If you’ve spent much time browsing real estate listings, you’ve probably noticed some properties describing and marketing the home as move-in ready. The perspective Buyer is hoping and believes when a seller’s agent lists their property as move-in ready, there won’t be any work required before the buyer can move in and make themselves at home.
But what, more specifically, should be a Buyer’s expectation for a move-in ready home? Is it just marketing for the home, or does it really mean there is nothing to be done?
What Should Expect of a Move-in Ready Home?
The first thing to understand is that this is not a legal definition; technically, any seller can list their home as move-in ready, regardless of its true condition. Buyers can’t take it as an ironclad guarantee, then, but most of the time, homes that are marked as move-in ready genuinely are.
So what should a Buyer expect for a move-in ready home? Simply it should be ready for occupancy, without any repairs needed first.
Please find a simple checklist to help you determine if the house whether described or not is move-in ready. Here are things I believe you should expect for a move-in ready home, and in no particular order:
- Electricity. You should expect that there is proper electrical power; that all the wiring is up to code; and that older outlets or switches have been replaced.
- Plumbing. All the household plumbing should be in good working order. It should be up to code, and there shouldn’t be any obvious or significant leaks anywhere on the property.
- Roof. The entire roof, gutters, and downspouts are in good shape, and still has several years left in it. For instance, you may have a 30-year-old roof on the house, and while it may not be leaking right now, its days are probably numbered. Such a house wouldn’t be characterized as move-in ready.
- HVAC. The home should also have heating and cooling systems that work properly and have a few years left in them. If the air conditioning unit is just a year away from needing replacement, the home shouldn’t be labeled as move-in ready.
- Kitchen. When it comes to the kitchen, the key trait is functionality. A kitchen may need some aesthetic updates, and that doesn’t keep it from being move-in ready. However, a move-in ready kitchen should have a kitchen where the outlets and all the appliances work the way they’re supposed to.
- Bathrooms. Again, the thing to think about here is utility, not aesthetics. The bathrooms should all be ready for normal use, which means the toilets should flush and the drains should be unclogged. Cosmetic issues aren’t deal-breakers per se.
- Flooring. So long as the flooring is reasonably clean and free of any warping or buckling, it can qualify as move-in ready.
- Paint. It’s not required that a home have fresh paint but the overall painted surfaces are in good serviceable condition. There shouldn’t be peeling or chipped paint everywhere. A bigger bonus of walls are free from nails and touch up has been done.
This short list should go a long way to help you determine if property condition is indeed move-in ready whether described or not in the listing. Condition is a factor in buying a house, Buyer’s shouldn’t perform any home inspections because a home because it looks good, but it certainly inspire confidence that the home is maintained.