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Fixer Upper vs. Move-In Ready: Which One Is Right For You?

When it comes to buying real estate, you want to make sure the property you purchase is the right fit for your needs. For some buyers, purchasing a home that needs some work is the ideal situation. For others, getting a turnkey home that’s move-in ready is the only option they’ll consider. And for still others, both seem like reasonable options.

The question is: which is for you? There are pros and cons to both fixer uppers and move-in ready homes. The important thing is to recognize which is the best fit for you, your budget, and what you want out of a home.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of fixer-uppers and move-in ready homes to help you determine which is the better fit for you:

Fixer-Uppers:

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Fixer uppers are, as the name implies, homes that need a bit of TLC – or fixing up – upon move in.

PROS

Discounted price
The major draw of fixer-uppers is the price. Since they need work, you can typically get a fixer-upper at a fraction of the cost of a move-in ready home of a similar size or in a similar location. So if you’re on the hunt for a bargain or you have a tight budget, a fixer-upper is definitely going to be the least expensive home-buying option.

You can make the house your own
Since a fixer-upper will need work and renovations, it does offer the opportunity to put your own stamp on the design and layout and really make the house your own. With a move-in ready home, the work has already been done and the home already designed. With a fixer-upper, you get the opportunity to build your home from the ground up with everything from flooring and cabinetry to landscaping and windows.

It’s a project
For people who are interested in home renovation, there’s nothing better than a fixer-upper. Taking on the challenge of completely transforming a home is a really exciting prospect for a lot of people, and if you’re in that camp, a fixer-upper is a great opportunity to take on a worthwhile project.

CONS

It can get expensive
Even though the purchase price of a fixer-upper is typically low, if there is a significant amount of problems with the property or changes that need to be made, it can definitely get expensive. Things like repairing electric, adding a new roof, tearing up and installing new flooring, and redoing a kitchen can get pricey, and if you’re not careful, you can find yourself way over budget, swimming in contractor bills with no end to your renovations in sight.

It takes time
Even if you’re a person who loves renovating homes, there’s no escaping the fact that it takes time. If you need to move into your home quickly, a fixer-upper isn’t going to be the right fit.

Move-in Ready:

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Move-in ready homes are recently built, updated, or remodeled homes that need next to nothing in terms of renovations or improvements. You can comfortably move in without making a single change.

PROS

It’s convenient
In terms of convenience, you can’t beat a move-in ready home. Moving can be a stressful process, and for many new homeowners, the last thing they want to do upon moving into their new home is to start managing a bunch of renovations. With a move-in ready home, once you move in, you’re done. While you may want to make some cosmetic changes down the road (like painting the walls or changing the flooring), there’s nothing that needs to get done after you move.

Better energy efficiency
Newer, move-in ready homes tend to be more energy efficient, which is not only better for the environment, but also better for your utility costs. Energy efficient homes require less energy to heat the home during the winter and cool the home during the summer, which can end up saving you a significant amount of money in the long run.

CONS

Home prices are higher
When you buy a move-in ready home, you’re paying for the convenience. Move-in ready homes will always be significantly more expensive than fixer-uppers in the same neighborhood and of the same size. If you have a tight budget, you might have to make some sacrifices to purchases a move-in ready home, like buying a smaller house or buying in a less popular neighborhood.

The “cookie cutter” effect
When you buy a move-in ready home, everything has already been done for you. Which is certainly convenient, but it can lack originality, charm, and the architectural and decor details you might want in a home. Newer homes sometimes feel more generic and “cookie cutter” than their older counterparts, so if charm and individuality are important for you, a move-in ready home might not feel like the best fit.

Fixer uppers and move-in ready homes both have unique benefits and challenges. Ultimately, you have to go with the choice that best aligns with your budget, your needs, and your long-term goals for your home.

I’ve created a free guide to help my clients properly prepare for purchasing a home. If you’re thinking about buying a home in the near future (or ever…), grab a copy! The Ultimate Home Buyer’s Guide

Using Baking Soda in Your Laundry

That orange box of baking soda tucked away in your fridge or kitchen cabinet can also be an inexpensive, and earth-friendly, solution for your laundry needs. It’s safe to use in both standard and high-efficiency washers and is one of the best products available to reduce your dependence on chemicals. Let’s take a look into the top 5 ways baking soda can be used in your laundry room:

Reduce and Remove Laundry OdorLaundry
The body odors found on our clothing and linens are caused by different types of bacteria. These bacteria are removed when the detergent’s molecules break them up and flush them away from the clothing. Less expensive detergents generally don’t have strong enough enzymes to remove all of the bacteria so baking soda will be a great boost to your detergent’s bacteria fighting power. Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to each laundry load to make your detergent work more effectively.

Boost Bleach Performance
Bleach is often used to removed odors and stains from our laundry; however, if the water is to acidic, bleach doesn’t do it’s job as effectively. Just as it boosts detergent performance, baking powder can also help how effectively your bleach works. Which equates to less use of bleach and it’s negative impact on our environment.

Use As A Natural Fabric Softener
Baking soda is great for regulating your water’s pH level in your washer. It does this by making sure the rinse water is not too acidic or full of alkaline. 1/2 cup of baking soda to each rinse cycle with balance the mineral deposits in the water and keep them off of your clothes. It’s the minerals that make your clothing feel stiff, baking soda is a shield for your clothes from these minerals.

baking sodaGreat For Cleaning Irons
Baking soda is a gentle and earth-friendly abrasive. The face plate of an iron is notorious for building up starch and scorch deposits. To remove this build-up, mix a paste of water and baking soda and rub the paste over the face of the cool iron with a white cloth. Gently wipe the build-up away. You can finish with a wipe of white vinegar with a fresh towel.

Controls Water Suds
If you accidentally use regular laundry detergent on a washing machine that requires HE detergent, you’ll get a mess of suds. They might be fun to look at, but they are a pain to clean up. If you make this mistake, just grab a box of baking soda and sprinkle it directly on the suds to break them down. The baking soda is good at absorbing the moisture and will make clean-up much easier.

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Fall Leaves Bring Sold Signs

Summer has come to an end and you probably are thinking you’ve lost the opportunity to sell, and need to wait till next summer. But that’s far from the truth! Although it’s not as hectic and crazy with the swarm of buyers on the market, the fall season brings out the most serious of lookers. They are the pool of buyers that waited out the summer frenzy to find their perfect home in the fall, and you don’t want to miss these buyers! They are ready to make a move, today! And selling in a slower period does not equate to less money. That’s a misconception that homeowners have based on untrue data that floats around. With the right agent and your home being priced correctly, you can get a great deal selling your home during the fall season. And might actually prefer it. Here are the top 3 benefits to listing during the fall season.

1. Serious Buyers. Let’s be honest, if buyers are out during the busy season, looking for homes, they are serious and ready to buy. Although the summer brings in a large crowd, that crowd contains a lot of people that are excited by the season, and fall into the “trend” of house hunting. These people end up not really being serious about the process and tend to hold off for another time. If people are investing time to look during the fall season, they are more likely to be interested in actually buying your home, instead of touring it.

2. Less Competition. Selling in the fall isn’t something many families can accomplish due to personal schedules. That’s why a significant amount of homes get listed during the summer season. Which means that summertime brings in a lot of competition. Selling in the fall means the potential house next door that has slightly more perks that may have been listed during the summer, doesn’t make your home sit stagnant since everyone wanted your neighbor’s house. It also doesn’t devalue your home because of the house that could go up next door that could be under-priced in your neighborhood and draw all of the attention.

With a slower season, you get dedicated attention to your property, which increases the chance of a sale.

3. Easier to Find Your Dream Home. Not only do you get to benefit from a slower season during the selling process, but you can also benefit on the buying side. With less competition on your dream house, you can get a better deal. The summer brings a lot of missed opportunities for buyers on their dream homes because they go off the market instantly. This will give you the opportunity to get your home on the market and take your time to find the right one to resize into. A much calmer pace to the transaction will make it less stressful, and everyone all around happier. Don’t feel rushed into buying a home overnight during the summer, it could turn into a headache. If you want a far more peaceful transaction, that has calmer pace, then selling during the fall is perfect for you.