What Does Move-In Ready Really Mean?

Real Estate Blog

Most people have heard the term "move-in ready" but just as many have their own ideas about what this really means. You might view real estate listings that tout the home as being move-in ready only to be disappointed in what you find when you actually view it in person. There is no real definition of move-in ready as applied to residential real estate, so you might need to do some thinking about what the term means to you. Read on to learn more about what move-in ready really means.

The many meanings of move-in ready

If you ask most buyers, you might find that many just want a home that can be occupied right away without having to do a lot of work on it first. To show how confusing the use of this term can be, take a look at some common ideas of what move-in ready could mean:

  • All the appliances, electrical, plumbing and heating and cooling work properly.
  • The home has the right number of bedrooms and bathrooms, is clean and there are floor coverings present.
  • The home has been recently remodeled and almost everything, from the paint to the kitchen counter-tops, are brand new.
  • The home is as close to perfect for you and your family as it can be and anything cosmetic can wait.

It should not be about cosmetic issues

When you consider the trouble and expense of making repairs to major issues like a foundation or replacing the roof, the color of paint used in the rooms pale in comparison. To determine the true meaning of what move-in ready means to you, try to overlook the purely cosmetic issues and focus on the expensive and troublesome things that could call for a major repair to be accomplished before you can move into the home. While an updated master bath might make you unaccountably happy, it is the plumbing underneath that bathroom that might cause a home to be anything but move-in ready.

Communicate your needs to your agent

Knowing that the term move-in ready can mean almost anything, it becomes doubly important to define what matters most to you in a home search. No matter what it means to you, break it down and be frank with your real estate agent about what you are looking for. For example, you might want to know ahead of time about the age of the roof and about repairs to any of the home's major systems.

That is not to say that older homes that need work are not desirable. Many buyers target older, settled neighborhoods but then find the homes woefully in need of repairs and updates. A discussion of your needs with your agent that takes into your consideration your budget will help you avoid a lot of frustration about what is available to you.

You might be surprised at what you can live with in terms of ugly cabinets and funky features, at least for a while. Speak to your real estate agent about what move-in ready means for you and your family.


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