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Guide To The Cost Of Renovating An HDB Flat In Singapore

With work-from-home being the norm, getting your HDB home renovation done right (and within budget) is vital.


If buying an HDB flat is the single largest-ticket item that you may purchase in your life, there is a good chance that the cost of renovating an HDB flat in second place (unless you buy a car). Despite the small size of many HDB flats, renovating an HDB flat is far from cheap.

How Much Does It Cost To Renovate An HDB Flat?

According to interior designer platform Qanvast, it will cost from $38,500 (3-room BTO flat) to $52,000 (5-room BTO flat).

3-Room BTO Flat 4-Room BTO Flat 5-Room BTO Flat
$40,000 to $55,000 $45,000 to $52,000 $59,000 to $79,000

Source: Qanvast

However, we need to remember this is just an average estimate. How much we end up spending on our renovation will primarily be based on the requirements we have for our renovation.

Here are some factors that could increase or reduce our renovation costs.

HDB Optional Component Scheme: HDB’s Optional Component Scheme (OCS) allows us to add the costs of essential fittings and fixtures to the overall cost of our BTO flat. This can include flooring, sanitary fittings and internal doors. What this means is that some of the works that is needed for our homes such as flooring and doors will be done for us, which should lead to lower renovation costs.

Read Also: Complete Guide To HDB’s Optional Component Scheme (OCS)

How much built-in cabinets we want: There is a fascination with built-in cabinets and a perception that it enhances the value of a home. While that may be true in some cases, having built-in cabinets means less flexibility. Also, if we sell our home, the value of our built-in cabinets may not be appreciated by our potential buyers as much as we may value it to be. It may even be a disadvantage if buyers don’t like our design and want to hack it away.

In any case, built-in cabinets can be more expensive compared to getting a similar freestanding furniture. To reduce cost, opt for built-in cabinets only when we need to customise for odd shapes within the home, or have a design that we want to have.

Materials we choose: The materials we choose will obviously make a difference in how much more or less we will pay for our home renovation. If we opt for a granite kitchen top, we should expect to spend more, compared to a laminate countertop. Similarly, opting for marble floor tiles is going to cost us more than using homogenous tiles.  Do avoid the misconception that more expensive materials are always better. This isn’t true. For example, while expensive, marble tiles for the bathroom unit in our homes may not be the most ideal.

Existing resale flats may cost more to renovate: Buying a resale HDB flat, or a resale private property, may increase or reduce our renovation cost. If the unit was recently renovated and still in a good, move-in condition, we can save a lot by moving in with minimal renovation work required. However, if the condition of the flat is bad, we may incur a higher cost renovating the flat due to additional hacking work required as compared to getting a brand-new flat from HDB.

According to Qanvast, the average cost of renovating a resale HDB flat ranges from $40,000 (3-room flat) to $79,000 (5-room flat). Again, this is just an estimate and we can expect to spend more, depending on our renovation requirements.

3-Room Resale Flat 4-Room Resale Flat 5-Room Resale Flat
$40,000 to $55,000 $45,000 to $52,000 $59,000 to $79,000

Source: Qanvast

Parts Of Our Homes That Require Renovation

Rather than thinking of our HDB flat as one renovation project, we can think of it as a few small projects instead. The cost of renovating different parts of our home will depend on the extent of which we want the area to be renovated, and what we want it to be furnished with.

Kitchen: Unless we purchase a resale flat with a kitchen that is in a good condition, chances are that the kitchen will need the most amount of carpentry. We will need to build kitchen cabinets, countertops, cooker, hob, sink and other items. Cabinets and countertops are items that will cost us the most, depending on the material and the size of the kitchen. We can expect to spend about $8,000 to $12,000 on average if we are building a kitchen for a brand-new HDB BTO flat.

Living Room & Dining Room: The biggest cost is likely to be the masonry work for our floor tiles if we did not opt-in for the HDB OCS, or if we want to hack or overlay the existing tiles in the resale flat that we bought. Also, we may also require some carpentry work such as a feature wall, false ceiling, shoe cabinets and additional storage space. All these may cost us around $8,000 to $12,000.

Bedrooms: For bedrooms, the main cost will be the flooring and any built-in cabinets that we wish to build. Assuming we need to do the floorings, this can cost about $2,000 to $3,000 per bedroom or around $8,000 for all three bedrooms. Additional work such as false ceiling and cabinets can bring the cost to be about $10,000.

Bathrooms: If we want tile overlays or to hack the existing tiles and walls, this will cost us easily $3,000 to $4,000. Other fixtures such as a shower screen, vanity sink, bathroom accessories or even a bathtub can increase the cost of the bathroom renovation to be about $5,000 to $10,000 per bathroom. If we opt for something simple, the cost can be less than $5,000. For two bathrooms, the cost would be about $10,000 to $15,000.

Other costs that we will incur will include plumbing and electrical works, lightings, painting, window grills, ceiling fans and of course, air-conditioning units. We may wish to allocate about $10,000 to cover the costs of these work especially if we are taking over an empty BTO flat that has not done these works.

In total, based on our estimates from the numbers above, the cost of renovating a HDB flat would be about $44,000. This is assuming that no hacking is done, which is another cost that we may incur when renovating a resale HDB flat.

Do note that the renovation cost stated above does not include the cost of furnishing either. Often, interior designers may show beautiful photos of their portfolio work to clients that looks good because of the furnishing. As a new homeowner, we will not have any existing furniture, and this means we will further incur a significant cost due to furnishing a home.

Additional Cost Of Furnishing Our Home

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of items that we may need to purchase before we can move into our home.

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
1X Queen Sized Bed $2,000
Total $9,000

 

Last but certainly not least, we want to make sure that you get a good interior designer or contractor that is trustworthy to deliver the materials and services that you paid for. Otherwise, working with an errant contractor or interior designer can be a nightmare.

Read Also: 5 Things Homeowners Can Do During Renovations That Will Save Them Money Over The Long Term

 

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