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BTO 101: What to Do After Key Collection

March 5, 2019
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Hold your horses! You may have collected the keys but it's not quite time to start your renovation journey yet. Like everything else in life, there is a process to follow. Not quite sure how to navigate the hectic waters? Here’s a comprehensive checklist to help guide you along (trust us, reading this will make things easier in the long run).

bto guide after key collection
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Interior firm: Design Story


1. Hit pause on reno works

bto guide after key collection
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Interior firm: Meter Square

Inspection is the name of the game when it comes to your new BTO. It’s extremely crucial to be thorough since any defects spotted upon commencing reno work will not be covered by the HDB! If you do come across flaws during the check, simply make a report to HDB within 7 days with the Defects Feedback Form (make sure you secure multiple copies, just in case).

Want to handle things like a pro and not a clueless first-timer? We recommend bringing measuring tapes, masking tapes, markers, tapping rods, a spirit level and an electronic device of your choice to test out your sockets with.

Not the most detail-oriented person? No worries, some interior designers will offer to do the check for you, as a value-added service (so do find out beforehand)! If that’s not an option, you could always hire a professional instead.

Here’s an additional tip to live by: set a date and bring your interior designer with you (even if they aren’t helping with the defect check). Trust us, they’ll be better equipped to advice you during your reno journey if they see what they’re working with in the flesh.

2. Treat your BTO with TLC

bto guide after key collection
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Interior firm: Adroit ID

Sure ‘treat yo self’ but be sure to treat your home well too! Make time to sit down with your interior designer. Let them get to know you better – your lifestyle and tastes play an important role when it comes to realising your dream space. You’ll be amazed to find out how little tweaks made to your surfaces and fittings goes a long way in helping you care for your home.

Don’t dive into housekeeping headfirst without research! Learning and applying the proper care methods for each material extends their lifespan.

3. Decisions, decisions, decisions

bto guide after key collection
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Interior firm: Neu Konceptz

So, you have an inkling of what your ideal home would look like but it’s time to get a move on! Things like retiling, wainscoting, installing new fittings and more cost extra so finalising the last details gives you a better estimate of costs.

4. #NoRagrets when it comes to quality

bto guide after key collection
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Interior firm: Third Avenue Studio

Never compromise on quality in an attempt to save your coin. Some external sources may charge less but it’s tough to ensure the quality of work, and any shoddy work may end up costing more to resolve. Instead of trying to edit the foundation of your new space, look for more affordable alternatives or dupes for furnishings, home appliances, necessities and the like!

Check out these articles for more inspiration:

5. Back to (BTO) school

bto guide after key collection
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Interior firm: Liid Studio

The reno process is bound to make you feel like a student again, except it’s no confusing math problem and a real life one that you need to solve ASAP. And what did you do when faced with something you can’t solve? Study up on it.

Some basics you should know: hacking down tiles and walls at wet areas are a big no-no for the first three years thanks to HDB’s restriction period. Get around it by overlaying on existing floor finishes using HDB-approved adhesives!

Take a second to rethink knocking down walls too. Any demolition work done has to pass HDB’s evaluation first and changes the valuation of your home (important if you’re planning to sell the place it in the future).

6. Be basic (sometimes)

bto guide after key collection
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Interior firm: IN-EXPAT

Sticking with what you have works at times: BTO bathrooms come outfitted with basic utility fixtures and replacing them may not be high on the priority list. If you’re not fussed (since the bathroom is hidden away from plain sight most times, unless you have guests over) or your budget is tight right now, you can always wait to revamp your bathroom!

Or maybe you’re concerned about space. Look into hidden storage units and compartments, they’ll keep your clutter at bay, even if there isn’t any now (trust us, paraphernalia always finds a way into the home).


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