I often recommend that homebuyers live in a house for awhile before they undertake large renovation or expansion projects. Now, I’m not talking about basic plumbing or electrical issues that are necessary to make a home habitable; I’m rather talking about larger renovations and expansions.
Why live in a new home before renovating? Well, there are three good reasons to consider holding off on big home improvement projects until you’ve had time to settle in:
1. Living in a home can change your mind. You may have grand visions of what you’d like to do to a home based on its condition and your priorities, but until you’ve actually lived there for a time, it’s difficult to know exactly how you’re going to use the house, as well as what projects will and won’t work. Ultimately, it’s your day-to-day experience that will inform your home improvement decisions, not your early notions of how you want your everyday experience to be.
2. You deserve a break after buying a home. Buying a home is a stressful project and an enormous change in your life. In addition to being a shock to your system, it may also be a shock to your finances. I’ve seen buyers jump through hoops for months on end, spending enormous amounts of time to look for homes. For some, it becomes a part-time job. With all the decisions to make and the contractors to deal with, a home renovation can become yet another big, stressful project. Take a break from that stress and enjoy your home for awhile.
3. You need time to plan. Any renovation, no matter how small, should be designed with care; that means speaking to multiple architects, contractors, and designers to get their take on your ideas and options, which is a time-consuming process. Some buyers may want to jump right into renovations because they don’t want to live in a construction zone or pay rent and a mortgage at the same time. This may make some economic sense superficially, but it can cause some costly problems later on.
While you should be open to doing work on a home, don’t feel stressed about getting it done all at once. Live in your home as is for six months up to a year; take it for a “test drive” and see how it runs. You may be surprised at how your perspective and priorities change once you’ve had some time to settle in.
If you have any questions about this or other real estate topics, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d be happy to help you.