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The long days of the South African Covid-19 lockdown give us the ideal opportunity to assess the condition our properties are in with the purpose of repairing those things that need urgent attention, and planning for further possible property upgrades and renovations. At Smarten Renovate, we suggest the following five steps:

1. Do the walk-through. Many of us stay in the properties that we own, and that mostly gives us the freedom to engage in a structured, focused walk-through of our homes. Start outside: look at the state of the boundary wall, the garage, the roof, gutters, patio, wendy house, servant's quarters, deck, swimming pool, etc. Then move inside and assess each room. Look carefully at cupboards, cornices, skirtings, paintwork, flooring, etc. Pay particular attention to high-traffic areas such as the kitchen and bathrooms.
2. Compile a list. As you are moving through the property, write down everything you see that may need attention. Don't think you'll remember it later - you won't. And don't just list categories like "paint in Sarah's room", be specific. Jot down every faulty power point, every broken tile, every cracked window, every faulty hinge, and so on.
3. Expand the list. A first full walk-through may not be sufficient for you to compile a comprehensive list of the current state of the property. One way of expanding the list is engage with your family and fellow occupants. You can make this fun by asking each child to take responsibility for their own bedroom.
4. Rank and prioritise. Now that you have your list you can rank and prioritise what is on it in terms of importance. Use a logical system of ranking by number or list in categories such as "Urgent", "High priority", "Medium priority", "Low priority", etc. 
5. Plan. Once you have your ranking and priorities list, you can start planning your approach to it. Here you would typically look at aspects such as tools and materials you will need to address the issues, whether or not you will be able to do the work yourself or involve other people such as renovation contractors or maintenance service providers, and of course what the estimate costs would be. Start your planning with the "Urgent" category of your list, look at what you can do yourself immediately with what you have available, and then work your way down the list.

It is probably always better to do things in a structured rather than haphazard way. Find your own structure and use your own style. Time is on your side for the next few weeks. Make the most of it as property owner.