Many people who opt for renovation do so because it can be a great way to get more home for one’s money. It allows you to move into an area that would normally be beyond budget or to adapt your current home to suit changing needs without having to sell and move.
According to Sandy Geffen, Executive Director of Lew GeffenSotheby’s International Realty in South Africa, although living elsewhere for the duration is always the best option, it’s not always possible.
She says it can be exciting to witness the transformation, but living on site is never easy and can also be downright “horrendous” at times.
However, there are steps one can take to make it bearable and to minimise the disruption as much as possible.
- Plan ahead
You need to carefully consider factors such as your family’s space requirements, cooking and ablution facilities which may need to be moved around. It is therefore vital to have a concise schedule of works so you can plan accordingly, especially for the times when you may not have water or power.
- Create a retreat
Living on site and witnessing the transformation of your home is exciting but will be intrusive and unbearable at times.
It’s important that there is one space that feels like a respite from the chaos, dust and debris of the building site. Even having just one room that can be kept clean, tidy and cosy will make all the difference.
- Put site safety first
If you have children, you’ll need to be extra vigilant. Set out no-go zones and explain the possible dangers to them.
- Have a backup plan
There may be times when the site is completely uninhabitable like when the roof is being replaced or in bad weather. Arrange alternative accommodation for these times with friends or family who live nearby. You could also book yourself into a cosy B&B in the area.
- On-site storage
Not only will you have to store your own belongings but also the tools and building materials. If you don’t have a suitable outbuilding, consider constructing a shed or hiring a shipping container.
- Ensure you have the right insurance
Advise your home insurer of the works to be carried out and find out if you need to amend your current home insurance or take out any temporary policies like site insurance for the duration of the project.
And just because your contractor has public liability insurance, doesn’t mean you are covered.
Geffen says it’s inevitable that a renovation project will be a “rollercoaster ride of excitement, optimism, stress and angst”.
However, despite the inconvenience, home renovation is a rewarding experience with several positive spin-offs. Not only will you save money but you can also oversee the process, keep things moving and learn a host of new skills.