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Whether you’re in the process of buying your first home, your retirement home, or something in-between, you may wonder; should I buy a fixer-upper or a move-in ready home? What are the advantages and disadvantages or either/or? What should I consider when making my final decision?

While your final decision depends on what is going to work the best for your family and your budget, we’ll break down some of the pros and cons of buying a move-in ready home vs. buying a fixer-upper that needs a little tender loving care.

Fixer-Upper Pros:

 One advantage of looking for fix-upper’s is less competition. More people are looking for pretty and modern homes that don’t require extra work to get them up-to-par, which means homes that already have all the extra trimmings are more likely to have competing offers. This means less competition for the fixer-upper you’ve got your eye on, and potentially more money left over for cosmetic updates! Additionally, property taxes are based on the sale price of your home. Typically, fixer-uppers are priced lower than the market price of a move-in ready home, meaning your annual property taxes will be lower even after you’ve put in the work to make your home exactly how you imagined!

Some other advantages of picking up a fixer-upper include more creative leeway with house layout and design, as well as the opportunity to restore vintage architectural designs and details! If you love DIY, a fixer-upper may be perfect for you.

 Move-in Ready Pros:

 One of the main advantages of a move-in ready house is in the name; you can just move in and start unpacking boxes! No painting, no pulling up carpet, and no refurbishment necessary. If you’re considering a cross-country or long-distance move, this may be the most convenient option as you get used to a new place, job and schools.

Another perk of a move-in ready home is that it incorporates all the modern conveniences and home designs that we’ve become used to in newer homes, including energy-efficient appliances and heating/cooling systems, walk-in closets, built-in security systems, and wired in internet. If finding a place with these modern amenities is top-of-mind on your “must have” list, a fixer-upper home may be a bit of a challenge as some of these amenities would have to be created or installed after-the-fact.

 Fixer-Upper Cons:

 With a fixer-upper comes a large amount of work, which can be a major con for people who themselves are not handy with electrical, plumbing, ripping down walls, or building new ones. If doing everything yourself sounds daunting, you’ll have to hire professional contractors who know how to do the work, and these are extra costs you’ll have to factor in with the cost of the services themselves. This also means, in some cases, you won’t have a 100% idea of what the end cost will be to completely fix the house the way you’d like it. Sometimes unexpected costs can come up, and depending on the state of the house in the first place, you may end up spending a little more that you had planned in the short-term.

It’s also important to know how much time it will take to complete updates on your fixer-upper, especially if you’re already sold your previous house or your lease has expired on your apartment. If remodeling the kitchen or re-doing the bathroom is going to take 3 weeks, you’ll be out of a kitchen or bathroom for that period of time, and you’ll have to deal with the noise and dust kicked up during the day while you or contractors are working.

 Move-in Ready Cons:

If you’re really looking to save money on your next home, move-in ready prices just aren’t comparable to fixer-uppers, and this is due to the convenience of move-in ready homes. You’re going to be paying more for a move-in ready house in comparison.

Additionally, if you’re hoping to have a lot of customization options, a move-in ready home isn’t really conducive to creative freedom, outside of picking the décor and paint color. If you’re not 100% happy with the layout or design of the move-in ready house you’re considering, you may end up paying more than you were originally planning if you want different kitchen countertops or a larger garage.

 Thank you for reading our real estate and homeowner’s blog. We are Weichert Realtors – Barton Harris & Co. and we’re happy to have helped you learn more about the pros and cons of buying a move-in ready home vs. buying a fixer-upper in Austin, Texas.