Buying a home sure was a big financial commitment. And if you have reached this far and finally acquired your own space, turning your house into a home takes yet another responsibility, but this time, the fun part just gets more exciting.

While HDB flats were designed thoughtfully for function and modern aesthetics, homeowners’ needs and preferences vary, and so renovation takes place. But precisely how much financial implication does home renovation in Singapore entails?

According to the renovation portal Qanvast, the average HDB renovation cost depends on a host of different factors affecting the project’s overall pricing.ss

To give you a much clearer picture, we’ve mapped out the various aspects that influence the cost of your home renovation expense, some money-saving tips to stay within your prescribed budget, and alternatives for financing your renovation project.

How Much Does a Home Renovation Cost in Singapore?

Home renovation costs vary depending on a couple of factors. Multiple variations contribute to the bottom line, including:

  • Size and number of room/s
  • Underlying existing problems that need to address
  • Cost of materials required
  • The extent of the remodeling

Estimating renovation costs is a daunting task; hence, proper research must be made before starting the renovation process to maximize your investment return. To give you a good starting point, we’ve gathered information on some of the most relevant things to consider.

The Extent of Renovation Work 

Are you more or less contented with the orientation of your home? Or do you want to hack at the walls and build your dream home from scratch, with carpentry matching your design aesthetic? 

Considering the space’s size to renovate and the amount of work you want done forms most of your costs. A considerable percentage of your renovation budget will go to the following:

Hacking

Hacking simply pertains to tearing down walls, rebuilding walls, or touching up walls. The labor costs will depend on the wall size, thickness, and how much hacking needs to do. 

An endorsement from a professional engineer is required for you to obtain the necessary approval from the HDB, which usually will cost several hundred dollars. You will also be required to set funds aside for hauling and clearing the debris.

Masonry

Masonry is the work involved in building a new wall or patching up an old one. Masonry also entails the flooring, tiling, wet works, and costs determined by the area size and the labor required.

Carpentry

Have you always dreamt of having built-in wardrobes, sturdy work desks, tool shelves, or spacious kitchen cabinets? If yes, you will need to set aside a budget for carpentry which ultimately depends on the size, quality of materials to be used, and the quality you will require to ensure it is up to your standards and taste.

Other Works

You will also need to allot a sizable budget for other works required, such as the final finishing touches for your renovation.

Fixtures such as beams or partitions and installing false ceilings with ample lighting in the proper locations are just some of the usual brush-ups to any home project.

You may also require plumbing works, which may entail installing water closets and basins.

A new touch of paint will surely brighten any space.

Electrical work, which includes installing new outlets, appliances such as ceiling fans, lighting points, and adding light fixtures, also need to be considered.

Quality and Type of Materials 

There are wide selections of materials one can choose from for their renovation project, and costs will heavily vary on the quantity and quality of your preference.

As a reference, the Qanvast Cost Guide specifies that prices for ceramic flooring vary from $3.50 to upwards of $9.50 per square foot, while marble flooring can be quite expensive at $15 – $47.50 per square foot. 

Another example is choosing which materials you will use to finish your walls – either paint or wallpaper. If you opt to go for wallpaper, you are looking at a price tag of $1,5000 to $2,400, while going for painted walls will only cost you a fraction at $100.

Adding feature walls will also definitely increase your renovation expenses.

Case Study: 5-Room Home Renovation Costs

To give you a more extensive understanding of how much renovation costs will entail, we have drawn a more realistic example, which you can reference.

For example, you would like to renovate your five-bedroom flat spanning 70 sqm with two bathrooms, and you would like to remodel every single room.

We have developed the following hypothetical computations and scenarios based on Qanvast to give you a rough estimate of how much cost it will incur.

Living Room

Living Room Renovation

Estimated Cost: $2,200 to $8,000

You have minimal changes to do in your living room and no drastic renovations required; however, the flooring installed years ago could be updated, and some discoloration has managed to seep through the finish.

Also, you want a built-in console made for your newly purchased TV and a bookshelf to house your books. Below are the estimated expenses:

  • Moderate hacking. involves all built-in fixtures to be dismantled and partial hacking of your floors. – $400 to $700 
  • Moderate masonry. Includes installation of new tiles, floor touch-ups, and regular construction of your console and bookshelf base. – $1,300 to $3,000
  • Light carpentry. The built-in will require light carpentry, and the cost will vary on how the size of the bookcase. – $200 to $3,500
  • Light ceiling and partition work. While you may not foresee work done on your ceilings or partition beams/walls, these fixtures may require some basic renovation once work commences. The cost will vary depending on the area size. – $300 to $800

Kitchen

Kitchen Renovation

Estimated Cost: $9,000 to $23,200

You want your kitchen to be updated and to accommodate your growing appetite for cooking and baking. You prefer a spacious kitchen and would like to redo the current tiny one you are working with while giving it a more homey feel with more space-saving storage and features. You would also like to have better lighting fixtures in place, built-in cabinets, and a lovely counter backsplash.

  • Moderate hacking. Since you will be installing new fixtures, expect to pay this amount to dismantle the current fixtures and cabinets. Also, since you will not require work on the walls and floors, those are not included in the cost. – $500 to $900
  • Moderate masonry. For regular construction of appliances and cabinetry bases, moderate masonry may be required, including post-hacking touch-ups. – $1,300 to $3,900
  • Extensive carpentry. Most of the renovation will focus on carpentry for this portion of the house since you require completely redone and customized cabinets and storage space. The prices will vary depending on the size and material of your choice. – $6,900 to $17,900
  • Moderate plumbing. Includes renovation of 2-3 water fixtures such as kitchen sink, piping, heater storage, and water filtration system. $200 to $500 

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom Renovation

Estimated Cost: $11,500 to $44,600

Ideally, you want your master’s bedroom to be your favorite spot to rest at the end of a tiring day. So, you want it to have an updated hotel feel without compromising storage space for all your wardrobe and valuables.

You want a platform installed to lead to the bed, with each step housing built-in drawers to maximize the space. The lighting will also need some updating to achieve the ambiance of a 5-star hotel environment.

  • Moderate hacking. Since you will need to uninstall the existing cabinets, floor set up, and wardrobe to make room for the suggested platform bed and storage, moderate hacking is necessary for this renovation project. – $600 to $1,000
  • Extensive masonry. Extensive construction of cabinets and storage bases together with the post-hacking touch-ups. – $2,800 to $8,800
  • Extensive carpentry. The platform storage and bed construction will take up most of the renovation budget for this room due to the extensive design and assembly. – $7,500 to $33,700
  • Moderate ceiling and partition work. Involves changes to be made for home fixtures’ renovation, including box ups, partial partition walls, pelmets, and false ceilings with lighting. – $600 to $1,100

Bedroom

Spare Bedroom Renovation

Estimated cost: $600 or less

Since you have updated the master’s bedroom, you might as well renovate the spare guest room. However, this requires no extensive work except for a fresh coat of paint to invigorate the space to save on costs.

  • Paintworks, light ceiling, and partitions update – includes basic renovations of light fixtures. – $0 to $600

Bathroom

Bathroom Renovations

Estimated Cost: $1,300 to $2,600

All you require from your bathroom’s renovation is to have more storage and a better vanity. All other components of your bathroom are good to go and do not need any work done.

  • Light hacking includes the fixtures’ dismantling to make room for any additional space to be built. – $100 to $500
  • Moderate cabinetry. Construction of storage cabinets and an updated vanity will require moderate cabinetry work; hence be prepared to shell out this amount for the bathroom work. Of course, prices will vary depending on the size and complexity of the design. Also, the materials you will choose for the concept. – $1,200 to $2,100

How to Save on Home Renovation Costs in Singapore?

Now that you have a rough estimate of how much a renovation may cost, you now consider managing your resources effectively during the whole renovation process.

Since we have established that renovating the home of your dreams can be costly, and quality makeovers that include plumbing, flooring, electrical works, and carpentry are well worth the investment.

On the other hand, that does not mean you need to spend a fortune paying for your renovation.

Ideally, you should set a realistic working budget and be sure to stick to it so as not to overshoot or go beyond your means to pay. Here are some friendly tips that can help you stay within budget:

  1. Define a clear concept of what you want to renovate

Identify which parts of the house require some changes, and having a design style in mind will help you determine the amount of work and its costs.

Bear in mind that not all design concepts will cost the same. Usually, the most affordable design styles are the popular Nordic and Scandinavian-themed interiors because they involve plainer aesthetics and less carpentry.

On the other hand, Minimalist and Eclectic homes usually cost more since they require unique and expensive materials, which entails extensive custom carpentry most of the time.

  1. Choose between an interior designer and contractor

To execute your design concept, you must decide to employ either an interior designer or a contractor to manage your renovation project.

Ordinarily, an interior designer will be more expensive because they charge design fees and consultation fees for project and space planning. Aside from their professional fees, they will usually require a 20-30% deposit before the project’s commencement. 

On the other hand, a contractor will charge you only for the cost of construction materials and labor. Hence, you will save up on design fees, but the downside is that you will need to develop your design and manage the project in its entirety from day one.

Which to choose?

With that, it may be worth hiring an interior design firm to conceptualize the design work and project management for you, especially if you do not have the time to supervise the renovation yourself. By working with a trusted interior design firm, you will get expert advice for making your design and renovation concepts to reality and save you the problem of organizing everything.

To decide which interior designer to work with, choose several reputable companies and look through their accomplished projects to see if their style matches yours. During your initial consultation with the interior designer, be straightforward with your concept and budget to set their expectations about your project.

Once it clear with your designer, they will also provide you with a breakdown of the projected cost and fees and how long the hdb renovation will take before it begins.

If you choose to go with a contractor, ensure that you have ample time to oversee the project to its completion. It helps if you have previous experience designing and planning renovations to avoid getting blindsided with additional work that needs to be done if there are underlying problems that need to address. Remember that contractors will not do any design work or planning; they simply execute your orders and specific instructions.

  1. Consider buying ready-made furniture instead of built-in

Custom-made furniture is ideal for small spaces that require specialized space-saving solutions. However, if you have ample room, you may want to consider purchasing ready-made wardrobes, shelves, cabinets, etc., as this may prove to be cheaper than personalized ones.

As woodwork may take up a considerable amount of the renovation cost, it would be smart to save carpentry expenses whenever possible.

If you are not amenable to scrapping the carpentry route and just buying ready-made, then we suggest making a list of your non-negotiable 3 to 5 carpentry must-haves.

Setting your priorities in terms of carpentry may shave off a great deal of cost and headache. Once you have your top 3 customized woodwork on the definite plan, you can easily purchase the rest while balancing compromising to cut on cost.

  1. Consider your flooring materials

Generally, the flooring materials cost will make up a significant portion of your budget, especially if you opt for high-end options such as hardwood or marble. If so, be ready to shell out around $50 per square foot on flooring materials alone, as they can be pricey.

Alternatively, you can get the look and feel of these materials for significantly less the price if you employ vinyl or laminate flooring. Usually, these materials go for $4 to $8 per square foot.

In terms of durability, they are also comparable to hardwood and marble, and more importantly, their upkeep is also more uncomplicated than their contemporaries. These materials come in a variety of design options and even in realistic finishes.

  1. Rethink paint works 

Another smart way to cut on renovation costs is by painting your walls instead of getting them wallpapered. You can also opt to paint an accent wall instead of building a feature wall.

As highlighted previously, paint costs less than wallpaper or feature wall materials; hence it is the most practical way to liven up your space without spending a fortune.

If you want to change up your home’s look every once in a while, you can simply do so by changing the paint color instead of stripping off wallpaper or hacking down a feature wall. Those are harder to manage, while repainting a wall can simply be done in a few days.

How to Finance Your Home Renovation?

Generally, a home renovation in Singapore will set you back tens of thousands of dollars with prices of labor and building materials increasing, and a myriad of unforeseen costs during a renovation can add up as quickly.

So how does one manage a renovation project, especially in these trying times? Here are some suggestions to make sure you can cover the financial responsibility that comes with your renovation project:

  1. Saving for future renovation upon purchase

While saving for your dream house, it is earnest to set aside some budget for renovation costs. When you move into your newly purchased home and decide to renovate portions of the existing unit, you’ll have money that is earmarked and ready for any renovation expense that needs to be covered. That way, you will not need to take out a loan for any renovation project.

  1. Taking up a Renovation Loan from a Bank

Suppose you are still short on cash to cover all of the renovation expenses. In that case, you can also finance the project by taking up a home renovation loan with trusted and leading banks in Singapore.

However, this type of loan covers the renovation cost only, which means you cannot cash out the money to purchase furniture or cover any expense beyond what your contractor has quoted.

Note that every bank has different requirements, and usually, completing the documents take more time, especially if you do not have a fixed source of income.

Most banks also require a formal quotation from a contractor or an invoice signed by both parties to get loan approval.

One can borrow up to $30,000 or usually six times your monthly income, whichever amount is lower, and you can opt to repay the loan for a period of 1 to 5 years in monthly installments.

Take note that banks charge processing fees on top of varying interests. It is smart to review your bank financing options for a more optimized repayment plan. We have listed below some of the popular renovation loans in Singapore for your comparison.

Bank

Interest Rate

Processing Fee

Monthly Repayment for $20,000 loan, 5-year tenure

standard chartered

Standard Chartered CashOne

3.48%

0%

$391.33

Rhb

RHB Renovation Loan

4.18%

1%

$369.96

Ocbc

OCBC Renovation Loan (Monthly Rest)

4.18%

0%

$369.96

Maybank

Maybank Renovation Loan (Monthly Rest)

4.2%

0.75%

$370.14

  1. Signing up for a personal loan with licensed moneylenders

Another way to fund your renovation is by opting for a more flexible personal loan. Compared to a renovation loan, you can use the cash for the refurbishment and buy furniture as you commence with the renovation proper.

You can also cover any unforeseen expense from the project with the money that you can cash out from taking out a personal loan, which means it is non-restrictive in terms of funds allocation.

Licensed moneylenders charge a maximum interest rate of 4% per month. This cap applies regardless of your income. If you fail to repay the loan on time, the maximum late interest rate remains 4% per month for each unpaid month.

Moreso, aside from the simpler eligibility criteria and requirements, you can easily commence with your renovation since loan approval doesn’t take long.

Sometimes, taking on a renovation project seems like a big impossible feat. Still, like any aspiration, your dream space can turn into a reality with the right amount of planning and hard work. Forecasting the work and ensuring that all the moving parts in-place are working towards your one goal will be tantamount to your home renovation’s success.

Fortune Credit can help you turn your renovation plans into reality! Being one of Singapore’s distinguished and a licensed moneylender, we offer tailor-made loans with transparent and flexible terms considering your requirement and capability to repay. And getting a personal loan Singapore takes only a few steps. Reach out to our friendly officers today.