If you’ve been searching for a new home, there is no doubt you’ve seen the term “move-in ready.” This description sounds very appealing, but understanding what it actually means is important so you have the right expectations when arranging your home listing tour.

First, it’s important to remember that the descriptions in real estate listings are written by the listing agent or broker. There is no set industry standard for what agents can or cannot say in their listings. While there are guidelines and rules which prevent blatant lying, most home buyers have become aware of the fluffy language used to market a home for sale.

The meaning of “move-in ready” is fairly straight forward; it means that the home is in a condition which is acceptable for immediate occupancy. The home meets the standards of living and assures the buyer that the essential elements needed to occupy the home are present and in running condition. For example, the home should have working plumbing, appliances, electricity, gas and locking doors and windows.

“Move-in ready” does not necessarily mean that the home is in pristine condition. It can often allude to the impression that there is no work to be done off the bat. A home that is “move-in ready” might still need significant updating and while systems are assumed to be operational, they might still be old or outdated.

“Move-in ready” is a common phrase in real estate listings. Understanding that the home might still need quite a bit of work to suit your taste and lifestyle, you can approach the listing with realistic expectations and determine if the property is the right fit for your needs. A home that is “move-in ready” for some may not be “move-in ready” for all.