Should I Remodel My New House Before Moving In, or Wait?

by Kevin Gilday & Tom Gilday

The decision has been made. You are selling your home and purchasing a new one here in the metropolitan Washington DC area. The whole family is excited about the new chapter that is about to unfold. Separate bedrooms for the kids, the heart-of-the-home kitchen of your dreams, maybe even room for a small home theater – the possibilities seem endless.

Perhaps the homes you like and that fit your budget all, as they say, "need some work." In an ideal world, you would stay in your current home while renovations on the kitchen, bath, and other big projects are completed in the new home. But this ideal approach is not always possible.

More likely, you’ll be paying two mortgages, renting (or – deep breath – staying with relatives) while the renovation takes place. Alternatively, you will occupy your new home while the renovation is happening around you. So – to live in the home while renovations take place, or live elsewhere until renovation is complete – that is the question.

The good news? Either answer might suit you. It depends on several factors. Each scenario has its advantages. Each has its set of hard questions: Can you tolerate living IN a remodel? Can you tolerate renting or living with relatives during the remodel – essentially moving twice? Can you manage the financial burden of paying two mortgages at once? Beneath these questions are more significant factors worth exploring, so let’s dig into the possibilities and potential for living in a renovation or moving in after renovation.

Kitchen WetBar and Pizza Oven

Before You Buy

The answer of whether to live in the renovation or away from it depends, of course, on the house you purchase. As you find homes that seem to have the right kind of potential, invite some experts into the process. Your realtor and home inspector have expertise in this area. Your Realtor might have great resources about lending that includes some or all of your renovation budget.

The home search can also be a time to invite a remodeler into the process. If there's a home high on your list, bring them along for a pre-purchase evaluation. This will be an opportunity to measure your dreams for an open floor plan with the potential structural constraints of the home. While anything is possible, what is possible might not always work with your budget.

Renovation in Phases

You know those moments when you have an idea that never occurred to you before? You were just following your daily routine, and inspiration struck. That's how it can be with a home. In order to prioritize the most important renovation projects, you might want to live in the space and see what the space is telling you. A sink or bathtub that doesn't work might tell you something very quickly. But things like kitchen layout, where you would LIKE the door to the mudroom vs. where it is – these are more subtle preferences.

Another consideration for living in a remodel vs. remodeling and then moving in is the scope of work. If it is winter and systems like electric and HVAC need to be replaced entirely, living in those conditions might not be possible.

Shaffer 2017 Kitchen 4

Make the remodeling choice that is best for you

Prioritize – what can be done now, what can be done after you move into the home, or what can wait for next year. Your full-service remodeler can help put a plan in place where the big, complicated projects get done first while you are out of the home. Next year, you can begin phase two, with new windows or a remodel of the powder room. Phase three can be the final design elements put in place to create the home of your dreams.

Obviously, you will need a great deal of confidence in your remodeling company in order to live in the home during renovations. We at Gilday Renovations provide professional assistance from design to completion of your home renovation project. Whether you decide to remodel before moving in, or live-in while remodeling, our professional staff of architects, designers and construction craftspeople will guide you through the process every step of the way to ensure your remodeling project is a success.

If you are considering a renovation, please reach out to us and meet with our experts about creating the home of your dreams. Want to learn more about renovating a home, then please consider downloading the free eBook titled "The Essential Elements of Renovating an Older Home."

Essential Elements of Renovating an Older Home

Bath Design Home Renovation