Home renovations suck. Actually, they are fun if you have the time and money to put into your home renovation projects. But when you have a young family that includes a toddler, pre-schooler, and teenager, the renos are an absolute nightmare.
We embarked on an ambitious renovation project. Our goal was to renovate two upper bathrooms, install hardwood and redo the second floor including replacing doors, trim, new paint and getting rid of stucco ceiling. What was supposed to be an 8-week project is now in 12th week with probably another 4-6 weeks to go.
We did some planning and were actually on track but ran into a number of issues which derailed our progress and forced us to be out of our house until everything is complete.
Being out of a house and additional fixes that need to happen has brought on extreme stress, pressure, and tightening of finances. It hasn’t been a smooth ride, but we’re getting through it.
If you want to survive home renos with a young family you need to do as much planning and preparation as possible.
Pick a good contractor
We’re fortunate to have a good contractor who’s not only quite a craftsman but is accommodating to our family needs and schedules. For example, he worked around our baby’s sleep schedule when possible by coordinating quiet jobs while the baby slept.
Budget for surprises
A general rule of thumb is to add another 10% on top of your original reno budget. I recommend you add at least 50% on top of your original budget, especially if you live in an older home. We ran into mold issues caused by previous homeowner’s inability to properly maintain the house. Now, we’re spending a good chunk of the budget on mold removal.
Make plans for alternative accommodations
During the renovations, you may not be able to stay at your house. Make plans for alternative accommodations. Start with family but even then still make plans for plan B. Either for a short-term lease or family-friendly AirBnB.
Expect and prepare for stress
Not everything will go according to plan. Paint color may not look right, supplies may not be delivered on time or you simply start misplacing things in the midst all the stuff being moved around. This will add additional stress and strain on a relationship with your spouse. The best way to mitigate stress is too be self-aware and know stress is part of this and is inevitable. It’s temporary and will pass. It’s the current circumstances creating additional stress. Discuss the potential for stress and things that could cause it in advance with your spouse. You’re in it together and need to support one another.
Home renovations aren’t always fun. You’ll go through highs and lows. The road won’t always be smooth but the results could be well worth it.