Fixer-Upper or Move-In-Ready?

Fixer Upper Home Williamsburg VA
Gorgeous 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom, 2,600 sq. ft home in Ford’s Colony.

Many buyers are left with the dilemma of buying a move-in ready home or a fixer-upper. Sometimes your dream home needs a little work and other times what makes a house your dream home is the fact that it needs no work at all.

Fixer Upper Home Williamsburg VA
HGTV’s Fixer-Upper will be returning this fall.

Both options can be very appealing to buyers. Shows like Fixer Upper on HGTV have taught viewers that with vision and hard work you can transform just about any home into the house you’ve always wanted. In fact, HGTV is a hub for people who want to conquer their new or already owned home that’s seen better days. But, then again, it’s the finished product that many are looking for. Instead of a Fixer Upper project home, they want the move-in ready, finished masterpiece that the show reveals at the end of each episode.

Let’s take a look at pros and cons of turnkey homes vs. fixer uppers.

Move-In Ready Pros

Simplicity: As soon as you move in, all the work is done.

Financing: A home loan for a move-in ready house may be easier to obtain.

Energy Efficiency: Newer homes tend to be more energy efficient. Not only will they keep you warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, but they will also save you money on utility bills.

Move-In Ready Cons

More Expensive: Move-in ready homes are almost always more expensive than fixer-uppers so expect to pay more.

Limited Customization: Unless you want to pay for remodeling, move-in ready homes leave little freedom for customization.

Less Charm/Character: Newer homes don’t have the same unique architectural details of older homes. While this may not matter to some, others love those distinct details.

Fixer-Upper Pros

Discounts: One of the biggest advantages of buying a fixer-upper is the price. Homes that need work are almost always priced below the potential market value.

Tax Savings: Property taxes are based on a home’s sale price. This means that your biannual property taxes will be less if you buy a fixer-upper as opposed to a new home. You can also claim a tax credit for qualified rehabilitation costs if you purchase a historic home.

Customizations: Fixer-uppers give you a blank canvas and the freedom to design the house however you wish.

Fixer-Upper Cons

Work: Obviously, fixer-uppers require more work than move-in ready homes.

Time: Move-in ready homes are live-in ready as soon as you unpack. The same can’t be said for a fixer-upper and remodeling can sometimes take months.

Unforeseen Issues: With fixer-uppers, it’s inevitable that there will always be surprises. These can sometimes be costlier than you’re prepared for.

Costs: There are occasions where the remodeling costs could outweigh your initial savings of buying a fixer-upper.


Whether your dream home includes old, historic features or new construction, there’s a home out there for you. There are pros and cons to each. Remember to think long-term as well as short-term.