An older version of this article published in 2019 is still available here.
It is always a good idea to do a little homework before embarking on your home renovation journey. Not only will it help you be more prudent with your budgeting, but you may also learn a few neat tricks to get your money’s worth. Knowing how the timeline and budgets work also will help you keep an eye on the renovation process so you know what to expect at each “milestone” of your renovation, which could trim off unnecessary wait times in between each mini-project of your home makeover. Below, we delve into a quick guide on choosing a good home renovation company.
1. If you can’t gel, it’s not going to go well
Whoever you choose to work with should instantly get you and your ideal design in mind. Rapport between you and your designer is crucial, and if your designer doesn’t seem to get what you want, or seems to keep taking you in a different direction, you could consider getting a second opinion. In fact, we highly recommend shortlisting at least three firms so you can compare quotations, interior design styles, and assess their work ethic before picking one that best suits your needs. After all, this is going to be your home for the next few years at least.
Unless the interior designer is giving you enlightened advice on not installing certain frills in your home that may be high maintenance, or getting wall-to-wall built-in carpeting when you have a pet in the house, your renovation company should be able to fulfil your requirements and desired style within reason.
It’s a good idea to browse through portfolios of your shortlisted renovation companies. Ask detailed and technical questions on the kind of materials that will be used, the timeline they are proposing, and a full breakdown of costs, and be thorough on your research, before you sign any documents. Renovation loans can cost you years of expensive monthly instalments, which is a terrible burden to bear if you’re not getting your money’s worth.
2. Be wary of rotten reviews
While forum reviews are pretty ambiguous, if a renovation company has been called out online, we strongly suggest you exercise caution and do your research before considering taking them on for your home renovation project. Negative reviews can be highly subjective, and good design firms can be brought down by irate customers with unrealistic expectations.
As such, your safest bet is to use a renovation company recommended to you by a trusted friend or acquaintance, making sure it has all the proper accreditations and licences, checking up on their backgrounds and reviews, and ensuring the company does not have a high turnover rate and has been in existence for some time. Designers that disappear, or contractors checking out of the project mid-way; who needs stress like that in their lives?
You can even ask for references, so you know the company actually has a repertoire of happy customers.
3. You have to know what’s what
In the course of your renovation, your contractor will likely have to secure permits, licensing, approvals, and the like.
Knowing exactly what documents you will require for your renovation will go a long way in making sure your contractor doesn’t try to “smoke” you with non-existent “waiting periods” in an attempt to hide renovation delays.
Knowing what permits are involved also helps you recognise if your contractor is truly experienced. Having the right permits will avoid future issues with inspections and safeguard the resale value of your home.
4. Stick to your budget
Before reaching out to renovation companies, it’s important to come up with a budget range that you can spend and highlight it to the designers. Depending on the scope of work and your design ideas, most renovation companies can work within the budget given. High-quality or premium materials will cost more, and in turn, will raise the costs of your renovation.
Your designers should be able to advise you on suitable material substitutions to achieve the overall look you desire. With the plethora of material choices available in the market these days, it is a breeze to find materials for your home that may cost less, while providing you with the convenience of lower home maintenance and improved sustainability in the long run.
Making separate lists of what you need versus what you want, helps you separate the non-essentials from the basics. A good renovation company will provide you with a detailed breakdown for every single cost — inclusive of items, specifications, the materials used, and the timeline of installation — so you can keep track of your budget and eliminate any unnecessary add-ons.
5. Tying up loose ends
A good company should have a clear payment schedule, which should never involve full upfront payments before the job is completed. That is a serious red flag for renovation scams.
Before making the final payment, ask your renovation company to review each project on the detailed quote and check thoroughly to see if the work has been satisfactorily delivered. A reliable contractor or designer will highlight any defects to you before you even spot them, so you have accountability and a promise from them to touch up or make good on the flaws, if there are any.
One last tip: Don’t be afraid to ask questions if anything looks incomplete or if the clean-up was shoddy. Take note that renovation companies usually provide chemical cleaning before key handover to ensure that you can move in the day after. While you may want to mop the floors for an extra shine or run over your carpentry with a rag again, your new home should be move-in ready at the handover point.
Want to find a reliable renovation company?
Ohmyhome Renovations is here to turn your vision into reality!
Renovation not just improves the overall value and aesthetic of your house, but it allows you to enjoy your home to the fullest and incorporate a part of yourself into the spaces around you. So sit back, relax and let us turn your house into a home, because at Ohmyhome, we’re always by your side, on your side.
Engage our experienced team of interior designers and contractors for a well-executed home renovation project. Secure an appointment with any of our Interior Designers by dropping us a message on WhatsApp or via our Live Chat at the bottom, right-hand corner of the screen. And you can get a free quote for your home in seconds!