Hey homeowners! We hope you found our tips in the first part of this guide useful for your upcoming renovation.
In this second instalment of Home Renovation Mistakes and How To Avoid Them, we give you more insights on how you should get around them and avoid blunders for your home renovation project.
Don’t Skimp On Your Home Renovation
One of the most common home renovation mistakes homeowners make is trying to skimp on their renovation project.
As the old saying goes – Paying peanuts will get you monkeys! The bottom line is, you’re going to get what you pay for. This is especially true when it comes to the quality of workmanship and materials used by your contractor.
It’s important that your contractor’s work is going to hold up over the years. For this, you need to know that materials can greatly affect the integrity of your renovation project.
You might think that shopping and buying renovation materials yourself seems like a clever way to save money – because you feel the mark ups of these materials could be excessive. Honestly, this is not necessarily true.
To begin with, interior design companies & contractors purchase building materials on wholesale. Obviously, you won’t get to enjoy such preferential pricings because you are a consumer.
Further, if you are not in the business, it could be extremely difficult for you to understand the pros and cons of different materials versus their respective prices. Therefore, you could end up paying more than what you bargain for. So think twice.
On workmanship quality, many first-time homeowners may face tough choices due to budget constraints. Nonetheless, this is worth paying attention to because your home is an extremely important and valuable investment.
It not uncommon for newbies to first consider a renovation contractor who offers a low price. Common sense also tell us it’s never wise to make hiring decisions based solely on low price, as there are much risks involved. Good and cheap can hardly be a couple in the real world.
If your budget is a little too stretched, be honest with your contractor(s) right from the beginning. There is nothing embarrassing being upfront. At least, they will be the best person to tell you how to make the best of what you can afford with your budget.
Leave it to The Professionals
Without overwhelming yourself, some DIY projects such as painting, fixing up furniture pieces or even installing parquet flooring can be done with reasonably satisfactory results (fantastic money-saving tasks), and quite fun too.
However, when it comes to plumbing, serious cutting and electrical work, never take them on unless you are professionally trained or certified. This is especially so when it involves electrical wiring, it simply doesn’t pay off when your safety is involved. If mishandled, not only would it cause severe injury or death, but also totally ruin your home.
It’s best to leave them to the professionals instead.
Keep Track, Check and Pay
Make an effort to actively follow and track the renovation work progress. Even if there is a project manager assigned to oversee your project, don’t take things for granted. If you turn lazy or lose your focus, you may pay for it – literally.
As the work starts, ask your renovation contractor how he/ she prefers to communicate with you. Save your contractor’s or the project manager’s contact number on your mobile phone.
Have a mutual agreement, where you can talk with the relevant stakeholders every day at a pre-determined time, making sure you are staying on top of things.
Try to visit the jobsite regularly and meet with the contractor or project manager. This gives you a good opportunity to check their work quality, receive work progress updates, find out what work is scheduled in the coming days, and also to ask questions or voice your concerns.
Even if you have excellent memory, it is always a good habit to keep a project journal with you. Recorded entries will help you to follow-up on any outstanding or unresolved issues of the renovation works.
Disbursement to your renovation contractor should be broken-down into a series of milestone payments. You should only pay when work for a milestone is completed. For example, your contract could stipulate that you will pay in four instalments, with the last payment to be made upon completion of the entire project, and after you and your contractor agree the work is satisfactory.
The Trouble With Fads and Trends
With your first home, it is all too easy to get carried away with fad. Often, magazines showcase the latest home designs that capture the homeowner’s imagination.
It’s important to realize you will probably be living on your new property for the next 5 to 10 years – overtime, tastes and situations change, and not forgetting kids as new additions to the family. Well, you get the picture.
Try to have colours and room designs that can withstand the age of time. To avoid the need of renovating your home again to meet changes in the near future, snub those trendy colours and just stick to the neutral tones for your interiors – neutrals never go out of style and add a timeless elegance to your home.
Take practicality and style into consideration, and talk to your interior designer before you start planning for your home renovation.
The matter of fact is that trend cycles are usually short-lived and may not last for a very long time.
Not Abiding with Regulations
This is one home renovation mistake you shouldn’t make at all. Be warned, there are serious consequences when you don’t follow compliance.
Upon hiring a professional to handle your renovation works, the firm is responsible for preparing all relevant documents and permits required under the HDB renovation guidelines. You also need to note that only firms with a HDB registered licence has the capacity to perform renovation works in HDB flats.
For private residential property owners – these include landed houses, apartment buildings, condominium and cluster housing, and you will need to abide with the regulations laid down by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).
The renovation guidelines for private residential properties in Singapore differ from those of HDB. You should know that for minor works that do not impact structural significance, there isn’t a need for you to get an approval of plans or a permit from the BCA.
While some minor building works and alterations may be exempted, some of these works however, may also be subjected to the control of other authorities. To have a clear understanding of what these exempted works are, it is best for you to refer to this list from the BCA.
Scrutinise and Check for Defects
Since we are touching on the subject of common home renovation mistakes, we thought it might also be useful to remind first-time homeowners about the importance of inspecting your potential home, before you sign on the dotted line.
Always take a good look before you buy a home, no matter how beautiful or tempting for you to buy it quickly. Purchasing a home without a proper survey first is just asking for trouble.
While it is easy to spot obvious physical defects of a property, underlying issues that aren’t immediately evident may prove difficult to detect. Structural problems, for example, can get worse over time, undermining safety and seriously devalue your property.
Luckily, the local building safety standards are very strict in Singapore and thus significant structural defects are typically rare. Still, it is compulsory to hire a surveyor to do proper checks when you buy a HDB flat or a private property. A professional surveyor is not only there to make sure that things are solid and sturdy, but also to give you a peace of mind.
Not so much for new properties, cases of flaws with flooring, electrical or plumbing usually occurs in resale units – where some of these could be as old as 30 or 35 years in age. If it happens to you, make sure you snap pictures of the defect and immediately lodge a formal complaint with the authorities.
To prevent any nightmarish scenarios, draw up a game plan, prepare yourself financially and mentally before embarking on your home renovation project. Good luck!