Tips to get through kitchen remodeling without too much drama

Did you know that home improvements - including kitchen remodeling - are amongst the leading reasons people take out loans?

Who doesn’t want a state-of-the-art kitchen? After all, the kitchen is the heart of the home. That’s why people are often more than willing to take out loans to remodel their kitchens.

According to DirectAxis, home improvements are amongst the leading reasons people take out loans. Ensuring that you get the best value, and the finished kitchen meets your expectations is therefore of utmost importance.

It’s a good idea to know what you’re in for when it comes to committing or applying for a loan to remodel your kitchen.

Nozizwe Fakude, DirectAxis’ head of consumer rights says that means being realistic and aligning your preferences with what you can afford.

Stay within the budget
Stay within the budget. Image: iStock

Here are some tips for remodeling your kitchen without too much drama:

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Kitchen needs above fancy finishes

Fakude says you need to consider your kitchen needs first, rather than fancy finishes or the latest trends.

“For example, if you love cooking, have a large family and do your own housework you may need a spacious, practical, easy-to-clean kitchen rather than a top-of-the-range, flashy show-kitchen that shows every speck of dirt.”

READ: How to give your home a makeover on a budget

Find a midway between taste, trend and budget

According to the Kitchen Specialists’ Association (KSA), a non-profit organisation that represents 274 reputable kitchen manufacturers and suppliers, a major source of conflict between customers and kitchen companies come in when the client’s tastes and budget do not align.

“Many consumers pick photos from magazines or Pinterest and tell the kitchen designer that’s their dream kitchen. But the reality is that some budgets do not lend themselves to certain trends or finishes and inevitably this can lead to compromises and disappointment,” says Stephanie Forbes, national coordinator for the KSA.

She suggests that you write a brief before your visit a kitchen company, which will focus your mind and save time by giving the designer an understanding of what you want.

The brief should include your budget and explain why you are undertaking the renovation and what the goal is.

Are you planning a cost-effective facelift, or do you want to completely redo a 20-year-old kitchen?

What type of food do you like to cook? Do you entertain a lot? How does the kitchen feature in family life?

Homework in the kitchen
Homework in the kitchen. Image: iStock

Once you get to the point of remodeling, here are some tips for a hassle-free project:

  • Make alternative catering arrangements. While your kitchen is busy being renovated, expect to do a lot more braaiing or eat a lot more microwavable or take-out meals.
  • Stick to the budget. Fancy upgrades and accessories are sure-fire budget busters.
  • Communicate. Keep in contact with the designer and contractors and don’t be afraid to ask questions about why they’ve made certain recommendations or are doing things a certain way. Remember, you need to live with the kitchen long after they’ve gone.
  • There will be challenges. Accept that any project like this comes with difficulties. Not having a kitchen while the work is taking place is disruptive and can lead to tension in the household. Try to anticipate and avoid these by providing alternative places to make tea or coffee or setting up somewhere else for the children to do their homework.
  • Make sure the job is properly finished. Create a snag list an ensure that everything is completed before you sign off your new kitchen and make the final payment. You can find a checklist on the KSA website.

“Kitchens are complex because they involve multiple stages and various tradespeople need to be involved,” says Fakude. Could it be that applying for a loan is the easiest step in the kitchen remodeling process?

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