Turnkey vs Fixer-Upper Houses—Which Is Better?

Moving to a new city is always an adventure. You’re able to explore the area and find hidden local gems like a quaint neighborhood park or a hole-in-the-wall restaurant that serves the best Italian food you’ve ever tasted. 

But before you can move and start a new adventure, you need a place to call home. 

Buying a house can be tricky, and there’s a lot to consider. How many floors do you want? How many bathrooms are really necessary? Do you really need a walk-in closet or an enclosed back porch? One of the most important questions to ask is if you want to have a turnkey house that is ready to live in, or if you want to buy a fixer-upper house that needs a bit more attention before it’s perfect. 

To help make that decision a little bit easier, here are the pros and cons of deciding between a turnkey home or a fixer-upper house. 

Turnkey Home

A turnkey home is a move-in-ready property. There’s no need for any repairs, improvements, or major projects. Here are some of the pros and cons of buying a turnkey home. 


  • The house is immediately usable. If you’re more interested in the adventure of starting a new job or living in a new city, turnkey homes let you get right to living your life rather than focusing on repairs and renovations. 
  • Get an up-front fixed price. There are no surprises with a turnkey home. There are no hidden fees for replacing or repairing parts of the home, so you don’t need to draw up a second budget for unexpected costs. 
  • Skip costly appraisals and inspections. A new home usually comes with the necessary inspections already complete. 
  • Warranties are still valid. Most turnkey homes come with updated appliances and HVAC systems. If anything breaks, it may be under the manufacturer’s warranty. 


  • There’s less personalization. A turnkey home is a generic style to make sure it is accessible to the broadest audience. You will be faced with neutral white walls, generic flooring, and dull carpets. If you want your home to be uniquely your own, you’re still going to have to do some projects.
  • Turnkey homes are expensive. The market value is always higher for turnkey homes, which reflects the updates and premium condition of the home. You’re paying a premium for convenience and instant access. 
  • No quality guarantee. While a turnkey home is ready to live in, the quality of fixtures, appliances, and workmanship might not be what you want. You might need an additional budget for upgrading appliances, cabinets, lighting, or flooring. Additionally, the quality of the build could be lower than expected, which can lead to frequent and costly repairs. 

Fixer-Upper House

Fixer-upper houses have good bones, but they need a bit more work before they can really be a home. Here are the pros and cons of buying a fixer-upper house. 


  • Lower purchase price. Depending on how much work there is to do on the house, the market price will be lower. The more renovations a home needs, the better deal you’ll get at purchase. 
  • Chance to customize your home. With all of the renovations, you can do whatever you want. You can rip out walls, change the layout, remodel the kitchen, and add in a deck. You get to add your personal touch and make a house uniquely your own. 
  • You’re in charge. With each project, you’re in charge of doing it yourself, or hiring and managing a contractor. You get the final say about the materials, colors, and quality of the work done. With this control, you get to prioritize where the budget is spent, focusing on important details and aspects that matter most to you.


  • It is expensive to renovate. While the initial price of a home might be cheaper on the market, you could spend all of the money saved paying for necessary renovations. Not only will it be expensive to renovate, but almost half of fixer-uppers go over budget
  • A fixer-upper is a long-term project. Depending on the state of the house, it could take years until your fixer-upper is finally finished. During this time, you have to live somewhere else or be comfortable living in an unfinished construction zone. 
  • Small projects may unexpectedly become large projects. A home inspection can catch some of the biggest issues, but it’s very easy for a small project to uncover more issues. Because these problems have to be addressed, they create a much larger project than you’d planned. For example, changing the faceplates on outlets (which should have a very small budget and take only a few minutes to do) can uncover wiring that needs to be replaced (which will cost thousands and can take weeks to complete). 

Move To Your Next Home with Colonial Van Lines 

No matter if you’re upgrading to a new turnkey home or starting a new project in your own fixer-upper, choose Colonial Van Lines. We’re a full-service moving company and will make sure all of your boxes, clothes, furniture, and cherished keepsakes will make it to your new place. We take pride in delivering your items to your destination in excellent condition. Contact us today to get a free quote on our professional moving services.

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