Packing stuff, re-routing your mail, and setting up the tech in your new space is a lot to think about. It’s no wonder shoppers go looking for ‘move-in’ condition. Who would willingly add extra tasks to an already lengthy “to do” list?
Hold on a minute though. Think twice!
A move means your life is in motion. You have momentum. Time can be manipulated and your money is in flux. What better chance will you have to fulfill your new property’s potential?
Some say it’s smart to live awhile in a space before making any changes, but in most cases, I disagree. In real life, a lot of people never get to the small stuff once they’ve settled in. And, if left to fester, small jobs inevitably grow into big ones and before you know it, the budget has been otherwise allocated.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting there isn’t any benefit to living with your space a little while before you start knocking down walls, adding a second storey, or digging a new basement, but be careful not to confuse the functional aspects of a property with its condition.
Thinking through what will work for you is wise, and even more so before you buy. It definitely pays to consider the primary purpose of a room, its relationship to its adjacent spaces, and the potential for arranging your furniture when previewing properties. That way, if there are major adjustments to be made, you know ahead of time and can be ready to engage the help you need, whether you get started right away or put things off for another day.
But, if it’s just the condition of things that has you down – and you’re really not pleased about the pink carpet - don’t be deterred! The surface stuff is easier to fix than serious design flaws, and can even be fun to ‘personalize’! So, apply these smart strategies and make the most of the opportunity offered by a move.
Smart Strategies For Leveraging Your Next Move
Budget For Beauty. No matter what, you’re buying a big box. Until you settle in and make it yours, a house is just a series of rooms. Comfortable homes with personality are created by those that live in them, and make no mistake. New home or old, this takes both time and money. Often, purchasers overlook this key point. So, in addition to fees, one-time expenses, and ongoing maintenance costs, why not leave some room for improvement? Literally. Whether it’s fresh paint or upcylced furniture in the short term or new floors and framed original artwork in the future, don’t forget to budget for beauty on an ongoing basis. You’re worth it!
Be Wary Of The Staging – Don’t pay a premium for somebody else’s definition of style. If you are put off by something superficial, you’re likely passing up a great opportunity to put your own personal stamp on the space. Beige may be easy on the eyes when shopping, but you just might get bored fast once you’re in.
Add An On-Site Visit To Your Offer – Add a clause in your offer allowing for an on-site visit with a designer, decorator or contractor prior to close. After your offer is accepted, but before you move in, make arrangements to meet the proper professional at your new property and get the advice you need in advance.
Make Wise Use Of Your Money – Regardless of the size and scope of your pre-move projects, plan realistically for the spending. As much as possible, anticipate your set up expenses, including necessities such as furniture, window treatments, and even a lawnmower – if your move means you’ll be mowing for the first time. And, for more significant fixes, consider clever financing. With proper cost estimates, qualified home buyers can sometimes negotiate a ‘purchase-plus-improvement-mortgage’ to fund the immediate renovation of their property when they buy. Check with your lending friends for details.
Don’t Just Manage Time, Manipulate It! - Whether it’s a few days or a few weeks, allow for overlap when arranging your move. Give yourself time between the close of your real estate transaction and the arrival of the trucks to a few tackle home-improvement jobs, big or small. Redo the countertops, pick new tiles, or replace the retro lighting fixtures, all before your furniture fills up your new space.
Move-In Condition Doesn’t Mean It Will Feel Like Home
So, when you’re shopping for your next home – new build, resale or condo – just remember, move-in condition doesn’t necessarily mean it will feel like home. Start smart by truly understanding your wants, by ensuring your home will accommodate your needs, and by estimating as accurately as possible the time and money it will take create a place that feels right for you. Plan properly, and you may actually avoid the chronic frustration that comes when you know your home hasn’t reached its full potential, but there is nothing left to invest.