Reality television shows, for the most part, can make flipping houses look so easy. The truth is that it takes a lot of research and planning to successfully invest in real estate. You know the story: a happy homeowner buys a troubling fixer-upper and transforms it into a dream home and everyone is happy.

That is the magic of good television production and editing. In reality, fixer-uppers can require a lot of work compared to move-in ready houses. This is however not to say that you are better off buying a move-in ready house. Each option has its pros and cons.

The following article discusses some of the benefits and challenges you may face with each option.

Buying a Move-in Ready Home

If you just want to pack up your belongings and move into a new place, a move-in ready home is a great choice. If you can afford the potentially higher price tag of a newer model, it could be the way to go.

Benefits of move-in ready houses

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  • Moving in is easy.

As soon as you exchange hands, you can get in and get on with the fun stuff such as decorating and customizing.

  • There are no surprises.

When you buy a home, there is always a slight risk of running into hidden problems. Like, critter infestations, mold, or structural issues. With a newer, move-in ready home, you are much less likely to encounter these.

  • These often have modern features.

The market today is competitive. Consequently, move-in ready houses are more likely to come with modern trends and features. Common are eco-friendly features such as updated appliances and open floorplans. On the other hand, designing a fixer-upper to have these features could take a lot of time, effort, and money.

  • There is less work.

Unlike a fixer-upper, buying a move-in ready house requires much less work. As such, it may be a better choice if you are not exactly a DIY kind of person or you’re on a tight deadline to move into a house.

  • Financing is fast and simple.

Even with great credit, it can be easier to get financing for a newer home that requires less work before moving in.

Challenges of move-in ready houses:

  • The costs are high.

Move-in ready houses obviously cost more than fixer-uppers.

  • Creativity is limited.

With move-in ready homes, other than choosing the décor, there’s not much room for customization. You’ll have to accept the house as is or pay more to have changes made if you are not thrilled with the design or layout of a house you are considering.

  • There could be landscaping challenges.

In some newer communities, there are restrictions faced by those who buy move-in ready homes. This can hinder you from customizing your lawn.

  • Move-in ready homes have a generic feel.

You likely won’t get to pick and choose the number of features you want in the way you would with a fixer-upper no matter how much you personalized a move-in ready home.

Buying a Fixer-Upper Home

Fixer uppers are always worth considering if you understand two things. One, what you are getting yourself into. And two, if you can get one at a good price. With that in mind, here are the benefits and challenges of fixer-uppers.

Benefits of buying a fixer-upper:

  • There is room for personalization.

Unlike move-in ready homes, you have more creative control with fixer-uppers. With a fixer-upper, you can customize each room’s details as well as the house’s layout. If you are a DIY kind of person, you will certainly enjoy taking on the home improvement projects.

  • Fixer-uppers have less competition.

Sellers of move-in ready houses, in some hot real estate markets, get multiple offers from different buyers trying to outbid one another. However, when it comes to fixer-uppers, the competition is generally lower.

  • Fixer-uppers have lower sales prices.

You can find a great deal on a fixer-upper. You, however, need to do your homework first.  

  • There is room for value addition.

You will be adding more than your financial outlay into your home’s value by investing some money and elbow grease into your new home.

Challenges of buying a fixer-upper:

  • There is a risk of hidden costs.

Although sales prices for fixer-uppers may be lower than move-in ready houses, the cost to repair a fixer-upper may not be worth it at times. This is particularly true if you run into any hidden issues, such as mold or structural damage.

  • Remodeling a fixer-upper requires plenty of time.

Remodeling can take a lot of time if you are planning on doing most of the work yourself. As such, in the meantime, you will need to find somewhere else to live.

When buying a home, there are a lot of considerations: budget, location, your basic needs, and how much work you are willing to take on. Some people want a hassle-free home from the get-go, while others love a project and wouldn’t consider a new build.

Whatever you prefer, it’s best to understand what you are getting yourself into. Hopefully, with this article, you will be able to make the right choice.


Article by Marina Gorbounov, Evolve Property Management