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Homebuying: Move-In Ready or Fixer-Upper?

What if you’re buying a house for the first time, but can’t decide if it should be a brand-new (turn-key) house or a charming one with good bones that needs a lot of work?

Before you decide which kind of house you want, it’s always best to do your research, which will include the pros and cons of turn-key and fixer-upper properties.

Also, don’t forget about property taxes, because depending on where you choose to buy a home, the selection can have a significant impact on the cost to remodel compared to the cost of purchasing a newly-constructed home. Consider that the cost of purchasing a brand-new home can run thousands of dollars more than an older home just in need of some tender, loving care.

Overall, whether you move into turn-key home or the worst one on the block, it’s important to recognize which project provides the best fit for the buyer and their budget, and their expectations of the home.

Courtesy of Whathouse.com
Courtesy of Whathouse.com

Here are some guidelines for choosing either a home in need of repairs or one that’s sparkling brand new:

• Move-in ready homes require little, if any work. As soon as you move in, all the work is done, meaning that hopefully, there’s no need to paint, demolish, remove toilets or to be at the ready to provide maintenance;

• New owners want their dream home to be perfect and even if it’s hard for the one, two or more parties involved to come to a mutual agreement, there will always be some give and take to shake hands on;

• Depending on choices, such as whether to provide renovations for a house in dire need of repair, a move-in ready home provides little freedom to customize;

• Since fixer-uppers always need some form of repair, they can typically be purchased for a fraction of the cost of a move-in ready home of a similar size or location. Therefore, if a homebuyer is on the prowl for a bargain or has a tight budget, a fixer upper will be their least expensive purchase option;

• While a move-in ready property often lacks originality, charm and character, the work has already been done and the home already designed, whereas a fixer-upper — which can become an expensive, time-consuming project — provides an opportunity to remake the home with everything from flooring and cabinetry to landscaping and windows;

• On the other hand, homes that are move-in ready — and can be questionable in terms of quality — are also convenient in that they require next to nothing in terms of renovations and improvements. In most cases, because the new homeowner can comfortably move in without making any changes, turn keys also tend to be more energy efficient because they require less energy to heat during the winter and to cool during the summer: and,

• Lastly, because both fixer-uppers and move-in ready homes have their own unique benefits and challenges, it will ultimately be left up to the homebuyer to go with the choice that best aligns with their budget, needs, and long-term goals for their new home.

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Dorothy Rowley – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I knew I had to become a writer when at age nine I scribbled a note to my younger brother’s teacher saying I thought she was being too hard on him in class. Well, the teacher immediately contacted my mother, and with tears in her eyes, profusely apologized. Of course, my embarrassed mother dealt with me – but that didn’t stop me from pursuing my passion for words and writing. Nowadays, as a “semi-retiree,” I continue to work for the Washington Informer as a staff writer. Aside from that, I keep busy creating quirky videos for YouTube, participating in an actor’s guild and being part of my church’s praise dance team and adult choir. I’m a regular fixture at the gym, and I like to take long road trips that have included fun-filled treks to Miami, Florida and Jackson, Mississippi. I’m poised to take to the road again in early 2017, headed for New Orleans, Louisiana. This proud grandmother of two – who absolutely adores interior decorating – did her undergraduate studies at Virginia Union University and graduate work at Virginia State University.

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