Home renovations: Coping with the chaos

No matter how well executed they are, home renovations are bound to upset your daily routine, and unless you are well prepared for the disruption it can really sour your appreciation of the finished project.

Dr Piet Botha, chairman of Nationlink estate agency group, says that whatever the reason for their renovation - to modernise the home, to increase the value of the property or perhaps to create more living space - homeowners who focus on the anticipated benefit tend to cope better than those who can't see beyond the chaos that almost inevitably accompanies building projects.

And to achieve this focus, he says, it really pays to spend extra time planning the project and double-checking the process. "Things can quickly spiral out of control if every detail is not carefully mapped out. For example, the homeowner needs to ensure that all the materials needed have been listed and ordered, and that they will be delivered on time so that the project can go ahead without delays."

"In addition, homeowners who want to keep their cool should think through which areas of their home are likely to be affected by the renovation, and what they can do to minimise non-essential 'traffic' in these areas as well as mess.

"It is also important to cover your furniture to protect it against the dust from all the work taking place. Precious items can also easily get chipped or broken when there are heavy duty tools being used so any breakables should be removed from the renovation area."

Botha points out that the rooms most frequently renovated are kitchens and bathrooms, and that those who are remodelling these essential living spaces need to think ahead about where they will eat or prepare food while the new countertops or appliances are being fitted, or where to shower and clean their teeth while workmen install their new bathroom suite.

"Homeowners also need to plan ahead for scenarios where they will be without water or electricity. In fact if the renovations are comprehensive, then it may be best to move out for a while - to a B&B or perhaps even a rented property, depending on the time the project will take.

"Indeed this may be your only option if you have small children, as from a safety point of view it is essential that they be kept out of the way of work in progress or materials and tools which may be lying around."

And finally, says Botha, if you really want peace of mind about a renovation, you should make it a rule never, ever to pay a contractor in advance for anything. "If it's material, it should be delivered to your home before you pay for it, and if it's labour, don't pay until the project or an agreed part of the project has been completed to your absolute satisfaction."

Article by: www.nationlinkproperty.com