Fixer upper vs Move-in Ready…

When it comes to buying real estate, you want to make sure the property you purchase is the right fit for your needs. For some buyers, purchasing a home that needs some work is the ideal situation. For others, getting a turnkey home that’s move-in ready is the only option they’ll consider. And for still others, both seem like reasonable options.

The question is: which is for you? There are pros and cons to both fixer uppers and move-in ready homes. The important thing is to recognize which is the best fit for you, your budget, and what you want out of a home.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of fixer uppers and move-in ready homes to help you determine which is the better fit for you:

Fixer uppers

Fixer uppers are, as the name implies, homes that need a bit of TLC – or fixing up – upon move in.


Discounted price

The major draw of fixer uppers is the price. Since they need work, you can typically get a fixer upper at a fraction of the cost of a move-in ready home of a similar size or in a similar location. So if you’re on the hunt for a bargain or you have a tight budget, a fixer upper is definitely going to be the least expensive home-buying option.

You can make the house your own

Since a fixer upper will need work and renovations, it does offer the opportunity to put your own stamp on the design and layout and really make the house your own. With a move-in ready home, the work has already been done and the home already designed. With a fixer upper, you get the opportunity to build your home from the ground up with everything from flooring and cabinetry to landscaping and windows.

It’s a project

For people who are interested in home renovation, there’s nothing better than a fixer upper. Taking on the challenge of completely transforming a home is a really exciting prospect for a lot of people, and if you’re in that camp, a fixer upper is a great opportunity to take on a worthwhile project.


It can get expensive

Even though the purchase price of a fixer upper is typically low, if there is a significant amount of problems with the property or changes that need to be made, it can definitely get expensive. Things like repairing electric, adding a new roof, tearing up and installing new flooring, and redoing a kitchen can get pricey, and if you’re not careful, you can find yourself way over budget, swimming in contractor bills with no end to your renovations in sight.

It takes time

Even if you’re a person who loves renovating homes, there’s no escaping the fact that it takes time. If you need to move into your home quickly, a fixer upper isn’t going to be the right fit.

Move-in ready

Move-in ready homes are recently built, updated, or remodeled homes that need next to nothing in terms of renovations or improvements. You can comfortably move in without making a single change.


It’s convenient

In terms of convenience, you can’t beat a move-in ready home. Moving can be a stressful process, and for many new homeowners, the last thing they want to do upon moving into their new home is start managing a bunch of renovations. With a move-in ready home, once you move in, you’re done. While you may want to make some cosmetic changes down the road (like painting the walls or changing the flooring), there’s nothing that needs to get done after you move.

Better energy efficiency

Newer, move-in ready homes tend to be more energy efficient, which is not only better for the environment, but also better for your utility costs. Energy efficient homes require less energy to heat the home during the winter and cool the home during the summer, which can end up saving you a significant amount of money in the long run.


Home prices are higher

When you buy a move-in ready home, you’re paying for the convenience. Move-in ready homes will always be significantly more expensive than fixer uppers in the same neighborhood and of the same size. If you have a tight budget, you might have to make some sacrifices to purchases a move-in ready home, like buying a smaller house or buying in a less popular neighborhood.

The “cookie cutter” effect

When you buy a move-in ready home, everything has already been done for you. Which is certainly convenient, but it can lack originality, charm, and the architectural and decor details you might want in a home. Newer homes sometimes feel more generic and “cookie cutter” than their older counterparts, so if charm and individuality are important for you, a move-in ready home might not feel like the best fit.

Fixer uppers and move-in ready homes both have unique benefits and challenges. Ultimately, you have to go with the choice that best aligns with your budget, your needs, and your long-term goals for your home.

Trumansburg Tuesday!

 It’s the “spring” edition of Trumansburg Tuesday. We are 4 months into 2018, let’s see what the stats are for the Trumansburg residential real estate market!

{I get to geek out on stats- yeah!} *All data is courtesy of the Ithaca Board of REALTORS mls.

How do you know if you’ve found the right agent?

How do you select a professional, a buyer agent or team who is going to help make your dream of owning a home a reality? What should you be looking for? How do you know if you’ve found the right agent or lender?

The most important characteristic that you should be looking for in your agent is someone who is going to take the time to really educate you on the choices available to you and your ability to buy in today’s market.


As the financial guru Dave Ramsey advises:

“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”

Do your research. Ask your friends and family for recommendations of professionals they’ve worked with in the past and have had good experiences with.

Look for members of your team who will be honest and trustworthy; after all, you will be trusting them to help you make one of the biggest financial decisions of your life.

Whether this is your first or fifth time buying a home, you want to make sure that you have an agent who is going to have the tough conversations with you, not just the easy ones. If your offer isn’t accepted by the seller, or they think that there may be something wrong with the home that you’ve fallen in love with, you would rather know what they think than make a costly mistake.

According to the Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report:

Buyers from all generations primarily wanted their agent’s help to find the right home to purchase. Buyers were also looking for help to negotiate the terms of sale and to help with price negotiations.”Additionally, “Help understanding the purchase process was most beneficial to buyers 37 years and younger at 75 percent.”

Look for someone to invest in your family’s future with you. You want an agent who isn’t focused on the transaction but is instead focused on helping you understand the process while helping you find your dream home.

Bottom Line

In this world of Google searches, where it seems like all the answers are just a mouse-click away, you need an agent who is going to educate you and share the information that you need to know before you even know you need it.

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Hart and Homes Real Estate Team

The Hart and Homes Real Estate Team at RE/MAX In Motion! 

Photo © 2017 Dave Burbank Photography

© 2017 Dave Burbank


Hi, I’m Lindsay Hart, Real Estate Associate Broker at RE/MAX In Motion in Ithaca and team leader of the Hart and Homes Real Estate Team.

I have been affiliated with RE/MAX since I began in real estate  12 years ago. I am a Seller’s Representative Specialist, a Certified Buyer’s Representative & Resort and Second Home Property Specialist.

I have a penchant for properties in Trumansburg, where I live with my husband and sons, but I have listed and sold properties all over Ithaca and Tompkins, Cayuga, Tioga, Chemung, Seneca, and Schuyler Counties.

With over a decade of experience & knowledge of the local real estate market and the industry, I can diplomatically and skillfully negotiate and advocate for you and guide you through all aspects of the process and paperwork.; working together to make your home ownership dreams or home sale goals come true. See what my past clients have to say at

I am a 2002 graduate of Ithaca College’s Park School of Communications, I have served as 2011-2013 local director, the 2014 Secretary/Treasurer, the 2015 President-Elect, the 2016 President and the 2017 & 2018 Past- President of the Ithaca Board of REALTORS. I was also NY State Association of REALTORS Southern Tier Region’s RPAC trustee and volunteered on numerous  local and state association committees.  I was involved with and sat on a panel of experts for the Tompkins County housing summit.  I am also a member of the Trumansburg Area Chamber of Commerce and have served  on its board of directors for the last five years and now as 2018 Vice President.  In addition, I am a member of the Ithaca Downtown Business Women group.

I have received the Ithaca Journal’s Reader’s Choice Award for one of the best real estate agents two years in a row,  the Ithaca Board of REALTORS President’s award, the   RE/MAX’s 100% club and am a 2017 RE/MAX Hall of Fame Inductee. Most recently I was awarded the Ithaca REALTOR of the Year for 2017. 

My career is my passion; it’s not a ‘job’ when you love what you do.  But when not cultivating my career, I’m homeschooling my two boys,  reading, working on jigsaw puzzles, attending Journey Fitness, golfing,  cheering on my Steelers, and patronizing all the amazing restaurants, breweries and wineries the Finger Lakes has to offer.

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Photo © 2017 Dave Burbank Photography

Erin Gray, REALTOR

Hello! I’m Erin Gray, a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson with the Hart and Homes Real Estate Team at RE/MAX In Motion. I specialize in buying and selling residential properties in the Ithaca, NY area and beyond.

I was born in Ithaca’s own Cayuga Medical Center and grew up in Trumansburg – just a few quick miles up the lake from Ithaca. After heading to college to acquire my Bachelor’s degree and subsequently moving to New York City for five years afterwards, I decided to move back home. It was only then that I realized how much I took for granted all those adolescent years and what a fantastic (and gorges) place the Fingerlakes Region truly is. Being born and raised here and now calling it my home for good, I have extensive knowledge of the area. So whether you’re looking to buy or sell, you can feel confident in your decision to have me help you through the process in whichever neighborhood you decide to call home.

My mission is to provide you with a stress-free and personalized experience while meeting your goals as fast and professionally as possible.

I offer a fresh approach to working with a REALTOR and pride myself in being able to offer you a down to earth experience in a world filled with negotiating, contracts, and real estate jargon. My passion lies in giving my clients an ease of mind in the knowledge that I’ll be there to guide them through all of these complexities, while they make one of the biggest decisions of their life.

When I’m not immersed in helping my clients buy or sell a home, you’ll find me spending time with my family, playing with our lion of a Golden Retriever, cheering on the Yankees and NY Giants, hitting up one of our many local wineries/breweries, hosting friends for brunch, binging on a new Netflix series, or actively searching for my own forever home.

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Photo © 2017 Dave Burbank Photography

Karen Potter, REALTOR

Karen Potter brings years of experience in customer service, sales, and negotiations to The Hart and Homes Real Estate Team at RE/MAX in Motion in Ithaca, NY.  During her better than 20 years in a variety of sales and customer service roles, Karen has always placed the needs of her clients first and provided them with the highest level of service by being proactive and detail orientated.  As your REALTOR, Karen will be your advocate and work tirelessly for your best interests.  She will ensure that you are provided with the best market data and information so you can be a well informed buyer or seller.

Karen works with a team of tenured and respected REALTORS within a support network designed to ensure timely communication and client accessibility during all phases of the buying or selling process.  

Karen is married to her husband of over thirty years, Jeff, and they have lived in the area for over two decades.  She enjoys cooking, entertaining, reading and spending time with her 3 grown sons.

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Photo © 2017 Dave Burbank Photography

Tiffany Bechtold, REALTOR

Born with the heart of an adventurer, Tiffany did what many have thought to do but few have had the courage to execute:  She chose a brand new home, literally, off a map.  As recent college graduates living in Virginia, Tiffany and her husband decided to move to upstate New York and they fell in love with the Ithaca area.  Ten years, three kids, two houses, and multiple pets later, they have become “locals” in the hometown they never knew they always wanted.  Tiffany’s love for Real Estate began as a supplement to her full-time job – motherhood.

She was quickly reminded that being able to help people was in her blood, something she had first learned in her decade-long tenure with the American Cancer Society.  This passion to help has been rekindled in a desire to assist people with their most personal possession – their home.  Through personal experience, Tiffany has learned that having an agent who is truly on your side can make all the difference in the buying or selling process.  Tiffany is committed to collaborating with you no matter what your real estate wants or needs may be. 

During her free time Tiffany enjoys life! She loves being a mom and a wife, she teaches fitness classes and has found a new passion for gardening and chickens! She is often found doing anything outdoors in this beautiful area she now calls home.

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Home Selling Tip Saturday: It’s a great time to sell!

The Great Recession was one of the most challenging times in US history. The US lost nearly 9 million jobs, unemployment nationwide hit an astounding 10%, and housing prices fell a whopping 33%, causing American households to lose of $16 trillion dollars in net worth.

But luckily, the economy started improving in 2010. The GDP grew an impressive 19% from 2010 to 2017, and the economy added jobs for a record-breaking 88 consecutive months, recovering all the jobs lost during the recession. Not to mention, unemployment fell to 4%.

But one area that was a bit slower to recover was home values. Many homeowners who lost a significant portion of their home’s value in the recession have been hesitant to sell—especially if they purchased their home when prices were high.

But according to Evaluating The Housing Market Since The Great Recession, a recent report from CoreLogic, homeowners who lost value in their homes during the recession finally have something to celebrate. According to the report, the average house price is now 1% higher than it was at the peak of the real estate market in 2006, growing 51% since bottoming out in 2008.

The Takeaway

If you’ve been waiting to sell your home for it to recover its pre-recession value, now is the time to make a move. Not only have housing prices recovered to their peak values, but the inventory crisis is driving up prices, making it the perfect market to finally sell your home.


{another} Featured Property Friday!

In the heart of Moravia, this 4 bed, 2 full bath, spacious and smartly updated craftsman style home awaits you!   Cozy up to the Jotul wood stove in the living room; lounge in the landscaped & manicured back yard with fruit trees and stone walls; tinker away in the workshop/detached 1 car garage with electric. Make the master bedroom with attached *bistro and walk in closet with custom shelves, your mainstay.

17 Park St, Moravia   $170,000


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