Buying a house that needs renovations certainly has its advantages. You can often get more home for your money or an affordable house in a coveted neighborhood. Fixer-uppers also offer a path to ownership for buyers who lack a down payment or solid credit history.
Lots of people purchase homes that need work. In November 2021, Americans bought 6.4 million existing homes; of those, 1% (or 64,000 homes) were classified as "distressed." It's safe to assume these homes needed some TLC.
Buying a fixer-upper begs the question: Should you move in before renovations are complete?
Many will advise you to delay moving into your new home. Large-scale construction projects are chaotic, intrusive, and messy.
This isn't practical for every homeowner. Your budget may not allow for temporary housing, or you may want to live onsite to supervise the progress.
We think you can live in your new home during the construction project if you exercise a little patience and follow these helpful tips.
1) Stow your household items in a portable storage unit
A portable storage unit parked in the driveway provides a place for nonessential items. You'll have easy access, but your things will be stored safely away from the dust and debris that come with construction projects.
2) Create a construction-free zone
Seal off one area where no construction will occur. Depending on the project's scope, this may be where you eat, sleep, relax and work. While it may not always be quiet, you'll have a semblance of privacy.
3) Plan for dust control
Dust is an inevitable part of home renovations. Ask your contractor to seal off active work areas with plastic to contain the mess as much as possible. Turn the A/C off during the day to keep dust from circulating throughout the house. Scrub the air with cleaners and filters.
4) Set up a temporary kitchen
You'll be tempted to order out often if your kitchen is out of commission. That gets expensive quickly. Instead, create a temporary kitchen in your house where you can prepare simple meals. Utilize small appliances like pressure cookers, air fryers and electric griddles to provide variety. For convenience, consider purchasing or borrowing a dorm-sized refrigerator.
5) Get organized
Moving into a new place is chaotic enough. Throw in a major renovation on top of it, and it's easy to lose track of your stuff. Use clear plastic bins and bags to store your everyday essentials. Buy a label maker or employ a Sharpie to make a place for everything. Keeping everything in its place will establish a sense of order.
6) Plan for kids and pets
Young children and pets are difficult to plan for during a big construction project. Making alternative arrangements (such as having a friend keep your dog or finding another place for your toddler's afternoon nap) may be necessary. You'll also need to think about safety concerns. Work with your contractor to identify safe zones for children or pets to gather out of the way of workers.
7) Make your space comfortable
Even if you're relegated to sleeping on a mattress on the floor, make it comfortable and attractive. Use your soft, plush bedding. Hang art you love and display your favorite knick-knacks or sentimental items. Light scented candles to create a calming space where you want to spend time.
8) Have an escape plan
There's no doubt about it. Living through a remodel is stressful. At some point, you will need to get away. When you reach your breaking point, splurge for a few nights in an extended-stay hotel or crash with a relative or friend. You might consider taking a vacation during the project, especially during demolition, which is usually the messiest part.
9) Be patient
It may seem like the construction project will last forever, but it won't. At some point in the very near future, you'll be living in a home you love that was customized just for your tastes and lifestyle. Take things one day at a time, establish open lines of communication with your contractor and focus on the end goal to manage even the biggest home renovation.
Author bio: Brian Slater is the founder and President of New City Moving, a moving company in Chicago. Slater has more than 10 years of experience in the industry and focuses on providing top-notch customer service as well as a stress-free moving environment.
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