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
“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
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
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
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
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.
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.
Texas Elite Realty Group