What's a good deal?

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956

What's a good deal?

This Old House

My latest buyer client just informed me that they were looking for a good deal on a new home and they didn't mind a home that needed some work, as long as the price was right.

I took them at their word and started combing the area for fixer uppers that were bargain priced.  The problem was that every one of us has a different definition of what "a little work" means.  For someone coming from a family where no one even knows what a screwdriver or hammer looks like  "a little work" may mean refinishing floors and painting a couple of rooms.

If you fall into that category then a fixer upper, no matter how well priced is just not a "good deal" for you.

While its important to work with a good local REALTOR® that knows the area and the inventory and will put her efforts and energy to work finding you that great deal and perfect house, you need to remember that we all have our own perceptions of what a little work means.   If you're thinking minor updates and your agent is thinking fixer uppers, do yourself a favor and let her know.  It'll save you both lots of time and effort in finding that perfect house that's a perfect fit and a good deal to boot!

If you're thinking of buying a home in Suffern NY or anywhere else in Rockland County NY, give me a call and I'll be happy to help you find the perfect "good deal" for you.



flickr photo by Kratka Photography

Posted by

Lora "Leah" Stern - Your Rockland County, NY REALTOR of Choice - (914) 772-4528

Your Rockland County, NY Real Estate SpecialistLeah Stern Signature Photo

Lora "Leah" Stern
Real Estate Salesperson
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
(914) 772-4528 CELL
(845) 634-0400 OFFICE
(862) 345-2463 FAX

If I can assist you in any way with your real estate needs in Suffern, NY Rockland County or the surrounding areas, please feel free to contact me by phone at (914) 772-4528, email me at Leah.Stern@cbmoves.com or visit my website .

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Karen Bernetti
Southington, CT

This is so true Leah - the thing is, doesn't just about every house that has ever been lived in need "a little work"? (i.e. paint, refinished floors). 

Jul 20, 2011 03:57 PM #6
Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528
Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956 - New City, NY
Real Estate Salesperson

Joni - It's the same old story about the shoemaker going without shoes but at least you got two sales out of it.

Karen - Everything needs some work, especially once you remove the furniture and fixings from it.

Jul 20, 2011 04:06 PM #7
Martha Brown
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc., Annapolis MD 21403 - Annapolis, MD
Your Homes Around Annapolis Agent

Ahhh when a buyer says to me they don't mind a little work I always ask...describe little. It is amazing that most of the time it really means move in condition. :0)

Jul 20, 2011 04:06 PM #8
Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528
Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956 - New City, NY
Real Estate Salesperson

Martha - I'm finding that the same thing is true.  They don't mind cosmetics like painting and redoing floors.  But with most clients it ends there.

Jul 20, 2011 04:15 PM #9
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)
Leah, Fortunately most of our clients aren't looking for mass quantities of work once they move in :) Maybe some fresh flooring or a bathroom update gets the job done. You almost never know what you'll encounter once you start tearing into things!
Jul 20, 2011 11:31 PM #10
Roger D. Mucci
Shaken...with a Twist 216.633.2092 - Euclid, OH
Lets shake things up at your home today!

"Fixer upper" could mean so many different things to different people................splain Lucy!

Jul 20, 2011 11:45 PM #11
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Well I guess the lesson is to probe further on what their definition is.  what type of work have they done, what are they willing to do themselves and what are they willing to pay someone else to do.  Often, if they need to pay someone else to o the work, the "great deal" is not really a great deal after factoring in the costs of all the renovations.

Jul 21, 2011 12:02 AM #12
Juan Bassett
Long & Foster - Germantown, MD

Lora, When I think of fixer upper... I think of a lot of work to be done.  Maybe that's because I'd rather not fixer upper!

Jul 21, 2011 01:07 AM #13
Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528
Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956 - New City, NY
Real Estate Salesperson
Bliz - generally what you encounter is more fixing that needs to get done. Roger - To someone handy - its just a challenge. To everyone else, its $$$$. Debbie - RIght you are! Juan - You and me both!!
Jul 21, 2011 01:44 AM #14
Christine Smith
Buyers Brokers Only LLC - www.BuyersBrokersOnly.com - Canton, MA
Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA

Leah....I have run into the same thing before with buyers thinking they want a fixer-upper & then realize they don't.  Financing can also be an issue with those fixer-uppers & many first time buyers do not realize that either.

Jul 21, 2011 04:29 AM #15
Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528
Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956 - New City, NY
Real Estate Salesperson

Christine - Good point.  There's a big difference between cosmetic updates and a fixer upper.

Jul 21, 2011 04:53 AM #16
Toni Weidman
Sailwinds Realty - Trinity, FL
20+ Years Selling Homes in New Port Richey, FL

They always say that, Leah, but it's important to ask how much is a little work? Some people only want to paint and think that's classified as a fixer-upper :) Good post!

Jul 21, 2011 05:45 AM #17
Debbie Walsh
Shahar Management - Middletown, NY
Hudson Valley NY Real Estate 845.283-3036

(What a cool pic-where did you get that??)  I agree, you just never know until you delve deeper what fixer upper means to each person.

Jul 21, 2011 09:51 AM #18
Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528
Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956 - New City, NY
Real Estate Salesperson

Toni, I guess if you've never done any handy work, painting could be classified as fixing up. (DUH!)

Debbie - phto complements of flickr.  Yup!  Need to do a little digging.

Jul 21, 2011 12:30 PM #19
Michele Cadogan 917-861-9166
Fillmore Real Estate 2990 Av U, Bklyn , NY 11229 - Brooklyn, NY
Licensed Real Estate Associate Broker -


Interesting post- with some buyers we have to be constantly asking questions , peeling the onion so to speak just to make sure that we are all on the same page and not wasting each others time. 

Jul 22, 2011 02:59 PM #20
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


We all have a definition of a good deal, and it is a good idea to digg...we were out looking at open houses today, and it is interesting to hear people's impressions.  A

Jul 24, 2011 11:47 AM #21
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

I just started with someone like that. They want 'The Deal', in the best neighborhood, in the best town. Now if I can just remember which address I last saw their deal waiting.

Jul 24, 2011 12:39 PM #22
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Oh, my Leah...this hits me where I live!! Fixer-uppers oy vey! So much gray area. As with ALL OF IT, in our real estate realm, it seems that communication is the KEY.

And look at all those points you've racked up!  I've got that goal in mind!  Thanks for commenting on my post. 

Jul 24, 2011 12:41 PM #23
Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528
Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956 - New City, NY
Real Estate Salesperson

Michele -- love your analogy of a peeling onion.  Some clients have lots more layers to peel than others,

Ron & Alezandra - Different storkes for different folks....

Ed - Aren't they all like that - wanting everything for nexdt to nothing,

Gayle - Communication in business as in life is definitely key!

Jul 24, 2011 03:20 PM #24
Amy Morrison
Knipe Realty NW - Portland, OR

This is an on-going debate at our house!

I once dragged my husband through a house in a great neighborhood, with a great floor plan on a great lot. It was priced at around 60% less than it's comps. It had no appliances, no flooring and the drywall in every room was soaked with dog urine to about waist high. Basically, it had been used as a 2400 square foot kennel for who knows how long.

I said: "honey, someone is going to get a great deal on this fixer upper!"

Husband said: "you have lost your @#!% mind!"

I proposed that one could live in a trailer in the backyard whilst "fixing it up" knowing full well that it was a "down to the studs" job.

He proposed it be burned to the ground.

A year later....

It's the gleamimg gem of the neighborhood. Someone, wearing glasses even more rose-colored than mine got a "great deal" on what is still referred to by us as "the dog pee house"

Thanks Leah for sparking my memory, reminding me to be extra clear in communicating about this issue with clients. Especially, when there's a spouse involved!




Jul 27, 2011 03:51 PM #25
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