You’re thinking of purchasing a home. Congratulations! Now for the big decisions. Do you want something that you can put your personal fingerprint on, or something with fingerprint-proof appliances? Do you want to retile the bathroom to your ideal color and shape, or enjoy a relaxing bath without eyeing the grout lines? Before you make that big decision, here are three major factors to consider.

Time

If the clock isn’t ticking loudly before a life-changing event (think a new career to jump into or an expanding family) then a fixer-upper could be for you. An experienced home renovator might tell you that if a project should take X amount of time, you should at least double your timeline for completion. (As the old contractor saying goes, “If I do it alone, it’ll take two months. If you try and help me, it’ll take six.”) With home renovation projects, be prepared to live amongst dust, boxes and plastic sheeting. If you’re going to be starting a new career or have a baby on the way, then move-in ready is probably in your best interest. You can always make changes to your new residence once you’re settled and have a routine established.

Money

Some buyers believe that a fixer-upper will save them money, which in some cases can be true. For example, if the changes you’d like to make to a home are within your budget or you’re experienced and able to do the projects yourself, you might end up saving some money on the final purchase price of the property. However, be prepared for surprise problems to arise, no matter how thorough your home inspector detailed their report. For some buyers, a move-in ready home gives peace of mind in knowing that the chances of something going awry are smaller, even if that means paying more money upfront.

Energy

Working on a home project is going to take a lot of energy – mental, physical and emotional. If physical labor is something you enjoy or painting is a creative outlet, this could be an excellent energy expenditure. On the other hand, if you have toddlers or are in school as well as working, consider that your energy bank might be in the red if you start spending too much of it on a timely renovation. Having a customized house is only worth it if you don’t bankrupt your mental and physical health creating it.

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