Should You Remodel Before Moving In? What to Keep in Mind.
You’ve finally done it. You made an offer on a home, and it was accepted. You have a date marked on your calendar to pass papers, and you can almost feel the new keys jingling from your fingers. You can’t wait to get inside and make the place your own. You have many renovation plans in mind, but now you’re beginning to wonder if you should remodel before moving in . . . or if you should wait.
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer—only what’s right for you and your family. Here’s what to keep in mind as you make your decision.
The Pros & Cons of Moving In First
If you remodel after you move into your new home, you’ll be on top of everything and have the ability to respond quickly to questions, changes, and various details along the way. But there are disadvantages: discomfort, inconvenience, noise, and dust, just to name a few.
Project Types & Family Dynamics
Certain types of projects and certain types of families can make the difference in which way you go. Consider the following:
- For some additions, the builder can isolate the work to one or two areas of the house, leaving a nice separation from the craziness of daily construction. It’s much easier to live in the house during these types of projects.
- If remodeling a kitchen, a temporary kitchen can be set up in another part of the house to make life easier.
- If you’re renovating all the bathrooms at once, don’t move in. But keep in mind if you stage the bathrooms over time, the project will take longer.
If the project type doesn’t provide an answer about whether you should remodel before moving in, consider your family’s situation.
- Do you have young kids?
- Are there any allergies or medical considerations?
- Will the construction schedule interfere with important family events?
- Do you and your family members have trouble dealing with added stress?
- Will you need a sanctuary to retreat to where you won’t be able to see lumber, tarps, and tools at the end of a long day?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, it might make sense to wait before moving in.
The Importance of Preconstruction Meetings and Solid Schedules
A good builder will have a preconstruction meeting to discuss many of these issues so that he or she can help minimize problems from the start. The preconstruction meeting should cover things like parking, access, safety, allergies, work hours, schedules, changes, and so forth. Without a preconstruction meeting, don’t expect to be on the same page as your builder. That would be one vote for not moving in!
A construction schedule is imperative for a smooth running project. If your builder does not provide one, don’t hire him/her. With a good schedule, you can gauge how long before you can move in. Or if you’re living in the home during the renovation, an accurate schedule will alert you when a weekend getaway might be in order (due to the floors being refinished, for example).
A schedule will also help you know when you need to select certain materials so the builder can install them on time. If your builder cannot provide a clear, detailed schedule, consider another builder because without a solid schedule, the project becomes about as reliable as a roll of the dice.
As you can see, the decision to remodel before moving in might be a difficult one to make. If you’re not sure what direction to go in, let’s have a conversation. There’s no obligation, and simply discussing your options and the realities of the situation will probably help you make the best decision for you and your family.