A few throw pillows are an inexpensive way to make a home more comfortable. Throw rugs on vinyl plank floors are another way to keep the floor warm and durable. Replacing a throw rug is also much easier than installing new carpet. Also, your pets policy should be simple and clear cut and advertised on the listing. Just choose home materials which would not be damaged by pets, or at least would be easily fixed. Even if you say no pets renters will still bring them. When replacing appliances I prefer used because new doesn’t attract renters any more than used. You just have to be more careful buying used to make sure its in good condition since there’s no warranty.
There is no guarantee that these things will bring success, just that I have seen them working surprisingly well. There is no substitute for good helpers too. You might be able to get a cheaper cleaner, but do they know how to get the cat pee smell out of a house? Do they have connections with local contractors which can get an electrician in your property within 24 hours? Do they really know what they’re doing with your hot tub? Do they use a check list every time they clean so they do a thorough job of noting new damage when it happens? Sometimes you’ll pay a little more for a good cleaner, but they’ll keep your house in better condition and you’re more likely to be able to charge back the guest if they’re meticulous enough. Be careful your property manager and cleaner are not breaking any real estate laws too. It can be tricky what one needs a license for and what they do not.
I hope you’ll get some ideas from my philosophy. Let me know what questions you have that I can answer.
Galvanized Property Management
906 Route 940, Suite 110, Pocono Lake PA 18347
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