Owning a home can be fun! Before you disagree, hear us out. Between the dreary (and daunting) tasks of keeping up with home loans, utility bills, and paying property taxes, there are the silver linings like having the autonomy to space-plan, design, and furnish your living space just the way you like it — a.k.a creating your very own idyllic safe haven.
That is probably why many of us get carried away with our home renovations, trying to recreate the ideal homes we have wished for since we were little.
But with your dream home in mind, you can easily lose track of renovation costs and take on all the thrills and frills you don’t really need, only to go out of budget and end up having to take on a bigger renovation loan or unexpectedly pay out of pocket, draining your savings (if you still have any after buying your home).
To make sure you actually get the renovations done without going in debt, here are 6 clever hacks to stay within your home renovation budget.
1. Plan your budget
While Singaporeans tend to associate the word “budget” with “cheap”, the word actually denotes what you are able to spend on a necessary product or service. Whenever you have to buy something, it is a good idea to plan how much of your income or savings you can realistically dispense for the purchase.
Your renovation budget should be carefully planned in advance, with clear notations of how much you are able to spend and differentiating your necessities from what’s only good to have.
Having a fixed total amount in mind is a good way to start before you delve into design themes, material choices, and all your furnishing options. From there, you can get a rough idea of what will or will not fit into your budget, and whether your budget is flexible enough to accommodate a few extra embellishments.
It is also wise to plan for unexpected costs. While some people may budget up to 10% extra for this, it is up to you to decide how generous your reserve budget can be.
2. Pay in cash, where possible
The concept may be simple, but you would be surprised by how many homeowners are tempted to pay for furniture or appliances through instalment plans, credit cards, or loans. All these may cost you extra in unnecessary interests or late instalment fees.
If possible, pay for your home renovation in full cash.
Through careful budgeting and ensuring you have sufficient savings and cash flow to facilitate your home renovation without taking up any loans or instalments, you will thank yourself in the long run for the foresight.
If you are renovating so you can sell off your home quickly, keep renovations practical and minimal. Taking a loan is understandable in this case if there is a guaranteed return on your investment. However, if you are renovating to give your home a new look and you cannot afford it right now, revising your design scheme so you can comfortably afford it should be the prudent way to go about it.
3. Enjoy the process
Here is a revolutionary renovation idea — enjoy the process. If you have the luxury of time, consider maximising it with your renovation process. If you are financially comfortable, it makes sense in fast-paced Singapore to renovate your entire space at a go to reduce downtime.
However, a tight timeline could overwhelm you and push you into making decisions that you may regret, or that you may have done differently if you had had the time to mull over it longer.
For example, an open kitchen concept may seem like a wonderful idea to visually open up your living room and kitchen area. But after cooking in said kitchen a few times, you may revisit the idea of having a closed off kitchen, or install clear sliding glass panels in between both rooms for a win-win situation. If you had hastened to start renovations with the open kitchen concept right away, you may not have the foresight to realise kitchen grease can spread to the living area during heavy cooking, resulting in unnecessary, extra household chores.
It could be wise to start with one or two rooms to get a proper feel of what your home could look like before you move on to the other areas of the house.
This not only slows down expenditure and eases up on your cash flow, but it also helps you properly plan and continually review your budget so you can implement the best options for the lowest costs.
With time on your side, you can also wait for big promotional seasons like Black Friday sales or the Great Singapore Sales where prices for all retail items are slashed and you can indulge in shopping sprees to get what you need for your home at heavily discounted rates.
4. Do it yourself
Not all of us are handy around the house but going the “Do-It-Yourself” route could help you stick to a strict budget. We’re not saying you should attempt to hack your own walls or build your own furniture, but…
If you can work a paintbrush or prep surfaces like touching up cracks in the walls, you will save yourself some time and money by reducing the amount of paid work you need to get done.
Even if you have full confidence in your DIY skills though, we would strongly advise you not to do the heavy lifting like removing or building walls, installing built-in carpentry, or laying electrical cables yourself.
Unless you are a legitimate professional in these fields, some of these works require permits or licences, and not doing it through the official channels could land you in trouble or endanger you and your fellow occupants, not to mention your neighbours.
5. Reuse, reduce, recycle
We cannot stress the benefits of sustainable design in home renovations. Reuse, reduce, recycle! Try to reuse old furniture by giving it a fresh coat of paint or varnish, reduce waste by designing your home to be as multi-functional and low-maintenance as possible, and recycle what materials you can so you can save money and the environment at the same time!
“Upcycling is the act of taking something no longer in use and giving it a second life and new function. In doing so, the finished product often becomes more practical, valuable and beautiful than what it previously was.” – Upcycle That
This is basically the art of upcycling, which is the process of reusing old materials in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original. Like giving your old cabinets a fresh coat of paint, maybe even adding some patterns, and some new hardware.
Adopting upcycled furniture could also add much-needed character to your home, while easing up on your furnishing budget for other expenditures. You could also look into second-hand furniture stores for some great vintage steals or other upcycled furniture.
6. Keep the changes minimal
If your budget is tight, it would be wise to search for a home with a layout as close to what you want as possible so you can avoid making expensive changes like hacking or erecting walls, shifting water points, adding electrical points, shifting the stove, changing the positions of doors, beams, pillars, or windows. Hefty works like these will put a strain on your budget.
While we have little choice or control over the layouts of our BTO flats, it would also be wise to work within the given layouts instead of aiming for a major overhaul of the entire space to fit your ideal design.
Unless it severely compromises the functionality of the room or space, steer clear of large alterations to keep your budget slim and healthy.
You may also want to opt for minimalist designs to keep renovations nominal, and to give your home a more timeless look and feel. Clean palettes also require lower maintenance and could reduce the amount of upkeep required.
While it is prudent to go for energy-saving cost-effective appliances in the home, these gadgets also tend to cost more. Make wise calculations and beware of paying in instalments or on credit as you may nullify the savings on utilities you are trying to manoeuvre by racking up unnecessary interest fees.
Are you looking for a reliable renovation service that will respect your budget and work with it to turn your vision into reality?
Ohmyhome Renovations is here for you!
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 — all while keeping to your budget.
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.
You can read a full guide on everything you can expect from Ohmyhome Renovations.
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 us on WhatsApp or via our Live Chat at the chatbox at the bottom, right-hand corner of the screen. You can also get a free quote for your home in seconds!