Is your new BTO house or that resale flat that you have recently purchased in need of a makeover? Or are you simply sick and tired of the design and structure of your home? It might be time for a renovation. But before plunging into it, make sure you’ve planned your budget properly – and for that you’ll need a protocol.
First things first – instead of using a personal loan, use a home renovation loan. The interest rate ranges from 2.88 per cent to 5.8 per cent, with a loan tenure of up to five years (personal loans are around six to nine per cent per annum). A maximum loan amount is S$30,000, or six times your monthly salary, whichever is lower. Moreover, you’ll need to have a minimum income of about $24,000 to $30,000 per year.
Don’t forget to check with your banks on what you can use the home renovation loan for before taking one, especially since different banks have different offers.
Once that’s settled, it’s time to plan your budget.
1. SET ASIDE CASH
Whatever budget the interior designer gives you, set aside about 20 per cent more.
You cannot expect everything to be smooth-sailing and executed as planned. For example, you may have last-minute issues, such as having to change your tiles because a supplier can’t deliver. Work that goes on too long will also incur more labour costs.
Besides preparing for the unexpected, try and save as much as possible in cash, besides relying on the loan. The less you need to borrow, the less interest you’ll have to repay.
2. PRIORITISE YOUR NEEDS AND WANTS
You may have an endless list of home renovations, but you cannot have it all. Come up with a list and sort them into needs and wants.
It may be tough but rank them accordingly. For example, energy-saving lightbulbs are definitely more useful and cost-saving as compared to a disco ball. If you are really on a tight budget, then forgo wants such as fancy bathtubs. After sorting, rank your needs again. Those that you think are not as urgent can be put on hold first. For example, renovating your worn-out bathrooms is actually more important than replacing your floor tiles, assuming the latter are still fine. Also, your vision and priority may change in the future, hence putting less urgent renovations on hold first may be a good and plausible idea.
3. RESEARCH AND COMPARE PRICES
With more interior designer firms going online (and the rise of comparison platforms), you can quickly find the most competitive rates.
In addition, look through the comments and reviews section if there’s one to have a rough gauge of the services and quality of each renovation firm. Moreover, you have to know the pros and cons of the items that you are considering so as to make an informed decision. Choose renovation firms and professionals that are on the same page as you and within your budget.
For example, your interior designer’s vision should be in line with yours and at the same time, he or she is able to give you valuable insights and suggestions. Do not choose overly cheap labour just to scrimp and save some money: It may backfire, causing you to spend additional money because of possible poor work and quality. Hence, consulting your family and friends may help you make better decisions.
Besides comparing prices for design firms, do compare loan interest rates as well. Pick the cheapest among renovation loans.
4. ESTIMATE YOUR COSTS
After diligently Googling and finding potential renovation firms, professionals and items, collate them into an Excel spreadsheet. It is easier to store and track your expenditure if you do it on Excel.
Furthermore, there are many additional functions such as tables and tools for easier calculations. If you are unable to find the prices online, give these companies and professionals a call instead. Try to squeeze your estimated cost way below your budget, preferably 10 to 20 per cent lower. This is to prevent overspills or miscalculations.
5. DIY WITH RECYCLED AND REFURBISHED ITEMS
Recycle items and materials that are in good condition. They will provide a brand-new look to your home without causing a big hole in your pocket. For example, you can sand and paint wooden fruit or wine boxes and install them on your walls to use as bookshelves.
In contrast, you can sell your used objects and materials to second-hand stores, rag-and-bone man or on websites such as Carousell to get back some cash. Then, you can use these cash to fund for new items and renovations.
In order to save more money, buy recycled or used items whenever possible. As long as they are durable and look decent, then it is worth the price. Hiring professionals to do tasks such as painting will cost you a few hundred dollars. Why not save that money by doing it on your own? Sweat it out with your family members and foster closer bonds while doing something collective.
With all these being said, the most important part is still checking how much cash you have and whether you need to get a home renovation loan. Moreover, plan your budget comprehensively to avoid re-renovations, which may actually cost you a bomb.
This story first appeared in 99.co.