Get Your FREE Quotation Now! Click Here
Singapore's Leading Renovation & Interior Design Site

8 Areas to Focus On When It Comes to Renovating a Resale Property

Design: Arc Define

Purchasing a resale property over getting a new one can have many advantages; you can get to see the exact layout, the facing of the unit, the amount of sunlight and wind it receives and before actually committing the property. In addition, the ability to see the property “as-it-is” helps you avoid nasty surprise such as over sized Air-con ledges. Furthermore, the resale unit can be in a ready “move-in” condition, as early as 3 months, after you have completed the purchase.

Design: Salt Studio

However, the renovation involved for a resale property demands more effort in planning, work and resources, as compared to renovating a brand new one. This is because when it comes to renovating a property which is over a decade older or more, aside from fixing the wear and tear of the infrastructure which is commonly associated with older units, you might need to spend extra to remodel the interiors to suite your lifestyle. Furthermore, an older property is usually 5% or 10% larger than an equivalent property in terms of size. Therefore, you will need a strategic approach in the following 2 main areas to ensure that you are allocating enough attention and resources for your renovation.

Design: Design Zage

#A. Infrastructure overhaul is a must, especially for properties which are over a decade old

Ignoring necessary overhaul of the infrastructure of your property can effectively rank up maintenance issues, costs over time and even cause safety issues. Hence, it is important for you to find out when the property was renovated and whether the replacement works for the infrastructure were being carried out. The infrastructure reworks should cover the following areas:

1. Spalling Concrete

Image from The Online Citizen

Spalling concrete usually falls off in chunks, and this is a natural deterioration process when steel bars start to corrode, causing the concrete to crack and fall off. This is especially prevalent in bathroom, and sometimes in the kitchen, where the moisture in the air seeps into the ceiling and cause the steel rods to rust.

Expected cost: Around $300 for spalling concrete in an area the size of a cellphone to $1,200 for the entire ceiling of an HDB toilet.

2. Electrical Rewiring

Image from SPH

Due to the safety concerns and hazards of deteriorated, improper and old faulty electrical wires, rewiring works are essential. Faulty wires can cause power trips, sparks which can start a house fire or even a deadly electrical shock. Hence, if the previous owner of the property did not get an electrician to carry out periodic inspection, you should get a qualified electrician to access if rewiring is needed and whether the existing setup meets the electrical and safety standards.

Expected cost: Around $1000 -$2000 (3 room flat), $1500-$2500 (4 room flat), $2000-$3000 (4 room flat). Costs vary depending on the complexity.

3. Replacement of Air-con Insulation Material and Pipe

Image from Best Denki

Depending on your renovation needs, the air-con pipe might need to be rerouted and the worn-out insulation material might have to be replaced to prevent water condensation and water seepage.

Expected cost: Depends on the thickness of the insulation, class type with different fire-rated properties and brands.

4. Refitting of Water Plumbing Fittings and Fixtures

Image from JD Plumbing Solutions

Plumbing fittings and fixtures in the bathrooms and kitchen might be clogged with dust, dirt, calcium deposit or have started to leak after years of usage. These fittings and fixtures include the water valves, faucets, showerheads, toilet bowls and so on. Replacing them early on will save you costs and the hassle of replacing them later, after you have moved into the property.

Expected cost: Depends on the extent of work, materials and brands of the fittings and fixtures used.

#B. Demodification to suit your lifestyle and home interior needs

 As the previous owners should have renovated the property based on their lifestyle requirements and aesthetic preference, you will need to dismantle and demolish certain areas of the property prior renovating it to suit your needs. Here are the following potential places which you would need to rework on:

5. Reconstruction or Hacking of Walls

Design: KURO + KAGI

Unlike a newly-built property, where the home interiors are untouched and not renovated, the layout of the resale property might be different from what is illustrated in the floor plan. This is because the previous homeowner might have re-configured the layout by shifting, building walls or even removing the walls. Hence, you might need to hack or reconstruct them to suit your lifestyle.

Expected costs: Around $600-$1000, depending on the size of wall to be demolished.

6. Replacement of Floor and Wall materials

Design: Arc Define

Due to wear and tear, there might be scratched, cracked and hollow wall and floor tiles or finishing. Furthermore, due to the engineering limitations, the tiles which were used a decade ago are much smaller in dimensions as compared to the tiles of today. Therefore, replacing them with bigger tiles will avoid popped tiles in the future, and many unnecessary nasty grout lines which trap dirt and blemish the seamless interior design.

Estimated cost: Around $1500 per HDB Bathroom (for floor and wall tiling with waterproofing after full hacking). Around $4.50 per square feet (psf) for floor tiling.

7. Dismantle of False Ceiling, Carpentry Works and Other Fixtures

Design: SEDS Interior

False ceiling, ceiling cornice, arched hallway might not be everyone’s cup of tea. The position, size of the built-in carpentry might be excessive and ill-suited to your needs. Hence, fixtures such as these will need to be dismantled and removed to free up more space, or to be replaced by your customized fixtures.

Expected cost: Around $400 to $500 to dismantle the wardrobe or cabinet.

8. Replacing Window Grills and Doors

Design: Twelve Design

The previous homeowner might have invisible window grills or other types of childproof installations to ensure the safety of their kids. In other cases, the dated window grills might not have met the HDB’s guidelines.  Hence, you might need to consider replacing them if they clash with your home interior design or to ensure that the window grills do not fall off and cause injury. Similarly, due to poor maintenance and neglect, the bottom of the existing bathroom doors are usually waterlogged and need to be replaced too.

Estimated cost: Around $1000 for the window grills, and $200 for bathroom door, depending on the brand materials and design.


  • Complete this form and we will recommend you a list of reputable interior design firms that fit your renovation requirements. It's free! Note: This form is not applicable for repair works request.
  • My Property

  • Accepted file types: jpg, gif, png, pdf, ppt, jpeg, Max. file size: 2 MB.
    We recommend to attach your floor plan for a better estimate. File must less than 2MB.
  • Project Info

  • $
  • My Contact Details


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Get Quotation -