Jeff’s Carlsbad Blog for First Time Home Buyers

Are There ANY Homes in My Price Range That Are in Move-In Condition?

Above a certain price range in the Carlsbad area it is possible to find homes that are in move-in condition, or new. But for many first time home buyers, finding a home in their price range that is in move-in condition is difficult, if not impossible. That may be true in your area as well.

Everything else being equal, a home in beautiful shape that needs no updating or cosmetic work will simply cost more. Folks are willing to pay for this so homes that are move-in ready will be more expensive. And they tend to not stay on the market for long because they are ready to go.

The other issue, increasingly, that impacts the number of fixer homes is that there are many more homes at the lower end of the price range, say under $500,000 (less in some communities) that are distress sales – short sales, foreclosures or bank-owned properties (REOs). In most cases these homes need work, sometimes substantial. Some have been poorly maintained or even trashed by the occupants, or occasionally vandalized since they are vacant. You will also see some homes that are not livable until you fix them up, and supply appliances and fixtures.

While some buyers are really looking for a fixer, one that they can put their personal touches on, others prefer minimal work/updating. Being realistic about the market you are shopping in will help you from being too frustrated when every home you see in your price range needs work.

Keep in mind that while having to do work on a home may not be in your plans, or something you planned to do this can work to your advantage. Since fixer homes tend to cost less, you can possibly add more to your equity by buying such a home and fixing it up, rather than paying a premium for a beautifully done one that is otherwise comparable. Just be careful to not overdo it on the redo, or to expect a 100% ROI – an over-improved home will not likely return your investment, especially if other homes in the area are less valuable.


If I can provide more information about Carlsbad and surrounding areas, or the housing market in general, or otherwise assist you in your home search, please contact me by phone or text at (760) 840-1360 or email me at

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All content copyright © 2009 Jeff Dowler


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