It’s important to look closely at how your decision will impact both the project and your life.

Share story

Q: Should I move out during a home remodel?

A: This is an excellent question to ask yourself before beginning a significant remodel. Many people, thinking it will be less expensive, prefer to stay, but it’s important to look closely at how your decision will impact both the project and your life.

To help decide, take these factors into consideration.

  1. Scope of the job. If your remodel is limited to a small area — for example, an addition to the house or renovations to a bathroom — your contractor might be able to section off the work area. If, on the other hand, you’re remodeling the entire house, you may need to accept that living on an active construction site is usually unrealistic. It’s important to consider the type of work as well. Will there be flooring installation that requires you to not be present? Will there be electrical or plumbing improvements that will require regular interruptions to your service?
  1. Duration. Get a clear idea from your contractor how long the job is expected to last. In general, the longer the job, the more you’ll want to think about finding alternate housing.
  2. Weather. If you’re remodeling a kitchen during the summer months, you may choose to live out of a makeshift kitchen in the garage and barbecue your dinners. Alternatively, a remodel that will impact exterior walls or the roofline may force a relocation to avoid inclement weather.

THE CASE FOR STAYING

The biggest advantage to staying in your home is that you will be there more frequently to monitor the progress of the job. There also won’t be any changes to your family’s daily commute to work or school.

THE CASE FOR MOVING OUT

The biggest advantage to moving out is the timeline for your job. A good general contractor will maximize their access to your home (within city and county guidelines) which can accelerate the project. Being away from the noise, dust and disruption can be a major plus as well, particularly for anyone with allergy sensitivities.

Traditional plans for relocating include renting a nearby house or apartment, moving in with family or finding an extended-stay hotel. All these options have their own challenges and expenses but will help move the project along more quickly.

If you leave, you’ll want to stay close enough to visit your home on a regular basis (at least weekly) to monitor progress and be easily reachable by phone or email for intermittent questions.

Last, but not least, don’t forget your pets. Consider where they will be most comfortable and have the least impact on the job.

It can be hard to find a lease for less than 12 months, but one option is to check the sublets and temporary housing sections on Craigslist. Another option — if you have the space — is to rent or buy an RV or tiny home that you might resell or repurpose at the end of the project.

If it’s a large job and you find you’re unable to make alternative housing arrangements, inquire if your remodel would lend itself to being completed in stages, but realize the overall time and expense may be increased.

Time and budget are two of the biggest considerations that go into a remodel, and both can be impacted significantly by your decision to stay in the home or relocate. In general, a remodel that extends beyond a room or two, or a month or two, is going to go faster and cost less if you, your children and your pets are not a constant presence on the site.

 

Erika Parker Price is the head of marketing for Blox Construction and a member of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties, and HomeWork is the group’s weekly column.