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A Fixer-Upper or Turn Key Home – Which is Best for You?

by Sarah Parr - June 21st, 2013.
Filed under: Home owners insurance.

Use your home mortgage calculator to determine rehab costsWhen it comes time to buy a house, there are many things to consider. One of the most complicated is often what quality of home you should choose. A fixer-upper is often a good starter home for those buying their first place, for a variety of reasons. On the other hand, a turn key home that’s ready to move into on day one has its perks. Let’s explore the pros and cons of each option.

The Advantages of A Fixer-Upper

There are several advantages to purchasing a fixer-upper home. First of all, it will typically be much more affordable than a home that’s been completely remodeled and is ready for you to move in. A fixer-upper is often a great choice for families who want to live in an expensive neighborhood but don’t have the capital upfront to buy the perfect house. Another advantage is that when you fix it up, you’ll get to do it yourself and can design it to exactly meet your specifications.

The Advantages of a Turn Key Property

First of all, a turn key property requires virtually zero work. The point of this type of home is that it’s move in ready and you can simply unload your moving van and settle in. It’s also much easier to budget. When you know that work won’t have to be done then you’ll know you can count on the price of the home being the price you’ll pay in the end.

The Disadvantages of a Fixer-Upper

The two main disadvantages of a fixer-upper are time and money. If you do the work yourself, you’ll likely spend a ton of time getting the repairs made. Even if you hire the work out to the professionals, you’ll still have to research who to hire, make decisions about what you want, and wait for the work to be done. The financial investment can be considerable as well. Keep in mind that you can have affordable estimates but inevitably go over budget and find yourself in a jam.

The Disadvantages of a Turn Key Property

Once again, the main disadvantage is money. While you’re much less likely to come up with surprise expenses like you would with a fixer-upper, you’re also going to spend more on a home that’s ready to go. You also won’t have the opportunity to significantly raise your home’s value the way you would if you bought a home and made significant changes to it.

The Best Advice: A Compromise

Ideally you’d find a home that’s somewhere in the middle. It won’t come with the high price tag of a perfect home, yet the work that needs to be done will be manageable. Be reasonable about what work you can do yourself. Remember that if you take on more than you can handle and do the work poorly just to save a few bucks, you could end up paying much more in the long run. Check out to learn more about how much home you can afford and then decide what your best plan of action is.

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