SCRANTON -- Realtors in Lackawanna County have launched a new effort to get home buyers to look at houses for sale in the city of Scranton.
After several years of negative news regarding the city's financial woes and tax hikes, many buyers are avoiding Scranton. The new campaign called "My Scranton" is looking to change that image and even win some people some cash.
The signs are up all over the city. Hundreds of homes are for sale in Scranton. But many realtors are finding when potential buyers start looking for homes in Lackawanna County, they look to neighboring communities.
"Scranton is often off that list, and we feel it's often because people have heard negative things," said Nell Donnelly-O'Boyle, Greater Scranton Board of Realtors.
Donnelly-O'Boyle and the Greater Scranton Board of Realtors launched a campaign to fight that negative image. It's called "My Scranton," and it's starting with a video contest.
It's a chance for people who love Scranton to show it. Each week through mid-May, someone wins $100. An overall contest winner will get $1,000.
Through the videos, realtors are asking people who live in Scranton to show others reasons to buy here.
"It's to give the voice to Scranton of all the good stuff," Donnelly-O'Boyle said. "It's really one of the things that we feel we can do to show other people, (that) living in Scranton has a lot of benefits and here are some of the reasons why."
Realtors say one of the big reasons buyers avoid looking in Scranton is because of the high taxes, but those realtors and some recent buyers in the city say if you do the math, you can find it can be more affordable to live there.
"When you consider what we paid for the house and what our mortgage looks like and what we pay for taxes, we're still coming out ahead compared to a very similar house five minutes away in Dunmore," said Nick Semon, a recent homebuyer.
Semon and his wife just bought a house in the city's hill section. They like being able to walk to so many things and found they got a great value buying an older home in the city.
Their Scranton is what the My Scranton campaign is about.
"If you are a young professional in the area and you're not thinking about Scranton, not thinking about the hill, you're missing out on a great community," Semon added.
The My Scranton campaign is starting mostly through social media. It's funded through a grant from the National Board of Realtors.