Congratulations, you’re a bonafide adult now! You’ve gone out and gotten yourself a beautiful new HDB flat and a shiny new mortgage.

We know that you are excited to get your renovations underway as soon as possible. But for the uninitiated, a remodelling project has many pitfalls that could blow your entire budget.

We look into some of the most common ones here.

1) Starting Renovations Too Soon

If you just moved into your brand new home, it might make sense to take things a bit slow and not dive right into big renovations.

Observing your space will help you understand its flow better so that you know where everything goes and how your furniture works together. Both of these are important factors in choosing design elements like paint colours, kitchen countertops, flooring materials, light fixtures and so on.

2) Not Considering Workflow

This is especially important for your kitchen. When designing a kitchen layout, consider the “work triangle” between fridge, sink and stove to ensure you enjoy the functions of the new design and can utilise the space effectively.

Here at Aurastone, we believe that the kitchen is the living heart of the home. This makes it especially important to ensure that it “feels right”.

3) Underestimating Timelines

We’re not yet out of ‘unprecedented times’, so don’t expect your timeline to be set in stone. There are many factors that could cause a delay in your project. Two of the most common reasons are sudden dormitory lockdowns and the lack of key supplies due to logistics issues.

You do not want to suddenly end up with no kitchen to cook in.

renovation mistakes


Also, consider the case of a certain Julie Lim – she sold the Pasir Ris executive HDB she was staying in and bought a five-room resale flat in Punggol. She proceeded to renovate her new flat in Punggol.

However, due to the lockdown, her renovations were delayed until after the handover date for her Pasir Ris flat. With the buyers insisting to move in, and the renovations for her new Pasir Ris flat still not complete, she found herself with no place to stay.

The options would then be either renting from her buyers or another condo for a few months (and thus incurring rental and moving costs) or putting stuff in storage (storage costs) and maybe moving back in with your parents for the next few months.

4) Not Getting the Right Permits

Trying to avoid or not knowing your legal requirements for building projects can lead to serious complications and costly mistakes.

In order to avoid having your project stopped by the authorities because they think it poses an unacceptable risk to public health or safety, you need to obtain the necessary permits before starting any renovation activity.

Visit HDB’s site to understand the kind of permits you will need to apply for before you start your renovations.

5) Not Considering Your Return-on-Investment (ROI)

If you’re planning to sell your house soon, then any project that gives you some extra cash for yourself might seem like a great investment at first glance. But before investing too much into one project, consider whether you’ll get enough back from it. Renovations often cost thousands of dollars but don’t necessarily add significantly to the value of your house.

Consider this article by Remodelling Magazine. It costs about US$50,000 to add a new bathroom but leads only to a 54% (of the renovation cost) increase in home value.

However, a kitchen renovation returns around 78% of its cost, which makes may make it much more worth it if you’re planning to sell your home in the future.

6) Not Planning for Sufficient Storage

We usually assume we’re fine without so much storage space. We tend to think that having less space for storing our possessions implies that we’d be able to own fewer items. A life less cluttered does sound appealing, after all.

But until we’ve been there for a while, you won’t realize how easily stuff builds up and accumulates without any effort at all.

Most of the time, it does not hurt to plan for more storage space than you currently need.

For those of you who think that you can just add a freestanding cupboard or storage piece when you need it should be aware that those might end up making your space look even more cluttered.

7) Not Choosing the Right Contractors

Hire a contractor who provides detailed cost estimations so you know exactly where things stand before signing anything. Check out their references and see if they’re credible sources before trusting them completely.

Ask about their qualifications too. Make sure each contractor has proper licensing for the type of work they’re doing on your house.

Avoid These Newbie Mistakes for a Stress-free Renovation

In summary, there are many things to consider before embarking on a major renovation. If you do these things right, it could save you money, stress and headaches later on.

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