Five savvy tips for home renovations

Looking to do a small home renovation that adds value to your home? If you’re good at DIY, there are certain jobs you can do yourself – but with most renovation projects it pays to get the best expertise you can afford, especially when it comes to plumbing or electricity. Trying to save money, too, by hiring someone who isn’t qualified may seem cheaper at first, but is a false economy, as a poorly executed job will just need to be done again. Let us guide you in finding the most qualified professionals for your home services: 

Add the right value

Renovations do add value to your home, but make sure you’re not over-capitalising, with no hope of recuperating your cost when you one day sell your home. Areas guaranteed to add value if they’re renovated and updated well are kitchens, bathrooms, outdoor entertainment areas and landscaped gardens. Carefully consider what to spend money on. In a kitchen, for example, it pays to invest in gorgeous, functional items, such as a gas hob, a centre island and new counters, and save money by revamping cabinets and giving the walls a fresh coat of paint.

Employ a vetted service professional

Hiring the right person to do the job is key to a successful renovation. People often rely on word-of-mouth referrals or search for experts online. But for a list of trusted professionals, an app like SweepSouth’s Connect lists reliable and rated professionals in your area, like plumbers, painters, handymen and electricians.

Alen Ribić, SweepSouth co-founder and CTO

“The problem with searching for a service professional online, such as typing in ‘Plumber in my area’, is that hundreds of listings will come up, with the top-ranked being so because they bid the highest, not because they have the best quality, which makes it very difficult to identify who’s right for you,” says Alen Ribic, CTO of SweepSouth. “Likewise, it’s tough for service professionals who are really good, but don’t have the marketing budget to make sure they’re ranked on the first or second page of a Google search. Connect, which has an in-app chat ability, helps service professionals and customers find each other, and engage about the services on offer.”

Set a budget

Work out a budget before the job starts and get the service professional to agree to it in writing. Before the job starts, they may ask you to put down a deposit ranging anywhere from 20 – 40% of the overall fee, especially if they need to buy building materials. 

If you’re buying the materials for the job, such as tiles, taps or paint, shop around for great deals. Never skimp on quality, though. As time passes, you’ll rue buying cheap taps, tiles or paint – always go for the best you can afford, especially if the job you’re doing is in the main part of your home, and not, for example, the garage. It pays to check with your service professionals if they can get a discount from a supplier they regularly use, which they can pass on to you. 

Agree with the service professional on any payments to be made as the job progresses, and never pay the final amount until you are happy with the final work, and all rubble and building materials have been removed from your property. “If it’s a big job, set aside some money to access in case unexpected costs crop up,” advises Ribic. “That way, if an unexpected cost crops up or, as often happens, you decide to do a mid-project change, your budget will allow for it.” 

During the process

If the job runs over several days, check-in regularly to see how it’s going and to make sure you are happy with the quality of work. Take photos of the job as it progresses, taking note of things such as where pipes or electrical conduits are being placed. “This is particularly helpful when, a year down the line, you need to drill a hole in a wall to hang something up but can’t remember where pipes or electrical wires are located. The last thing you want is the disaster of drilling into a hot water pipe and having to call in an emergency plumber,” says Ribic.

If a snag occurs

Keep all documentation regarding the work, such as emails requesting quotes, invoices and proof of payment. If something does go wrong with the job, let your service professional know as soon as you notice it. Most will want to resolve issues quickly and with the minimum fuss, especially if payment is still due on the job. 

Top tip: If you’re revamping your home with new appliances and fittings, be sure to keep the instruction manuals, receipts and guarantees in flip-file so you have them on hand if something needs to be changed — be it a tap fitting corroding or a washing machine overflowing.

By selecting a good service professional and keeping to your budget, you’ll get the best results for your home. But revamping isn’t just about boosting your property’s value for resale. By improving its appeal and appearance, you can add to your sense of satisfaction, helping you to enjoy your home and overall lifestyle.



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