Move-In Ready or Fixer Upper?

Should I Buy Move-In Ready or a Fixer Upper

Should I Buy Move-In Ready or a Fixer Upper?

With home renovation projects filling our TV screens and social media feeds, it's exciting to think about how you might turn a fixer upper of your own into a dream home. How can you decide between buying a move-in ready home and one that needs a little TLC? We have some tips to help you choose which direction is the best for your situation.

What is a fixer upper?

A fixer upper is different from a total gut job; it's a livable property, but is totally outdated and in need of a full renovation. The condition of the fixer upper can vary from just needing cosmetic updating to a full updating of the HVAC, water heater, plumbing, and electrical. In order to determine what kind of fixer upper you're dealing with, you will need a thorough home inspection.

What is a move-in ready home?

A move-in ready home, also often called a turn-key property, is just that: ready for you to move-in. There may be a few cosmetic changes you would like to make, but the home is overall in the condition you want it to be to live your life there. This might include new construction properties, newly renovated homes, or an existing home that has been well maintained.

Pros and Cons of a Fixer Upper

Buying a fixer upper has become a more popular choice in recent years, especially as more home decor blogs and TV shows showing the renovation process are introduced. There are plenty of pros to buying a fixer upper, including:

  • Lower purchase price than a move-in ready home
  • Potential to inject significant equity into the property
  •  The ability to fully personalize your home
  • Lower property taxes, which are calculated based on purchase price rather than appraised value
  • Investment opportunities, where you can purchase a home for a low price and renovate it to become a lucrative income property

There are also some cons to buying a fixer upper. Some to keep in mind are:

  • Unknowns, including unknown cost and unknown timeline
  • You may need temporary housing, depending on the renovations you plan and how livable the home will be during the process
  • Some lenders will be more hesitant to secure a mortgage for a property in need of significant repair, as it is a higher risk for them

Pros and Cons of a Move-In Ready Home

On the other hand, there are also pros and cons to buying a move-in ready home. Depending on whether you are buying a new construction home, a newly renovated home, or a carefully maintained older home, the situation will differ. A few of the pros most move-in ready homes offer are:

  • Immediate move-in timeline
  • Fewer surprises, especially if you take care to have a thorough inspection of the home completed and have requested documentation of any renovations that have been done
  • If the home is new construction, you may have a home warranty covering the roof, appliances, or even installation of finishes
  • Qualifying for a loan is often easier for a move-in ready property
  • Your budget will be more clearcut than it would be when purchasing a fixer upper; the purchase price is what you pay, without concern for fluctuating costs and timeline for renovations
  • Move-in ready homes are overall a more convenient purchase in most cases

There are some cons to buying a move-in ready home, including:

  • You can expect a higher price than you would pay for a fixer upper
  • Move-in ready homes represent limited opportunity for customization, as any major changes to floor plan or design may represent unnecessary costs
  • You are likely to face competition from other buyers for more desirable move-in ready properties

If you are ready to begin looking for your home in Calgary, we have a team of experts who can help. Contact our office any time to get started.

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