How Much It Costs to Get a New Home Move-In Ready

Nathan Law

You’ve been dreaming about this day for a long time. You beat out the competition in a fierce and cutthroat market and finally bought your first home. Now, you’re looking forward to moving in and setting up your house just the way you want it. If you’re one of the […]

You’ve been dreaming about this day for a long time. You beat out the competition in a fierce and cutthroat market and finally bought your first home. Now, you’re looking forward to moving in and setting up your house just the way you want it.

If you’re one of the lucky ones that got a house in perfect move-in condition, rejoice. For many, however, there’s still work to do and money to spend before you can finally enjoy your home.

How much money? The average home for sale right now needs $26,900 worth of work, according to a recent report from listing site Zillow and home repair marketplace Thumbtack. According to a survey released with the report, that’s about two to three times what most new homeowners expect to spend on getting their home move-in ready.

Costs can include projects as simple as fixing a leaky faucet and as complex as replacing faulty pipes.

What does move-in ready mean?

When people think of a move-in ready home, they envision a home where any urgent projects or repairs have already been taken care of, says Amanda Pendleton, home trends expert for Zillow. While the definition of “move-in ready” can vary between buyers, the home is basically safe, clean and functional.

You probably identified larger projects such as kitchen renovations or roof repairs when you toured the home or after speaking with a home inspector. Hopefully, you consider these things when making an offer and set a budget for them. Smaller or less obvious projects can also add up and swell your move-in expenses.

“If you’ve never purchased a home before it’s really hard to have a sense of what you should be looking for and what some of these projects can cost,” says Pendleton.

Here are four projects to get your home move-in ready and tips for keeping them cost effective:

Change or rekey the locks

Safety first. Unless you’re purchasing a newly-built home, you’ll want to rekey or change the locks on exterior doors. The previous owner likely handed in their keys, but you don’t know how many copies have been made for anyone from a dog walk to a cleaning service to the old owner’s family members or neighbors.

Rekeying means recalibrating the pins in the existing locks so that the old keys can’t open them. The average cost to rekey a lock is $350, according to Thumbtack.

Your other option is to change the locks on the home, which can cost between $80 and $200 per lock with a professional locksmith. Smart locks and some high end hardware could be more expensive. If you’re handy, you can buy new locks and install them yourself for a fraction of the cost.

Tip: Shop around for estimates. While some repairs you may be able to do yourself, others are better off left to professionals. To keep control over your costs, get an estimate from several different service providers to find the right person or company that can do the job.

You can find local service professionals in your area by accessing any number of home service marketplaces like Thumbtack, Angi or HomeGuide.