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People tend to make mistakes when they embark on something new or something unfamiliar. It is undeniable when it comes to first-timers dealing with their home renovation or office make-over.

The prospect of bringing your dream vision to life is naturally thrilling! It reflects a milestone of your life. Our advice is - don’t take it lightly! Arm yourself with these tips to turn potential pitfalls into an unforgettable exciting experience.

1. Starting renovation too soon

Study the layout of the place and plan carefully beforehand. It is important to take note of key structures (eg: Bomb shelter, load-bearing walls, power-points) and measurements as they will influence the ideal choices. This also largely depends on the type of space you are planning to renovate; a BTO, Resale, Condominium, landed or an office.

2. Splurging where you should save

You may have an endless list of essential things. However, the tight budget tends to bring you back to earth and turn all items from essential to unnecessary.

Come out with a list and sort them into needs and wants. Yes, it may be tough but it is important to rank them accordingly so your funds can be placed to better use. Plus, your vision and taste may change in future, hence placing less urgent priorities on hold may be a plausible idea.

Prepare for the unexpected. Not everything will be smooth-sailing and executed perfectly as planned. Set aside about 20 percent more of your budget for last minute and miscellaneous issues.

3. Using “Unofficial” contractors

Perhaps, you may be aware of ‘unofficial’ handymen in Singapore’s property market who can help with renovations at an irresistible discount. These contractors may have the know-how, even if they have no paper qualifications or registered company. But we suggest not to use them.

This is solely because, ANY damages done during the renovation (even accidental damage to neighbouring unit) are covered by your contractor’s insurance and not yours. This means, if the contractor puts a hole where there shouldn’t be, your insurance is not going to pay out. This alone is enough to demolish your budget.

Especially, if you intend to tear down any walls for space planning, it is crucial to invest in a certified contractor who understands the structural integrity of the building and knows what can and cannot be hacked.

4. Hiring a professional that is not a good fit for you

With many interior design firms going online with free consultations, you can easily find the most competitive rates and choose one that is on the same page as you, matching your requirements, priorities and aesthetics. Do they listen to your needs, desire and lifestyle? Do they continually ask questions and have a curious mind to understand your vision? If yes! They may just be the right one who will connect well with you.

Note: Factoring quality, do not immediately go for overly cheap labour as it may backfire, causing you to spend additional money because of poor workmanship. Request to see other renovations or ongoing projects of the contractor and consult your family and friends for better decisions.

5. Falling prey to renovation scams

Renovation cost is not a few dollars thing. It involves a huge amount of your precious dollars. DO NOT EVER pay in full upfront! A reputable interior design company will always provide a percentage for down payment upfront before commencement and the balance is progressively paid. Oh yes, do expect to be provided with the invoice or receipt.

Verbal words are never enough! A proper black and white contract is an absolute must. Please do not skim through the job descriptions and Terms & Conditions. We all know it is tedious, but it is extremely vital to carefully read and examine the agreement with your chosen renovation firm. This legally ensures everything the contractor has promised will be fulfilled to avoid being short-changed.

Some things to look out for before signing:

- Scope of Work

- Breakdown pricing and contract sum (eg: Renovation and materials cost)

- Payment Schedule (Payment terms and work of progress)

- Works excluded from the renovation package (task or material contractor or design team will not be providing)

- Warranty, defect and maintenance

- Termination clause (check for penalties)

- Refund policies

6. Not asking enough questions

As the saying goes, “There is no such thing as a dumb question”. Whether it is getting a construction bid or discussing a scope of work, we encourage you to ask loads of questions to ensure a smoother renovation process and results that are likely to meet your vision.

7. Making too much changes along the way

Be clear of the renovation process and design style that you want before the build begins. Changes that seem simple, may require a lot of back end work. Thus, liaise closely with your designer or contractor on even slight adjustments. Try not to change your mind while renovation works are going on, this will lead to additional cost and substantial delay.

8. To DIY or not?

There are plenty of jobs that you can take on to keep cost low, such as paintwork or assembling a furniture. Revamping recycled items and materials that are in good condition can provide a brand-new look to your space without causing a big hole in your pocket.

All you need for your do-it yourself (DIY) projects are some basic safety equipment, patience and extra helping hands. Sweat it out and foster closer bonds with your family and friends, while doing something collective!

However, be sure to plan comprehensively to avoid re-renovation and leave specialised task such as piping, electrical and wiring works to the professionals.

Remember, knowledge is power.

Be smart, cautious, flexible and have a plan in place. Always be on a look out to save at every stage to avoid blowout on your renovation budget.

Do a thorough research before investing into something big like renovation. You may learn some interesting facts about renovations during your consultations with the experts too.

No idea where to start?

Don’t worry! We’d love to hear from you and help you put together the best possible renovation plan. Get in touch today for a no-obligation discussion.

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