Photo: Qanvast

This article is republised with permission from Dollars & Sense.

Renovating a HDB flat is one of the few big-ticket items in Singapore that most couples will need to spend money on. To renovate a house is not cheap, contrary to what some articles on social media sometime suggest. It gets even more challenging when one hears of horror stories dealing with errant contractors and sometimes even interior designers.

So how much does it really cost to renovate an HDB flat? Are those articles touting beautiful renovation works at $35,000 believable?

$56,000 to renovate a HDB Flat

“Unless you spend alot of time doing it yourself, home renovations are rarely cheap.

The average renovation amount spent on a typical HDB flat is about $56,000, according to Qanvast.

If that seems a little higher than what you were originally expecting, it is time to be realistic about how much home renovation can actually cost you. The truth is, unless you spend a lot of effort doing it yourself, home renovations are rarely cheap. Of course, a renovation package will appear “cheap” by not including some costs.

Here are some things you might want to know before signing on the dotted line for your renovation package.

1. Be Careful Of Photos showing 3D perspective

It is common for interior designers to showcase beautiful pictures of their portfolio of work. One thing to note when reviewing their portfolio is to differentiate between 3D perspective and actual photos of completed work. One easy way to differentiate between the two is to simply look at the window within the photo. If it’s a 3D perspective, the view from the window will look like one that is too good to be true.

2. Additional (important) works not included

If the price of the renovation package that your interior designer has done up appears quite low, it is probably because optional works had been excluded. Here are some common items.

Item Price
Lights plus electrician $4,000
Curtains $1,000
Window grills $500
Air conditioning $3,500
Cement Screeding $1,000
Total $10,000

Our price range is an estimate. But even then, you can see that it is not difficult for an additional $10,000 to be added to the final invoice. This is additional money that you will need on top of what you are paying for the renovation package. We are also assuming that your interior designer or contractor is honest enough to include all the costs instead of hiding some.

3. Additional cost of furnishing

If this is your first home, you probably do not own any existing furniture yet. New homeowners can expect to spend anything between $10,000 to $20,000 to furnish their home.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of furniture and electronics that you will need.

Item Price
Kitchen Appliances $2,000
Fridge $1,000
Washing machine $1,000
Television $750
Dining table set $750
Sofa set + Coffee table $1,500
Study table set $1,000
Queen sized bed $2,000
Total $10,000

The actual amount may be even higher. Our estimate does not include items such as beds for your children, wardrobes for the bedrooms and the storage racks for your household shelter. It also does not include the cost of bathroom accessories and your dressing table.

4. Ensuring the renovation package covers what you really need

Renovation packages can sometimes be one size fits all. A sales person may promise you everything under the sun before the contract is signed and then transform into the most inflexible person after your deposit is received. Hence, it is important for you to understand each and every item that you are paying for and the justification for the price quoted.

In our opinion, the best thing to do is to sign the agreement after you have received your house keys to ensure that your interior designer has already done the relevant measurements in your home before quoting their price.

You want a quotation based on the actual dimensions and needs of your home, and not one that is simply a ballpark figure.

5. NOT getting a package from a road show

Getting a package from road shows is almost always a bad idea. There are a few reasons for that.

“Getting a package from road shows is almost always a bad idea.

Rather than be at the mercy of information provided by sales people, homeowners can do their own research first to better understand the market and their own needs and wants.”

Firstly, the salesperson that you might be talking to may simply just be that, a sales person. He or she may not be the actual person you will be working with after the contract is signed. The sales person may promise you things that the company cannot deliver.

Secondly, any package signed during a road show is likely to be subjected to future changes on your part. However, there is no guarantee that the company is going to be flexible with these changes. If you wish to remove an unnecessary item thereafter, they may not reduce the price.

On the other hand, it is almost a given that any additional item you need that is not included in the renovation package will be an added cost, even if it was the sales person who had forgotten to include it.

Lastly, never ever fall for the trick that sales people like to use by saying that “locking in your package price a year before your house is ready will hedge you against inflation”.

As finance writers, we all know that the underlying risk of inflation have to be borne by someone. Are interior designers and their companies really going to hedge in their material price? We highly doubt so.

Rather than be at the mercy of information provided by sales people, homeowners can do their own research first to better understand the market and their own needs and wants.

 ♦ Do your own research

Qanvast is a great platform for anyone who wants to get started in understanding the industry. The platform showcases various designs by interior designers in Singapore and helps people understand the renovation decisions that they will be making.

Ultimately, knowledge is essential in being able to make a good choice on the type of interior designer that you will want to work with.

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#1 Treasure at Tampines 2019-04-30 08:43
Future residents of Treasure at Tampines . Here are some ideas for you :)

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