5 Ways to Spot the Perfect Move-In Ready Home

Kelly Crawford Team


"Move-in ready" is a term that can mean different things to different people. In some applications, it simply means that there are no major defects to the home, while in others, move-in ready, the term applied to newly-built homes that do not already have a buyer. At the very least, move-in ready homes for sale in Moraga, California should require no major changes or improvements before a buyer can start living there.

Regardless of how the term is applied by sellers, a conscientious buyer looking at Moraga real estate can take steps to ensure their new home is actually ready for the day they move in. The most important step is to work with your real estate agent to ensure they understand your specific wants and needs. However, before you can tell someone else what your priorities are, you need to figure them out for yourself.

#1. Look for a good hat and boots

There is an old saying in house building that a good "hat" and good "boots" are the key to a house that will last. The phrase refers to the foundation and roof, and both are essential to protecting the rest of the home from the weather and ravages of time. Fortunately, a typical roof will last years, and if a house is built correctly to start with, it may be a generation before it needs any foundation repairs.

The downside of the infrequency with which roofs and foundations need attention is that most homeowners are unfamiliar with signs of wear and aging. Particularly in modern markets, some people may buy, live in, and sell a home without ever even replacing the roof.

One of the first questions you should ask about homes for sale in Moraga, California is the age of the roof. Ask whether the current owner has any information regarding the projected lifetime of the roof as well. Different materials have vastly different life expectancies. Ask about past foundation repairs, and if it is a newly-constructed home, ask your agent about soil stability in the area.

#2. Get a home inspection

Make certain you have identified a home inspector you can trust and who knows what to look for and will spot problems that others would never notice. A good inspector will poke and prod every inch of the home and will also be able to spot potential areas where problems are more likely to occur due to the shape of a roof or the lay of the landscaping.

Additionally, a home inspection can uncover electrical or plumbing problems a seller may not have even been aware of. When considering a new home, have your own agent, and ask them about the builder's reputation. Even in high-end home construction, there are builders who use materials and techniques that only meet the minimum code requirements. Protect yourself by making certain you have a knowledgeable agent.

#3. Prepare for compromises

When buying a home that was not custom-built to your specifications, it is almost guaranteed that it will have some aspects you are not thrilled about. The reality is that compromise is almost inevitable when looking for a move-in-ready home. Prepare for those compromises by carefully listing and ranking your wants and needs.

Having your priorities delineated will protect you against a compromise that you regret. It will also inform how you approach the process. Share your priorities with your agent and any other professionals, such as a home inspector. Knowing what is most important to you will help them to provide relevant feedback and, particularly in the case of your agent, avoid wasting your time and theirs.

#4. Set solid expectations

Your ideal move-in ready home may need nothing more than for you to move in your furniture and personal items. On the other hand, having a room that is not painted to your tastes or a few minor interior repairs may not be enough to make you hesitate. Compromising on aesthetics may also be something you are willing to accept in exchange for a home with more space or an easier commute.

However your priorities align, once you have decided, stick to that decision. It is possible that you will find your priorities can shift as you actually begin looking at houses, but do not confuse an emotional reaction with a genuine shift in your priorities. If you find yourself considering a compromise you were previously uncomfortable with, take a step back and give yourself some time to consider. With a little space, you may find your mind has changed back to your original set of priorities.

#5. Take notes and adjust as you shop

As you begin to attend showings and get a better idea of the available market, you may find out things you never thought of previously. By taking notes at each property you visit, you can begin to develop a better concept of how your expectations are likely to align with the realities of the market. Use those notes as you revisit and refine your priorities. You may even adjust which things are wants and which are needs when you have a better idea of the current housing market.

In the same vein, you should have open and frank discussions with your agent about what you are looking for. Do not just tell your agent about your expectations, but be open to their responses. Be willing to reconsider expectations that may be unrealistic either in your location or the current market. Your agent wants you to find a home you will be happy with, and knows what the market is likely to provide.

Spotting the perfect agent

Finding an experienced real estate agent, you feel like you can trust can be just as daunting as finding the perfect move-in ready home. Regardless, it is worth the effort in both cases. An experienced agent who knows Moraga real estate, such as Kelly Crawford, can save you time, money, and a lot of disappointment by helping you to find the home that fits your needs.


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