What "Move-In Ready" Really Means, and Whether a Move-In Ready Home Is Right for You

Most home buyers are looking for an easy shopping experience. They are looking for a move-in ready home that will be simple to move their family into quickly without the hassle of having to make costly, time-consuming repairs. A move-in ready home is a great choice for homebuyers who are seeking a house that doesn’t require a large amount of updating and remodeling.

But that only sometimes means that move-in ready homes are listed the same way across the board. Homebuyers tend to think of move-in ready homes differently based on their own expectations. So what makes a home move-in ready, what can you expect from these sorts of listings, and is a move-in ready home right for you?

What makes a home move-in ready?

A home is legally considered move-in ready when it is structurally sound and meets all code requirements for livability. The age of a home is no factor when considering whether or not it is move-in ready. While each state has different needs, there are some basic ones across the board before a home can be listed as move-in ready. The house will have structurally sound walls and a functional roof, the windows will be intact, and you will have running water and working electricity, plumbing, and other basic utilities. While all of these functional properties will be intact, the house may not come with brand-new appliances or updated wallpaper and carpeting. While the house might not match your preferred aesthetic, a move-in ready home will be safe for you and your family to move into immediately.

Typical features of a move-in ready home

The main feature of a move-in ready home is that it will be habitable immediately. A home inspector should have already completed a thorough inspection of the home and can certify that the following features are up to code. Here are some specific expectations that you will be able to check on when you view a move-in ready home.

Roofing and exterior walls

A move-in ready home will have an intact roof. The roof should be checked by the home inspector and be certified as free from major and minor damage, such as loose shingles, discoloration, leaks, cracks, and water damage. Brick homes should have up-to-date tuckpointing with no loose bricks or broken mortar. Houses with siding should be proven to be structurally sound with no missing pieces.


Running water is one of the top priorities in a move-in-ready home. All faucets should run clean and clear with no signs of blockage in the drains. Toilets should flush easily, and there should be no water damage around water fixtures and pipes.


Every home built in the United States must meet the National Electrical Code. This code lays out very specific rules for the placement of electrical outlets in the living spaces in your house. These rules specify that any living space must have a working electrical outlet, including the kitchen, living room, family room, and each bedroom. These outlets must be spaced in a specific way, and they must not be placed too close to running water. Some older houses may need to be built to current electrical codes. Discuss any risks and repair costs with your home inspector before buying.

Heating and cooling systems

Move-in ready homes will have a functional heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) system. They should be clean, their filters will be replaced, and any damage should have been repaired, including fan belts. The home seller should be able to tell you how many years remain in the HVAC system, as a well-maintained system can function for up to 25 years. There should be no evidence of any pest infestations, and the refrigerant levels should be acceptable.


Home sellers are not required to leave their existing appliances for the subsequent house owners; however, move-in ready homes will include devices. These appliances are only sometimes new and sometimes may be close to their replacement age. When buying a move-in ready home, make sure to check the age, condition, and energy efficiency, rating of the refrigerator, dishwasher, stove, freezer, washer, dryer, and the heating and cooling system to decide which ones you will keep and which ones you will need to replace.

Walls and flooring

In a move-in ready home, the floor should be level, and the wall should be even. There should be no warping or gaps between the ceiling and the walls or the floors and the walls. The molding around the doors and windows should line up with no warping or unevenness. There should be no evidence of water stains and no obvious holes in any surfaces.

Windows and doors

All windows and doors in the home should open and close easily. There should be no evidence of water damage around doors or windows, and none should be sticking when they are opened and closed. There should be no warping, and all locks on windows and doors should be functional. Move-in ready homes should have window locks accessible from the inside with home security sensors. All exterior doors should be equipped with double locking mechanisms that are functional and can be changed by a locksmith after you have acquired the home. If the house has a biometric key system, the system memory should be wiped before move-in.

Is a move-in ready home the right plan for you?

Before buying your home, consider exactly what you want and what you can do without. If you are looking for a turnkey home ready for your family to move into immediately, then a move-in ready house is a great idea for you. While the aesthetic might not fit your ideal immediately, things like carpeting, flooring, and wallpaper can be switched out easily to fit your design aesthetic. A move-in ready home will provide a safe place to move your family into quickly without having to concern yourself about safety issues. Design aesthetics can be crafted later.

Finding the right realtor

Working with the right realtor can be the first step in finding the perfect home for you and your family. Steamboat Springs real estate contains many beautiful move-in-ready homes. For an experienced realtor to help you, contact Cheryl Foote today. No one knows Steamboat Springs better than Cheryl!

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Explore our blog posts for invaluable insights on buying or selling a home in Steamboat Springs, brought to you by Cheryl Foote—a leading local real estate agent with a proven track record of success. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or an experienced investor, Cheryl's expertise in the Steamboat Springs real estate market will guide you through every step of your property journey. Don't miss the chance to work with a top-producing advocate for both buyers and sellers in this highly competitive market. Reach out to Cheryl today and take the first step toward achieving your Steamboat Springs real estate goals!
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