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Places are often identified by the names we give them. This identification can be good or bad depending on the perception of the area that location is identified by. Maybe the future of Berks Real Estate is in a name.

I have been practicing real estate in Berks County for almost 24 years. As one would expect, I have become very familiar with property values and sometimes the lack of value. I'm always listening and looking for an edge to help Homeowners get reasonable values for their properties.

Understanding issues Berks County home sellers face is the first step in dealing with them. There are times I have to tell a homeowner their house needs work or decluttering before hitting the market. To achieve the owner's expectation of value these discussions, while not easy, are necessary.

The question I now pose has nothing to do with the condition of a home. It has to do with the perception of our area and how it may affect Berks real estate. It is a tough discussion but no less necessary when trying to achieve better property value.

According to the Post Office, we Live in Reading, PA

When people outside our area consider moving to Berks County, often their first visit is via the Internet. They will rarely use the search term "Berks County" when doing their research but rather opt for "Reading, PA." Think about it. When you travel or look for homes in another state how do you search? You likely are not familiar with the county names at all. Many will use the most recognizable city as their point of identification.

Unfortunately, Reading has not been a shining beacon of internet favor. Yes, this is the "Tough Discussion" part. Try doing a web search to find out more about Reading, PA on home information sites that give statistics on crime, schools, and economics. The numbers are not inviting. I believe these figures do not tell the real story of our area but alas, perception as to what is on the internet becomes truth to those who do not know any better.

The Question?

Over the years I have been asked by more than a few home selling clients in places like Exeter, Muhlenberg, and Cumru Townships if I have to use Reading as their address when marketing their home. The answer has always been a resounding "Yes," especially if they want their homes found correctly on the internet.

The way things stand there is no namesake to many communities outside Reading. 19606, 19605, 19607 zips codes among others, are all Reading, PA. What if names were given to these areas? How about Exeter town or Cumruville? Okay, don't laugh but you get the picture. The names may less identify these areas with Reading and give them their own internet presence.

I am not down on Reading. I was born and raised there. The city will forever be part of me and is a place I cherish. Unfortunately, some poor decisions in the past have led to adverse circumstances. It is my hope that every Berks County Municipality desires identification with Reading, PA. Lots of good people are working to that end every day. Until they succeed, we should consider all options that could strengthen our communities housing markets even if it means having the "Tough Discussion."

Knowledge is Power!

Jeffrey C. Hogue