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4 Must-Do Renos For Resale Flats (And 3 Things To Save On)

July 6, 2021
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A handy guide to plan your renovation process beforehand.

It’s no secret that renovation costs for resale flats tend to be on the higher side, with resale HDB renovations averaging $55,000 as opposed to $45,000 for new flats. Unless you’re good with whatever the previous owners left behind, you’ll most likely have to fork out more to dismantle/hack away and replace any existing features and built-ins.

In such cases, you’ll most likely have to give up fancier features (marble floors, anyone?) to keep to your budget. So to help your planning process, check out this handy guide consisting of things that you absolutely should not skip, and things you can – especially for resale flats.

Can’t skip:

1. Hacking floor and wall coverings

Tampines North Drive 1 by Builders Plus

Interior Firm: Builders Plus

Sure, hacking is known to drive renovation costs up. But chances are, the tiles or wall coverings in your new home are dirty or damaged – especially in areas exposed to moisture, like the bathroom and kitchens, which is where you should focus on if budget is a concern.

Why not just overlay, you ask? Well, the wear-and-tear will be greater in these places, and in lots of cases, the waterproof membrane of the tiles may be thin or have worn off altogether. That means potential leaking issues for the (angry) neighbour below.

And as if you needed even more reason to replace everything, older houses may also have termite infestations. Not only are they gross, but they can also threaten the structural integrity of the house by eating through your precious floor and wall coverings.

2. Electrical rewiring

Hazel Park Condo by Thom Signature Design

Interior Firm: Thom Signature Design

You can’t put a price on safety. So if there’s one thing you absolutely can’t skip, it’ll have to be electrical rewiring. As homes age, so will the wires, and faulty ones can cause frequent power trips, electrical fires, or worst of all, a fatal electric shock!

During the renovation process, be sure to enlist the help of a qualified electrician to inspect the state of your electrical grid and ensure the wires, new and old, fit the new safety regulations. And while they’re at it, you can also ask them to configure wiring and socket placements based on your needs.

3. Removing spalling concrete

Renovations for Resale Flats

See those flaky bits on the ceiling? That’s most likely spalling concrete. It happens when the steel bars in the ceiling corrode, which increases the volume of the bar and puts pressure on the concrete wall covering it.

It’s a natural process, so it can’t be totally prevented. But it shouldn’t be left as it is, either, since it can compromise the structural integrity of the flat. While planning your renovations, do ask your designer or contractor to take care of it – they will most likely treat the corroded bars and remove the spalled concrete before filling up the affected area again.

4. Sanitary fittings

Ang Mo Kio Street 23 by Design 4 Space

Interior Firm: Design 4 Space

Answer this honestly: do you really, truly want to use the same toilet bowl as the previous owner? As clean as they may be, it’s still – well, kind of icky, especially since they may have become clogged with dust, hair, and calcium deposits after years of usage. So for hygiene purposes, it’s probably best to replace the old sanitary fittings (like your sink, water valves, and shower heads).

For a list of merchants selling these fixtures, head over to our brand directory and take advantage of the deals available there!

Explore: How Much is a 3-, 4- and 5-Room HDB Flat Renovation in 2020?

Can Skip:

1. Expensive materials

Cassia Crescent by Arteloft

Interior Firm: Arteloft

Unless you’ve got a huge budget, you should probably favour more cost-effective materials over expensive, luxurious ones. Sure, marble walls and exotic hardwood floors look amazing, but it’s going to cost you. Like, really cost you.

Since you’re already spending more on the other areas above, choosing cheaper (but still long-lasting!) materials can help you save thousands of dollars that helps you stay within your budget. And just because they’re cheaper doesn’t mean they look cheap, because they can look good as well!

2. Wall hacking

Tangerine Grove by Third Avenue Studio

Interior Firm: Third Avenue Studio

Some resale houses come with weird layouts, and it’s tempting to knock down some walls to create a more open area. But if you’re on a tight budget, you might want to reconsider doing so, especially if you don’t intend to stay there for long and are intending to sell it in the future.

Reason being, it’s an expensive thing to do – and it’ll be even more if you’re considering a half wall, since you’ll have to tear the whole thing down before building it back up.

If the house layout is important to you, factor it in when choosing a resale home to buy. That way, you’ll buy a house with a layout that you can work with, without needing to hack away any walls and adding to the renovation costs.

3. Built-in carpentry

Alkaff Crescent by Zenith Arc

Interior Firm: Zenith Arc

Built-in carpentry involves a fair bit of manual labour and at times, materials and fittings. Hence it’s only natural that it’s expensive when you are doing it for a large square footage, or if you are looking at an intricate/customised design. If you have a really tight budget, save it for the necessary fixtures such as kitchen cabinets.

For those with growing families, fewer built-ins translate into greater flexibility in shifting things around to accommodate your growing kids. Or if this is your first-time home and not wanting to stay long, do reconsider those built-ins as they can sometimes be a liability.

Necessary renovations for older resale flats

At Qanvast, we help homeowners find the right interior designers based on factors such as personal needs, style preferences, and perhaps most importantly, budget.

Simply fill up this quote request and we’ll set you up with 5 Singapore-based designers to get started. And if you do sign up with a recommended designer, you‘ll be eligible for the Qanvast Guarantee that safeguards up to $50,000 of your renovation deposits.

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