What to Buy: Move-in Ready or a Fixer-Upper?

Increasingly high home prices (and certain reality TV shows) have made more Americans look to an alternative to move-in ready homes: the fixer-upper. These homes need work – and oftentimes a lot of it. 

The question is…is a fixer-upper right for you? Check out our pros and cons below.

Move-in Ready Homes


  1. Quicker move-in process. Once you get done with the sales process and you sign that deed – you can start settling in.
  2. No worries or work (for now). For the time being, you should have minimal concerns about renovations, repair work, or construction. 



  1. More expensive. You will have a higher down payment, higher mortgage, and higher overall price tag for a move-in ready home.
  2. What you see is what you get. If you have renovations you want to make, it will be more of a commitment since you’ll have to tear down what’s there and start over.


The Fixer-upper


  1. Less expensive. Fixer-uppers cost less money up front. You’ll have a lower down payment and lower mortgage.
  2. Less competition. It takes a special person to see the potential in a fixer-upper. You will have an easier time sealing the deal.
  3. Make it how you want it. Since you’re fixing up the place – you can fix it up exactly how you want it. The sky’s the limit – make your home however you can dream it.



  1. Difficult to budget. You can’t foresee every renovation or repair you will make, so it is somewhat impossible to precisely budget what you will spend in the “fixing” part of the process.
  2. A lot of work (or money). Fixing up a home is time consuming and difficult. If you have the skills to do this work – be prepared to put in the time. If you don’t – be prepared to shell out money to pay contractors.
  3. Longer move-in time. Once you buy your home, you still have a long way to go before you’re ready to settle in.


When it comes down to it, one of the biggest factors in whether you should get a fixer-upper or not is how well you can handle DIY projects and how much you want to tackle fixing your home by yourself.

If you’re just trying to save money, but have no handy skills whatsoever – you will likely end up paying just as much to contractors to fix up the place as you would have paid for a move-in ready place.

However, if you enjoy DIY projects and have the skills to at least put a dent in the necessary renovations, a fixer-upper is a great way to save money and customize your dream home (almost) from scratch.

Let us know what you think in the comments below! 

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