You thought home-hunting was enough of a headache, but you’re not quite done yet — you still have to think of the renovation! It might feel like a daunting project to take on, but with ample preparation before the work starts, it can be a much less bumpy road. All you have to do is follow through this list we’ve compiled for you.
1. Make a (realistic) wish list
It’s easy to get carried away when you’re planning for your dream home, so make sure to have a list that clearly distinguishes between all of your needs and wants. Are you planning to start a family in this home? Will you be hiring a helper? Do you need an office space? Set some goals and let these goals guide you through the rest of your wish list.
2. Plan your finances
On top of budgeting for the renovation itself, there are other situations you need to consider. Will you need to eat out every day while your kitchen is being ripped apart? Or do your laundry at a laundromat? Do you need to pay for an alternative accommodation? You need to take these extra costs into account, and still set aside a comfortable amount of extra cash for unforeseen circumstances.
3. Interview interior designers (ID) and contractors
You trust your family and friends, so get their recommendations when looking for interior designers and contractors. Don’t be easily baited by the ones who offer the lowest quotation; instead, shortlist a few candidates, talk to them, and ask for references from their recent clients. There is no such thing asking “too many” questions; you want to leave your home in the hands of people you can trust and are comfortable communicating with.
A good ID should also be able to advise you on certain HDB guidelines to adhere to, and introduce you to contractors, plumbers, gas service workers, electrical workers, and air-conditioner installers who are licensed and approved by HDB and/or BCA. You wouldn’t want to land in hot water for carrying out unauthorised work, would you?
4. Take measurements
Remember that wish list you made? Before going on a spree, try your best to plan ahead, on where every item will be placed, and take note of the measurements of these spaces. This will greatly help in avoiding the disappointment of falling in love with a super king bed when you can only fit a king size. On the other hand, if there are items you plan on keeping, you need to know their measurements in order to make space for them.
Take note of the width and height of your doors too — you don’t want to purchase your dream sofa only to have it not fit through your front door.
5. Work out a timeline
Once you know all that needs to be done, have you planned the order in which they will be executed, and how long each process will take? For example, if you plan to stay in the house while the renovation is ongoing, you might want to get one bathroom done first instead of having both worked on at the same time. Have your interior designer or contractor brief you on all the implications that you might not be aware of so the process is as smooth as possible.
6. Decide on your living arrangement
Now that you know how long the project will take and the possible extent of the mess, you can decide if living in your house is still a viable option. If it is, pick a room as your “hideout” and keep it stocked with everything you might need. Perhaps a mini cooker, a trash can, and — what will be your best friend for the foreseeable future — earplugs.
7. Prepare a contingency plan
Let’s get this out of the way, your renovation will not go 100% according to plan. No matter how experienced your contractors are, some situations simply cannot be anticipated or avoided. With this in mind, build a Plan B! Should there be a delay, will you be able to postpone the delivery of furniture and appliances? Can you keep to the current living arrangement planned? It is always wise to have a backup!
Now, we know that this is a long list to remember, but we only have your best interests at heart. After all, you should think of renovation as an investment that adds value to your property.