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by Becky Trent, Mosby Building Arts Designer

Pictured above is Mosby Building Arts designer Becky Trent and her family on the day they moved into their new home. And, yes, they will remodel it – eventually.

After buying a new-to-you home, a common reaction is to remodel it immediately. As a St. Louis remodeling designer who just moved into a new home, I ask you to please refrain from doing so.

It seems ideal to remodel your new home right away so it’s personalized to your tastes, and the major inconveniences of remodeling are over before moving in. Working in the remodeling industry, I well know the nuisances of living through a remodeling project; I understand the desire and theory of “getting it over with.”

I have heard many times that you should wait to remodel a house until you’ve lived in it for about a year, and I always thought that was just a cliché.  I just didn’t understand it!

That all changed when my husband and I recently purchased a new home.  After enduring the buying and selling process, and then the moving process, I now truly grasp that there are 3 benefits to waiting to remodel.

1. Enjoy the Honeymoon Phase of Your New Home

The first reason to wait to remodel (and in my opinion, is the most important) is that you’ve already dedicated a lot of time and money moving into the new house.  Most homeowners have an extensive list of “to-do’s” before selling their old house, which can be exhausting financially, physically, and emotionally.

After closing, many people feel they should jump right into the to-do list on the new house.  Is that really what you want to do?  The best thing to do immediately after moving in is to simply enjoy the “honeymoon phase” of home ownership!  Unpacking and settling in is enough work.  After that, allow yourself time to stop and smell the roses.  BREATHE!  SMILE!  CELEBRATE!

Purchasing a new house can be a major life milestone, so have fun with it!  Explore your new neighborhood, invite people over to your new place, focus on rewarding yourself for a major accomplishment.  Visitors won’t expect you to have everything figured out immediately so why should you?  Give yourself permission to ignore the self-inflicted pressure so you can relax and ENJOY IT!

2. Priorities May Change

The second reason to wait to remodel is that your priorities may change once you unpack and begin living life in the new house.

Perhaps when first viewing the house your top priority was to remodel the kitchen, but after moving in you find the lack of closet organization is becoming a daily pet peeve.  Or maybe you’re enjoying hosting events so much that you decide a new deck is more important.  It could be that you find the flooring needs to be addressed sooner than later because it smells like pets, or there were stains hidden by the previous home owner’s furniture!

There are so many possibilities that could unexpectedly change your priorities once you move in. It’s best to wait and re-evaluate that to-do list.

This was the seldom-used dining room of a Kirkwood, MO ranch home. During the design phase of their, Mosby Building Arts remodel, it was decided to change the use of this room.

With dining moved to another part of their remodeled ranch home, this space was free to become the home office they had always needed.

3. Make Wise Remodeling Decisions

The third reason to wait is that you simply don’t know how you will actually use the rooms and spaces until you’re physically living there. You may have devised a great plan, but the reality is that plan may need to change.

Just as the whole home makeover shown above, perhaps you intended to use the formal dining room for hosting dinners, but after living the house you realize that seating at the kitchen island is more practical: you decide to turn the dining room into the home office you always dreamed of. Or after a few parties, you learn the new kitchen layout you originally imagined would impede on the natural traffic patterns of your family.

I suggest that you completely unpack and relax in your new home. Host a few gatherings, experience all four seasons, and live your daily life to learn what would really work best.

Don’t rush into any big remodeling projects – take your time to plan them out so you don’t regret any decisions. The only thing worse than paying for and living through a remodeling project is to have to do it twice because it wasn’t well planned the first time!

To personalize your new home right after moving in, do something small to put your own touch in the home. Replace outdated light fixtures, get a new front door, paint the walls, replace anything broken or that presents safety concerns.

Save the major remodeling projects for later, when your finances and life have calmed down. Take your time to make a realistic priority list. Then give me (who is living through this new process right now!) a call to help you plan your home remodeling project. I would love to help.

Becky Trent, CAPS, designs spaces in metro St. Louis, MO.