Written by: Rita Magallona
Congratulations on saving up enough money for a major home makeover! But is your excitement turning into worry at the prospect of renovating your home? It’s completely natural to feel overwhelmed, as a home renovation can be a huge money sink – not to mention the multitude of choices you have to make along the way, from your colour palette to hiring a contractor you can trust.
Decision fatigue is real!
Like any big-ticket project, planning is the key to making this a success, not a nightmare. The good news? We have you covered with this step-by-step guide to home renovation. Let’s focus on the essential questions for the process so you can skip the anxiety and focus on the inspiration!
Home Renovation Checklist for Singapore Property Owners
1. What are your renovation goals?
First off, you have to be clear about your home makeover goals. Do you need to improve it because of a milestone like:
- Settling down in your new Build-to-Order (BTO) flat
- Adding a home office setup
- Child-proofing for a new baby
- Making your home senior-friendly for elderly parents
Or do you simply want to refresh outdated interior design elements and make repairs for your personal use? Perhaps you are planning to transform your flat or a room into a rental unit. Or, you simply want to add more storage. Whatever your goals, getting professional services will help you achieve your desired outcome.
2. What interior design style do you want?
Do you want a minimalist Scandinavian style that is elegant in its simplicity? Would you prefer a more edgy, industrial look? How about a cosy, Victorian design for a touch of whimsy?
Your best bet is to look up designs online for inspiration. Set up your own Pinterest board and pin the images of the looks that you prefer, which you could show to your interior designer (ID) or contractor during your initial consultation.
3. What is the scope of the renovation work?
Once you’ve determined your preferred interior design style, you need to identify how much work needs to be done in your home. Your chosen contractor will help you determine the specific services you need when you consult with them. These include everything from wall painting, measurements, to carpentry and wall removal.
Speaking of measurements, make sure you have a floor plan of your home along with accurate dimensions when you have the initial consultation. This will help the contractor determine the scope, time frame, and budget for your project.
4. What is your renovation budget?
After you’ve decided on the home design you want, the next step is to determine the cost of making your dream design come true. Look at your finances and see how much you can realistically commit to renovating your home. With this amount as a baseline, you can then go into the details of what you have to budget for.
Here are a few things you need to factor in:
- Type of the home. Different types of homes, whether they’re a Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat, a condominium, or a landed house, would require varying levels of renovation. To give you an idea of the cost, renovating an HDB BTO flat would cost an average of S$20,000 to S$40,000 while renovating a resale flat averages at S$40,000 to S$80,000.
- Size of the home.The bigger the home, the larger the extent of renovation and consequently, the higher the cost.
- Professional fees of the interior designer or contractor. Often, interior designers cost more than contractors do, but there are other factors to consider, which we will discuss in the following section.
- Types of furniture and appliances. The cost depends on the type of furniture and appliances that would match your overall design.
- Types of materials.These would include paints, tiles, wallpaper, wood panels, glass, and other construction materials.
- Associated charges.You need to factor in miscellaneous costs like a storage unit for your possessions during the renovation, moving services, professional cleaners, and specialists like electricians.
- Home insurance. It is worthwhile to have your home insured beyond the typical fire insurance and invest in home content insurance for more peace of mind.
- Margin for last-minute changes. After costing everything, add another 15% to 20% to your budget for those things you might have missed or might need to be changed at the last minute.
After you’ve made your budget, look at what you have and cut out non-essentials if you have gone beyond the initial amount you’ve intended to spend.
You could look into the renovation loans that often come bundled with mortgage loans if you don’t have the money on hand. These loans usually cover everything in the scope of work. If you plan to avail of this loan, take the time to compare the terms and rates offered by different banks to get the best deal.
5. What are your milestones and deadlines?
Whether you are working with an ID or a contractor, you should set up your timetable together, working around personal schedules and agree on a completion date. The professionals you are working with would be able to tell you how much time the project would realistically take.
Expect a timeframe of 3 to 8 weeks on average for a home renovation project. It is also important to set agreed milestones that mark significant progress in the renovation project. This is important because your contractor or ID would schedule payments based on the completion of these milestones.
6. What materials would you need?
Your ID or contractor should be able to tell you what paints, tiles, and other materials they recommend for the renovation based on the agreed design. Note that canvassing and purchasing materials are usually included in the scope of work of your ID or contractor.
Be mindful of the choices and try your best to visualise what they would look like in your bathroom, kitchen, living room, and bedrooms (if these are within the scope of the renovation, of course). White and its variants are the preferred colour palette because of the bright, clean visual effect it has. But it really depends on what you prefer.
7. What furnishings and appliances would you want?
Buying furniture and appliances for your new home could be an exciting endeavour, and definitely one of the more enjoyable parts of renovating your home. Bookcases, the couch, beds, the refrigerator, the TV . . . there are so many things to select!
This is where the design comes in handy in heading off a potential shopping splurge that could ruin your budget. Make a list of the furnishings and appliances you will need and would fit in the overall design of your home. Do this in consultation with your ID if you’ve hired one. This way, you won’t be buying stuff that would become clutter or won’t fit the overall design concept.
8. What kind of lighting would you want?
This should also be handled during the planning stages. Would you want to create a luxurious atmosphere by installing warm cove lighting? Do you wish to have accent pendant lamps or an elaborate chandelier? Or would you rather have strategically placed lamps that would enable you to do a variety of tasks?
As a rule of thumb, use warm light instead of white light because it creates a classier effect while being bright enough for most activities.
9. What are the other household arrangements you need to finalise?
After the renovation is done, there is still the cleanup. We recommend hiring professional cleaners because they have all the necessary tools and materials for a thorough job. The other option would be you doing the cleaning yourself. This would save the cost of a professional cleaner, but it may even out in terms of time and effort.
Also, consider if you would need a place to stay during the renovation project. If you are only renovating part of your home, you may get away with staying put and just securing your belongings in a spare room. However, you may need to stay in a hotel or other short-term accommodations if you are renovating your entire flat or house.
Other things to consider:
- Will you need to turn off utilities like water?
- If you have a pet, where will they stay?
- Would you need to store your belongings in a temporary storage facility?
10. How can you choose the best contractor or designer for your home renovation project?
When choosing a contractor or interior designer:
- Make sure they are licensed.
- Get reviews or recommendations from previous clients.
- Check out their portfolios to see if their work fits your needs.
- Ask questions about their services and what they need from their clients.
- Always read the fine print in the contract!
“All things excellent are difficult.” – Baruch Spinoza
Home renovation is no easy task, but it is definitely one that’s worth pursuing. Hopefully, this guide will help you plan for success and get the help you need in transforming your home into a place of comfort and beauty.
Looking for a home renovation contractor who will take care of everything for you? Good news! With Ohmyhome’s Home Renovation services, you can make your vision into reality. Get these home renovation services in one comprehensive package:
- Purchase of tiling materials
- Touch up of walls
- Cement screed (whole unit)
- Masonry works – overlay wall tiles in bathroom
- Wet works – laying of shower curb
- Wet works – laying of kitchen base
- Partition work
- Electrical work
- Plumbing work
- Purchase of kitchen and bathroom accessories
- Carpentry measurement
- Door measurement and installation
- Aircon installation
- Glass measurement
- Laying vinyl flooring (whole unit)
- Wardrobe installation
- Installation of carpentry
- Granite installation
- Glass installation
- Install granite table top
- General cleaning
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