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Should I refurb before I move in?

Should you refurbish your new pad before you unload all your belongings? With the best will in the world, if you can afford to refurbish your new home before you move in, the answer has to be yes!

Because once you’re in a new place, that euphoria feeling doesn’t last long. Instead of buzzing around cleaning, unpacking, making a home and ultimately ticking off your new ‘to do’ list, the demands of life and family can slowly grind you down into a state of comfortable inertia until one day, you realise you are at home in someone else’s style!

Should I refurb before moving in?
Should I refurb before moving in?

If you like that new house smell, then moving in when everything has been done means you can just pick off where you left off. No projects to plan, no dust and noise to live through, or wet paint to avoid – just move in, unpack and get on with living life.

However, for most people, the big stumbling block in doing this is cost. Refurbishing before you move in requires careful planning and budgeting. Where are you going to stay? With family and friends or spend money on rent? Staying with the closest of family and friends can put a major strain on relationships (especially if things over run), and renting can be expensive, apart from being the last thing you want to spend your money on when there’s real work to be done at your new pad.  

If can’t afford to refurb before you move in, then a bit of Dunkirk Spirit is required. Six weeks after you have moved in, you could still be living out of boxes while rooms are decorated, wardrobes built, walls knocked out and bathrooms refitted. But, if the house is not too much of a squash and a squeeze, and there are spare rooms you can move to while the work is done, then for many, this is a better option. Refurbishing a house once you have moved in is a lot cheaper than having to sort a short-term let. Plus, these rental contracts can sometimes be difficult to find.

The second good reason to move in before you make any changes is experience. Living in your new home first means you get a real feel for how you will use the space. Starting renovations too soon means you could make some fundamental errors in planning that you will only have to correct at extra expense later on. If you are more flexible with your timescale and are prepared for a more piecemeal approach to remodelling the home, you can take it one room at a time.

And, we all need at least one functioning bathroom in our homes, which means you will always have one space with a lock on the door to escape to if it gets too much!