How To Tell If A Home Is 'Move-In' Ready

If you’re home shopping, you’ve probably seen or heard the phrase “move-in ready” in a property description. But what does that term really mean, and how can you tell if a property that “shows well” is truly ready for you and your family?

Typically speaking, a real estate agent will refer to a home as “move-in” ready if they don’t anticipate any significant repairs. However, that doesn't mean that there won't be any. The only way to be sure is to have a professional home inspection completed.

Amenities You Can Expect To Find in a Move-In Ready Property

1. Solid Electrical and Plumbing

All of the electrical work should be up to date, including new electrical outlets and switches. If you see light switches or outlet covers with old chipping paint, it could pose an electrical hazard. When it comes to the plumbing, you’ll want to look under the cabinets for leaks, rust, warped wood, or discoloration that may indicate rot. Don’t just use your eyes — turn on the faucet, get down on your hands and knees, and feel around for moisture. Are you sensing a strong smell of mold or mildew? That may mean major repairs ahead.

2. Roof, Windows, and Siding in Good Condition

When it comes to the roof, you’ll want to consider its age as well as the current condition. A roof that is thirty years old may not be leaking now, but chances may be high that you could see water come the next rainy season. Siding and window frames that are warped, lifted, or discolored are all strong indicators that water damage has already occurred. And remember that this sort of damage isn’t just about replacing the warped siding. It could also mean existing mold damage that would require removal and repair of large sections of the house.

3. Heating and Cooling — All Systems Go

The water heater, furnace, and HVAC system should all be less than ten years old. You may also want to ask the current owner if these items are under warranty, and for how long. If the heating and cooling systems are fairly new, you will have time before you’ll need to worry about malfunctions. But having that warranty info adds to that assurance that the property is move-in ready.

4. The Kitchen is Functioning Well

A kitchen’s layout and appearance are often a big selling point, but when looking at it in terms of “move-in” readiness, you should be more concerned with functionality. Be sure to check the fridge, the dishwasher, and the garbage disposal. Of course, modern appliances are more visually appealing — but if that 70’s style built-in oven is in sold working order, consider it a green light.

5. Bathrooms are Looking Good

Anything that prevents regular use, such as a toilet that doesn’t flush right, a leaky faucet, or shower with low water pressure are reasons to question the quality of the property. Mildew is often an issue in the bathroom; however extensive staining from mildew could mean inadequate ventilation and possible structural damage. Definitely not move-in ready!

A home in need of additional repairs is not necessarily a deal breaker. It may even allow you some wiggle room for negotiating the price down. But you have to do your homework.

Let your home inspector help identify potential problems. Then trust your Midwest Lending mortgage professional to help you secure the funding you need to purchase (and possibly repair) your new home.

Contact us today for a free consultation.