In this day and age, people in general have gotten used to getting everything done with a click of their mouse or a tap on their phone. This is why, perhaps, it is so darn frustrating when things start stalling, remain pending, and sometimes get completely blocked, not through any fault of yours, but because you have to wait for someone else’s response or action to proceed with your business.

This is my main current irritant in life at present. Purchasing a house is easy (non-financially speaking). Renovating it and refurbishing it is the hard part. Not because it’s difficult to pinpoint which style to follow or where to put your books, settle your TV and stash your collection of studded boots (though that is not that easy either). The hardest part is waiting for workers to finish painting and plastering, and for furniture orders to actually bear fruit. Again and again, I find myself screeching at the echoing walls of my still semi-furnished maisonette, ‘Why are these people delaying and taking the mickey, when I am actually paying them exorbitant amounts of money for their services??’

Disillusioned rant apart, when speaking to other friends and acquaintances who found themselves in this same predicament, I realised that I was not the only one facing this issue. I was not the only one cursed with reluctant workers, electricians who continually fell ill with ‘stomach-flu’, plumbers whose wives continually went into labour and furniture stores whose telephones and internet connections apparently stopped working for days and weeks, and therefore could not contact me or be contacted.

Like the majority of those who find themselves with a new house waiting to be updated to the status of ‘liveable’, I am not an electrician. I am not a plumbing expert. I am not a wood-worker or an importer of furniture. So, what can one do about it, realistically speaking?



DIY – When in doubt, Google! YouTube is your friend, and so is Pinterest! These are the weapons we DO know how to use, and which contain an infinity of tutorials, explanations and helpful suggestions and ideas. They will not teach you to build a nuclear bomb, but they will explain how to hang shelves, paint wall corners, and hang a picture. Much better than nothing!

Don’t be afraid to ask for help – Before actually choosing which electrician to call or furniture store to buy from, ask those who have already lived in their own place for some time, since they may have useful recommendations and know which companies give the best services, or the quickest.

Be firm – There is a difference between being rude and standing up for yourself. Don’t be a doormat. If you ordered a bedroom which was supposed to be ready and installed in six months, and ten months have already passed with not a peep from the shop or carpenter, don’t just meekly call them and ‘remind’ them. This is not enough. Communicating with someone face to face always gives a stronger impression, which is why it’s better to go to the showroom or outlet per se, and actually confront the person responsible as soon as the deadline or timeline given has expired.

Don’t pay the whole sum if not satisfied – This may seem like common sense, but it’s surprising how many people pay up-front even before the service or the relevant item is provided. Most of all, if the bedroom, or kitchen, or paint job has been concluded, and it is not as originally stipulated, or has missing parts like missing shelves in a cupboard or a faulty door, DO NOT cash out all the money until this has been remedied! Not even if the store in question tells you they will send it to you ‘tomorrow’ or ‘very soon’. Cash on delivery – always. Many stores in fact have a policy where the client retains a percentage of the money as ‘collateral damage’ and only pays this when s/he is fully satisfied with the work.

These measures will still not speed up slow plumbers or busy carpenters. It is, however, a beginning at least.

Do you have any more ideas of how one could help himself refurbish a house without outside help?

Let us know in the comment section below!


You can also check out how you can Splurge vs save – strike the right balance when decorating on budget