Should You Buy a Move-in-Ready Home or Buy a Fixer-Upper?

by Team eLocal
Happy smiling couple holding a model house, they are building their home together, real estate and construction concept

Should you buy a fixer-upper or a move-in-ready home? It's a dilemma many home buyers face as they browse the market.

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Each option has pros and cons, so it comes down to your preferences and how much work you're willing to put into your home.

What Are the Pros of Buying a Fixer-Upper?

That fixer-upper house might not look like much now, but it could turn out to be a gem. Some of the pros of buying a fixer-upper include:

  • Lower purchase price: You'll typically pay less to buy a fixer-upper home. This means your mortgage payments will be smaller, and you could make more of a profit when you sell.
  • Option to make changes gradually: If the home is livable and mainly needs cosmetic changes, you can slowly update it as you have the money to help you control the costs.
  • Customized results: If you're doing a complete overhaul or significant updates, you have full control over the design, layout and finishes. It's easier to make the home yours by adding features that make it more functional for your family.
  • Fewer competitors: Not everyone wants to put in the work to renovate a fixer-upper. Many buyers want something that's ready to go. This can cut down on your competition and could help you get a lower price.

What Are the Cons of Buying a Fixer-Upper?

While the benefits of buying a fixer-upper are appealing, it's also a good idea to look at the disadvantages. Some cons you should consider before buying a fixer-upper include:

  • Delayed move-in: If the home is in rough shape, you might not be able to move in until the renovations are done.
  • Living with construction: Even if your new home is livable, it won't be relaxing while the construction is happening. It's often dirty, noisy and inconvenient to live in a construction zone.
  • Discovering new problems: Home inspections should reveal most issues, but it's common to find hidden problems once you start renovating. This can make the renovation more complex and expensive.
  • Higher-than-expected renovation costs: Renovation costs can spiral out of control, even if you don't find hidden issues. Material prices can change. Underestimating the expenses or not sticking to your budget can make it more expensive than you planned.
  • Labor and material shortages: During periods of labor and material shortages, your project could be delayed longer than usual, even if you have the budget for it.

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What Are the Pros of Buying a Move-In Ready Home?

Looking at the pros of buying a move-in ready house can also help you decide if you should buy a fixer-upper or a move-in ready property. Here are some of the benefits to consider:

  • No wait time: Since it's move-in ready, this type of house means you can enjoy your new home faster. Move your belongings, set up the house the way you want it and you're ready to go.
  • Fewer unexpected costs: You'll likely pay more for the home, but you won't have to do a lot of repairs, which could become very costly.
  • Less stress: Major renovations can be stressful, so move-in ready homes can be lower-stress options.

What Are the Cons of Buying a Move-In Ready Home?

Despite the benefits, move-in ready homes can have some cons when compared to a fixer-upper. Those negatives include:

  • Higher purchase price: You'll pay more for a move-in ready home than a similar fixer-upper home because everything is done. If you're on a limited budget, this could make it difficult to afford the mortgage payments. However, you might spend less overall since construction costs can be high.
  • Fewer customization options: Since everything is ready to go, this type of home doesn't give you the chance to completely renovate the home in your style.
  • Less satisfaction: Some homeowners get a sense of satisfaction from remodeling a home that they don't get when everything is ready to go.
  • More competition: Move-in ready homes often sell quickly and could sell for above the asking price, which can make them harder to get.

So … Should You Buy a Move-In Ready Home or a Fixer-Upper?

When deciding if you should buy a fixer-upper or move-in ready home, it often comes down to your budget and how much work you want to do. Some people prefer fixer-uppers to save money upfront, but renovations can get expensive. Others want the convenience of having a nice home without much work. Consider your budget and preferences to help you decide.

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