The Shiny Penny: Move-In Ready vs. Fixer Upper

On January 21, 2015

Categories: Home/Real Estate

Anyone who has worked with me has heard my shiny penny analogy. Houses can often fall into two categories: shiny pennies or fixer uppers.

shiny penny

Shiny pennies are updated, without visible flaws and staged to the nines, often with meticulously landscaped outdoor spaces. Buyers LOVE these homes. So when you see one of these homes and love it, so did everyone else. And if you buy it, you are most likely paying a premium for all of those updates and upgrades.

In a competitive market with low inventory, I encourage buyers to go for the fixer upper. There is a large range of fixer uppers, so I don’t just mean homes that are soon-to-be or should be condemned. Those homes are often reserved for contractors and investors, both because they are experienced with renovating properties and are all cash buyers (banks don’t like to lend on properties that are in very rough shape).

So that leaves the homes that need updates and/or don’t show well. If you can’t see the potential, your realtor can. Look for the homes that have been loved and well taken care of. And ask yourself questions like: Is it functional? Does the floor plan make sense? Is it in your ideal location? You can change the purple shag carpet and laminate countertops later.

So we suggest keeping an open mind toward these ugly ducklings, because they are the beacons of opportunity. While everyone is flocking to the shiny penny, you can score the “worst” house in the best neighborhood, all while no one else was looking.