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

December 29, 2020
Last updated:
January 27, 2022
Post cover image
In This Article

You’re in the market to buy a house – should you pick a fixer-upper, or a move-in-ready home? There are a lot of factors that should be considered before making your final decision.

Fixer-uppers and turn-key homes both have the distinct advantages and disadvantages. Make sure you consider all angles before signing on the dotted line, especially if you choose to buy a house “as-is.”

Reasons to Buy a Fixer-Upper Home

Looking for reasons to buy a fixer-upper home? Here’s why this seems like such a good option… on the surface, anyway!

Sale price

A fixer-upper home is likely to be hard to sell at market value, due to the cost of anticipated repairs. This could mean you’re able to afford a home in a highly desirable neighborhood that you’d otherwise be barred from due to high home prices.

Tax benefits

Since property taxes are based on the home’s sale price, you can also enjoy distinct savings for at least a few years while you work on renovations. If you buy a home listed on the National Register of Historic Places, you might also be able to claim an investment tax credit for the renovation costs. If you’re purchasing the home as an investment property, you have even more options.

Your vision

A fixer-upper with “good bones” can be transformed into the home of your dreams. You can treat it like a blank slate and create the house you’ve always wanted. Implementing your designs is easier when you know you’re already going to be tearing out drywall and knocking out walls.

Disadvantages of Fixer-Upper Homes

While you may find a home with a low price tag that is easy to finance, and can envision what it would look like when completely redone, make sure you think carefully about projected expenses.

Do you have enough money?

The main disadvantage of buying a fixer-upper is that the money you’ll save thanks to the discounted sales price will likely be spent on renovations. If you’re not careful, you could end up running out of cash before you finish, and having to wait for months or even years to finish realizing your dream.

Do you have the right skill sets?

There are a lot of reasons to buy a fixer-upper home, but most of them are moot if you can’t do the fix-up part. Too many buyers see a home they think just needs a little TLC, and turn a blind eye to the complex issues that await them.

Do you have enough time and patience?

Unless you’re a master plumber or electrician, work on these systems can be pricey. Material costs and labor costs can add up, plus you’ll need to be available to deal with contractors, sub-contractors, and vendors. Finding qualified help and coordinating the work can be almost a full time job.

Do you have to bring the home up to code?

Depending on local laws and regulations, you could find yourself in for a lot more than you bargained for if renovations are extensive. In some cases, a renovation of more than 50% of a home means it no longer qualifies to be grandfathered in when it comes to updated building codes. Replacing all of the plumbing, electric, and insulation in an old home can be a costly endeavor.

Benefits of Buying a Home That is Move-In Ready

If you’re mainly looking at newer homes as you visit open houses, you’re probably dreaming about being handed the keys and instantly unpacking to start living your best life in your newly purchased home. There are a lot of benefits to buying a “move-in-ready” house.

Turnkey access

Your new home will be ready for occupancy on day one, so you can start moving and unpacking your things, buying new furniture and interior decor if desired, and settling into the neighborhood with ease. It can be nice to have a hassle-free move without worrying about repainting walls or tearing up old flooring.

Modern amenities

While older fixer-uppers are notorious for small bedrooms, few bathrooms, cramped kitchens, and more, newer homes feature open floor plans, en suites, walk-in closets, and exterior designs such as decks, pools, and fire pits. You’ll also have the potential for modern alarm systems and wiring for broadband or other connectivity options.

Newer systems

A newer home is more likely to have modern plumbing, electrical systems, central HVAC, a newer water heater, and other energy efficient appliances. This can be a big help when it comes to saving money as you won’t be drowning in massive power draws from older appliances or systems.

Easier financing

It can be harder to get a home loan approved for a fixer-upper since the appraisal is likely to be lower and the home inspection may turn up even more issues. A newer home is easier to assess and can feel like a safer risk for lenders.

Reasons to Not Buy a Turn-Key Home

There are several reasons you may not want to buy a move-in-ready home. These include:


The main drawback to buying a newer, move-in-ready home is that it will be substantially more expensive than a fixer-upper. That said, you’ll be able to contain costs within your financing package, which you can’t do with a fixer-upper, which may require your down payment plus more cash outlay to make the home livable.


If you have your heart set on a dream home that only exists in your mind, you may not find a way forward if you buy a turn-key home. It can be prohibitively expensive to try and jump into a remodel after paying top dollar for a complete home.

Remodeling Your Current Home

Are you sure you really want to move and start over somewhere new? If you own your current home and like your neighborhood, you could be better off sinking that down payment money into renovating your residence into the dream home you’ve always wanted.

If you have equity built up, you can always refinance in order to access funds for a renovation. You know your home better than anyone, and can easily figure out where to make changes to fit your ideals.

Today’s Mortgage Rates

Why Choose Sammamish Mortgage?

At Sammamish, we understand the temptation to buy a fixer-upper as well as how easy it can be to over-extend on an expensive move-in-ready house that may be a bit out of your price range. Our professional home mortgage experts can help you figure out how much home you can afford, and whether or not it’s feasible to try and DIY a less than perfect house into your dream home.

Sammamish Mortgage has been in business since 1992, and has assisted many home buyers in the Pacific Northwest. If you are looking for mortgage financing in Washington State, we can help. Sammamish Mortgage offers mortgage programs in Colorado, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

Contact us if you have any mortgage-related questions or concerns. If you are ready to move forward, you can view rates, obtain a customized instant rate quote, or apply instantly directly from our website.

Get an Instant Mortgage Rate Quote Today

Other Blogs You May Like
Home Buyer’s Guide to the City of Hillsboro, Oregon
June 27, 2024
6 min read
Home Buyer's Guide to the City of Hillsboro, Oregon
If you're planning to move to the Portland metro area and are looking for a place to buy a home,...
FHA Loans: Second Most Popular in WA State
June 21, 2024
5 min read
FHA Loans: Second Most Popular in WA State
A recent mortgage industry report showed that FHA loans are the second most popular mortgage...
Show 102 more posts
from this category

Connect with a Mortgage Advisor Today!

Whether you’re buying a home or ready to refinance, our professionals can help.

Compare Mortgage Rates in Your Area Instantly

No Obligation and transparency 24/7. Instantly compare live rates and costs from our network of lenders across the country. Real-time accurate rates and closing costs for a variety of loan programs custom to your specific situation.

Subscribe to our newsletter