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The Renovation Checklist

Have you just become a new homeowner and are at a loss on what to do from here? Here is a simple renovation check-list to get the ball rolling:


Before the Renovation:

  1. Set a comfortable budget range: So you can come up with creative ways to fully utilise your budget or decide if you’re taking a renovation loan; in which case you’ll need to compare the interest rates, prerequisites and T&Cs across the banks. This budget should also include the amount you plan to spend on home appliances and furnishings.
  2. Occupants: Determine who will be staying with you, so you can design a more efficient and safer home especially if there are going to be elderly members or young children. Do discuss with them to come up with a home that everyone can live in.
  3. Decide what theme you want: Scandinavian, mid-century modern, Zen minimalistic, or contemporary?
  4. Research: What makes up your favourite theme, and where can you buy the furniture and accessories? Where can you buy the most affordable appliances and what brands/types/models are more suitable for your needs?
  5. Shortlist: Put together a list of 5-6 interior designers based on recommendations from friends and family, or online research.
  6. Meet-ups: Arrange to meet up with your shortlisted interior designers or contractors, this is when you try to determine whether they are compatible with your budget and your ideas. Expect to take at least a month to meet all of them (depending on how many you shortlisted) since you may need to have several meetings to lock down the final quotation or design elements.
  7. Find out: take note of HDB guidelines, whether you need to apply for any permits, and if there are any additional costs to be incurred e.g. haulage, additional tiles from HDB, engagement of a Qualified Person (QP).
  8. Check for defects: Make sure that all defects in your home are resolved before starting the renovations proper e.g. leaking pipes or cracked floor tiles.


Before Signing the Contract:

  1. Negotiate or include a variation clause so you won’t be penalised in case you decide to make some changes or take some items out from the original contract.
  2. Make sure there isn’t any hidden cost in the contract; all items should be itemised and listed clearly.
  3. Set an acceptable timeline for the renovation, and work out contingency plans should there be inevitable delays or things don’t go as planned e.g. HDB doesn’t approve your permit for hacking of walls.
  4. Have you set aside enough budget in case costs run over? Unless you have a very tight control of your budget and are very strict about what you want, there are likely to be additional costs that you will incur e.g. you decide you want to wallpaper your entire house at the last minute.


During the Renovation:

  1. Buy a number lock or padlock with a key: You want to keep the things locked up during the renovation, but DO NOT give your original keys to the ID/contractor. Locking up with a number lock/padlock with key will allow your vendors to gain access to your home without having to wait for you to open the door personally.
  2. Regular checks: Make regular trips down to your new place to monitor the process. If there is anything amiss, do feedback to your ID/contractor immediately. Your ID/contractor should also have given you a tentative schedule as a rough guideline on what will be done on which days, but don’t expect them to strictly follow it to a tee as there are bound to be delays along the way. Set up a convenient mode of communication so you can receive and give updates whenever possible e.g. Whatsapp or LINE.
  3. Liaising: If you’re engaging a separate vendor for certain parts of the renovation e.g. air-conditioners, then make sure that they liaising with your main ID/contractor. Do monitor closely as there may be a lag in communication and you may end up having to coordinate between the two parties.
  4. Be nice to the workers: If you meet the workers hard at work and they’re doing a good job, do go out of your way to treat them to coffee or food. A little nicety will go a long way in ensuring happy workers and a better job done. You can even leave bottles of water in the house for them as a token of your appreciation.
  5. Start purchasing major items: Your ID/contractor will require the dimensions of certain appliances such as the refrigerator, hood and hob so they can fabricate custom orders like the kitchen cabinet so it’s now time for you to make a final decision on the appliances you want to buy.
  6. Plan your lights: This is also the time to plan your lighting map with your ID/contractor so they can get their electrical guy to do up the lighting points or install your lights.


After Renovations:

  1. Obligations & completed works: At this stage, you should ensure that your ID/contractor has fulfilled all the obligations and works as stated in the contract in a manner that you deem satisfactory.
  2. Final checks: After the renovations, be sure to take a walk through your home to ascertain the overall quality. This is also a good time to take note of the various defects or poor quality so you can inform your ID/contractor later. Take note of hidden ‘defects’ such as gaping holes between the base and the cabinet itself in the kitchen. After handing over this list to your ID/contractor, the rectifications should be completed before handover.
  3. Cleaning: Has your home been given a proper cleaning by your ID/contractor before the handover?
  4. Change your locks: After your renovations has been completed and properly handed over, be sure to change your locks!
  5. Live happily ever after: Enjoy your new home.


Do you find our list helpful? If you have other tips or advice, do share with us on our Facebook fan page! We look forward to hearing from you.

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