For families with school-age children, settling into a brand-new home by the time school starts is often goal ‘number one’. But because it’s now July, that may seem impossible to achieve given the construction timetable of most new homes.
And that’s where a move-in-ready home can come to the rescue.
Also called a ‘quick-move-in’, ‘speculative/spec’ or ‘inventory’ home, a move-in-ready home is already completely built or at least partially built. It may be an as-yet unsold residence that a homebuilder constructed targeted to buyers in a time crunch or it may be a home that was built for a sale that fell through before closing. Either way, buyers who want to be able to move in to a new home within a month or two may be in luck.
Moving can be tough on young kids, said Elise Goodell, marketing manager for Maracay Homes. “Having a new home to move into right away can help avoid longer school commutes while waiting for a home to be built,” she said. In addition to lowering kids’ anxiety, for buyers who may feel overwhelmed by all of the design selections that can accompany purchasing a new home, a move-in-ready home lets them bypass some of those decisions, leaving the choices to expert designers instead.
“For a new home under construction, the buyer typically has to try to visualize how the cabinets, countertops and flooring they select will look in the home,” said Reed Porter, Phoenix division president of CalAtlantic Homes, the company formed when Standard-Pacific and Ryland Homes merged last year. “In a move-in-ready home, completed finishes allow the buyer to see how these features actually look in the home.”
Dollars and cents
Generally, an inventory home doesn’t cost any more than the same plan would if it’s yet to be built. “But it depends on what’s been included in the house,” said Andy Pedersen, group vice president of marketing and merchandising for K. Hovnanian® Homes in Arizona and California. “We include our most popular options and upgrades in our quick-move-in homes.”
To get a mortgage expedited, many homebuilders work with lenders that try to accommodate buyers in a hurry. K. Hovnanian® Homes, for example, has its own in-house mortgage company, K. Hovnanian® Mortgage, LLC. Maracay’s preferred resource is TRI Pointe Connect. Fulton Homes’ preferred lenders “are adept at doing quick loans,” said Dennis Webb, vice president of operations for Fulton Homes. PulteGroup’s affiliate lender, Pulte Mortgage, “specializes in new-home financing,” said Trey Bitteker, vice president of sales for PulteGroup’s Arizona division. “This makes the process of closing seamless to our customers.”
If an inventory home is completely finished, a quick closing on a loan can result in occupancy in as few as 21 days, Webb said, although more typical might be between 30 and 60 days. Meanwhile, Bitteker said an all-cash buyer may be able to move in within seven days.
Bill Olson, senior vice president and division manager for Newland Communities, said that the level of customization options available in move-in-ready homes varies from builder to builder. Newland is the developer of the master-planned community of Estrella which is located in Goodyear in the Southwest Valley. In addition to single-family communities, Estrella is home to CantaMia, an active-adult 55-plus community. Surrounded by desert and mountain views, Estrella has a Nicklaus Design golf course, more than 20 miles of paths and trails, some 70 acres of lakes and more than 30 community and neighborhood parks.
K. Hovnanian® typically has quick-move-in homes at various stages of construction, Pedersen said. “Depending upon the construction stage of the home, customers may still be able to select their own flooring,” he said. “Cabinetry and appliances are typically ordered in advance so are more difficult to change out.”
Maracay Homes pre-selects all finishes for move-in-ready homes, Goodell said, while PulteGroup’s move-in-ready homes typically are complete, Bitteker said, and “very minimal changes can be made. However, the common items we can often accommodate include window coverings, appliances and landscapes.”
In a completed move-in-ready home, “the interior finishes have already been selected by our professional in-house designers,” Porter, of CalAtlantic Homes, said. “If a homebuyer wishes to make their own interior selections, we offer the opportunity to do so in to-be-built homes as well as on new-builds that are not as far along in the construction process.”
With move-in-ready, “buyers receive all of the benefits of owning a brand-new home with the latest in new-home finishes,” Goodell said, “without becoming overwhelmed with the large number of choices available.”