How Much Does Renovating a Condo Cost?
The only thing that is more frustrating than the actual home renovating process is the last-minute surprises with regard to renovation cost in Singapore. So it is only fair that you know all the facts before you begin renovating.
Essentially, there is no one answer to the question of what would be the average or ideal cost of home renovation in Singapore. This is basically because the final price of the renovation is a function of a variety of services and products.
So as a starting point, let’s walk you through the different factors that influence the renovation cost of your home in Singapore in one way or another.
What to Consider Before Renovating Your Condo
To understandably determine how much to set aside for home renovation in Singapore, you will need a ballpark figure. However, there are several variables that will affect your home renovation cost, and before we begin, do consider the following factors:
It is evident that the larger the home is, the higher the renovation costs go. The renovation cost for small homes under 100 sqm can get away with a price of SGD 30,000 or less. Meanwhile, for a 3-room or 4-room HDB flat, you can expect to pay up to SGD 50,000, and up to SGD 70,000 for a 5-room flat. If we’re talking about most HDB flats in Singapore, the combined living & dining space or living and dining rooms add up to a large part of the flat but the renovation costs here can actually be pretty low.
Age and Condition
The extent and type of renovation work for a decades-old resale flat and a brand new BTO will be very different. The type of home you have will also play a huge factor in determining your Singapore home renovation cost.
New condominium units are typically less expensive to renovate than HDB flats since they already come with bathroom and kitchen fittings. Whereas, a newly constructed HDB flat will need things like walls, new floorings, and built-in furniture, in addition to bathroom and kitchen fittings.
However, a new BTO flat will cost less to renovate than a resale flat in Singapore. In fact, compared to new HDB flats, resale flats can cost up to 40% more to redo. That’s because older properties have outdated fittings and design features that will probably not meet your aesthetic.
If the unit has not been renovated in the last 20 years, you may consider tearing everything down and rebuilt it anew for hygiene purposes. You may need to redo structural works as well like wiring and plumbing, as they might have gotten worn down over the years. Private properties such as landed properties and condos in Singapore could cost greatly more than HDB flats simply because of their configurations
According to the home renovation portal Qanvast, resale condos cost around SGD 82,000, while the average renovation cost for a resale HDB is about SGD 67,000. Meanwhile, a new condo will cost around SGD 39,000, while a new HDB will cost around SGD 44,000 to renovate.
What You Want to be Done
The more extensive the work you want to be done, the higher the renovation cost. A large part of your Singapore home renovation budget will go to the following:
This means tearing down walls, touching up or rebuilding walls. The labour price will depend on the thickness, wall size, and how much hacking needs to be done. To get the necessary approval from your condo’s MCST or the HDB, an endorsement from a professional engineer is required which will cost several hundred dollars. You will need to set funds as well aside for clearing and hauling the debris.
Masonry work involves patching up an old wall or erecting a new one. It also includes tiling, flooring, and wet works, and costs are determined by the labour and the size of the area. The more reconfiguration and hacking you do, the more masonry needs to be done. And the more surface area you cover, the more labour and raw material it requires, so the costlier it is.
The cost for carpentry customised solutions depends on the amount of workmanship you’ll need and the area size. Custom-built furniture may look classy, but they aren’t really necessary. There are a plethora of affordable furniture options out there; you just have to find the right configuration.
This covers water fixtures like taps, washbasins, shower sets, and toilet bowls.
Painting for ceiling and walls.
Materials to be Used
The type and quality of materials you select can drastically decrease or increase the cost of your home renovations. For instance, hardwood and marble are the most expensive, whereas laminate and vinyl flooring are the most affordable and cheapest option. If you have a taste for parquet flooring and atas marble countertops, expect to pay more.
Who to Hire
Who you pick to do the job can also play a factor in how much your final bill will be. Generally, there are three choices you can choose from: Contractors, Interior designers, or design & build service. Most of the renovation services cost more than the others. So as their service levels and rates vary, so will your final renovation bill. It is also advised to reach out to a number of companies to compare their quotations. You can get free quotes from HomeRenoGuru, Qanvast, and RenoTalk.
Estimated Cost for Renovation
Specific design features tend to skyrocket the price of renovation for homes. This is because the cost of these constituents is significantly higher than other alternatives within their category.
A more concrete example can create a rough picture of how much your home renovations will cost. Let’s say you have a new BTO flat measuring 70sqm with 2 bathrooms. You’d want to redo every room. Using some hypothetical scenarios and Qanvast’s home renovation calculator, here’s a ballpark figure of how much it will cost:
Estimated Cost: SGD 2,100 – SGD 7,900
You’re happy with the living room’s size and don’t need drastic work on the ceilings or partitions. But the tiles could be upgraded, and you’d like to have a built-in bookcase and TV console.
Moderate hacking: SGD 400 – SGD 700
This involves partial hacking of floors, and dismantling built-in fixtures like cabinets.
Moderate masonry: SGD 1,300 – SGD 3,000
The work includes post-hacking touch-ups, adding new tiles, and regular construction of your bookcase base.
Light carpentry: SGD 200 – SGD 3,400
Each built-in feature needs light carpentry. Depending on how large of a bookcase you want it to be, the cost may vary.
Light partition and ceiling work: SGD 200 – SGD 800
While you may not want extensive work done on the partition beams or ceilings, it may not hurt to do a few basic renovations of these fixtures. Depending on the area size, the cost may vary.
Estimated Cost: SGD 8,900 – SGD 23,200
The kitchen is basic and small. You’d like to redo it so it seems homier, with lots of space-saving features, built-in cabinets, good lighting, and a nice tile backsplash.
Moderate hacking: SGD 500 – SGD 900
You will need to make space for new fixtures, but you don’t need the floor or walls to be completely hacked away. Expect to pay this much to dismantle the existing doors, cabinets, cooker hob, or windows.
Moderate masonry: SGD 1,300 – SGD 3,900
This is required for regular construction of cabinetry and appliance bases, and post-hacking touch-ups.
Extensive carpentry: SGD 6,900 – SGD 17,900
Because you prefer all your kitchen cabinets with customised storage and completely done, you’ll need extensive carpentry done. Prices will vary depending on the materials and area size you select.
Moderate plumbing: SGD 200 – SGD 500
This involves renovating 2 to 3 water fixtures like your kitchen taps, sink, heater storage, piping, and water filtration systems.
Estimated Cost: SGD 11,500 – SGD 44,600
Without compromising on storage space, you’d want your master bedroom to have that unconventional boutique hotel-room vibe. To fulfil that, you’re planning of having a platform with steps that lead to the bed. Each step will contain built-in drawers. To maximise the space, you also want customer built-in cabinets.
Moderate hacking: SGD 600 – SGD 1,000
You’ll need to dismantle some of the existing cabinets, wardrobes, and floors to make room for the custom storage and platform bed.
Extensive masonry: SGD 2,800 – SGD 8,800
The customisations you want will need more detailed post-hacking touch-ups and comprehensive construction of cabinet bases.
Extensive carpentry: SGD 7,500 – SGD 33,700
Constructing the custom storage and the bed is going to need extensive construction and design.
Moderate partition and ceiling: SGD 600 – SGD 1, 100
Involves regular renovation of home fixtures, including partial partition walls, box ups, partial L-box false ceiling with lighting and pelmets.
Spare bedroom renovation costs: SGD 600 or less for basic work
You don’t want intensive work done on the spare bedroom to save on costs. All you need is better lighting and a fresh coat of paint. You will furnish the room on your own.
Light partitions and ceiling: SGD 0-SGD 600
Basic renovations of false ceilings and light fixtures should cost less than SGD 600.
Estimated Cost: SGD 1,300 – SGD 2,600
In general, you are fine with how the bathrooms are laid out, but you would like a nicer vanity and more storage.
Light hacking: SGD 100 – SGD 500
The work will possibly involve dismantling one fixture such as the vanity cabinet or the sink to make space for the extra storage room you’d like. You’ll only need light hacking here.
Moderate cabinetry: SGD 1,200 – SGD 2,100
Regular construction of vanity storage cabinets or one top-hung mirror will need moderate cabinetry.
Electrical works: SGD 4, 000
Electrical outlets for data, lighting, power points, heater, and wire extensions.
Painting: SGD 2, 000
A 2-3 coating paint job for ceilings and walls with sealer and primer.
Cleaning & Polishing: SGD 500
Cleaning, haulage, floor protection, and debris disposal. Chemical/ acid wash for a tougher clean. Can also include varnishing or polishing of tiles/marbles.
Tips on How to Save Money on Renovations
Hiring a Contractor or Interior Designer
Step 1 for Singapore home renovations is to hire an interior designer or a contractor. Generally, hiring an interior designer costs more than hiring a contractor to assist you with your renovation works. This is because interior designers (ID) serve as project managers and will take care of the whole home renovation project from ideation to execution.
Based on your preferences and needs, they will conceptualise your design and offer you 3D renderings and drawing to help you visualise the results. To complete the look, they will also do the legwork when it comes to sourcing for furnishings, furniture, and fittings. They will also assist you to manage your renovation timeline, enabling you to be more hands-off on the project.
Unfortunately, HDB doesn’t have a list of interior designers since they don’t do any renovation work. This is where several renovation scams occur–the ID firm takes your deposit and disappears. That’s why it is recommended to select a company and look through its finished projects to check if their style suits you. It is also preferred to go in for a CaseTrust-accredited ID firm.
Note that an ID form will be costlier as they charge consultation fees and design fees for space planning. They will also need a 20-30% deposit before the project starts.
On the other hand, a contractor is someone who will help to build the things you need and execute your requests. Thus, you will need to be very specific with your requests and know prior to what you want. If you have knowledge about interior design or if you only require basic renovation, a contractor may work better for you.
Use Vinyl or Laminate Floors
The cost of flooring material will consume a huge chunk of your budget, particularly if you choose options like marble or hardwood. For these, you’re looking at prices of up to about SGD 50 per square foot. When you get vinyl or laminate flooring, you can get the look of marble or wood floors.
This will cost around SGD 4-SGD 8 per square foot–just a fraction of their high-priced counterparts. Aside from being more affordable, they’re also easy to clean and highly durable. They come in realistic finishes as well. Nobody can tell the difference!
Use Paint Instead of Wallpaper
Another great way to save on renovation costs is to paint your walls rather than placing wallpapers, or paint an accent wall instead of constructing feature walls. Not only does paint cost less than feature wall materials or wallpapers; it’s also a practical choice if you prefer to modify your home’s appearance every couple of years. Stone and wallpaper are notoriously arduous to remove and may need another set of renovation works to alter it up.
Set a Budget
Think about the value of your home when budgeting for your home renovations. Try not to use more than 15% of your home value. For instance, if your home costs SGD 600,000, try not to exceed SGD 90, 000 for your home renovation.
Also, think about how much you can afford. As much as you desire your home to be done up attractively, the last thing you want is to go beyond your means. Before you proceed, consider your financing options and set aside the available funds you have.
Make sure your funds include a buffer of 15-20 per cent for any complications or unexpected costs. Studies show that 64% of homeowners surpass their initial budget.
Consider the length of your stay in your home. If you’re planning to only stay in it for a short period of time prior to upgrading to another property, then there’s little point to splurge a huge sum on renovations.
Come up with a list of ‘can-do-without’ and ‘must-dos’. Prioritize the essential areas like toilets and kitchen over optional installations like feature walls. You can opt for loose furniture instead of doing extensive carpentry works. While carpentry is cohesive and space-saving to your renovation style, loose furniture can be replaced easily if you plan to refresh your house in 5 years.
If you don’t have enough to splurge at one go, and you don’t want to go through a large loan, you can split your home renovation into various phases, beginning with the essentials followed by more aesthetic and finer details.
You can take up either a personal loan or a renovation loan. Both are not much different from each other, only that the interest rates for a renovation loan are much lower.
That is because you’re required to present proof of homeownership, which then incentives the bank to offer you a lower rate. For a personal loan, you typically get the money in cash, while the money goes straight to your contractor or interior designer for a renovation loan, therefore, you won’t be able to use them for your appliance or furniture shopping.
Renovation loans are available at leading banks in Singapore. This type of loan is only meant to cover renovation costs meaning you can’t cash out the money for expenses or furniture beyond what the contractor quoted. Renovation loans allow you to borrow up to SGD 30,000 or 6 times your monthly income, whichever amount is lower. For a period of 1 to 5 years, you can repay the loan in monthly instalments.
Now that you’ve forked out a fortune renovating your home, the last thing you want is to lose all of it in a fire or something similarly tragic. Remember to protect your newly renovated home with the right home insurance plan that covers accidents and other unwanted events.
Choose home insurance that offers you the flexibility to decide how much coverage you want. Your home insurance should also cover the family members in case of an accident occurred inside your home. Don’t forget to plan out your budget based on what you can afford and do stick to it.
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