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Movin' Ready

by Debra Gelbart on Jul 5, 2017

Quick move-in (QMI) homes are those already under construction or even completely build before a buyer makes a purchase. Most homebuilders offer at least one or two quick-move-ins at nearly every one of their communities. 

The biggest differences between a QMI home and a yet-to-be-built home are how long it takes before you can move in and how many (if any) options and finishes you as the buyer have an opportunity to select.

Most QMI homes typically are in one of two phases of construction when they’re purchased: partially built, where the buyer may (or may not) have an opportunity to choose some of the finishes; or completely built.

How quick is “quick”?
If the home has been completed and a mortgage gets approved quickly or if the buyer is paying cash 
for the new home, move- in can occur as soon as 30 days after purchase, said Bill Olson of Newland 
Communities, the developer of the master-planned community of Estrella in Goodyear. Estrella, which 
features 72 acres of lakes, is home to several communities including CantaMia by AV Homes, a 55+ community for active adults.

Meanwhile, Maracay Homes’ Elise Goodell said that generally a completely built QMI home is available for occupancy 30 to 45 days after purchase. K. Hovnanian Homes’ Andy Pedersen said a quick-move- in home whose buyer requires financing usually can be occupied 45 to 60 days after a purchase. 

A partially built QMI home may take an additional two months to complete, homebuilder representative say. By contrast, a yet-to-be built home typically takes at least four to six months to construct. 

For many buyers looking at QMI homes, "timing is key," said Garilyn Bourgeois. director of marketing for Eastmark, East Mesa's sprawling 3,200-acre master-planned community developed by DMB. "This area has seen explosive economic growth and we've seen an increase in families relocating for a job with a very short winder [of time] in which to buy a home," she noted. 

Starting the school year right
"A quick-move-in home allows a family to settle in and start the new school year without disruption of the family's lifestyle," Pedersen said. "If someone has their house listed and they need to move quickly, buying [an already-built QMI] home afford them the opportunity to skip the [months-long] process of waiting for a brand-new-home." 

"For families with young children, moving can be touch, especially on the kids," Goodell said. "Oftentimes the family has to switch school districts and the kids have to make new friends. Having a new home to move into right away can help the family avoid longer school commutes while they are waiting for the new home to be built.”

In fact, the school-year advantages, as well as other benefits, of a faster move-in timetable are spurring more than 20 percent of all new-home buyers to choose QMI homes, homebuilders tell us. In some new-home communities, it’s substantially more. “Over the past three years, an average of 35 percent of Estrella’s new-home sales have been quick-movein homes,” Olson said.

Options and finishes
Many families wanting to move quickly into a brand-new home may not want to go through the process of visiting the homebuilder’s design center and selecting dozens of fixtures and finishes. Others would love to be able to make a few of the selections, but too many could be overwhelming. A quick- move-in home can offer either of these possibilities.

If you buy early in the construction process, Pedersen [of K. Hovnanian Homes] said, you may be able to select flooring, paint color, tile finishes and perhaps countertops, but most likely not kitchen and bathroom cabinets. “Cabinets are one of the first items that gets ordered” after a permit to build is secured, he said, because of the long process to build the cabinets. You also probably won’t be able to make any changes with structural options, he said, such as an extended back patio or a loft.

“A common misconception is that there won’t be an opportunity to customize an inventory [QMI] home,” Olson said, “but depending on what stage of  construction  they choose,  buyers often still have the option to select many finishes and custom details with the builder. Even if the home is completely built, there are a lot of ways homeowners can personalize the house through décor and new paint.”

How to choose a QMI home 
Once a sales representative helps a buyer determine that a QMI home will meet their needs, Pedersen said, the customer is invited to visit a home under construction.

“We give everyone a hard-hat and walk them through the house,” Pedersen said. “We explain the layout
and present them with a list of options for the home.” The customer also gets a virtual tour using an iPad, Pedersen said; the device shows them what their completed new home will look like. “This has been a fantastic tool to help educate our customers,” he added. 

At that point, the sales representative will review the included options, go over the construction schedule and discuss the estimated closing date. Finally, the sales rep will let the prospective buyer know which finishes can still be selected.

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