Fixer Upper or Move-In Ready in Columbus?

Fixer Upper or Move-In Ready in Columbus?As you begin your search for homes for sale in Columbus, you will find a wide range of properties in this dynamic market. Everything from a total fixer upper to a brand new construction move-in ready home is available here, so it will help you to narrow down your search. Knowing whether you are looking for a renovation project or a turn-key property can make your house hunting in Columbus more efficient and less stressful.

Bill Gassett a real estate leader and owner of Maximum Real Estate Exposure has given us some excellent considerations for making the best housing decisions.

"For many first-time home buyers there comes a choice between a move-in ready and fixer upper home. There are pros and cons to each scenario. If you are handy or have family members in the construction industry a fixer-upper can be a great way to go. I have witnessed some of my clients over the years obtain significant equity in their homes just by doing all the grunt work themselves.

Everything is so expensive today, so you can save a tremendous amount of money doing it yourself. On the other hand, there are some buyers who are better suited to purchasing a turn-key property. Doing work to a home can be time consuming. It is a considerable investment that needs to be carefully considered. With turn-key homes you avoid that. For buyers who have long hours or travel for business, I recommend sticking with move-in ready properties.

Turn-key properties are also much easier to finance. You'll be able to purchase with any type of financing that's best. Properties that need work on the other hand can be restricted due to their condition. One deciding factor you may want to think about is location. If you can buy a home in a far more desirable location regardless of the condition, you may want to do so. In the long run the appreciation will be better."

Many people find a simple list of pros and cons to be one of the best ways to sort through their options. These are the advantages and disadvantages of the two types of properties. 

Pros and Cons of Buying a Fixer Upper


  • Lower purchase price: In most cases, a fixer upper will come with a lower purchase price compared to a move-in ready home. If you are looking to enter the housing market at a more affordable price point or you want to invest in a property you can flip, this lower purchase price might be a key factor for you.
  • Customization: When you buy a fixer upper for a lower purchase price, that often means having the room in your budget to customize.  From selecting paint colors and flooring materials to redesigning the layout and adding modern amenities, renovating a fixer-upper offers endless possibilities for personalization that often aren't practical or affordable with a move-in ready home.
  • Appreciation potential: Renovating a fixer-upper has the potential to increase the home's value and build equity more rapidly than a turn-key property. By investing in strategic upgrades and improvements, you can enhance the property's appeal and market value, leading to a higher resale value in the future or more equity you can leverage toward other goals.
  • Sweat equity: All real estate properties come with the expected appreciation over time, but fixer uppers offer a unique opportunity to build what we call sweat equity. This is the process of boosting your home's value by investing your time, effort, and skills into the renovation process. While renovations require hard work and dedication, the sense of accomplishment that comes from transforming an outdated or neglected property into a beautiful home can be immensely rewarding.


  • Renovation costs: Renovating a fixer-upper can be expensive, and often more expensive than the initial estimate. From structural repairs and plumbing updates to cosmetic enhancements and landscaping, renovation costs can quickly add up, potentially exceeding the initial budget.
  • Unpredictability: Fixer-uppers often hide hidden problems and surprises that may not be apparent during the initial inspection. From outdated electrical wiring and plumbing issues to structural damage and mold infestations, unexpected problems can derail renovation plans and add to the overall cost and complexity of the project.
  • Delayed timelines: Renovating a fixer-upper can result in delays in moving into the home. Depending on the scope of the renovations and the extent of the work needed, you may need to find alternative living arrangements or delay your move-in date until the renovations are complete. If your timeline is not flexible, a fixer upper might not be right for you.

Pros and Cons of Buying a Move-In Ready Home


  • Convenience: If you are looking for the most efficient and low stress option, a move-in ready home is it. Move-in ready properties are named for the fact that they are ready for occupancy as soon as the sale is finalized. This is ideal for buyers who want to avoid the hassle and inconvenience of renovation projects.
  • Predictability: Move-in ready properties typically require little to no renovations, reducing the risk of unexpected expenses and budget overruns. You can accurately budget for your home purchase without having to factor in additional renovation costs or leaving a buffer in your budget.
  • Peace of mind: Move-in ready properties have already undergone inspections and meet building code requirements, providing you with peace of mind knowing that the home is safe, structurally sound, and in good condition. This can alleviate concerns about potential issues or defects that may arise with fixer-uppers.


  • Higher purchase price: While not always the case, a turn-key property is usually going to cost more than a comparable fixer upper. Move-in ready properties generally cost more per square foot, reflecting the convenience and benefits of purchasing a home that requires minimal or no renovations. This can be a deterrent for buyers on a tight budget or those looking to save money on their home purchase.
  • Limited customization: While move-in ready properties tend to be well-maintained and updated, they may not fully align with your preferences or aesthetic tastes. You may need to compromise on certain features or amenities and may not have the opportunity to customize the home to your exact specifications, depending on HOA limitations and your budget.
  • Competition: Generally speaking, move-in ready homes are going to be in higher demand than fixer uppers. Though this is not always the case, it's good to be mentally and financially prepared for bidding wars and competition. Move-in ready properties in desirable neighborhoods or with desirable features may attract significant competition. This is just another reason that working with a real estate team you can trust is so key. 

When you're ready to start looking for a home in Columbus, we are here to help. Contact us any time to get started. 

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