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6 Reasons Why Home Renovations Often Cost More Than Expected

September 5, 2022
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You’re absolutely ecstatic and eager to begin your home renovation project. You’ve set aside a certain amount and signed your renovation contract with your interior designer. But unless you have a contingency fund lying around somewhere, we recommend that you set aside around 15 - 20% of the total cost of your renovations for extra expenses that you might incur during your home renovation.

The Ethereal, Johor by Trinity Design (M) Sdn. Bhd.
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View this project by Trinity Design (M) Sdn. Bhd.

But what exactly are these extra/unforeseen costs? We've compiled a list of the most common ones that happen during a renovation project, so you can be more prepared!

1. Making last-minute changes

It is very tempting to change your mind during the renovation process. And these changes can often lead to your home renovation costing more than what was originally stated in the signed contract. Built-in carpentry - such as kitchen cabinets and wardrobes, for example, are typically made-to-order based on the exact dimensions and designs you've requested. Any changes to the design after manufacturing has begun can potentially cost you double the material and labour costs.

Mandarin Bungalow, Selangor by Deco2u
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View this project by Deco2u

To avoid this, finalise your design before placing your order. The same goes for making last-minute addition. If you want a recess in your shower to hold shampoo and body wash, inform your project manager from the start, as it will be difficult and expensive to install after the contractor has already begun tiling the room.

2. Debris removal

Most people are so concerned with budgeting for the items they want in their homes that they frequently overlook the cost of debris disposal. Renovation works generate a large amount of waste. You'll have a lot of trash and debris once you start tearing down old walls, cabinets, and countertops or unboxing all of the appliances and furniture.

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Before work begins, it is essential to determine who will be responsible for demolition and the removal of construction debris, existing fixtures, hardware, and finishes. If your contractor has agreed to handle this, ensure that it is included in the quote. If they aren't taking care of the disposals, you'll need to factor in debris removal as an extra cost.

3. Relocating large appliances or permanent fixtures

The cost of relocating appliances or permanent fixtures can quickly add up to your original renovation budget. While these changes appear simple, some may require a significant amount of work on the back end, such as drilling holes in the wall, rewiring, replumbing, covering up previous holes, and removing old cords.

Laman Baiduri, Selangor by Pocket Square
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View this project by Pocket Square

Check with your project manager first to see if these changes are feasible without incurring significant costs. If these changes are truly necessary, ensure that your project manager is completely transparent about the cost breakdown of the contract amendment.

4. Property damages or defects

Your home is prone to a variety of damages as a result of poor construction, ageing or natural causes such as humidity or flooding. Depending on what you or your contractor discover (water damage, foundation cracks, pest damage, uneven floors, old wiring or pipes), the cost to repair these damages or defects can be significant, increasing the cost of your initial renovation.

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As a precaution, it pays to hire an inspector to thoroughly examine the property you’re buying. Even a brand new home is likely to have at least one issue that needs to be addressed. If you are purchasing a resale unit, an inspector can obtain estimates and incorporate them into your renovation budget or renegotiation strategies. If you purchase a new house, you can report any problems to the property developer (within a certain time frame) to have them fixed so you don't have to pay for unnecessary repairs yourself.

Explore: Hidden Issues You Must Address Before Renovating an Old Home

5. Temporary accommodation before the renovation project completes

During a renovation, everything is usually in disarray and scattered throughout the property, making it unliveable. Hence homeowners should consider putting aside money for rent until the process is completed. With additional rent costs (if you're renting another house), your budget can easily overrun if the renovation takes longer than expected.

Setia City Residence, Selangor by Anwill Design Sdn Bhd
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View this project by Anwill Design Sdn Bhd

If you cannot afford the expense of temporary housing, ask your project manager to divide the renovation into stages (starting with your bedroom) so that you can move in while renovation works in other rooms are still underway.

6. Post-renovation cleaning services

It’s incredible how much dust can accumulate in your home after a major renovation. Once work is complete, keep in mind that you will almost certainly need to hire a professional post-renovation cleaning service to ensure that your home is dust-free and sparkling clean before you move in.

Alam Impian, Selangor by Fr Stud Design
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View this project by Fr Stud Design

Although you can probably do the cleaning yourself, professional cleaners are usually equipped with the right tools and expertise to do the job quicker and more thoroughly than you can, and their fees typically do not exceed a few hundred ringgit.

Planning to renovate your home?

Let us help! Simply tell us your renovation requirements and we can connect you with up to four interior design firms to assist you with your home renovation based on your budget (no hidden fees!).

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