Take the anxiety out of alterations

But forewarned is forearmed, says Jan Davel, MD of the RealNet estate agency group, and there are ways to reduce the anxiety and make sure your project is a success, whether it’s adding on a new room or revamping your kitchen.

The first thing to deal with, he says, is the fact that no matter how carefully you or your contractor work, any kind of renovation is disruptive and invasive. “Half the battle is being mentally prepared for the fact that your bathroom or kitchen may be out of action for a couple of weeks, for example, and having a definite contingency plan for this period.

“The other half is reminding yourself that the mess, noise and interruption of your daily routine is really only temporary, and that you will enjoy your home more when it’s over. In this respect, it helps to have planned the project really well in advance, and to be as specific as possible about the details.”

Which leads to the second biggest concern homeowners have about renovation – the worry that their contractor will turn out to be incompetent, or worse, a crook. “One unfortunately hears all too frequently about contractors who did not complete projects on time, to specification or within budget, as well as unscrupulous people who have swindled unsuspecting homeowners out of thousands of rands,” says Davel.

“However, there is a way to address this too, which is quite simply to work only with established companies and hire only registered contractors who have been personally recommended or whose references and previous work you have personally checked. Their charges may well be higher, but they will inevitably cost you less in the long run because they will try to do the job right from the start – and if they do make mistakes, they won’t try to make you pay for them or simply abandon the project.”

Oddly enough, he says, worries about money are usually last on homeowners’ lists of reasons for putting off home renovation projects – and it’s a fact that most people badly underestimate the true cost of such projects.

“Once you start additions and alterations, especially on an older home, the work may well expose outdated electrical wiring, faulty plumbing, damp and even termite damage, and whether planned for or not, these problems will all have to be fixed.

“Consequently, we recommend that homeowners planning a renovation or improvement project should budget for it to cost at least 30% more than they originally estimated. Then they should consult an experienced estate agent in their area to make sure that this planned expenditure would not result in overcapitalisation – that is, that it would not put their property value over the top in terms of the sale prices currently being achieved in their local market."

“And finally, if they do decide to go ahead with the project, they should make sure that they have a proper contract (checked by their attorney if necessary), which stipulates how much they will pay at each stage of the job. They should also never, ever be persuaded to part with any of their hard-earned money in advance of the contractor starting work.”

  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
Characters remaining

    Latest Property News
    • 20 Feb 2018
      Owning a home is a milestone that most South Africans aspire to. Becoming a homeowner is a step towards growing personal wealth and owning an asset that appreciates in value over time, provided of course that the correct principles are applied during the buying stage of the process, says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
    • 20 Feb 2018
      The suburb of Greenstone in Johannesburg east came to be over the last two decades. “In the beginning, it was literally just a hill with not so much as a shopping centre,” says Michael Levy, Property Consultant at Jawitz Properties Bedfordview. Today it has plenty shopping facilities and is fully built, boasting high-density, upmarket housing and residential estates, though still has a few pockets poised for commercial development.
    • 20 Feb 2018
      A major shift in the ageing paradigm has precipitated an equally dramatic transformation in the retirement sector, with modern accommodation options worlds away from the conventional model.
    • 19 Feb 2018
      Possibly one of the biggest sources of contention between landlords and tenants surrounds the rental deposit. “Most tenants rely on getting their rental deposits back when moving, so that they can use it to pay a deposit on their new home. Having it withheld or even having large amounts deducted can lead to a lot of distress,” explains Bruce Swain, CEO of Leapfrog Property Group.
    • 19 Feb 2018
      Situated approximately halfway between Johannesburg and Pretoria, Midrand was established in 1981 and forms part of the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality. It has become one of the major business hubs in the country with major pharmaceutical, textile, telecommunication and motoring giants situated within its boundaries.
    • 19 Feb 2018
      The PayProp Rental Index Annual Review of 2017 shows that the rental market suffered from much volatility during the year. It kicked off with rental growth spiking in January with weighted year-on-year growth (YoY) growth peaking at 8.3% before dropping to 6.34% in July, dipping down to less than 5% in November and then experiencing a slight uptick at 5.75% in December.
    • 19 Feb 2018
      While most homes in cluster complexes, estates and other gated communities come with at least one garage or carport, residents would often like additional permanent parking or storage areas for things like trailers, bikes, boats and caravans.
    • 16 Feb 2018
      Whether you own a property in a sectional title complex or are looking to invest in one, the financial standing of the body corporate is the single most important thing that can affect your investment or your buying decision.
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    Share this Page

    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    Connect with us