What’s a Turnkey Home? 4 Pros and Cons


Among the myriad of homes for sale on the market, you’ll see plenty of fixer-uppers or dated domiciles. You’ll also stumble upon “turnkey” homes.

This little phrase means that the home is ready for the next owner to unlock the door, move in, and call it done. The house has already been updated or renovated with modern fixtures and features. This means you won’t have to lift a finger when the deal is done.

The Pros and Cons of Buying a Turnkey Home

There’s a lot of great aspects about a turnkey home. They can be tempting, indeed. But, before you narrow your search to homes that are move-in ready, take the pros and cons into account.

1. Pro: There’s No Major Work Needed

A move-in ready home is done. The previous owners gutted the ‘60s bathroom, tore up the dingy carpeting, and installed a new kitchen. Every major piece is new or updated.

If you work long hours, have a hectic family life, or have small children, this can be a godsend. There’s nothing like moving in and putting your feet up – versus moving in and immediately needing to hit the hardware store and make plans.

2. Con: Everything Is Done – to Someone Else’s Taste

If your home is move-in ready, there’s no work needed. However, the updates might be taste-specific.

For instance, what if the old owners laid down a new tile floor in the kitchen – but you hate tile floors? What if they chose inexpensive countertops when you would prefer to splurge for quartz?

These elements are not easily changed. In fact, they will require the work you tried so hard to avoid. Plus, ripping out a brand-new install is a waste of materials.

If you care a lot about the aesthetics of your home, a turnkey purchase might not be for you. If you just like updated finishes and aren’t picky about design, then the taste of the previous owners might not matter.

3. Pro: You Save Time and Money

The time you save by not having to do a home renovation can be invaluable.

That’s time you can use for other endeavors, and time you don’t have to spend living in a construction zone. When your life is crazy or your family is young, these savings are worth the cost of your home.

4. Con: A Turnkey House Is Just as Expensive as New Construction

Unlike a fixer, a move-in ready house is not on the cheap end of the spectrum. Instead, an updated home may cost as much as a new build.

On the other hand, a home that’s slightly dated but has good bones may be a smarter purchase for first-time home buyers, or if you’re not looking to buy at the top of your budget.

Whatever type of home you end up choosing, there’s one key to remember. The amount of work the home needs and the money you’re willing to spend should balance each other out.