Move-In Ready Vs. Fixer-Upper: Which

One to Buy?

There is a lot to consider when you begin your search for a new home, including how

much work you want to put into it, how much you can afford, and where you want to


There is also the crucial need to evaluate a new home based on your existing and future

lifestyle needs.

“Fixer-upper” and “Move-in ready” are two terms you are likely to come across when

searching for a home. Depending on who you ask, the interpretation of these two terms

can be different.

An experienced buyer would interpret the home to be move-in ready, while a novice may

consider the home a fixer-upper.

If you a reality TV fan, it’s likely you’ve seen a happy homeowner buy a fixer-upper

home and convert it into a dream home. Sure, some have happy endings. But for the

unlucky ones, the endings are rather sad.

A move-in ready home, on the other hand, is a home that is complete when you move in.

It’s also called a turnkey home. For people who don’t want to get into the trouble of

planning spaces and installing features and fixtures, it may be a good option.


So, which one should you buy? A move-in ready or a fixer-upper?

Before we answer that, Jim Oursler from Granite Foundation Repair , a foundation repair

company servicing the DFW area, shared some of the pros and cons you may face with

each option.


Pros of Fixer-Uppers

1. Design choices

A fixer-upper is essentially a blank canvas. You have the freedom to design the home

whichever way you want. Want a bold kitchen? You can do it. Want an open concept

floor plan? You can do that too.

Unlike a move-in ready home, a fixer-upper allows you to tailor your home to your

specific tastes. Although this means more work, this kind of design freedom can’t be



2. Tax savings

Property taxes and a home’s sale price go hand in hand. That is, if a home’s sale price is

high, expect the property taxes to be high as well. Since a fixer-upper costs less than a

move-in ready home, the taxes are usually low.

Fixer-uppers also allow you to claim an investment tax credit for renovation costs that are

qualified. Typically, this applies to historic homes listed with the National Register of

Historic Places.


3. Discounted prices

This is the number one reason why many people consider fixer-uppers as opposed to

move-in ready homes.

This is because they require work prior to being occupied. If you get a good home in a

nice neighborhood, understand the required renovations, and plan to move in a few years,

a fixer-upper can be a great option.


Cons of Fixer-Uppers

1. Extra work

Fixer-uppers require remodeling. As such, you’ll need to find a good contractor for the

remodeling project. You could also opt to get your hands dirty if you are the DIY type.

Demolishing a room, painting a bedroom or removing an old toilet may sound like a

chore, but some find this hands-on experience rather invigorating.


2. Extra time

Since fixer-uppers need extra work it means that you’ll have to wait for all the work to be

completed to move in. The remodeling process, oftentimes, can take anywhere from a

few weeks to several months depending on the scope.

If working with an expiring lease, this isn’t a good option. You’ll be better off choosing a

move-in ready home.


3. Unexpected complications

Surprises are common when it comes to fixer-uppers. That’s why it pays to do your

homework prior to buying one. You may initially think the home only requires a simple

kitchen or bathroom renovation only to realize later that the home’s foundation is faulty

as well.


Pros of Move-In Ready Homes

1. Energy efficiency

Newer homes are usually built with energy efficiency in mind.


2. Simpler financing

It’s easier to obtain a loan for a move-in ready home than for a fixer-upper. Of course,

there are other factors involved as well. For example, your residential income, down

payment, credit history and more.


3. Smooth transition

Unlike fixer-uppers, move-in ready homes are ready to be occupied once bought. There

are no removing of toilets, no demolishing, no painting and no maintenance required.


4. All the latest gadgets

Newer homes typically incorporate the newest innovations in technology and design.


Examples of those elements include hardwood flooring, open floor plans, barn doors and

walk-in closets.

In terms of technology, you can expect internet wiring and cable, speakers and alarm



Cons of Move-In Ready Homes

1. Architectural details

Newer homes lack the unique character that older homes have.


2. Restricted customization

A move-in ready home offers a little option for customization unless you want to get your

hands dirty or want to pay for a remodel.


3. Expensive

Newer homes are obviously expensive. If they weren’t, no one would ever buy a fixer-



So, should you buy a fixer-upper or move-in ready home? The answer is – it depends!

Your choice will depend on your own specific circumstances. Want to personalize your

home? Then choose a fixer-upper. Want to move-in immediately? Then a move-in ready

home is right for you.


Ernie Rendon


Texas Elite Realty Group