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6 steps to a stress-free renovation

Renovation in Singapore is undeniably expensive, but this should not stop you from achieving your dream home. There are many ways to lower renovation cost, whether your budget is $10,000 or $100,000!

For our first episode of Insights, Outside, we approached folks on Orchard Road to find out what their dream home consists of, and the cost-saving steps they will take to achieve it. Continue reading for more tips on achieving a stress-free and affordable renovation.

1. List your needs and wants according to priority

This is a critical step. First, go through every part of the house, from foyer to master bathroom. For each of it, list down the elements you "cannot live without", such as a storage vanity for your toiletries, versus those that will undoubtedly make the space look better, such as concealing the bathroom pipes. Practicality should be a priority and you should only consider your "wants" if you can spare the extra moolah for this home renovation.

Another example is the kitchen island. While it can go into your needs list -- especially if you bake for a living -- your budget will dictate the size and type of countertop you might choose.

Approach this list with objectivity, and discuss with your designer ways you can fulfil all your needs and some "wants" without bursting your budget. Remember that some compromise is needed here.

2. Meet various interior designers to compare ideas

While prices and packages are important, you should also shortlist at least three to five designers to hear out their ideas. Every designer interprets a moodboard differently, so even if you do not end up signing a contract with them, you will walk away with new ideas and solutions for your home renovation. You will also have a better idea of what can be charged during renovation e.g. removing the HDB-given sink in the process of overlaying bathroom tiles as well as what HDB needs to approve, such as changing the position of the bedroom door.

3. Consider renovation materials that fit your budget and needs

Love the look of real wood flooring? Parquet, despite its benefits, can be costly. If you have not budgeted for this, consider alternatives to wood flooring like wood-look tiles or, for an even more affordable and pet-friendly option, wood-look vinyl flooring.

And, did you know that glass and mirrors can be expensive? Ask your interior designers for alternatives or ways to achieve the same look for less.

Other ways homeowners save on material and labour cost during home renovation is to opt for concrete screed flooring and half-height backsplashes.

4. Use cashback credit cards for furniture and appliances

Earn as you spend. Furniture and appliances, like the dining table and ceiling fans, are things you will inevitably spend on during home renovation, so you might as well earn some cash or miles from it. Cashback credit cards require practically zero effort, while certain retailers offer saving schemes that make shopping easier.

5. Organise a group-buy with neighbours for bulk discounts

Moving into a BTO or new condominium? Make friends with your new neighbours! Everyone loves a good discount and there is no harm in organising a group-buy from your favourite retailers. It is good to check with the retailer, to see what discounts they can offer for group-buys, before you ask your neighbours, though!

6. Compare renovation loans to find one with low interest rates

Do not sign up for the very first loan you see or immediately assume that the bank you already have an account with will offer you the best deal. Do your market research and consider interest rates and other perks the various banks can offer.

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