Hey, Real Estate Newbies: What Does "Turnkey" Even Mean?

So you’re scrolling through real estate listings, dreaming of your Joanna Gaines-style bungalow (located within a stone’s throw of the city, natch), when you come across the word “turnkey.” Which is when you realize that a) We’re not in Waco, Texas, anymore and b) You don’t actually know what the heck “turnkey” means. Let us save you the Googling and explain.

In theory, “turnkey” means that you should be able to just “turn the key” and move right in. In practice, it’s not quite so simple. Like so many other real estate terms (ahem, “mint condition” and “cozy”), turnkey is relative. For some listings, it means that there are no major repairs required. For others, it might mean that all furniture is included but no appliances. And for others still, it can include everything from dishes to bedding (um, ew).

So, should you get a turnkey home? It depends on what you’re after. If you’re on a strict move-in deadline or flinch at the thought of so much as changing a light bulb, then something more move-in ready may be right for you. But on the downside, turnkey homes are typically more expensive (as any Property Brothers fan can tell you).

Bottom line: If you come across a turnkey listing, make sure to work with your broker and house inspector in order to find out exactly what’s included and what (if any) repairs are needed. Or you could try giving Jonathan and Drew Scott a call.