What is a “turnkey” home?

In the real estate world, it’s important to learn the lingo in order to make the right choices. The term “turnkey” is one word that’s crucial to understand, especially because it can have a few different definitions. Ultimately, turnkey means move-in ready, but what that looks like can vary. To help you grasp this common term and become savvy in real estate, we’ve laid it all out below.

close up of door handle with inserted key on yellow background

Table of contents

What is a turnkey property?Who should purchase a turnkey property?What should you look for in a turnkey property?

What is a turnkey property?

A turnkey property is a move-in ready home that doesn’t require any major repairs or improvements before it is livable. In some circumstances, the term turnkey is used to describe a newly renovated property that doesn’t even need a fresh coat of paint, while other times, the word can refer to a home that is fully furnished, too. 

Today, coliving housing options like Bungalow are a popular avenue to turnkey living, as shared homes are renovated and professionally furnished, complete with stocked kitchens, already-set-up utilities, and scheduled monthly cleaning. These homes are designed for renters who want truly move-in-ready homes. 

Occasionally, real estate listings will use the term turnkey to entice buyers, even when the place isn’t properly refurbished. Since the term is used subjectively, make sure to research the details of the particular property before making a purchase or signing a lease.

In most cases, a turnkey property has already undergone all necessary updates, so it is likely to be significantly more expensive than a fixer-upper. This price difference accounts for all the work that has gone into the turnkey property to bring it to move-in ready condition.

Who should purchase a turnkey property?

There are two main groups of people who should purchase a turnkey property:

1. Those who aren’t interested in doing home improvement

While some homeowners are excited at the opportunity to build and personalize their space, others want to avoid that process completely. Whether you are too busy with your career or children to renovate or simply shudder at the idea of a trip to Home Depot, a turnkey home could be the right choice for you. Of course, your budget must allow you to purchase a turnkey property, as well.

2. Those looking for an investment property

Turnkey homes are frequently bought as investment properties because the new owner is able to rent out the space immediately. Investors will even purchase a turnkey property in a cheaper real estate market and hire a company to manage the property, allowing the investor to turn a quick profit without doing much work.

What should you look for in a turnkey property?

Even if you can afford a turnkey property, they’re not always what they seem. While the surface might appear to be refreshed, it’s important to examine the details. The previous owner or flipping company might have cut corners in the renovation. 

If you’re touring a turnkey property, make sure all the appliances and plumbing are fully functional and check the quality of the new paint and furnishings. Most critically, invite an inspector to survey the home. Foundational, structural, and electrical issues are hard for the average homeowner to identify, but an inspector is trained to pinpoint any potential home problems. As long as you do your due diligence, you should be good to go.

Looking for a turnkey rental? Bungalow offers private rooms in beautiful, updated shared homes that are more affordable than solo housing options in the same neighborhoods. Wifi, utilities, and monthly cleaning are set up before you move in so that coliving is seamless. Find a Bungalow near you.

Ready to find your next home?

Move-in ready homes and a built-in community so you can feel at home, together — wherever you are.

Suggested articles

loading spinner
Move in ready homes and a built-in community so you can feel at home, together — wherever you are.