Move-in Ready Or Fixer Upper? What’s Your Housing Match?

House And Home, Real Estate

When you picture your dream home, what does it look like? Is it just waiting for you to cross the threshold to announce that you’re home? Or is it a blank canvas beckoning your personal stamp through renovations or a little DIY?

While there are decided benefits to buying a fixer-upper over a move-in ready home and vice versa, there are a few things to consider before making your purchase decision.



What's Your Motivation?

Sometimes buying a move-in ready house is a choice and sometimes it’s not. It’s true that it is becoming more and more common for homebuyers to buy fixer-uppers in the City of Toronto. This is due in part to the aging stock of Toronto housing and also because of sky-high property prices, especially in the freehold housing market; budgetary restrictions are landing more homebuyers at the doorstep of homes that require a little DIY or a little TLC.

Or maybe the thought of the process and planning (not to mention the work) of doing renovations has you leaning towards selecting a move-in ready home.

That said, there are pros and cons to becoming a homeowner of a turn-key property versus becoming the owner of a renovation property.



The Fixer-Upper

Perhaps the greatest benefit of the fixer-upper is the chance to make it your own. Whether it’s changing up the colour scheme or the finishes, changing the layout or purpose of the floor plan, or even putting on an addition, there is something uniquely gratifying in having the opportunity to transform a home so that it truly reflects you. After all, your home is where you express yourself best – in the walls, and in the life – that unfolds between them.

Another plus – you can usually get the fixer-upper for a lower purchase price. This is a bonus if you are on a tight budget, and if you can manage the patience to work on renovation jobs as your income allows over time. It gets your foot in the door, while you work on the walls around it, so to speak.

Generally speaking, by rolling up those sleeves and contributing a little elbow grease (either DIY or through your contractor), you will be elevating the value of your property. As urbaneer has written about before, there are certain renovation projects, as we outlined in Eight Ways to Increase the Value of Your Home, that offer a more significant return on investment, including  How To Boost The Value Of Your Condominium. How cool is it to be able to pad your bottom line while transforming your space so that it looks the way you want it to?

However, before you get all starry-eyed with design dreams and dollar signs, there are a few potential downsides.

For instance, what is your tolerance for risk and general interruption to your life? Renovations take time (almost always more than you’ve anticipated), potentially a toll on your relationship and also take a lot of work. Even if you’re not the one actually swinging the hammer or donning the paintbrush, you are involved – because it is your home and your life – which will be subject to disruption, even though it might be short term pain for long term gain. One way to counter this is to be realistic in your expectations. Be honest about your patience and plan ahead. What is your timeline? Could you live without a kitchen? Is the stress going to keep you up at night? Are you planning to live on site?  While none of these are deal-breakers on their own, it is certainly something to contemplate and will make the difference between happy dance or super stress as a homeowner. Here's a valurable past blog of ours called Help! We Want to Renovate, And Keep Our Relationship Intact!

Oh, and then there is the budgetary foe of hidden costs. Even though you may have thoroughly researched your potential costs, recognize that almost always the cost will be more than you expected. And things come up in the process that you will not have accounted for as well. Turn this con into a pro by building a “contingency fund” into your budget. Nothing takes the sting out of unexpected expenses by anticipating them. If you love reading Renovation Blogs, here's my Black House Financial Tally that outlines the costs for a comprehensive transformation of a dilapidated legal triplex in Charlottetown, PEI.



Terrific Turnkey

If all of this talk of home renovations has you breaking out in a cold sweat at the mere mention, then a move-in ready property will hold certain appeal for you. Why? Mostly because of the ease of it all: Low-maintenance, low-effort living. Maybe you work a gazillion hours a week, are passionate about a sport or hobby or have young children that somehow siphon most of the hours in your days. In these situations, you may happily pay for someone else to have had the vision – and to have done the work for you – which is especially awesome when their vision mirrors your own.

If having a hi-tech house appeals to you, then you might be interested in moving into a place that, either by virtue of being newer has more bells and whistles, or has already had the benefit of someone else bringing that home into the current century. This can apply to appliances, finishes and fixtures, as well as building materials that will lend to a more energy efficient home.

This sounds great – it’s true, but move-in ready comes at a cost. Literally. Think about it. Someone else has invested the time and the money. You get to reap the rewards of instant gratification, but will pay a premium in doing so.

And while you’re paying more, you may also be conceding creative control. While everything may be done for you already, there is no guarantee that the finishes and design will necessarily match what you’ve got in your mind’s eye. The hope, of course, is that you select a property that ticks as many of your boxes as possible, but there is a greater likelihood of concession or compromise when it comes to your home’s features.

Are you about to embark on a property search, and want to consider all of the options available to you? Urbaneer begins your house hunt by helping you identify your needs and wants and working to match that criteria with the perfect property. Then we continue to support you every step of the way; we are as invested in your happiness as you are. We’re here to help!

Want to know more? Just email or call 416-322-8000!


~ Steven and the urbaneer team
  earn your trust, then your business


Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
& The Innovative Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage – (416) 322-8000

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