When you’re house hunting, you’re likely to come across listings that describe a home as being “move-in ready.” But what does move-in ready actually mean? Does it mean that no work needs to be done on the home? Or perhaps it means that it features all the latest finishes and appliances? Or maybe it simply means that the home has no major issues that would make it uninhabitable? It may come as no surprise that the definition of this phrase may be different depending on who you ask. Here are the most common interpretations of this popular real estate phrase.
No remodeling is needed
One interpretation of move-in ready is that the home does not require any major upgrades or renovations. This would include changes to the layout, major upgrades to the kitchen or bathrooms, or other big repairs like a new roof. This type of home should contain updated electrical and plumbing systems, newer windows and siding, up-to-date HVAC systems, and undamaged flooring. In a move-in ready home, a buyer should be able to move in without having to make any structural changes or big repairs that would require permits or approvals from an HOA.
No cosmetic changes are needed
Another interpretation of move-in-ready is that the new owner will not need to make any cosmetic changes to the home. This implies that the home has all the latest home décor trends, has been freshly painted, and includes new fixtures and appliances. The new owners should not need to make any changes to the home for it to feel up-to-date and modern. This type of home should feel fresh and new and only require that the new owners move in their belongings.
The house is habitable – but maybe not pretty
There is a third interpretation of move-in-ready that buyers should definitely know about because it may not meet with their expectations. Some sellers may describe a home as being move-in ready if it is simply habitable. This could mean that the house could still use some renovations. It may also mean that the home is in need of cosmetic updates. In this definition, a home that has not been updated since the 1960s could be considered move-in ready.
The final walk-through has been completed
Finally, move-in ready can simply mean that the final walk-through items have been addressed in the eyes of the seller. The entire pre-closing checklist has been addressed. This includes the electrical and plumbing systems, HVAC, cleaning and painting, and changing the locks. In the final walk-through, the buyer examines the property to make sure that all aspects of the agreement have been met before closing.
Ultimately, the responsibility is on the buyer to determine what move-in ready actually means for each particular home. You may be expecting a state-of-the-art home with all the bells and whistles. But you may end up finding a home that hasn’t changed since 1972. Know what you’re looking for, and be clear about your needs. When it doubt, talk with your real estate agent to make sure you are both on the same page.