Stress! It’s the first word that comes to mind when planning a huge project, like home renovation, especially if you’re a total noob at it. Trust me, I know.
As I write this, I am waiting for a meeting with my contractors this weekend. Yes, I said contractors because I, like most Singaporeans, am kiasu and want to get the best bang for my buck. So, I have enlisted three of them. In my head I’m on auto-repeat: “What if?” What if they don’t do a good job? What if I pick the cheapest one because I can’t afford the others and what if he does a shoddy job? What if the idea looks good in my head but in reality is questionable? What if the material chosen is of a bad quality? What if? What if?
Well, because I’ve been so stressed, I’ve been doing my research, so this rookie is going to share some tips with you.
Unfortunately, money plays a big factor in home renovation. Although one is able to get by with whatever means, the more money you are able to spend, obviously, the more you are able to do and the better-quality materials you can afford. Therefore, budget wisely. Decide what you are willing to spend on your home renovation. Clarify and distinguish between requirements (‘Must-Haves’) and preferences (‘Good-To-Haves’). Do thorough research before signing anyone else’s pay cheque. Compare contractors’ reputations and prices by asking people you know. If all else fails, you always have the trusted Internet. Always budget for extra expenses; something will almost certainly go wrong.
Are you going to do the whole home at once? If so, do you have a place to stay? There’s nothing worse than staying in a house and trying to work or take care of the kids or yourself while someone is drilling and banging holes in the wall next door.
If you think the project is too big to take on all at once, make sure you are able to split it into more manageable sub-projects. Do yourself a favour though and ask a friend to let you sleep on their couch during that time. (You could of course check yourself into a hotel for a well-deserved staycation!)
Do you have the time to consider every little home-improvement detail like doors and door knobs, landscaping, and fancy paint work? Maybe you have time only for the more crucial things like lighting, the floor tiles, and kitchen requirements. Keep in mind dates like public holidays, kids’ school holidays, and big work projects with looming deadlines and try to plan your renovation around them.
Your relationship with your contractor or interior designer is definitely not a one-night stand. Keep communication lines open throughout the whole process and let them know that you are ready and able to come and check on them at any time. It is always better to prevent a problem than solve one. No matter how good things may look on the 3D drawing and how nice the vinyl flooring may look on the catalogue, always imagine that something may go wrong and that you might need to be there for damage control. Don’t be afraid about telling them that something is not to your liking, that you have doubts, or about asking a million questions. Remember, this is your home, not theirs.
These are 3 simple rules or principles to remember in order to relieve stress. If all else fails, breathe deeply … and then run away screaming. Some of us just aren’t old enough to be ‘adulting’.