Congrats! You just bought a new home, one you're excited to renovate and make your own. Here's a question: when should you move in? Should you renovate first…or wait?
From our perspective, we believe the best time to renovate is when the house is unoccupied. It’s less expensive because the builder doesn’t have to spend so much time protecting contents from dust/damage and moving furniture. It's also much less disruptive to the homeowner. Every aspect of the project will be more efficient and less expensive because the trades can get in and concentrate on the task at hand.
That said, we know it's not a perfect world and that there are good reasons for waiting to renovate your new home. Here are some things to keep in mind as you make this important decision.
Note: For the purpose of this article, we're talking about major home renovation/remodeling projects, not re-painting or removing wallpaper (both of which are good things to do before you move in, if you can swing it).
If you remodel before moving in, do you have a place for you and your family to stay for the duration? Depending on the complexity of the renovation you have in mind, you could be looking at several months (at least) before the renovation is complete. If you opt to stay in your current home, condo, or apartment, you'll be making double payments on many things (e.g. mortgage/rent, utilities, etc.).
Even if you stay in a rent-free location (with family, for example), just be sure everyone is comfortable with the setup and the timeframe.
How confident do you feel about your renovation "vision"? You might indeed have a strong vision and know exactly what you want. If so, that's great. But if you're hedging at all, it might make sense to wait.
For example, you might be eyeing the kitchen, knowing you want to make functional and aesthetic changes, but you're still unsure exactly what those changes need to be. This is normal. Sometimes you need to live in a space for a little while to understand how you and your family are going to use it. The ideas you had during the open house when you first fell in love with the home might end up being quite different from the ideas you generate after living in the house for a few months.
How extensive are your remodeling plans? There's a big difference between remodeling a second bathroom and renovating an entire home. For the latter, it would make sense to renovate first before moving in. But for smaller remodeling jobs that won't be as disruptive? You could move in while those renovations are taking place.
What are your family dynamics like? If it's just you or just you and a partner, it's easier to live through disruptive renovations than it would be for a family with two parents, three small kids, and a mother-in-law who has a hard time walking. Again, it comes down to how extensive the renovations are (including the timeframe) and whether you have another place to live during the renovation.
Can you "split" the remodeling plans you have in mind? For example, maybe you're sold on completely renovating the kitchen, the master bedroom and bath, and the second bathroom downstairs. A kitchen renovation is often a bigger, messier, more disruptive project (it is the kitchen, after all), so if you get that done first and then move in, the master bedroom and second bathroom renovations could happen after you're in.
Are you really ready to take on a major renovation? We don't have to tell you how exhausting and stressful buying a new home can be. Home renovations, while exciting, can also be stressful. Are you ready to take on this added stress, or do you (and your family) need a mental break, even if only for six months? If yes, then it might make sense to wait.
If you move forward with a home renovation (either before or after you move in), having a builder who clearly communicates timelines and schedules is critical. That's the benefit you receive when you work with a design/build firm like ours.
If you're in Rhode Island, southeastern CT, or southeastern Mass, schedule a no-obligation consultation with Hebert Design/Build to discussion your renovation vision.