How To Live Comfortably In A New House That Needs Work

6 min read

Last Modified 29 September 2021 First Added 11 August 2016

By Leigh Horan

Finances are an important concern when it comes to buying a house that needs work. Some people buy smaller properties for much less than their available budget, in order to save money and leave breathing space to add to their new home in a variety of ways. In other cases, financial constraints leave home-owners buying dream properties in woeful states of disrepair in the hope of being able to transform them once more funds become available. In both these scenarios a lot of work needs to be undertaken to make the house into a home, whether it’s extending the size of the property, or completely refurbishing. Whatever the cause, it’s crucial to understand how to go about living in a house that needs work, so that normal day to day life can resume and not be hampered by the banging of nails and smell of paint.

Moving into a house that needs work

Of course how you go about living in a house that is undergoing renovation depends on the scale of the work required. Even though living in your chaotic new home may save you money in renting elsewhere, there’s a good chance that this will slow the renovation down and cost you more in builder’s fees. A contractor is likely to charge more if you will be remaining on site as they have to take into consideration the needs and safety of your family, whilst rushing to complete necessary water and electrical work so that the house is liveable. To help you approach the task at hand we’ve listed some of the more common issues below.


If your home is undergoing a particularly nasty damp problem one way to survive is to get hold of a dehumidifier. This will lower the levels of moisture in the air and also serve as a heater in the one room you may be solely occupying. Make sure to empty the reservoir regularly and if the damp problem is significant you may want to consider finding accommodation elsewhere until the problem is resolved, as mould spores can make you very ill.

image of someone plastering


There’s a good chance that, if you’re undergoing a renovation project, at some point or another you’re going to be re-plastering the walls or having someone do it for you. Re-plastering is a messy task and will leave a thick blanket of plaster dust everywhere you look. Karen at welliguessthisisgrowingup has extensive experience of living in a house that has been heavily plastered and recommends laying dust sheets, opening ‘every single window when the plasterer leaves at the end of the day’ and using a fan to really get the dust moving out the window. Try to stay away from the rooms that are currently going through this process to reduce the risk of inhaling plaster dust.

Kitchen rebuild

A kitchen rebuild is a common procedure in a home renovation. It is, after all, where you will spend a good portion of every day, eating, preparing food and clearing up. You can most definitely live in a house that is having the kitchen rebuilt but the important thing is be prepared and resign yourself to the likelihood of becoming close friends with your local takeaways. Chances are that you’ll be given a timeline before any work begins. Once you know this you can begin to make preparations, such as making and freezing meals in advance, and buying a small table top stove to cook simple meals on. Be aware that you may be washing your dishes in the bath for a few weeks!

Living in a house while renovating

Living in a home that needs work or is currently in the renovation process can be stressful. It can be difficult to work out how to go about living a normal life and living in such a situation can put a strain on your health. The first, and most important, task you have when moving into a new house that needs work is establishing a timeline. This deadline of this is the time by which you plan to have all the work done or by which time you will move into a temporary home to allow the work to progress, unhampered.

Related – This Is The Best Order To Decorate A New Home In

image of stressed couple moving home

Having a deadline will help you to either push on with the necessary work, or hold on to your sanity. To make the process a little easier it’s wise to have at least one room or section of your home finished before you move in. If the extent of your renovation means that can only be one room, then keep this as the bedroom or living room, or any other room that is in constant use by your family. Ideally, having the kitchen finished before moving in will make life a lot easier, but as a kitchen needs a lot of fixtures this room may in fact be one of the last ones to be completed. When moving in take as few things with as you need to live and leave the rest in storage. Having lots of belongings dotted around your new house will only impede your progress.

Speeding up the work

To avoid asking yourself “Is fixing up a house worth it?”, get things moving as swiftly as possible by leaving all other after-work activities behind and focus solely on your house until you can get it into a more manageable state. Fortunately living in an unfinished home, rather than living elsewhere whilst your home is finished, will help to keep your priorities in order. Make sure you’re buying plaster before you’re buying that new rug for the hallway!

image of a woman surrounded by boxes

If you live near family or close friends, see if they would be willing to baby or pet-sit for you after work. Not having any distractions will free you up to work on your home until the sun goes down. If your renovation is on quite a large scale make sure you’re focusing on the most essential projects first. Don’t fall prey to doing inessential tasks beforehand, such as gardening or sourcing furniture. Leave the outside work to when all the other tasks are completed and only focus on the exterior in the warmer months. It’s essential your home is comfortable for winter so that you have somewhere enjoyable to hide away from the weather in.

Hopefully your renovation doesn’t take too long and your new house is perfectly liveable sooner rather than later. Working on your new house will mean it’s a new home sooner than you know and you and your family can leave the stress of the renovation in the past.

Do you have any tips and tricks on how to live in a home that needs work? Give us your guidance in the comments section.

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