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Nearly 8 in 10 IDs Think You Have Unrealistic Expectations – and More

December 8, 2022

Includes: some painful truths we can all learn from.

While we often hear from homeowners about their experiences with home renovations and working with their IDs, the reverse is rarely the case.

So if you’ve ever wondered what’s going on in your ID’s mind, wonder no longer: we tapped into the thoughts of over a hundred IDs via a survey – 111 to be exact – to get their insights on the renovation industry and their experiences working with different homeowners.

And the results are interesting, to say the least.


Most homeowners know what they want for their homes…

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Nearly two-thirds of the IDs surveyed agree that most homeowners have a good, if not exact, idea of what they want for their homes.

This usually translates to understanding aspects that will help you plan your interior design, like your lifestyle needs. For example, is it just you and your spouse living in the home? Or do you have to think about child-proofing or features for an elderly-friendly home?

On the other hand, having a clear vision doesn’t make you a savant about all things interior design, seeing how IDs are divided on this.

It’s true that there are plenty of resources online – you can read up on anything, from materials and fitting types, to regulations and permits, and get inspiration browsing project listings on Qanvast or Pinterest. Turning all that information (which can get overwhelming) into reality however, would be easier with the help of a knowledgeable ID.

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Considering that most of us are time-strapped homeowners, it’s normal to leave your home renovation in your ID’s trusty hands – but completely letting go of the reins might end with both you and your ID disgruntled and disagreeing over how your home turned out in the end.

While there’s no ‘right’ way to approach this, going down for occasional site visits to check on the progress and clearly communicating your concerns with your ID will help make the process a smoother one (and we’ll get to this again).


…but they don’t know what’s possible with their budget

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With the worrying economic conditions, it’s within reason that homeowners are tightening their purse strings – but is your budget too tight for your vision?

An overwhelming majority of IDs (that is, nearly 8 in 10!) find that their clients have unrealistic expectations of what they can get with their budget; this usually stems from a lack of understanding of how much certain renovation works cost.

To give you an idea, carpentry and masonry are two of the most expensive works that might take you by surprise if you weren’t aware of the costs; on average per room, it could cost about $3,400 to $6,100 for carpentry and $1,300 to $3,000 for masonry for an HDB flat renovation.

For a realistic estimate of how much your renovation could cost, input your plans here and let our handy renovation calculator crunch down a detailed breakdown for you.

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Despite it being one of the most expensive renovation works, carpentry comes out on top as one of the things that homeowners are most willing to spend on. You could say it’s practically a necessity for homeowners, considering that it involves installing home fixtures like shelves, cabinets and full-height wardrobes.

Following carpentry are renovation works done in the kitchen and the bathroom, like carpentry for cabinets and countertops and masonry, which involves tiling.

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Ironically, some of the things homeowners spend on are exactly what IDs think they should stop spending on.

While needs differ for every homeowner, IDs feel that homeowners can cut down on costs that eat into their budget. Coming out on top is decorative carpentry that doesn’t serve any practical purpose, like feature walls – particularly those with panels, mouldings or other finishes that rack up the costs.

At the third place are fancy appliances that you might regret spending on, especially if you’re buying into it only because it’s trendy.

Of course, as some IDs shared, it all depends on individual preferences and needs, so just be prudent and keep your budget in mind as you make your purchases.

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The majority of IDs find that their clients are more reasonable about renovation timelines, although they might have to wait longer for their homes to be completed post-pandemic – for a BTO flat, it could take between 8 and 10 weeks depending on the flat type, while a resale flat could take about 8 to 11 weeks.


Almost 8 in 10 IDs would rather choose the homeowners they work with, and for good reason

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For IDs, unrealistic expectations, budget and indecisiveness are the top three things that make a homeowner difficult to work with – and in some cases, all three at once. In that light, it’s no surprise that almost 8 in 10 IDs would rather choose the homeowners they work with.

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As we’ve shared earlier, it’s best to temper your expectations according to what you can actually get with your budget. One way is to discuss what you have in mind with IDs before asking for a quote so that you can get a more accurate gauge from the get-go.

And when you’ve committed to the project, don’t let indecisiveness sour the experience: if you’re having trouble making a decision, do some research to narrow down your choices and consult your ID.

Avoid making last-minute changes to plans you have agreed on, since it affects the manpower, resources and timeline.

If your ID offers advice or suggestions that are different from what you want, don’t be a “Mr Know-It-All” (as described by one ID) who rejects these without giving them some thought. After all, they’re sharing these concerns based on their experience and practical considerations.


Stricter regulation is necessary in the renovation industry

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Of course, the renovation industry isn’t without its pitfalls (a “nightmare”, some might say): 74.8% of IDs agree that there should be stricter regulations to uphold professionalism and service standards so that homeowners can feel more confident in the services they engage with.

While we await stricter industry regulations, we have taken steps of our own to help homeowners find reliable firms, by continously monitoring the service quality of the interior firms we bring onboard our platform.

Once these firms are listed on Qanvast, you’ll find clear and transparent information about each one, such as their accreditations (CaseTrust, BCA- and/or HDB-registered) and reviews by homeowners who’ve worked with them so that you can make an informed decision.

For added assurance, you can opt in for the Qanvast Guarantee when you enquire with an eligible firm and subsequently sign the quotation – this free service safeguards your renovation deposits up to 50% of your contract value (up to $50,000).


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There’s an almost even split on whether most Singaporean homes look the same after a while, with a slightly higher percentage disagreeing.

But even if they don’t necessarily look cookie-cutter, one style has been dubbed the most overdone: Scandinavian.

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While browsing for inspiration, you might have seen more Scandinavian-style homes than any other, which are appealing with their muted colours and cosy textiles.

Hougang Avenue 9 by Rockin Spaces
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If you want to change up the formula for your renovation, give other styles a chance.

But as one ID puts it, there’s no such thing as a style that’s overdone “because all styles have their unique charm”.

Seaside Residences by Dots 'N' Tots
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Meanwhile, retro-inspired designs seem to be making a comeback. Their appeal lies in bold colours that contrast muted hues, and various patterns and textures.

You don’t have to box yourself into a single style though, since you can mix elements of styles that you like and express your home’s personality the way you want it.


A good renovation is built on communication and trust

Bedok North Drive by Fifth Avenue Interior
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View this project by Fifth Avenue Interior

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about preparing for renovation, it’s that you should take some time to do your research on the potential costs and make responsible (and practical) decisions based on your budget – it’ll help you convey your concerns to your ID better too.

And when your renovation kicks off, do take suggestions/advice from your ID into consideration because communication is a two-way street.

Ultimately, how your renovation turns out depends on a multitude of factors, some of which are out of your control – but you can lay a steady foundation built on open communication and trust for a smoother renovation experience.


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