Renovating your home? Here are 12 vital dos and don’ts you need to know

Before you start breaking down walls for your home renovation, make sure that you do your research. Picture: Freepik

Before you start breaking down walls for your home renovation, make sure that you do your research. Picture: Freepik

Published Mar 7, 2024


Renovating your home can be an exciting project, but before you let the excitement get the better of you, it is important that you do your homework.

Claude McKirby, the co-principal for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs said that having a clear idea of what you want the final result to look like will allow contractors to immediately advise you about the possibility of achieving them and guide you if you need to consider alternatives.

According to McKirby, having a clear idea of what you want the final result to look like will also allow you to establish a more accurate budget and timeline – and stick to them.

Here are 10 tips to help first-time home renovators get through the process.

Set clear goals and budget

Before diving into any renovation project, you need to define your goals, priorities and budget constraints as well as determine which areas of your home require renovation and establish realistic expectations.

By setting clear goals and budget parameters you can stay focused and avoid costly surprises along the way.

Look up the ceiling value for your neighbourhood

To determine the return on your investment and to avoid overcapitalising, check out property websites to what similarly priced properties in the neighbourhood have recently sold for and what the top price range is in your neighbourhood.

Research and gather inspiration:

Take the time to research design trends, materials, and renovation ideas that align with your vision for your home.

You can look at home improvement websites, magazines, and social media platforms to get ideas. Create a mood board or digital scrapbook to organise your thoughts and visualise your design preferences.

Consider functionality and lifestyle needs

Think about how you will use each space in your home and tailor the design to accommodate your lifestyle needs. Focus on functionality, flow, and practicality, ensuring that your renovated spaces meet your family's unique requirements and enhance daily living.

Hire reliable professionals

While you may be thinking of going down the DIY route, certain renovations require the expertise of professionals. Research and vet contractors, architects, and designers thoroughly before hiring them for your project.

Get multiple quotes, check references, and review portfolios to ensure you are selecting reliable professionals who understand your vision and can deliver quality results.

Obtain necessary permits

Depending on the scope of your renovation project, you may need to obtain permits from your local municipal building department.

Do your research on permit requirements for your area and ensure that all necessary permits are secured before commencing work. Not getting the necessary permits can result in costly fines and possible delays.

Prioritise structural and mechanical upgrades

Addressing structural issues and mechanical systems should take precedence over cosmetic upgrades.

Make renovations that enhance the safety, functionality, and efficiency of your home a priority. These renovations include repairing roofing, upgrading electrical and plumbing systems, and reinforcing structural integrity.

Create a detailed plan and schedule

Develop a comprehensive renovation plan outlining the scope of work, realistic time-lines that take into account delays, and budget for each phase of the project.

Communicate your schedule clearly with contractors and tradespeople to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Allocate contingency funds

Give yourself peace of mind by allocating a contingency fund of 10-20% of your total budget to cover unexpected costs that may arise during the project.

Focus on quality materials and workmanship

Invest in affordable high quality materials and craftsmanship to ensure the longevity and durability of your renovation.

While it may be tempting to cut costs by opting for cheaper materials, compromising on quality can result in costly repairs and replacements down the line.

Communicate effectively with your contractor

Open and transparent communication with your contractor is essential for a successful renovation project. Clearly communicate your expectations, preferences, and concerns from the outset, and maintain regular communication throughout the project to address any issues promptly.

Be prepared for disruption

Renovations can be disruptive to daily life, particularly if you're living in the home during the project. Establish designated work zones and take steps to protect unaffected areas of your home from damage.

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