6 Home Projects You Should Complete Before You Move In

Julia Pelly
Written by Julia Pelly
Updated July 20, 2022
Six projects to do before you move in.

Move into a relaxation-ready home by tackling these tough projects before you unpack

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Unless you’re purchasing a new-build home, it’s likely that you have at least a few updates in mind for your newly purchased abode. Deciding which projects will land at the top of your to-do list can be exciting, but it’s important to consider more than the “wow factor” as you prioritize the updates you’ll knock out first. Let’s take a look at six home improvement projects to tackle before the moving truck pulls in.

What to Consider Before Diving Into a Home Project

While some projects are easy to tackle once you’re living in your new space, there are some you should consider completing before you start unpacking boxes and settling in. 

As you think about what projects to check off your list before you move in and which ones can wait, consider three primary factors:

  • Additional costs associated with completing a project while living in your home

  • The level of inconvenience living through a project will cause

  • The safety of living in your space during the project

Skip the hassle: Do these projects before you move in.

1. Flooring Updates

Man installing new flooring
Photo: Halfpoint / Adobe Stock

Whenever possible, flooring updates should be completed prior to your move-in date. Doing so will help you avoid the costs and inconvenience of storage and temporary relocation and keep you safe from potentially harmful fumes. 

Trying to complete flooring updates after you’ve moved into a home hits the trifecta of being more expensive, highly inconvenient, and a potential health hazard. Your floor space needs to be clear of any clutter to undergo an update, so, if you already moved in, you’ll have to move your furniture and belongings back out (and likely into temporary storage) to complete your project. Plus, you’ll need to stay somewhere else for the duration of the project to avoid interfering with the progress or risking your safety or health, especially when refinishing wood floors.

“Installing new flooring is much cheaper and easier if your home is already empty,” says Rachel Zepernick, home interior expert at Angi. “And luckily, when you work with the right pro, installing new flooring is a quick process that takes a few weeks at most, so it shouldn’t delay your move-in date for too long.”

The cost to update flooring ranges widely based on the current state of your floors and what type of upgrade you’re making. For example, the average cost to install carpet is $1,760 while the average cost to install wood flooring is between $2,490 and $6,760. The total cost of your flooring project will depend on the size of your home, the type of materials, local labor costs, and whether you’ll need to budget for additional expenses like moving and storing your furniture. 

2. Kitchen Renovation

Family playing in kitchen
Photo: Monkey Business / Adobe Stock

While it’s certainly possible to complete a kitchen remodel once you’ve moved in, it’s one of the most inconvenient projects to live alongside. In addition to the inconvenience of not cooking or storing food for large periods during the renovation, you’ll also likely have to budget for daily take-out for quite a while, as kitchen renovations can take anywhere between six weeks and five months. 

“For many kitchen renovations, you won’t be able to cook or store food or appliances in your kitchen, so it’s best you do them before you move in,” Rachel says.

Kitchen renovations can also vary widely in cost, with average kitchen remodel pricing ranging between $25,000 and $40,000. When you’re already facing a project with a large budget, it can be helpful to cut the costs associated with living through a kitchen renovation. 

3. Bathroom Remodel

Children in bathtub
Photo: Moment / Getty Images

If remodeling one (or more) of the bathrooms in your new home is on your to-do list, consider the time and convenience factors before diving into the project. Bathroom remodels can range in length from three weeks for a minor renovation on a small bathroom to several months for a large bathroom that needs more extensive work. If you’re moving into a single-bathroom home, you won’t be able to live in your new space through a bathroom remodel. If your new home has more than one bathroom, you’ll be able to stay, but it will likely be very inconvenient, especially if you have multiple people using one bathroom. 

The average cost to remodel a primary bathroom is between $10,000 and $25,000, depending on the specifics of your project. Completing a bathroom remodel before you move in will help you avoid the additional costs of moving back out or the major inconvenience of living through it. 

4. Painting the Interiors

Man painting home
Photo: iStock / Getty Images

While painting a room is one of the quickest and lowest-cost ways to upgrade your space, it can be challenging to complete once you’ve moved in. When you paint before move-in day, you’ll avoid the inconvenience of having to move your furniture into the middle of each room and removing all the artwork and decor from your walls.

Plus, you’ll likely save money on the cost of hiring interior painters since they won’t have to spend time moving and covering your belongings. Completing an interior painting project costs an average of $954 to $2,893, depending on the size and scale of the task, and it’s generally much easier to do as a pre-move-in project. 

5. Remove Ceiling Texture

Removing popcorn ceiling
Photo: ungvar / Adobe Stock

Not a fan of your older home’s outdated textured ceiling? If you’re moving into a home built before the turn of the century, you may have to spend some time and money scraping your popcorn ceilings. 

While this process often doesn’t take long to complete, it tends to be very messy. If you already live in your home, you can expect to spend time and money covering your flooring and furniture and cleaning up after the job is done. You also won’t likely be able to stay in your home while the project is underway as it can produce irritating dust and debris. 

The average cost to remove popcorn ceilings is $900 to $2,800. By completing this project before your move-in date, you’ll save money on furniture moving or coverage as well as extensive cleaning once the project is complete. 

6. Deep Clean Your Home

Cleaners mopping floor
Photo: E+ / Getty Images

Your home is never quite as spotless as when it’s deep cleaned before moving in. When you have your home deep cleaned before you live in your space, the house-cleaning professionals will be able to access cracks and crevices more easily and recognize dirty areas on the walls, floors, and surfaces. If you wait to deep clean until after you move in, expect your pros to need more time to get the job done and charge more. 

“I recommend hiring a cleaning service to deep clean the home before you move in, especially after doing any major projects,” Rachel advises. “They’ll clean every last crevice in the home, including areas that don’t usually get any TLC, like cabinet interiors and appliances.”

The average cost of move-in cleaning is between $200 and $400, depending on your location and the size of your home. Deep cleaning that involves moving furniture and cleaning up clutter typically takes longer and costs more.

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