If you’re a prospective homebuyer with school-age children, there’s a great option to help you accommodate the school calendar: a move-in-ready home, which can also be called an inventory, spec (short for speculative) or quick-move-in home.
“About half of our inventory homes are completely built and ready for a new homeowner,” said Rebecca Lundberg, vice president of sales for PulteGroup’s Arizona division. “We have a few move-in-ready homes available at most of our Phoenix-area communities.” In PulteGroup’s 16 communities in the Phoenix area, about 20 percent of the total home sales are inventory homes, she said.
Buying a new quick-move-in home ensures that “everything you need already is included,” said Andy Pedersen, group vice president of marketing and merchandising for K. Hovnanian Homes in Arizona, California and Texas. “You have all brand-new appliances and new finishes, so you can immediately enjoy your new home.”
K. Hovnanian has 16 communities in Greater Phoenix, with about 25 percent of its home sales consisting of quick-move-in homes according to Pedersen.
Purchasing a home that is yet to be built generally means a four-to-six-month wait for construction. But with a quick-move-in home, the only thing buyers have to wait for is for their loan to be approved, which typically takes between 30 and 45 days after purchase, said Karen Murray, vice president of marketing for AV Homes. That’s because the buyer is bypassing design selections, pre-start orientation, pre-drywall orientation and more.
“Busy families with school-age children appreciate that all these steps have been completed prior to their purchase of the home,” she added. AV Homes has 10 communities in the Valley, with an average of four to six move-in-ready homes in each community, Murray said. About 40 percent of the company’s home sales are move-in-ready residences.
Best of both worlds
Choosing a move-in-ready home that’s built to the stage where finishes like flooring and countertops can still be selected may give a buyer the best of both worlds: a new home that can still be personalized, but without the usual construction interval.
“A quick-move-in home at frame-stage allows a buyer to choose appliances and some finishes and likely will be ready for occupancy in about 90 days,” Pedersen said. Even a quick-move-in where only the concrete foundation has been poured is often ready for occupancy 90 days after purchase, he said.
A move-in-ready home also generally means you don’t have to worry about starting your children in a different school and then moving them in the middle of the year, Lundberg said. Some families may opt to commute to their children’s new school for a couple of months while their partially built move-in-ready home is on its way to completion, but they probably will be in their new location in the fall if they purchase before the end of July, Pedersen said.
Although most builders that offer move-in-ready homes have homes available in all stages of construction (for example, foundation only; partially built; fully built), many buyers prefer completed homes, Lundberg, Pedersen and Murray said. “More buyers in the market for quick-move-in are looking for a home that’s completed because of the urgency of school starting or beginning a new job,” Pedersen said.
In addition, buyers often prefer completed homes because they can see all the finishes, Lundberg said. “Finished inventory homes allow buyers to easily visualize how they will use each room, what type of furniture would fit with the space and what custom paint colors they may add to the home to make it feel like home,” she noted.
What’s more, move-in-ready homes often include additional promotions or incentives, said Elise Goodell, marketing manager for Maracay Homes. Maracay has 16 communities in the Phoenix area and about 20 percent of its home sales are inventory homes. Lundberg agreed, adding that a move-in-ready home often has a slightly higher discount than a new build. “This is because very few, if any, selections or changes can be made to the home,” she said. “Since a buyer may not love exactly what is in the home, they’re sometimes offered a slightly higher incentive.”
Selections already made for you can be reassuring, Murray said. “Some folks would much rather see the actual home complete with cabinets, flooring, countertops and other finishes prior to purchasing and a quick-move-in provides these buyers with the confidence that their new home is going to be everything they want it to be,” she said.
While some buyers may see prior selections as a disadvantage, “other buyers are appreciative,” Lundberg said, “because they may find the selection process overwhelming. Some customers have a hard time visualizing how their design selections will end up looking in their home.”
“With a quick-move-in, we’ve done all the work for you in terms of selecting finishes, colors, lighting packages and interior hardware,” Pedersen said. “We’re delivering a finished, beautiful home to you.”
Peace of mind
For families, move-in-ready can equate to peace of mind.
“People with school-aged kids have the benefit of showing their children exactly where they are going to be living,” Lundberg said. “Moving can be scary for some little ones, so showing them where their new home is, what their bedroom and bathroom looks like, and even how close they are to the park, can put their minds at ease.”