How To Avoid Those Home Renovation Headaches
STORY: Dawn Hee
15 March 2022
True joy is watching your dream home come together as planned, picture-perfect as a Pinterest board. However, anyone who’s had renovation work done for their house will know how hiccups - major or not - will most likely occur along the way.
And for some, it can be a total nightmare worthy of a dedicated Netflix series. The story of a 9-month renovation ordeal faced by a local couple made its rounds on social media recently, with several other homeowners echoing similar sentiments. In fact, complaints against renovation contractors increased by almost 50% in 2021, compared to the previous year.
It’s exciting to plan for a new home, but the reverse can also be true when roadblocks get in the way. Nonetheless, there are some things you can do to put the painkillers away - we share some tried-and-tested tips that’ll have you well-prepared, making the renovation process as smooth as possible.
Start planning early
Call us typical Singaporeans, but being kiasu does pay off. Start planning for your renovation as soon as you can, even if it’s months before the key handover. This will give you ample time to speak with potential firms, compare quotes and narrow down your preferred look and feel. You’ll also be able to take your time to decide whether an interior designer or contractor would work better for you; do you have an eye for design and the time to oversee renovation works, or would you prefer entrusting the job to someone else?
Ask for recommendations
Whilst online reviews may be genuine, there’s nothing like getting feedback from people you know and trust. Were there any regrets, and what would they look for if they could restart the process? And instead of a curated portfolio shown on an iPad, you’ll be able to check out your prospective ID or contractor’s work in person.
Cheaper isn’t always better
Think you’ve found a real bargain amongst the quotes you’ve received? Whilst a substantially lower project quote may sound enticing, it may be a case of hidden costs, or cutting corners and using inferior materials. It’s always good to ask all the questions you need before making a decision; make sure you know what you’re signing off on.
Read the fine print
Aside from a breakdown of the renovation costs, make sure there’s a proper payment and work schedule included in the contract, and that you’re comfortable with the timeline. Payments should only be made after each listed milestone has been achieved, and do check the completed work thoroughly before making your final payment - any complaints made thereafter will most likely not be attended to as swiftly.
Be an active design co-pilot
One common headache is having to make changes mid-way through renovation; not only will it result in delays, the additional costs incurred can be frustrating too. Work with your designer throughout the entire design process, right down to the choice of materials. It’s important that the final rendering is to your liking and will suit your lifestyle.
Expand your design horizon
Instead of relying solely on your service providers to select the materials (like tiles, paints or vinyl flooring), visit the stores with them and check out all the offerings available for yourself. For all you know, there might just be a gem out there that you would have missed out on otherwise.
Bring the samples home
Now that you’ve gone shopping and have an idea of what you like, ask the stores for bigger samples; a single tile or the wood grain on vinyl laminates may look different when viewed on a larger scale. You’ll also want to bring these samples to your new place and see how they appear in natural lighting. As for paints, try swatching some on the walls for a better feel of the shades.