Securing your first home is a milestone worth celebrating.
But when the euphoria eventually goes away, the reality of high renovation costs loom large.
After all, not everyone has a $50,000 budget to turn their HDB home into a work of art right?
Recently in March, TikTok user Amelia - who goes by Meliaaamel7 - shared a 53-second clip on how she and her husband managed to keep their renovation costs relatively low, at just $16,000, after moving into their 4-room BTO flat.
Amelia provided a breakdown of how much some of the appliances and installations in their new home cost them.
According to the video, the couple did their best to find cheaper alternatives where possible, without compromising on quality.
For example, the four ceiling fans in their new flat – three for the bedrooms and one in the living room – set them back $777.
Cost-savings for this came in the form of a free installation from a company they found on Shopee.
Next was a trip to Ikea, where Amelia spent $280 for curtains and rods.
Other vendors quoted her $700 for a four-room curtain package, which includes two sets of day and night curtains and two sets of single-rod curtains.
"I found that a bit too much so we sourced for an alternative from Ikea," she said.
The couple also managed to save big by painting the whole house themselves. This meant spending only $300 on painting tools and 20 litres of paint.
Another way to save costs was taking part in group buys.
These are consolidated community purchases that benefit the buyers as they'd be able to purchase items below retail price.
Amelia did so with her system 4 aircon, which was $4,100.
She and her husband avoided liaising with an interior designer and worked directly with the carpenters, tilers, plumbers and electricians "for everything".
Because of that, her kitchen carpentry and table top came out to be $4,760, while works on her kitchen sink and tap were only $270.
"Yes, we saved cost but it's a very exhausting process. Would I do this again? No, thank you," Amelia wrote in the video.
In the caption, she explained that at the time her husband was the sole breadwinner, supporting themselves and their three children.
She added that she helped in saving up for the home by doing freelance work and running home-based businesses.
Don't bite more than you can chew
Having gone through the ordeal of home renovation, Amelia urged future homeowners to spend wisely and not rush the process.
While renovation loans might seem enticing, her advice is to avoid them.
A "pro tip" she has is that it's best to start saving once you have selected your BTO unit. This provides you with leeway to rack up your savings.
When the home keys have been collected, that's when you can start making calls on which renovations are good to go and which can be "cut off".
If you're disciplined and know how to prioritise, who's to say your BTO flat renovation costs can't be this budget-friendly too?
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