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Renovation Costs in Singapore: How Much To Pay & Budget Tips

renovation cost singapore
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Purchasing a home in Singapore is one of the biggest expenditures in your lifetime. On top of that, you may want to remodel a home to suit your needs and preferences. If the home renovation costs got your bank account shaking, you’re not alone.

It is only smart to have a better understanding of the average renovation cost in Singapore. You’ll need a ballpark figure to know how much you need to set aside. As such, there are factors you need to consider, such as the type of home, its age and condition, and how much work you want to be done.

By taking these things into consideration, you can avoid unexpected expenses. Thankfully, there are budgeting tips to keep costs low and financing options to make home renovation attainable.

How Much Does Renovation Cost in Singapore?

Estimated Renovation Costs Based on the Type of Property

Type of Property Scope of Work Average Home Renovation Cost
HDB BTO Kitchen, wardrobe, and furniture S$10,000 – S$60,000
HDB Resale Full home design + furniture S$30,000 – S$100,000
New Condo Furniture only S$10,000 – S$60,000
Resale Condo Full home design + furniture S$30,000 – S$150,000

 An HDB flat is a state-subsidized property, which drives down its ownership costs below regular market prices. The Housing Development Board (HDB) only supplies an HDB flat or property to Singapore citizens. If you’re a foreigner with permanent residence in the country, you can only own an HDB flat if you co-purchase it with a citizen.

These public-owned properties can come in the form of simple 1-5 room flats. HDB also provides condominium-style properties without the “community” approach to their HDB flat properties. Lastly, HDB can help you fund a traditional landed house, too.

Each one of these has varying costs. For example, the simple HDB flat will cost about 50% less than a full-fledged landed house. Residences with existing fittings or furniture may cost more upon purchase and renovation (due to tearing off costs).

Unless you purchased a private property, any home you buy in Singapore will either be:

  • HDB BTO: These are built-to-order government-subsidized housing. These properties are already furnished with basic amenities. This means you may not need a major home renovation. However, to renovate this type of home, you’ll have to follow several rules and regulations.
  • HDB Resale: These old properties will have an older layout. That said, you may want to consider upgrading and updating its interiors. Additionally, older homes may need an extensive overhaul which includes hacking, plumbing, electrical, and painting services.
  • New Condo: Condominiums are privately owned, non-subsidized residences in Singapore. These properties feature more amenities with high-end and modern furnishings. That said, major renovations are rare. Most condo owners only need to purchase furniture.
  • Resale Condo: The scope of renovation will depend on how old the condo is. It may cost more than renovating a resale HDB flat because some contractors tend to charge higher for condo renovations.

 Estimated Renovation Costs Based on the Size of Your Home

Renovation costs Singapore has a rule of thumb: the more extensive space and rooms an HDB property has, the more costs in renovation you’ll need to handle. On the other hand, this rule only gives you rough estimates of your total costs for renovating your property.

 

Size of Property Cost of Renovation of New Properties (starts at) Cost of Renovation of Resale Properties (starts at)
2 Room S$10,000  
3 Room S$14,500 S$32,000
4 Room S$17,500 S$36,500
5 Room S$19,500 S$39,500

 Keep in mind that the average cost of renovation for HDB properties might increase if the flat has gone through a severe and is in a dilapidated condition because of the long labor periods and materials needed to restore it. Additionally, the more walls your HDB flat has, the more insulation and reconstruction materials you’ll need.

Estimated Renovation Costs in Singapore Based on the Scope of Work

Home renovation, whether big or small, involves different kinds of services. That said, it will involve people with different kinds of skill sets. Take a look at the table below to get an idea of how much renovations cost based on the scope of work needed to achieve your dream home.

Renovation Service Percentage of Total Cost
Carpentry 35%
Masonry 25%
Glass & Aluminum 11%
Electrical 9%
Hacking 7%
Ceiling Partition 7%
Painting 6%
Plumbing 5%

Factors To Consider When Estimating The Overall Home Renovation Cost

From the figures above, you already have an idea of how much home renovation will cost depending on the type and size of the property as well as the scope of work. But these are not the only driving factors that affect renovation costs. 

Age and Condition of the Home

As with most real estate, HDB flats, condos, and landed houses have differing states upon your visitation and purchase. For instance, some HDB properties are more affordable because of a recent fire that led to the reinforcement of its foundations but without assurance of longevity. On the other hand, some flats are more expensive because they need something beyond renovation.

In many cases, all types of HDB properties are more affordable if they’re aged beyond 20-30 years. During your property ocular, you will likely notice wear and tear in different interior and exterior areas, which will require additional renovation to restore. 

The Depth of Renovation You’d Prefer

Critical-condition HDB properties require in-depth renovation to restore them to full functionality. However, you can use conventional materials to patch up and upgrade areas while deprioritizing interior aesthetics. In doing so, many new HDB owners save up on renovation costs.

However, an in-depth renovation that drastically changes the residence’s structure requires more labor, expertise, and equipment from your contractor. Additionally, you’ll need more materials to replace faulty issues as well.

Most homeowners with enough cash can handle deep reconstructions that meet their vision. In some cases, resale flat owners need thorough remodeling because of massive property damage or deplorable conditions. 

The Renovation Contractor You’ll Be Hiring

If you’re remodeling a considerable number of areas in your 4-room HDB property, you might use more than one renovation contractor. Truthfully, you’ll find all-in-one contractors providing general renovation services in Singapore. On the other hand, HDB owners who want an in-depth, vision-anchored interior aesthetic will want to use specialist contractors for guaranteed exceptional workmanship.

Additionally, high-quality materials require manufacturer-certified contractors to install them correctly. In doing so, you enjoy both long-lasting fixtures and a lifetime warranty on both labor and materials. If you choose not to use certified contractors, you may not qualify for the manufacturer’s lengthy labor guarantee. 

What Else Affects the Renovation Cost in Singapore?

  • Furniture: Another cost to consider is the movable furniture you’ll need to buy. That said, it’s best to purchase furniture that fits your new home. If you have existing furniture, then this will not drive your renovation costs up.
  • Specialized Interior Design: Hiring interior designers can help add a new dimension or rhythm to your property. A designer can conceptualize and create a space that brings relaxation and positivity to its resident.
  • Upgrading or Overhauling Electricals: Electrical overhauls are some of the most expensive services you’ll encounter when renovating. You might need to shell out additional funds, especially when the property recently suffered water damage.
  • Fancy Flooring Materials: The type of flooring and wall types you pick can drive your renovation costs up. For instance, a vinyl flooring will cost around S$3 to S$8 per square foot while ceramic tiles are around S$3 to S$35 psf including labor. One of the most expensive options is marble flooring which will cost you around S$100 psf.
  • Ceiling Detailing: Adding detailed false ceilings can be quite expensive compared to normal ceilings. Your total renovation cost may shoot up if you choose to add rounded details or cove lighting to your ceiling.
  • Shelving and Partitions: Adding shelves and other fixtures can quickly add up. Because it involves carpentry or masonry services. For instance, carpentry services can amount to S$15,000 for a 4-room apartment. If you choose to install partitions, then your final home renovation costs will be astronomical.
  • Repainting Walls: Unlike real estate, HDB property maintainers have no obligation to apply a new coat of paint for new owners. Repainting walls is beneficial, especially if you intend to use drywalls to improve the overall aesthetic of your new home. Still, it will cost you a bit more than the average renovation required to restore its functionality.
  • Improving Interior Insulation: A 4-room property that has aged significantly will have cracks that require caulking and drywalls that require replacement. Fortunately, aging HDB properties can have significant price reductions. However, your savings might go directly to improving your property’s interior insulation and overall structural integrity.

What Are The Typical Scope of Work Involved In Home Renovation?

Are you happy with the way your home looks? Or do you want to remove walls? Or maybe you want to add custom cabinets and shelves?

Before you start with your home renovation project, you must understand the different scope of work involved.

You may already be familiar with services like plumbing, electrical wiring, and painting. However, there are renovation services that require a lot of work and may overshoot your budget.

  • Hacking: This involves tearing down, rebuilding, or touching up walls. The labor costs will depend on the wall size, thickness, and how much work needs to be done. For this reason, renovating a resale HDB flat costs more than a new flat.
    • Note: You may need to obtain the necessary approval from HDB before you can start any hacking project. You’ll also need to pay for hauling and disposal of the debris.
  • Masonry: This work is anything that involves cement. For instance, when you’re erecting a new wall or patching up an old one. Masonry also includes flooring, tiling, and wet works. The total cost will depend on the surface area you cover, the raw construction materials needed, and the labor required.
  • Carpentry: This is anything that involves wood. For instance, you may want to custom-build your kitchen cabinets, bookcases, or bed platforms. 

Budgeting Tips

It’s easy to go overboard with your home renovations. While quality renovations that involve plumbing, flooring, carpentry, and electrical wiring are worth paying for, there are additional expenses that can pile up. This can overshoot your budget and can blow a hole in your bank account.

Here are a few tips to save money when renovating your home:

  • Set a budget: According to DBS, the rule of thumb is that your home renovations should not cost more than 6x your monthly household income. So if your monthly household income amounts to S$6,000 (you and your spouse), then your total home renovation cost must not exceed S$36,000.
  • Be smart in choosing materials and finishes: It’s only natural to want to have a luxurious home. However, if you’re on a budget, it’s good to consider economical materials and finishes. For instance, marble-looking ceramic tiles may be much more affordable than marble itself.
  • Consider overlaying instead of hacking: Want to hack down the old kitchen tiles? Hacking services will add to your total renovation costs. Why not consider a simpler, cheaper solution by overlaying the old tiles? This is much cheaper and will require less time to finish.
  • Buy ready-made furniture and fixtures: Built-in furniture, wardrobes, kitchen cabinets, shelves, and other customized furniture may look great, especially in tight spaces. But it can also overshoot your budget. Carpentry can be costly and time-consuming. So to save on costs, you can consider buying furniture from Ikea, Taobao, or other indie furniture shops.
  • Paint your walls: One way to upgrade the look of your home is to paint your walls. It’s a highly practical choice if you want to change up the look and mood of your home. Avoid using wallpaper and accent feature wall materials. They are not only costly but also difficult to remove should you want to change up your home again in the future.

couple planning for renovation

Financing Your Renovation Costs 

HDB Renovation Loan

The Housing Development Board does not concern itself with whether you’re hiring an interior designer or multiple contractors to perform your property renovation. However, it will raise concerns about your eligibility to own an HDB property and use the government-subsidized financing plans available for renovation.

As we’ve already mentioned earlier, HDB only allows citizens to own HDB properties. Furthermore, only citizens with legal ownership of a flat can take out an HDB renovation loan if they fulfill the following requirements.

Like any personal loan, HDB’s financial assistance service has a minimum income requirement for potential investors. These minimum requirements depend on the HDB property’s total cost, renovation costs you’ll incur, the property type, number of rooms, and amenities available.

On average, it’s safe to assume that a Singaporean earning above S $20,000 can get an HDB renovation loan for a 3-4-room flat without missing their repayments (assuming they endeavor to pay on time). 

Bank Renovation Financing

When it comes to financing, most Singaporeans immediately turn to banks. So if you need additional cash for your home renovation project, you can take out a bank renovation loan.

Of course, you can consider getting a personal loan. However, this type of loan may have higher interest rates.

Renovation loans differ from personal financing because it requires your renovation contractor and material supplier’s invoices to verify your total renovation costs. With a renovation loan, the money immediately goes straight to the contractor or interior designer. Plus, renovation loans typically have lower interest rates compared to personal loans.

However, you might find it challenging to get your financing approved if you have poor credit scores. Make sure to improve your credit history and dependability or use the HDB’s financing service instead.

Moneylender Renovation Loan

One of the many challenges of getting a traditional bank loan is the strict eligibility requirements. Additionally, banks are known to have a stringent application process which may lead to rejection.

So what other options do you have if you’re unable to get a bank loan?

You may consider taking a loan from a licensed moneylender in Singapore.

There are licensed moneylenders in Singapore who offer considerable amounts for renovation loans, even for borrowers with bad credit. Just like with a bank renovation loan application, you’ll need to provide your HDB Letter of Offer, contractor and supplier invoices, and meet all the age, ownership, and income requirements.

renovation worker

How To Apply 

Eligibility Requirements for HDB Renovation Loan

To qualify, you must be

  • A Singapore citizen
  • At least 21 years old and above
  • Recognized HDB property owner. The spouse or any family members are not allowed to take out a renovation work loan, except if he or she is a co-owner.

Eligibility Requirements for Bank Renovation Loan

To apply for a renovation loan, you must be: 

  • A Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident
  • Between 21-65 years old (the maximum age limit differs across Singaporean banks)
  • Have a minimum annual salary of S$24,000 (minimum salary may vary depending on the bank)
  • The property owner, or a related family member with the owner’s consent.

Eligibility Requirements for Licensed Moneylender Renovation Loan

With a licensed moneylender in Singapore, you can get a renovation loan, a personal loan, or a foreigner loan. To apply, you must be:

  • A Singapore Citizen, Singapore Permanent Resident, or Foreigner
  • At least 18 years old
  • Minimum income of S$1,500

The most common documents you’ll need to prepare are the HDB Letter of Offer as well as the contractor and supplier invoices.

Conclusion

Home renovation is an exciting project but it can also be overwhelming. This guide will help you plan and prepare your renovation budget to transform your home into your dream one.

Key Takeaways 

  • HDB BTO properties are already furnished with basic amenities. This means you may not need a major home renovation so they are the cheapest to renovate.
  • The more extensive the space and rooms of your HDB property, the higher your renovation costs will be. For instance, renovating a new 5-room HDB property will cost around S$19,500.
  • Different factors affect renovation costs, such as the age and condition of a home, the contractor you’re going to hire, and the scope of work involved.

Short on cash? You can rely on a licensed moneylender in Singapore to get immediate cash for your needs. Loan Advisor will help you find the best interest rates, tenure, and terms from the top licensed moneylenders. Request up to three loan quotes today to find the loan package that is tailored to your needs.

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