How To Renovate Within Your Budget

An Easy 7-step Guide In Renovating Your Home



Fact: No home will come without any sort of defect with some defects more serious than others.


What You Need To Do: Upon collecting your key, do a defect checking right away.


Useful Advice: Homeowners are usually given 7 days upon collecting their key to submit their defects list. Be sure to check what is the period for your estate.


Steps In Doing Defect Checking

  • Get defect checking form from HDB or MCST
  • Visit your new home for inspection
  • Decide whether to DIY or hire a specialist


If you hire a specialist, you have little to do but to oversee the inspection. If you choose to DIY however, follow this guideline:


What To Bring

  • Defect checking form – Make sure you bring extra copies. You’ll never know how extensive the defects your home has!
  • A (working) pen – This is common sense but make sure your pen works!
  • Tapes/Sticky notes – These are for marking where the defects are. If you can, you may bring them in different colors to identify according to your liking (eg: minor vs major defect)
  • Doorstopper – A lot of homeowners neglect this but your new home is stuffy! So by opening the main door along with the windows, it will help ease your situation.
  • Flashlight and stool/ladder – These are really helpful for those dark areas and out of reach areas.
  • Tapping rod – It is useful and ergonomic for checking hollow tiles. A coin or key may also be used but they may cause backache as you need to bend down a lot.
  • Cameras – You may use your camera phones if they take good close-ups. Photos are for visual documentation and for comparison later on if improvement has been made.
  • Ruler and measuring tape – These are for checking the gaps between tiles and for any measurement issues that need pointing out.


quick-tip-transparentThe more eyes, the better. Ask your family or friends to help with the inspection. It will be a lot faster and more efficient!




When you finally decide to renovate your home, here are a few simple rules to keep in mind:

  • HDB/MCST Permit – You must obtain a renovation permit before carrying out renovation works or you will be penalized.
  • Give Notice – Be sensitive! You must serve a renovation notice to your neighbours.
  • Registered Contractor – Only hire registered renovation contractors. Do check their status before engaging them!
  • Observe Work Ethics – There is only certain time period in a day you can do renovation usually from 8am – 6pm. Please follow accordingly!


quick-tip-transparentRefer to the HDB website for the complete and updated renovation guidelines.




Scouting for a trusted renovation contractor can be quite taxing especially for first-timers. Here is a simple guideline:


What You Need To Do

  • Spare some time for consultation
  • Have your floorplan at hand
  • Get your house ready for a site visit, if possible
  • Know at least what theme and design you want
  • Be specific with your requirements
  • Have a comfortable budget range in mind


Useful Advice: Quantity and quality come at a price. Avoid demanding a lot and expect to pay little. Be reasonable.


Steps To Take

  • Research, research, research!
  • Confirm whether they are accredited
  • Check their website and Facebook
  • Read reviews and testimonials
  • Shortlist at most three ID firms
  • Meet all and compare design, proposal and quotation


quick-tip-transparentTake your time! Renovation involves quite an amount of money so it should not be rushed. Play it safe and choose only accredited firms.




Keep In Mind: Everything must be in black and white!

A contract is a document and when countersigned by both parties deems it binding and legal.


What You Need To Do

  • Be sure to read the terms in the contract carefully
  • Make sure every single detail in the contract is what you require to avoid hidden costs


How To Avoid Hidden Cost

  • Proper Space Planning – Space and layout planning must be accurate and agreed by you
  • Proposed 3D Design – The 3D design must closely represent the desired look and feel
  • Actual Design – All agreed aspects of the design must be clearly stated
  • Actual Dimension – Do the measurement together with your designer
  • Actual Final Quotation – Every detail and all specific works must tally with the quotation


Remember: For every extra inch is another dollar you have to pay for!


quick-tip-transparentNever pay a lump sum! Renovation goes by stages so payment must be made in progressive manner as well.




What You Need To Do

  • Ask for transparency from your designer right from the onset
  • Be clear of what you want and don’t want to avoid dispute
  • Keep your designer on their toes by reasonably demanding what are expected of them


What To Expect

  • Daily communication with your designer
  • Regular site visits
  • Expect the unexpected


Recourse: No job is ever perfect so it is always a good sign that the company is committed to good service if the Director of the firm is easily reached. Call the Director directly when problems are already out of the designer’s control.


Useful Advice: Renovation is a daily working collaboration so hire a designer who you feel you can work with.


quick-tip-transparentYou can always change designer! If your designer underperforms, ask for a change from the company.




Fact: Designers are humans too and they may make mistakes.


Final Inspection: Once your designer told you the renovation is done, you are given a time window to inspect the outcome. Your designer will provide the final inspection form.

Final inspection ensures that every work and item in the contract is accounted for.


What You Need To Do

  • Inspect every corner of the house
  • List down every thing that needs correction
  • A follow up inspection would mean checking if corrections were made
  • Once all issues have been resolved after the second inspection, sign the form for final release


quick-tip-transparentBe meticulous! This is your last chance to nitpick and get any issues rectified accordingly.




Once all issues have been ironed out during the final inspection, a final handover form will be given to you to sign. The form clarifies that:

  • All works as per contract are fulfilled and delivered
  • All other works are in satisfactory condition
  • Final payment shall be made immediately after


quick-tip-transparentDon’t forget to give a genuine feedback on the whole renovation experience especially the designer’s performance. It will be valuable for the company’s continuous service improvement.