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Do you stay or rent when you renovate with children?

It can be a tough decision for most, but renovating with children comes with its own set of problems.

4 min read

It’s no surprise that one of the most common reasons homeowners extend is to accommodate a growing family. But what happens to your family when you take on a major home project?

Even for those without any children, living in your home during construction is no easy task. However, when kids are thrown into the mix, things get even trickier. So, what should you do? Stay? Go?

Here’s what you’ll need to consider…

Type of project

The most obvious factor will be the type and scale of the work being done. On the whole, we would advise finding new accommodation if taking on…

  • Major roof work, as you’ll not only be unable to heat your home, you’ll be at a high safety risk.
  • Working with asbestos or lead, if these toxins are present, it’s best to keep your children well clear.
  • Taking on a refurbishment that affects more than half of your home.

You’ll also want to consider the access points for your project type. Rear extensions mean builders can access the site through the garden, or a side entrance. However, if you’re doing a basement conversion, your contractors might have to go through the home to access the space. This means your home will be more exposed to safety hazards, not to mention lots of debris.

Dust and other risks

Needless to say, when taking on either an extension or refurbishment, prepare yourself for dust. A lot of dust.

This can be a health hazard for your children, especially in older homes, where there’s a chance of lead and other toxins being present. Even without these factors, normal dust can aggravate conditions such as asthma.

If you do stay in your home, you can offer some protection to your family by sealing off the construction site. You might also want to consider getting air purifiers for bedroom areas, plus humidifiers - these will help slow the dust’s progression around your home.

Scaffolding: dangerous temptation

For children, there’s nothing more tempting than a new climbing frame, or some shiny new tools. Unless you have older children, who you trust to heed the risks of construction equipment, or you’re confident you can keep your kids away from blocked off areas, having such temptations might not be worth the risk.

You’ll also need to consider how distracting your children could be for your contractors. Builders might be able to help keep them away from danger zones, but doing so will divide their attention. Likewise, if your kids are constantly going over for a chat, they’ll be gabbing into your builder’s hourly rate.

What could you live without?

Most projects come with sacrifice. For some, this could be as small as losing your second bathroom, but for others, you could find yourself without a kitchen, running water, and even electricity.

Many homeowners have to get clever when living on site. We’ve known people to fashion meals with nothing but a microwave and hot plate. Others have had to hire out a port-a-loo, shower in the gym, even bring in a generator.

The real question is, is it worth dealing with these difficulties AND being a parent? Adults can make sacrifices, but children tend to be more stubborn in their routine.

Where to live - rent or caravan?

If you do choose to move elsewhere during construction, most people choose one of these two options:

Renting: the most popular option, as it allows you to continue your life as normal, with all the amenities your children have grown accustomed to. However, this is also the most expensive option, and can add a sizeable cost to your budget. Make sure you factor this into your calculations early on.

Caravan: not very glam, but could be a good option if you have land to spare near your home. Purchasing a second-hand mobile home, with space enough for your family, keeps you close to home, and lets you sell on this investment, once the work is finished.

Benefits of living on-site

We’ve discussed a lot of the negatives of staying put, so lets touch on some of the benefits. After all, there’s some very good reasons why homeowners choose to live on site.

Money - no surprise, but living at home can save you a lot of money when compared to spending thousands on rent.

Project management - being next to the action, you’ll be able to keep a close eye on how your project is getting on day by day. This is great if you’re project managing the construction yourself.

Character building - if nothing else, going through the hardships of living in a building site will teach your kids some valuable lessons on patience and learning to live without certain comforts.

Want to learn more about taking on a big home project? At Resi, we offer free consultations to help guide all homeowners through each step of the process. Book yours now.

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