keat hong


Over 80% of Singapore’s resident population lives in an HDB flat. So you and your partner are taking your relationship to the next level, and are looking to apply for a flat in May 2018’s BTO launch. Purchasing property is a huge deal, so you want to go into this as prepared as you possibly can. It is a great feeling to finally have a place of your own. The freedom to transform an empty space into your dream home is a challenging but ultimately satisfying process.  Like everything, it is not always a bed of roses. We’ve asked some new homeowners for the problems they faced and their tips on avoiding them. Compiled below are the 7 tips you need to know before your BTO renovation!

Singapore’s resident population

Know what you want.

While there are couples that give their Interior Designer (ID) free play on the design, most of us already have an idea of what we want. Don’t be shy about communicating what you want to your ID. Letting them understand your lifestyle allows the IDs to design your space to suit you. Using images to communicate with your ID is also a great way to avoid miscommunications as your idea might differ from your ID’s. Start by saving the designs images that you fancy, and soon you’ll find a similar design or theme emerging.

Decide on the type of flooring you want early.

New BTO owners are given the option to take up the HDB Floor Tiles or opt out for other HDB Interior Design Portfolio. If you are undecided or still considering alternative floor finishes like Vinyls etc, we recommend that you opt out first. It will save you the hassle and additional cost of hacking and redo the floor finishes.

Know what you want.

Be specific on the expected deadline and ask for the work schedule.

“Not in a rush” usually means schedule me last! I would recommend owners to give their IDs a specific deadline and the IDs will usually let you know it is realistic or not. This will avoid any possible misunderstandings in regards to the expected project completion date.

No offence to most IDs out there, but some rogue IDs have been known to stretch the deadline. I’ve heard of BTO renovations that takes 3 months to complete, so it is a good idea to ask your coordinator for the project schedule. This will allow both parties to work out an achievable timeline that also serves as a reminder for both your ID and you of what’s next.

Factor the ‘small things’ into your budget.

Excluding the obvious big-ticket items like furniture, air-con, etc., the ‘small things’ are as follows:

  1. Water & Toilet Fittings. Things like new taps and sink for that fancy vanity top, kitchen sink, rain shower bar, water heaters?
  2. Lights. Ceiling lights, downlights, track lights, kitchen cabinet LEDs? The more lights you have, the more you will spend.
  3. Home Security. Window grilles, CCTV, quality padlocks? Additional security comes at a price.
  4. Electricity. Adding/removing/shifting of power points, installation of lights?
  5. Curtains & Blinds. Day curtains, blinds, block-out curtains, curtain tracks?

Ask for a written confirmation.

Changes are to be expected during renovations. If possible email the ID, or get your ID to email or message you the revised dimensions, colours or details. Do not accept verbal confirmation unless it is a minor change. Doing so will minimise human errors.

Try to be around during measurement and if possible, installations.

For important measurements and installations like the kitchen cabinets, I would recommend that owners try to be around too so that the contractors will be able to discuss and clarify any doubts with owners immediately. It is important not to assume that everything will go smoothly as any required rectifications could cost you money and worse of all, cause unwanted delays to your project.

Don’t waste your time cleaning until everything is done.

Last but not least, your house is going to be very dirty, dusty, and messy. Don’t bother cleaning up as it will still be dirty. Clean your home after the major hacking, carpentry, air-con installation, plumbing and electrical works are done.

We hope you’ve found the tips useful! Follow us on our Facebook for more images, information and tips on renovations! What other tips would you like to share with other new homeowners?