Renovating an 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 suggests. It gets even more challenging when one hears of horror stories dealing with errant contractors and even sometimes, 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
According to Qanvast, which is a platform allowing Singapore homeowners to compare design inspirations from a pool of interior designers, the average renovation amount spent on a typical HDB flat is about $56,000.
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. 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 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 your renovation package price appears quite low from the perspective that your interior designer have done up for you, it is worth noting that there are some additional works that are probably not included as part of the package price. Here are some common items.
|Cost of lights plus electrician||$4000|
|Cost of curtains||$1000|
Our price range is an estimate but even then, you can see that it is not difficult for an additional $10,000 to be included in the package. These are 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.
|Dining Table Set||$750|
|Sofa Set + Coffee Table||$1500|
|Study Table Set||$1000|
|Queen Sized Bed||$2000|
The amount that we have estimated does not include other items such as additional 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 fit all packages. 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.
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.
Do your own research
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.
Qanvast is a great platform for anyone who wants to get started in understanding the industry. The platform showcase various designs by interior designers in Singapore and help 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.
This article is done in collaboration with Qanvast, a trusted platform that connects homeowners and home professionals. Discover over 10,000+ home inspiration ideas, with a break down on renovation cost. Simplify your renovation journey by downloading the Qanvast app (available on iOS or Android).