There are pros and cons to both buying a fixer upper versus a move-in ready home that boil down to preferences, expectations, and cost and savings.
Maybe you have dreams of fixing up that cute little Victorian and turning it into a Pinterest dream. Or maybe you’re ready to buy a home that’s outfitted with updated appliances and is ready to go on move-in day. There are pros and cons to both buying a fixer upper versus a move-in ready home that boil down to preferences, expectations, and cost and savings.
Fixer-upper homes are properties that require varying degrees of repair, renovation, or redesign, but can be lived in as-is. Because fixer-upper homes tend to be more affordable than move-in ready homes, they can be a great fast-track for first-time homebuyers or repeat buyers to purchase a larger home or in a desired neighborhood. Move-in ready homes can be harder to find, especially if you’re on a budget.
If you love a project and have a vision, a fixer-upper may be for you. Where some people overlook disrepair, you may see potential. A fixer-upper doesn’t have to mean decrepit, it could just need a little sprucing up, or have a few repairs on deck. But hire a professional contractor to estimate the cost of work needed to get the home where you want it to be and make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. Take these costs and the time needed to make these improvements into account before making an offer.
Anyone who’s remodeled any parts of their home will tell you it’s not always smooth sailing. Your timeline will almost always change and will probably take longer than originally planned, so be sure to account for that. Be prepared for hurdles along the way so you can handle them as calmly as possible.
There’s definitely more work to be done when moving into a fixer-upper versus a move-in ready home, but at the end of it you’ll have a home that reflects you and your authentic self and style.
The advantage of buying a move-in ready home is self-explanatory: no floor replacements, knocking down walls, plumbing replacement, etc. The beauty of a move-in ready home is that it’s just that, ready to move-in with working appliances, structure, electrical, so all you have to do is unpack your boxes and activate utilities.
If you opt for a new move-in ready home, it will probably have updated appliances and features, which is an added bonus compared to fixer-uppers. Life is generally simpler, easier, and less stressful when you buy a move-in ready home because there aren’t as many unexpected (or unknown) costs or projects after you get your keys. You can also more or less estimate your costs more precisely than with a fixer-upper, where you’ll have projects and contractors that can expound or change throughout the project timeline.
The downside of a move-in ready home is that they tend to be more expensive than a fixer-upper. All of those updated appliances and conveniences come with a higher price tag. You may be able to update a fixer-upper home at an ultimately lower cost by doing it yourself or hiring a contractor. The seller determines the “bulk” value of all of these features instead of pricing them individually, as you would if you approached each upgrade as its own project. Move-in ready homes can also lack the personal touch of a fixer-upper, especially if you’re into a unique, or vintage aesthetic.
Whether you want to live out your HGTV dreams through the rewarding projects of a fixer-upper, or are ready to move into a comfortable, modern, newer home, it ultimately comes to personal preference and cost consideration. Really think about if you’re willing to put in the time and effort for a fixer-upper (it could be worth the payoff for you!) and crunch some numbers to evaluate the cost of both options if you’re on the fence.