A "low interest" loan shouldn't mean you have very little interest in paying it back!

8 Smart Ways to Save Big on Home Renovations in Singapore

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, a German thinker, statesman, playwright, and author had once said - “He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home.” While finding absolute peace and bliss at home depends, to a great extent, on the people you share it with, it won’t be too wrong to say that a home revamp also has its benefits. It can add zing to your life and value to your home! But, you may have read in the newspapers that due to increasing inflation, lower job creation, and an underperforming rental market, remodelling your home may not be prudent at this moment since returns on investments are quite uncertain. We’re not asking you to throw caution to the wind and spend on home renovation, especially if it means that you have to go beyond your means. We’re just asking you to consider it as a smart choice as it may prolong the longevity of your home and improve the chances of occupancy in case you wish to rent it out in the future or even sell it.

Are Home Renovations Always Expensive?

Very often, an elementary but important point gets overlooked when we discuss the costs of home renovations. And that is why you probably get the impression that home renovations are expensive. Remember that the cost of renovation depends on how well you differentiate between your “needs” and “wants”. Sounds confusing? But, it’s true. There’s a difference between repairing a wall that is about to give away and adding a Turkish steam bath to your home.

Okay, the difference may not be so “black and white” always but you’ll still need to make those judgement calls. If you can do that, you may be able to stay within your budget and still have a fruitful home renovation.

Want to Make Your Home Look New Again? Try These Methods to Cut Costs Without Cutting Quality

  1. Try an interior-design carnival or warehouse sale: Not sure which interior designer to consult? Walk into an interior-design/home improvement carnival such as the “Best of the Best Interior Design Carnival” by Renopedia or wait for warehouse sales where you can buy items at heavy discounts.
  2. At the 2018 carnival in May that went on for 2 days, 10 well-known interior designers had gathered together. This gave you a chance to meet with them, discuss the best options for your home, and buy furniture and showpieces that added class to your home without diluting its uniqueness. These carnivals also offer a number of deals and discounts. So, you can save both time and money.

  3. Go for the right renovation loan: Need to make a structural alteration to your home or install new wiring? Even if these are slightly expensive, getting them done is necessary for the safety of the occupants and to protect the “value” of the home. If you can find the right renovation loan, you can easily give your home a complete makeover without worrying about the costs.

    Take for example the POSB Renovation Loan. You can take this loan for up to 5 years. You can borrow up to 6 times your monthly salary, subject to a maximum of S$30,000, at a flat rate of 2.31% p.a.

  4. Can You “DIY”? You can definitely save a lot of money if you can take care of some of the aspects of the renovation job all by yourself. DIY or do it yourself is a concept in which you do a lot of research to begin with, find out the best options, say for painting a wall, and then implementing the ideas without professional assistance.
  5. However, be careful. If you get it wrong, you may have to spend a lot more to “untangle the knot.” Watch DIY demonstration videos online or better still, join a DIY workshop for a few days. Start your own project when you’re absolutely confident. You may, however, want to leave certain aspects of home renovation such as wiring, kitchen/pipeline installations, structural alterations, and flooring, for the professionals.

  6. Wooden flooring, Venetian glass panels, and expensive decals may look good at your home. But, is it really necessary? Sometimes, going Spartan, minimalistic, and practical could be your best ploy. By choosing to paint an accent wall instead of spending thousands of dollars on wallpapers, you’re creating almost the same impact without spending as much.
  7. Always try to make practical choices, especially if can’t afford to loosen the purse strings. Colour-matching the blinds with the walls and the furniture in a room is more important than installing a far more expensive electric shade that doesn’t mix with the overall flow/aesthetics of the room and your home! Floor carpets may be an excellent alternative to marbles, especially if you have a small child or a pet at home. Try to avoid decals in Singapore because the tropical climate could make them mouldy, curly, and discoloured.

  8. Go shopping when it comes calling! While you may not be able to keep a building contractor out when you’re overhauling your home in a massive way, you can definitely try and stay more involved by doing the shopping for fixtures, paints, and furniture you want installed. This can help you in two ways – create a style that is truly your own and save a lot of dollars.
  9. While contractors usually get discounts for bulk purchases, they may not always extend the benefits to you. By buying stuff yourself, you can keep one eye on aesthetics and the other on budget. If you can spare some time to check out multiple options online and at physical stores, you may be able to find what you want for a fraction of what you would have spent otherwise.

  10. Recycle and reuse wherever possible: Renovations don’t always mean bringing a structure down. To save money, try to stick to the original layout and configuration, and reuse items such as bricks, pipes, and furniture that are in fine working conditions and can find a place in the new “story” you want your home to tell the visitors.
  11. Opt for paints, blinds, and furniture that require minimum maintenance: When you think about home renovation, think long term! Yes, it is important to save money on upfront expenses but incremental expenses from high-maintenance features of your home can definitely cancel out your initial gains, if any. Go for a quality paint or wiring, even if it comparatively more expensive but promises durability.
  12. Create a proper budget: While this should ideally be the first step of the renovation process, we have kept it for the last because we wanted to stress on its importance. Instead of simply buying without a plan, create a budget first and then go shopping or looking for contractors. Make allocations under different heads and see whether they add up to the total number. Talking to contractors also becomes easy when you have a plan/budget. They can tell you how feasible your plan is and what are the best alternatives within your budget. Also, be realistic with your budget. It’s good to be thrifty but don’t go for the least expensive packages or products always. That’s because these could require more maintenance and higher costs in the future.

It is sometimes said that a house becomes a home when you can share it with someone you care about. A good home renovation will mean that you can share the space with people you care about for a long time! By following the aforementioned ideas, you can achieve that without having to empty your bank account.

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