The kitchen is often described as the heart of the home and is one of the most popular home improvement projects, but also one of the most complex.
According to specialist loan provider, DirectAxis, home improvements, including kitchen remodels, are amongst the leading reasons people take out loans, so ensuring that you get the best value, and the finished kitchen meets your expectations is important.
Nozizwe Fakude, DirectAxis’ head of consumer insights, says that it’s a good idea to know what you’re in for before committing or applying for a loan and that means being realistic and aligning your preferences with what you can afford.
“Think about your 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.”
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 a customer and a kitchen company is 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,” explains Stephanie Forbes, national co-ordinator for the KSA.
She says that once you’ve decided, write a brief before you visit a kitchen company. This will focus your mind and save time by giving the designer an understanding of what you want your dream kitchen should be.
The brief should include your budget and explain why you are undertaking the renovation and what the goal is – a cost-effective facelift or completely redoing a 20-year-old kitchen. It should also explain your lifestyle. Do you love to cook? What type of food do you like to cook? Do you entertain a lot? How does the kitchen feature in family life? The more information you provide the easier it will be for the designer to meet your requirements.
The Kitchen Specialists’ Association tips for a stress-free remodel are:
- Make alternative catering arrangements: While your dream kitchen is out of service, expect to do a lot more braaiing or eat a lot more microwavable or take-out meals.
- Stick to your budget: Fancy upgrades and accessories are sure-fire budget busters.
- Communicate: Don’t be afraid to ask the designer and contractors questions about why they’ve made certain recommendations or are doing things a particular way. Remember you’ll have to live with the kitchen long after they’ve left site.
- Accept there will be difficulties: Not having a kitchen while the work is taking place is disruptive and can lead to tensions in the household. Try to anticipate and avoid these by providing alternative places to make tea or coffee or setting up somewhere else for children to do homework.
- Make sure the job is properly finished: Before you sign off your new dream kitchen, make the final payment and the contractors leave site make sure everything is completed. You can find a checklist on the KSA website.
“Applying for a loan is the easiest and simplest part of a kitchen renovation. Kitchens are complex because they involve multiple stages and various tradespeople need to be involved. Following some of these expert guidelines, will help smooth the process and ensure you get value for money,” says Nozizwe.
For more information about home renovations visit: www.directaxis.co.za/make-a-plan/how-to-make-better-renovating-choices