Home Buying in Ithaca>Question Details

Betty, Home Buyer in Ithaca

is all or part of fall creek considered to be in a flood plain. Visited there very recently and loved it but am concerned. also the houses are so old,

Asked by Betty, Ithaca Thu Apr 26, 2012

1910, 1880, 1870. seems ridiculous to me to buy a home that old, but, that is what is available in my price range right now, Where do you go in higher ground to be close to the downtown area, commons, cornell in a price range of $165,000 to 210,000 to be safer from the elements ? thanks, betty

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You don't. Housing 'quality and pricing' follows an elevation gradient. Here is a rule of thumb: lowest elevation (e.g., Fall Creek) Older homes, moisture issues, funky neighbors, but. Mostly mix of 'locals' (translation: people who work at or for Cornell), occasional Cornell staff/faculty, typically single prof incomes, multiple kids (such that Fall Creek is all they can afford). next up the hill, an area like Belle Sherman. Slightly better homes, newer, bigger lots. Typically, double prof income, perhaps a few kids. Go up another level of the gradient, and you're in Cayuga Heights. A lot of double professor households, fewer kids. Big lots, considerable attitude (lots of local 'thou shalt' rules to follow).

The other axis is 'linear distance'. The further away you get out of Ithaca, the more affordable the housing. For xxyyzz $$$, you get 2x the house, if you're willing to live in T'burg, or Dryden, etc. But then, you have to commute. That gets old, fast.

Basically, the housing market in Ithaca is silly-stupid. This is a closed market - two universities, lots of people with money who need a place to live. Small town with little construction of new dwellings (recent efforts on 79 not-withstanding). As such, lousy old run-down houses get premium prices. I left another but much larger University town - for the same price as my Fall Creek house, I had 2.5 times the square footage, 4 x the lot size, taxes about 50% of what I pay here, for a house 75% of the hotels in Ithaca are flea-traps, over-priced, and laughably poor. But, why pay for improvements when desperate parents (visiting kids at school) and silly corporate recruiters will pay for them at way inflated prices.

If you're still looking at Fall Creek, couple of pieces of advice (that I wished I'd had) - when a realtor calls something a 'character feature', that is simply code for 'stuff you're going to fix later'. When I was looking at housing in Ithaca, I heard the phrase 'character feature' for >85% of the places I looked at. I didn't understand the code then, but now (after ~30-40K in renovating said 'character features', like an 'original 1960's tin roof!'), I've learned my lesson.

Also, in Fall Creek, you either like your neighbors, or you don't, and with so little space between houses, you really better hope for the former. Definitely ask if the houses surrounding you are owner occupied, or rental properties. Avoid the latter like the plague, since that will mean you have little to no control of what happens next to your house.

And, it is hopefully obvious that the 'helpful realtor' answers posted here are little more than cold call solicits to get you to 'work with them',, meaning they are angling for their percentage. I'm not a realtor - just someone who has lived here for quite some time.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 29, 2012
Hi Betty,

There are plenty of areas you could buy in that price range and not be in fall creek. There is the other side, near Brooktondale, or West Hill and/or South Hill. Currently there is an adorable house located at 107 GRANDVIEW PL ITHACA, NY 14850. Take a look at it. http://www.zillow.com. Also, I wouldn't let the year of the houses bother you. Most houses in Ithaca are very well taken care of, and that is alot of the charm of this area. The ones that are not are usually priced correctly to sell.

Feel free to give me a call and we can discuss in more detail. I am also available to do a search for you with your criteria to see what exactly is on the market. I can be reached at 607-330-5209 or email at cmascato@warrenhomes.com

Warm Regards,
Cyndi Mascato
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 26, 2012
Hi Betty,

Are you currently working with a realtor?

There are plenty of houses within that price range in and around downtown Ithaca and close by on higher ground.

Please contact me at 607-844-4319 or e mail to wives@realtyusa.com.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 26, 2012
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 26, 2012
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