How to ensure renovations are less stressful

While embarking on a renovation project is a great way to update the look of a home and possibly add value, it can be a process that is as stressful as moving into a new home all together. 

This is according to Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, who says that there are several strategies that can be implemented to reduce the potential stress of a renovation project and help homeowners get through the time it takes to complete.

“Whether a homeowner has decided to completely renovate their kitchen or add another room to accommodate a growing family or aging parents, there is always the potential for toes to get stepped on with everyone still living under the same roof. This will be even more applicable once the entire crew of contractors is added into the mix, turning a restful oasis into a noisy, bustling construction site,” says Goslett. “If renovation is on the cards, it is important to get everyone in the family prepared as it is not easy living in a home that is partially under construction. It is imperative to have a solid plan of action so that everyone remains on good terms. People can get irritable when the basics of life are not readily available, so decide beforehand where everyone will sleep, shower and eat during the renovation, especially if the project is affecting these areas of the home.”

Goslett notes that if the renovation project affects the entire house, it might be better to make arrangements to move out while construction is taking place. Moving means not having to deal with the dust and disruption, but this option will also take a fair amount of planning to reduce stress levels. Although most people move several times in their lifetime, it doesn’t get any easier and people tend to build up more stuff the longer they have lived in a home. “Moving out is a good option, but often people decide against this option due to the fact that it adds an additional expense to the renovation budget and takes a lot of effort even if the move is only temporary. The majority of homeowners would rather remain in their own home and deal will the disruption and noise,” says Goslett.

He adds that setting some ground rules from the outset will help everyone deal with the situation far better. For example, homeowners should ensure that the contractor they decide to work with is willing to do a daily clean up after they have finished working. This will allow the family to function to some degree of normality during the evenings. If possible, it is also ideal to keep at least one room and a bathroom fully functional at all times. 

“The kitchen forms the heart of most homes, and so if this space is being renovated it is essential to ensure that there is an alternative. This is when an outside braai area will come into its own as a great way for the family to still enjoy a meal together while the kitchen is in pieces. There is also the option of takeout food, which addresses the issue of washing up afterwards. If the family has a caravan, it might be worthwhile using this as an alternative until the dust settles,” says Goslett.

He adds that the best way to reduce the stress levels is to keep your eyes on the finish line and remember that the situation is only temporary. “It’s important to remember how great it will be to settle back into a newly renovated home and enjoy a new space. It might not be easy to imagine this while in the middle of the project, but the renovation is actually making the home more comfortable for the family, even though they may be uncomfortable during the process. Keep this in mind when times get a little tough,” Goslett concludes.

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