Finding “Move-In Ready” New Construction Homes

New homes offer you a lot of benefits.

They come with builder warranties, low maintenance and that fresh start feeling that nobody else has lived in your home.

But there is one notable drawback to building a home. The waiting.

Construction on a new home can take a long time. Even if everything goes right, you could be looking at a 9-12 month wait. Sometimes less, but sometimes it could be even more.

Whether you have to move now or just do not want to delay your new home purchase, sometimes you can’t wait.

However, a short time frame does not mean that you will need to eliminate buying new construction.

Here are some tactics you can use to find a new construction home that is already built and ready for a quick move in.

‘Move in Ready’ – Defined

But first, what does “move in ready” really mean? It can mean one of two things.

Most of the time a move in ready home refers to a home that does not need any work done. Also known as “turn-key”, you can move in without worrying about doing repairs or maintenance.

All new homes are “turn key” in the low maintenance sense, because, well, it is a brand new home.

In the new construction world, you are probably referring to a home that is either already built, or very nearly completed.

It is ready for you to move into in the very near future. Not all new construction will be ready to move into soon.

This guide will give you some tips on finding a new construction home that you can settle on and move into quickly as opposed to waiting for 6 months or longer.

Tip #1: Find a New “Spec” Home Near Completion

A basement bar with funky lights, dark counters and stone backsplash.
A bar area in a finished basement in a new spec home built in McLean, VA.

Many times, a builder will build a new home with a buyer already lined up and under contract.

This may be a custom home, semi-custom home or maybe the buyer is having the builder build them one of their existing models.

Builders also may build a home without a buyer picked out, to market and sell to a for anyone looking for a new home. This is known as a “spec home” because the builder is speculating they will be able to find a buyer for the home on the market.

If you are looking for a new home without the wait, check your market for spec homes. You can often find these online, or asking a real estate agent to check with local builders.

What you are looking for is for homes that are “completed”, “near completion”, “quick move-in” or have a “delivery date” that fits your timeframe. This is builder-speak for the home is almost ready for you to move into.

These homes you can often move in as fast as they are completed and you are able to obtain financing.

If you are paying cash, as fast as title work can get done, you can get the keys.

Brand new home, less wait.

Tip #2: Find a New Home Another Buyer Failed to Close On

Most of the time, when you sign a contract to purchase a home that means you will buy that home once all parties perform on that contract.

However, contracts do not always go as planned, and a buyer may not settle on the home.

There are many reasons a buyer may not end up purchasing a home. Sometimes problems happen at the last minute.

On a new construction home, this is often related to the buyers financing. A job loss or other change in circumstance could mean the buyer does not end up having the money to close. And other times, buyers just get cold feet and decide to lose their deposit rather than purchase the home.

There are many situations that can come up that causes the builder to lose their buyer. As the saying goes, one buyer’s loss can be your gain.

Builders will often have the home near completion or completed when they have to go back on the market.

This can be a great opportunity to buy the home from the builder. In this situation, many builders were counting on this sale and will be motivated to sell you the home.

In bigger communities, these homes can be given special incentives (closing costs, last minute upgrades, etc.). The builder wants to get on to the next home.

Looking for a completed home that has gone back to the market is a great way to get a brand new home and move in quickly.

It is always a good idea to find out what happened to the previous contract, and if it was the buyer’s doing or if something else is going on.

A classic kitchen with exotic granite counters, large island and white and blue cabinets.
A model home will have the most upgrades possible, for the builder to show off their workmanship and finishes.

Tip #3 Look for Model Homes

Builders have long utilized the model home.

A model home is a showcase for the builder, a completed home that the builder brings potential buyers to sell their home.

Most model homes are eventually sold. And of course, a model home is complete and ready to move into.

Builders put their best foot forward on their model homes. So you will commonly find them to be the most upgraded.

You have a chance to buy the model at two different points from the builder.

One, is before the community starts selling. This is fairly rare, but some builders will sell the models up front and rent them back to the buyer to use to sell the rest of the community.

Obviously this option you would not move in quickly, as you will become a landlord first while they sell the whatever homes they are trying to showcase. But you will be able to own the home, which helps with planning.

More commonly, the builder will sell the model homes after they are done selling their other homes. For a large community this will be when all the homes are sold.

You can also find model homes owned by smaller builders on a single lot. They will occasionally sell these after they have a new model elsewhere.

Buying a model home after the community is sold is a great idea if you want a well appointed home, ready to move in to.

Tip #4: Check For (Almost) New Homes

Ok, so technically these homes are not new.

But sometimes someone who buys a new home does not stay long. Life can change fast, and moving is often unavoidable.

Check online and with your real estate agent about homes that are 1-5 years old.

These homes have potential to give you a lot of what you are looking for in a new home. Modern layout, finishes, low maintenance and possible even transfer of builder warranties.

If you cannot find what you are looking for in a new home that can be moved into quickly, maybe an almost new home can do the trick.

More New Construction Articles

Here are some more resources if you are looking for a new home.


Just because you want to buy a new home does not necessarily mean that you will have to wait for it to be built.

If you keep a close eye on the market you will find new construction homes that are ready for you to move into. If not very close!

Have questions about new construction? Check out this guide on new construction homes, or reach out and ask us.

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Will Rodgers

Will Rodgers is a real estate expert, creator of this site and partner at the Alper Real Estate Group. Will has been sought after by many major publications for his expertise and creates sought after content for buyers, sellers and investors.