Singapore ranks 9th on the prime property price index, making it one of the most expensive countries to buy private property. Despite this, the rate of homeownership in Singapore in 2020 is close to 87.9%, according to Statista. Thanks to affordable residential options like Housing Development Board (HDB) flats, most Singaporeans can afford and own a home. Adding to it is the fact that for a small island country, real estate is a sought after asset. It is not uncommon for people to buy resale houses and renovate them as per their requirements.
House renovation and interior redesign can be as exhausting and as buying a house itself. Furthermore, depending on the condition of the house, it can easily become a costly affair. Let us have a look at some ideas to keep your renovation costs in check.
1. Fix a budget
Whether you are looking to buy a new house or renovate your existing one, you should first sort your financial resources for your renovations. It is important to fix a budget beforehand as it becomes an important guideline for you and the renovation team to plan the whole exercise.
Essential, useful, and good-to-have – this is the order in which you should prioritize the changes to be made. Essential changes include repairs or necessary tweaks for functionality, such as important kitchen installations and plumbing repairs. Useful ones will be furniture and fixtures that are important for you to live comfortably. Finally, good-to-haves are the decorative changes like false ceilings, feature walls, and new lighting.
3. Interior designer Vs. Renovation contractor
After fixing the budget and prioritizing changes, you must scout for interior designers or renovation contractors. Meet at least 3 different ones to understand their approach and get quotations. The objective is not simply to get the lowest quote, but also to find who you are most comfortable working with.
4. Plan your movement
An average 3 BHK house renovation takes 6-8 weeks, but your renovator will give you an exact estimate for your project. Add a buffer of 15-20 days for any exigencies. For your alternate living arrangement, instead of renting a full-sized house, you can move all your household items to temporary storage spaces and live in a smaller serviced apartment. This will avoid much hassle and cut on costs. Storage services like Flexi Space by Work+Store can provide you a one-stop solution to pack, store and retrieve your belongings as and when you want.
5. Material choice
Vinyl flooring instead of stone or wood, or a laminated top instead of granite are just some examples of using economical substitutes for expensive material choices. Wall paint, kitchen cabinets, countertops, and even faucets and sinks come in a variety of options across the price range. Choose quality items that will last long – but avoid splurging.
6. Avoid built-in furniture
As much as you dream of having showcase shelves in the living room and custom-built wardrobes and cabinets, every piece of built-in furniture can be an expensive addition. Self-assembled or ready-to-install alternatives are usually as effective and cost lesser.
7. Re-use and revamp
The house may have existing furniture or installations like kitchen cabinets and chimneys, and their functionality can be extended with a few repairs and repainting. Instead of completely removing such fixtures and installing new ones, try working with your renovation partner and check if these can be remodelled to save costs.
8. Avoid plumbing changes
Changing the kitchen sinkhole and toilet positions can mean pulling out the flooring to change the underlying plumbing system. Check if you can remodel the exteriors without disturbing the internal plumbing. Unless you have good reasons, like leaking pipes, to do a complete overhaul on the plumbing, it is an unnecessary expense that can be easily avoided.
9. Phase-wise renovation
If you are extremely tight on a budget, a phased renovation may be a better idea. Get the necessary changes done first, with the others being completed at a later stage as you live in. During this time, items from the rooms being renovated can be cleared to a storage space for rent.
10. Sell old stuff
There will be existing furniture or other household items in good condition but are not needed anymore. Such items can be put up for resale and get you some additional money. Other items that you may not need on a day-to-day basis but require after a few months can be stowed away in a storage unit for rent.
While all of this may sound overwhelming, careful planning and smart decision-making are all it takes to make your dream house a reality. After all, it is said that house should be a reflection of its owner’s personality.