Why it’s much better to relocate during your home renovation By: greening homes

April 18, 2018
Planning a Renovation

This blog is part of Greening Homes’ Planning a Renovation series.

Should we live in the home during the renovation, or temporarily relocate? Often, homeowners choose the former to save money and avoid the inconvenience of moving. In so doing they typically spend more money overall and can make decisions they later regret.

Living in the house when it’s being renovated is tempting. Spending money on temporary lodging like an Airbnb feels like an added, seemingly unnecessary expense especially considering the scarcity of affordable housing in Toronto. People with kids need to be close to their school, or they concluded the sale of their former house and want to move in to the new one during the renovation.

What they don’t realize is that living in the house during this time can add on average 10 percent to the overall cost. For a $500,000 renovation, that’s $50,000.

There are several reasons for this. The primary culprit is the added time needed to thoroughly clean and dust the house to ensure a more comfortable living condition for the occupants. When clients are not living in a house, the work day is typically nine hours. The team leaves the project every day “construction” clean. This means that the place is swept and materials and tools are organized for the next day’s work. A more thorough clean takes time, reducing time devoted to the renovation.

Another factor is working around the homeowners’ schedule when the subtrades arrive, especially when the water or lights need to be turned off during different phases of the work.

Moving in during a renovation, which often happens due to real estate timing, means re-prioritizing, and this compromises project flow and efficiency.

All these factors reduce the time devoted to the renovation, which stretches its duration and subsequently increases overall costs.

Another challenge concerns furniture and other belongings. What to do with it? Storing them out of the way in a room onsite can be disruptive when the homeowner needs to access certain things. The best bet is to move everything out of the house. Homeowners can rent storage pods that are parked in their yard, or of course a unit in a storage facility.

Would we recommend that homeowners move out even if a small part of the house or the basement is renovated? We would. It will still add to the costs for the reasons listed above. We have also seen the impact of renovation fatigue, when homeowners grow tired of the renovation, so much so that they make decisions that they regret later, all in an effort to end the renovation as quickly as possible.

In our experience, homeowners who live elsewhere tend to take a more objective view of the renovation.

Living away from the renovation is also better for the health and wellbeing of the clients and their pets. Renovations are stressful, particularly for dogs and cats, making them vulnerable to illness. Breathing in air bound dust, not matter how vigilant we are in keeping the house clean, is also problematic for all occupants.

Bottom line – living away from your home renovation helps us better manage the renovation so that it is completed on time, reduces stress and health problems, and saves you money in the long run.

This article also appeared in Neighbours of High Park Magazine.