New Home vs. Fixer-Upper: Pros and Cons of Each

New Home vs. Fixer-Upper: Pros and Cons of Each

If you’re in the market for a house, you’re already keenly aware that convenience and comfort come at a cost. Buying a fixer-upper is appealing for a lot of people because it typically comes with a more approachable price. The need for renovations is factored into the sale price, making it an attractive option—especially for those who are searching for their first home and those interested in flipping the house for a profit. However, a fixer-upper comes with its own set of challenges.

On the flip side, a move-in ready home can feel like a sigh of relief after a long search. You don’t have to worry about how long upgrades will take, or how much the renovations will cost. There are pros and cons to both options. Learn more about the unique challenges that each type of home presents so that you can make the right decision for you and your family.

Consider Your Budget

The first—and probably biggest—consideration on your docket is your budget. Buying a new home will likely be a larger upfront investment compared to something deemed a “flipper house,” "distressed property,” or something with “lots of potential.” While you may need to do some simple upgrades, paint, or make changes to suit your lifestyle, a new home will likely come with newer appliances, an unproblematic roof, and no noteworthy creaks or cracks. 

painting walls

Although fixer-uppers are often more affordable, they may require major repairs. Replacing walls, floors, or the roof is extensive—and expensive—work. The time and cost associated with the specific repairs needed must be accounted for before you make your decision. Some special financing programs allow renovation costs to be rolled into the mortgage. A good rule of thumb is to assume renovations will go over the expected budget and timeline, and to leave a wide margin.

What's the Timeline?

Move-in ready homes are just that—technically ready to be lived in as soon as you close escrow. Though you may get the carpets cleaned or update a few lighting fixtures, you won't need to wait for a functioning plumbing system or cupboards to be installed. 

If you are willing to take on the work and cost of renovating a fixer-upper, keep a realistic timeline in mind. If you are DIY-ing each project, you will save money; it’ll come at the cost of your free time, though, and may take longer to reach your end goal. If you’re hiring out, consider your availability to oversee projects or ability to pay a contractor to keep things running smoothly.

contractors during home renovation

Creativity and Customization

Besides the pricetag, one of the biggest perks of a fixer-upper is the ability to customize a space to suit your needs. If you’re ripping out sheetrock and starting new, there’s really no limit to the possibilities. Your creativity, personality, and lifestyle can dictate what goes where. 

While it’s not impossible to renovate a move-in ready home, it’s not as much of a blank slate in the design department. It’s difficult to justify ripping out a countertop when you’ve maxed out your budget buying a newer build. 

Smaller-scale updates can still make an impact on your space. Whether you’re hoping to personalize a move-in ready home or starting from scratch in a fixer-upper in desperate need of upgrades, new doors can go a long way in both style and functionality. From traditional to minimalist modern, explore our range of interior and exterior doors suited to any style. 

new interior doors

Ultimately, your decision between a new build and a fixer-upper is deeply personal and dependent on your budget, timeline, and style preferences. By carefully considering your unique positioning, you’ll be able to make the choice that’s aligned with your long-term goals.