How Much Should You Budget for a Home Renovation in Singapore

How Much Should You Budget for a Home Renovation in Singapore?

While buying or owning a house can cost you a lot of money and take you years to pay off, it’s one of the biggest achievements a person can have in a lifetime. Purchasing a home is a huge milestone everyone wants to accomplish. Once you do it, it will feel like all your hard work has finally come to fruition. 

However, owning and maintaining a house will cost you more than the purchase price in the long run. It comes with other expenses that you would eventually have to pay down the road, such as renovation costs.


How Much Is the Average Cost of Renovation in Singapore?

When getting a home renovation, how much should you pay? Here are the major costs involved and the factors you should consider when it comes to your budget:

Simply put, the more rooms your property has, the higher the renovation cost will be. 

We will go into the specifics of how much 3, 4, and 5-Room HDBs flat renovations are worth. With new 5-room HDBs, the average renovation cost of most homes will be $52,100. While brand new 4-room flats will cost $42,600 to get renovated. And lastly, it cost about $32,000 for brand new 3-room flats.

Most of your expenses would be from carpentry works. For three or more new large fixtures like cabinets and wardrobes, you can be charged 23,700.

When it comes to Resale HDB Flats, you would have to spend more than you would on a brand new BTO by 25 to 37 percent. For a 3-room resale home, you might have to pay $42,600 on average, and it gets even higher the more rooms you have. With a 4-room home and 5-room home, it will cost you around $58,5000 and $65,200, respectively.

Other factors will make the renovations more expensive by a few thousand dollars, as additional repairs or restoration works. You might even have to pay for dismantling or demolition costs.


Factors to Consider When Budgeting Your Renovation Plan

The cost of renovation would depend on several factors such as the type of home, age and condition of the property, the type of materials to be used on the property, and the extent of work that you are planning to do. It will also depend on your contractor or interior designer if you have one. 


1. Type of Home

The size and type of your property are some of the main factors that can determine the cost of your renovation works. If you have a larger home, it will need more work and more materials than if your home is smaller. 

Renovation costs will depend on whether your home is a BTO flat, EC, condo, resale, or a landed property. Normally, ECs will have the lowest renovation costs because it already has a built-in kitchen, toilets, and wardrobes. 

On the other hand, a higher renovation budget will be needed for resale flats and landed properties. Those types of properties will need a lot of piping reworking and planning works.

Renovating A BTO Flat Vs. Resale Flat

Compared to a BTO flat, a resale flat will require you to spend 20-40% more on renovation cost. These costs will go into piping reworking and planning works, as well as hacking and dismantling.

Most resale flats will not have bathroom fittings, costs you would have to buy your own, adding to the renovation cost. However, BTO flats usually already have toilet bowls and sinks fitted in the bathrooms.

Another reason why resale flats cost more is their size. Because it’s bigger than BTO flats by up to 20sqm, it needs more construction materials and renovation works, increasing the renovation costs.

The average cost for a new 3-room flat is $32,000, while resale flat costs S$10,600 more at $42,600.

For a more detailed calculation, you may find Qanvast’s renovation calculator to be pretty handy.    

If you want to do more calculations based on the number of rooms to get a ballpark figure of the renovation costs, you can use Qanvast’s renovation calculator for that.


2. Property age and condition

As mentioned, resale flats are more expensive to renovate. The extra costs come from dismantling and disposing of the built-in furniture that comes with the preloved flats. 

The placement of bathroom fixtures of older HDB flats may not be ideal for your new plans. Thus, you might have to spend more on hacking and masonry fees just to adjust them. 

Based on the information provided by Qanvast, renovating a resale flat can cost up to $0% more.


3. The extent of work

The renovation costs will also be affected by the extent of the work you want to be done to your property. You need to decide how much refurbishing work you need depending on your budget.

Carpentry, hacking, masonry, and disposal will make up most of your expenses. Your property might also need plumbing and electrical work. If you have a big property, keep in mind that the paint job will be costly.


4. Type of materials

One of the main considerations involved in home renovations is the type of materials to be used. Wanting a refined look for your home with heavy wood doors, granite countertops, and marble bathrooms is fine as long as you have a big budget. Expensive items often come with installation or labor costs just to have them placed in your home.


5. Contractor and optional Interior Designer

Aside from the materials needed for the renovation, you would also have to spend on the labor cost. You can choose to hire contractors or interior designers.  

For professional design works such as floor plans and 3D preview, you can engage the services of an Interior designer. They also offer project scheduling and management. Their separate project fee can cost up to thousands of dollars. Spending extra on an interior designer can be worth it because they can help you achieve your dream home or beautiful living space.

On the other hand, contractors will not do any design work, but their expertise lies in the construction. They can bring in a team of carpenters and workers. However, you would still be in control of the planning and management of the entire renovation. 


6. The extent of Renovation Work

Here is a list of common home renovation components and how much they cost:

Components Description Cost
Hacking Hacking and rebuilding, including touching up and strengthening of walls.  S$6,000
Masonry Flooring, tiling, and waterproofing for sturdy and long-lasting floors.  S$10,000
Carpentry Including all the features you want to build in your homes, such as a kitchen island, feature walls, wardrobes, tables, bed frames, storage, and TV consoles.  S$24,000
Plumbing  Waterworks such as taps, shower systems, toilet bowls, water filters, sinks, basins, piping, and water heaters. This includes extension and concealing work for pipes as well.  S$1,000
Electrical works Electrical outlets for lighting, heater, power points, and wire extensions.  S$4,000


Adding up all these major components in the renovation, the estimated budget needed for a 3-room (60 to 65 sqm) HDB flat, the average type of home in Singapore, is $32,000 to $42,600.

Renovation budget estimate for a bedroom

Type of work Light Moderate Extensive
Hacking $100 to $600 $600 to $1,000 $1,000 to $5,200
Masonry $200 to $1,300 $1,300 to $2,800 $2,800 to $8,800
Carpentry $200 to $4,400 $4,400 to $7,500 $7,500 to $33,700
Plumbing $0 to $600 $600 to $1,100 $1,100 to $5,000


Renovation budget estimate for a bathroom

Type of work Light Moderate Extensive
Hacking $100 to $500 $500 to $1,000 $1,000 to $6,800
Masonry $100 to $1,500 $1,500 to $5,700 $5,700 to $17,500
Carpentry $200 to $1,200 $1,200 to $2,100 $2,100 to $9,000
Plumbing $100 to $400 $400 to $800 $800 to $3,900


Renovation budget estimate for a kitchen

Type of work Light Moderate Extensive
Hacking $100 to $500 $500 to $900 $900 to $3,200
Masonry $200 to $1,300 $1,300 to $3,900 $3,900 to $11,300
Carpentry $100 to $4,300 $4,300 to $6,900 $6,900 to $17,900
Plumbing $100 to $200 $200 to $500 $500 to $1,700


Renovation budget estimate for a living room

Type of work Light Moderate Extensive
Hacking $100 to $400 $400 to $700 $900 to $3,200
Masonry $200 to $1,300 $1,300 to $3,000 $3,900 to $11,300
Carpentry $200 to $3,400 $3,400 to $6,100 $6,900 to $17,900
Plumbing $200 to $800 $800 to $1,200 $1,200 to $3,200


Renovation budget estimate for other works

Type of work Light Moderate Extensive
Electrical $300 to $1,700 $1,700 to $3,200 $3,200 to $7,700
Painting $200 to $1,400 $1,400 to $1,800 $1,800 to $4,100
Glass and aluminium $400 to $2,600 $2,600 to $5,100 $5,100 to $13,800
Cleaning and polishing $300 to $1,100 $1,100 to $1,700 $1,700 to $13,900


What are the HDB Renovation Rules and Regulations? 

Most people think that they can do whatever they want with their house. It is, after all, their property. However, HDB has set some Rules and Regulations when it comes to Home renovations. Here is an overview of what to expect:

  • You should only employ authorized contractors from the Directory of Renovation Contractor (DRC) to perform the renovation. They can do all types of works including those that do not need approval from the HDB.
  • However, wall hacking and demolition works need to be approved by the HDB. Make sure to get written approval from them before you begin the job. HDB needs to verify that your proposed hacking work complies with public safety standards and would not damage the building’s structural stability. 
  • It’s important to protect the welfare of your household and other dwellers in the surrounding area. Don’t allow your workers to do any demolition works before the HDB gives you  written approval.
  • With all the necessary drilling that would have to be done, you also have the noise to worry about. Like any construction job, home renovations will create a lot of noise. To ensure that you don’t receive complaints from your neighbors, you can only 6 pmwork within the permitted time set by the HDB, whally between 9 am to 6pm every day except during weekends and public holidays.
  • The HDB Rules and Regulations also require that a Notice of Renovation must be posted at the entrance of your property while construction works are ongoing.
  • Failure to follow these rules may lead to the termination of the renovation works, or worse, prosecution and payment of fines.


Contractors, Interior Designers, or Design & Build?

Choosing the right people or firm to hire can be stressful. Interior designers and contractors can provide professional services that can benefit your home renovation process. But your budget won’t always allow you to avail of the services of both. If you would have to choose one over the other, here is an explanation of their varying roles and the differences between the two:

Their roles and responsibilities

 An interior designer’s specialty lies in spatial planning and design. Based on your personal preferences and instructions, they can help you create the home interior that you want. Instead of doing everything by yourself, they assume coordinating with contractors and giving you updates on the construction progress.

On the other hand, a contractor will not assist you with the planning and design of your property but will provide construction services instead. They will only help execute the plans you made or the blueprint your designer created if you have one. They are essentially the builder in charge of the carpentry and construction work.

Their pros and cons


Compared to mainstream contractors, interior designers provide more comprehensive services. Their main function is creating design proposals and monitoring the construction process as per your instructions. Aside from providing other additional services or post-renovation advice, the designers will also assist you in engaging the services of building contractors. Several ID firms in Singapore specialize in developing an interior environment designed for the homeowner’s lifestyle and needs. If considered well, a thoughtfully designed home can make a huge difference in the homeowner’s state of balance.


 All these additional professional services like design and project management assistance come with a hefty price. Since they would be the ones who would hire the third-party building contractor, there is no guarantee that the quality of the construction works would always be up to par.

Take note of the following when selecting a contractor:

Hire only HDB-approved contractors

Homeowners have the responsibility to verify if their contractor is HDB approved. Be sure to check their status before you sign anything and commit to them. Not only is it a requirement imposed by law, but it will also mean that the contractor is qualified to do the work properly. It will also prevent any mishaps involving your property from happening.

Be proactive and involved.

You should also do your due diligence in checking the background of the renovation firm that you are planning to hire. Look into their track record to see if their past performances and problem-solving skills are satisfactory.

Also, read the quotations carefully and make sure the contract terms with the renovation firm are clear and specific. You wouldn’t want to be stuck with low-quality fittings just because the quality of the items to be delivered is not specified in the contract. Watch out for any hidden charges.


Financing Options for your Home Renovation

Most major banks in Singapore offer home renovation loans. Here is an overview of the top renovation loans you can get from banks:

Bank and Loan Name Interest Rate (per annum) Processing Fee
Citibank Quick Cash Loan 3.99% none
DBS Renovation Loan 3.88% S$600
OCBC Renovation Loan 4.18% S$450
CIMB Renovation-i Financing 4.33% S$300
HSBC Personal Loan 3.4% none
Standard Chartered CashOne Personal Loan 3.48% none


The highest amount that you can get for a renovation loan is S$30,000 or 6 times the amount of your monthly income, whichever is lower.

You may think that S$30,000 is too low to pay for all your renovation needs, but many homeowners prefer this loan option because of the low-interest rates that come with it. They range from 5.3% to 6.2% per annum.

The minimum annual income requirement is S$24,000 a year to apply for a loan from a bank. If it’s an unsecured loan, you don’t need to give them collateral. 

These loans have a flexible tenure of up to 5 years. Usually, it comes with insurance worth 1% of the principal amount.


Helpful tips

Helpful Tips to Save on Renovation 

Define a clear concept of what you want done

Before you start renovating your home, you need to have a clear idea of what you want done to your property and what it should look like once the construction workers are done with it. Changing plans midway through the renovation process would be a waste of money and time. You should finalize the plans before starting any construction work.

The design of your home is a big factor that determines how much your renovation costs will be. You should opt for a minimalist design if you are working with a tight budget. You can make your plans for the renovation cost-effective without sacrificing design and comfort by building it around needs instead of wants.

Choose between an interior designer and a contractor

The choice of hiring an interior designer will depend on what your goal or vision is for your place. If it is to have an aesthetically pleasing or ergonomically designed area that you would be proud to show to your friends and family, then it would be worth it to spend extra on an interior designer.

Buy ready-made furniture instead of built-in.

Buying ready-made furniture instead of having a carpenter make and fix furniture permanently in your home is generally more cost-effective. As much as possible, limit the expensive carpentry work to when ready-made furniture is unavailable or unsuitable to your set-up. There are hundreds of furniture stores to choose from.

Consider your flooring materials.

If you are on a budget, expensive marble or parquet flooring might not be a good option for you. If you don’t want a simple hardwood floor or wood effect tiles, you can try using custom-made rugs that go well with the theme of your room. You can choose from modern contemporary shades and textures to intricate traditional patterns.

Rethink paint works

Compared to wallpaper, paint is a cheaper option, and it lasts longer. Wallpaper also tends to look tackier than paint, and it might discolour over time. With paint, you won’t have the problem of peeling unless the sealant wasn’t applied properly. On average, painting an entire 4-room flat will cost you around S$1,200 to S$1,500, while wallpapering just the living room can cost more than S$900.

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