Home > Dream Home Planning > The 9 Valuable Tips from a Renovation Contractor

The 9 Valuable Tips from a Renovation Contractor

Whether you are renovating a new apartment, transforming your existing house into your next dream home, or are adding on some much needed space.

Either way, embarking on an extensive home renovation in Singapore can be an extremely stressful experience for most first-time (or even second-time) homeowners.

Your home is likely to be the most valuable asset you possess during your life time, therefore, it’s in your best interest to protect it.

A renovation contractor provided these 9 valuable tips to help homeowners who are planning to renovate their home soon.

Finding a good and reliable renovation contractor isn’t as hard as some people think. Performing due diligence up front along with smart planning will make all the difference for a stress-free renovation, and turning the experience into an extremely rewarding endeavour.

1. Get Your Design Ideas First

white-modern-living-room-8 Most Valuable Tips from a Renovation Contractor

Ask yourself, what sort of look and feel inspires you?

To source for interior design ideas, why not begin your search by browsing through magazines, books and websites to get inspirations on current trends, as well as various styles that would meet your tastes.

Even visiting friends who have recently renovated their homes, show flats or IKEA can be an inspirational source for gathering ideas.

Renovation Contractor Tip:

When researching your design concepts, make an effort to save pictorial references and pen down as much details as possible because that will enable renovation contractors to furnish you with accurate quotations – which will ultimately enable you to evaluate and determine your overall renovation budget.

If you provide vague or uncertain details to the renovation contractor, it will lead to greater variances in ascertain the renovation project’s costs.

2. Determining a Renovation Budget

asian-couple-discussion-8 Most Valuable Tips from a Renovation Contractor

This is a tricky question to answer generally because of the many variables that go into completing a renovation project. These could be things such as the quality of materials chosen and the scope of work.

Nevertheless, the important thing is to ask yourself, what is your bottom line for the entire home renovation, and is this a realistic budget within your affordability?

You’ll need to not only factor in the renovation costs which may vary, you may also need to consider the costs of engaging an interior decorator, buying furnishings or even the cost of temporary lodging in the event that your existing property cannot be occupied during the renovation.

If you have a specific design concept in mind, you may want to meet up with a reputable renovation company to help you determine a ball park figure of the total costs for the renovation works.

Renovation Contractor Tip:

Whatever amount the renovation contractor comes up with, don’t match your finances (or the renovation loan) to it exactly. It is recommended that you put aside an extra 5-10% of the total project costs for unexpected renovation costs or revisions.

3. Funding Your Home Renovation

calculator & pen - 8 Most Valuable Tips from a Renovation Contractor

Are you planning to use cash, take up a renovation loan or a combination of the two to fund the renovation? Usually, a large majority of home renovations in Singapore are financed with renovation loans.

To qualify for a loan, you would have to meet the application criteria of the banks. Hence, be prudent and secure financing before you commit and sign any documents with renovation companies.

Major financial institutions and some renovation companies in Singapore offer renovation loan packages to homeowners; with most banks, the minimum loan amount starts from $10,000.

Depending on the assessment of your financial standing, this can be extended to x times of your monthly income, or to a maximum of $30,000 or more.

Renovation loans are usually pegged at interest rates of between 3% to 6% depending on the loan amount and its terms of tenure. The loan is allowed to be paid back in monthly instalments over a period of 1 to 5 years.

Some banks may even offer bundle deals to tie your renovation loan with home loan or mortgage loan by offering you lower interest rates in return.

Renovation Contractor Tip:

Unlike home loans, renovation loans cannot be refinanced, hence, you should keep the tenure as short as possible. In addition, take note the value of your renovation and furnishings will also depreciate year on year.

A renovation loan is effectively borrowing money for consumption, so you want to repay that debt quickly.

4. Accredited Renovation Contractor

accredited-contractor-8 Most Valuable Tips from a Renovation Contractor

By working with an accredited Renovation Contractor, you have an advantage of taking up the renovation project on a good starting point.  These professionals have the expertise to plan, execute and manage your home renovation from start to finish.

They will listen to your ideas and give you suggestions for an aesthetically pleasing interior design, as well as accurate costings for the work to be carried out.

They will also provide specifications or purchasing services for materials, furniture, accessories and art pieces, so as to save you precious time because it requires tedious effort to find on your own.

Renovation Contractor Tip:

Before you meet a renovation contractor, make sure you are clear about your needs and write down all the questions you intend to ask. During the discussion, pose those questions and assess if they are able to address your concerns and requirements for the delivery of a nicely renovated home.

5. Where to Look?

asian couple on laptop-8 Most Valuable Tips from a Renovation Contractor

This is critical, and we cannot emphasize enough the significance in selecting the right contractor for your renovation.  This information could be the single most important step you take in finding the best fit for you or your family, and ultimately reducing your overall risk.

If you are looking for excellent customer experience, efficient project management and high quality results, hiring an established and accredited renovation contractor is imperative.

There have been far too many stories from homeowners who have had bad experiences with rogue contractors that could have been avoided with some additional research on their part.

So where do you look for qualified renovation contractors in Singapore?

Friends and neighbours – Ask around whom have renovated their homes recently. Since they would have first-hand experience working closely with the renovation company, it’s likely you will get an unbiased assessment from them.

Also, you could personally visit and view their home, so as to see for yourself the results and workmanship quality.

The Renovation and Decoration Advisory Centre (RADAC) – RADAC was set up as a watchdog non-profit making voluntary body to oversee and recommend best practices in the local renovation industry, as well as to educate Singapore consumers on renovation issues.

They are an excellent source for locating RADAC accredited renovation contractors in Singapore.

Websites – The internet is a fantastic place to gather information. You can get aplenty of information about renovation contractors such as their company profile, portfolios, reviews and accreditation etc. from useful online resources such as this useful web portal.

Another good reference is the HDB website, where you could see who are the renovation contractors accredited with a HDB licence. With a handful of reviews or testimonials, you will probably get a much clearer picture of which are the reputable ones.

6. Make Assessments Fairly

customer service - 8 Most Valuable Tips from a Renovation Contractor

First you should talk to a few potential renovation companies for assessment and comparison. Make sure that specifications given to them are the same, as different materials used can result in different quotes.

Assuming the specifications/ materials are the same, the quotes may still vary because of different standards in workmanship and services provided. It also depends on the time frame given to the contractor to finish the renovation work, as the contractor may charge higher for more urgent jobs.

Never just go for the lowest price. Assess quotations carefully and cautiously and look out for any hidden costs. You should also check if all the items discussed are correctly and clearly documented in the sales quotation.

Renovation Contractor Tip:

While evaluating any renovation contractor, try to ask for customer references and do some checks on them if you could. Better still, courteously request to bring you onsite and view the customer’s house.

That way, you might have the opportunity to strike up small chats with the home owner and verify claims.

No doubt, it’s appealing to go for the lowest price but you should also remember that typically, you get what you pay for.  Remember, quality comes with a reasonable price.

It would really be a bad decision to select a renovation contractor purely based on the lowest price. Following this one step could save you a lot of heartache and money.

After you are done with your research and have shortlisted the renovation company, it’s also important that you should feel comfortable with its team taking charge of your home renovation, and to trust the information they are giving you.

If the answer is not a definitive yes, then you should seriously continue your search for the right fit. The homeowner-contractor relationship has to be positive and based on trust in order to achieve a successful home renovation.

7. Scrutinise the Contract

looking-at-contract-8 Most Valuable Tips from a Renovation Contractor
Image Source: wisegeek.com

Once you decide to hire the renovation contractor, this is when you would have to put all of the details in writing, to ensure they deliver what has been agreed upon and to safeguard both party’s interests. All your requirements should be communicated clearly to the renovation company.

Never rely on verbal agreements, and always have a renovation agreement/ contract between you and the company. When you sign the document with your renovation contractor, take extra care to also read, check and understand clauses or fine prints on it.

The contract should include and comprehensively list items such as a detailed scope of the work, any necessary scale drawings and specifications, payment schedules based on work progress, a start date as well as the completion date, and warranty information should any unforeseen issues arise during or after the work is completed.

Before signing the contract, be sure to read it carefully again, and determine if you are satisfied with the scope of work that is described in it.  Are the renovation contractor’s responsibilities clearly defined?

And if you have a question about the scope of work that does not clearly answer your doubts, do not hesitate to voice out and include this information in the contract to avoid disputes or additional fees down the road.

Renovation Contractor Tip:

Be prudent when writing cheques for down payments prior to starting the renovation work. It is common to pay your renovation contractor for materials upfront before the job starts, but this amount is typically less than 30% of the total project cost.

If the contractor is requesting anything more than this before the job starts, then you should ask them to provide you with a detailed breakdown and justify why you should comply, or you can opt to pay the supplier directly for the materials to reduce your risk.

8. Renovating Your Existing House?

moving-house-8 Most Valuable Tips from a Renovation Contractor

If you are doing major renovation works in your existing home, you might need to consider plans for temporary lodging. You should also ask yourself if it makes sense for you to live in your current home during the renovation, or do you need to move elsewhere until works are completed?

Renovation Contractor Tip:

You should also look into these issues and ask –

  1. What will happen to the existing furniture in the house?
  2. Are you going to store your belongings in a locked room or a temporary storage facility?
  3. Have you discussed and established with your renovation contractor about the work schedule and hours? Example, work should only be carried out on weekdays from 10am to 6pm.
  4. Did you check with them if there will be any major disruptions to your electricity, water, gas, etc. during the renovation?
  5. If you continue to live in, is there going to be a toilet or bathroom which you and your family can use?

These are questions you will want to discuss with your contractor, so that it will make your life easier while renovation works are carried out in your home.

9. Have a Good Working Relationship

handshake - 8 Most Valuable Tips from a Renovation Contractor

It’s important for you to understand that even the best plans are not perfect, and sometimes surprises can occur.  Hence, it’s better for you to be mentally prepared, stay flexible and to have a contingency plan, just in case.

Renovation Contractor Tip:

Always try to keep a cordial working relationship with your renovation contractor, maintain constant communication and raise your questions or concerns whenever the need arises.

It’s also a good idea to take photos of all phases of work (a picture speaks a thousand words), keep them for your records, in case there are any issues on the quality of work.

Planning For Renovation?

Exclusive Renovation Packages STARTING FROM $15k!

Get Fast, FREE & Competitive Quotes From 12 Best Renovation Contractors in Singapore Now! 

Orange Button Free Quotes