5 strategies to maximise a tight budget for home renovation

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After making all the necessary home payments by TOP, it is not uncommon for new homeowners to find themselves short on funds for renovation.

How do you finance your home renovation when the bulk of your savings has already been used to purchase your home? What are some methods that have worked for other homeowners? How do you save on renovation costs without scrimping on necessities?

In fact, more recently, our community had a social chat with Ange and Wes, proud homeowners of a 1,206-sqft HDB resale flat. Part of the conversation included steps to renovating without engaging an interior designer.

So, if you have these questions or themes running through your mind, we’ve got you covered. Here are five cost-saving strategies you can use to maximise a tight budget for home renovation.

1. Choose a contractor over an interior designer

This is a great option to save money, especially if you already have a good idea of how you want to renovate your home. Interior designers are more expensive because they are a one-stop shop. You are paying for them to design your living space, source for a contractor, project manage your renovation, and even advise you on furniture and fixtures.

Hiring a contractor means skipping all those costly services and paying the supplier directly. If you want to engage a contractor but don’t have renovation plans in mind, you can browse magazines for designs you like and get a contractor to replicate them for your home.

You can even provide your contractor with 3D renderings of your desired living space by paying a freelancer a small fee to do them up for you. It will still be much cheaper than paying for the services of an interior designer.

ALSO READ: 5 things to prep before you meet with an interior designer

2. Negotiate renovation costs with your contractor

If you decide to hire a contractor , there are some things you can do to reduce renovation costs for yourself.

Get multiple itemised quotes

Minimally, you should get three quotations from different contractors and compare quotes item-by-item. If there is a big difference in price for a work item between contractors, you use it to negotiate a lower price with your chosen contractor.

Discuss how the costs can be reduced

Instead of asking your contractor if the price can be lowered, ask for their advice on how the costs can be reined in. For example, your contractor may be able to recommend cheaper flooring options with a similar appearance or an alternative layout that retains certain fixtures.

An open discussion with your contractor not only shows that you acknowledge their expertise but it also invites them to suggest other cost-saving options along the way.

DIY some of the renovation if you can

If you have the skills and the time, consider taking on a portion of the project yourself, such as painting the walls or installing the kitchen cabinets. By doing some renovation work yourself, you can ask your contractor to reduce the price accordingly.

3. Prioritise fixtures over furniture

Figuring out your priorities is one of the most important aspects of budgeting. When renovating a new home, fixtures such as flooring, windows, built-in cabinets, stoves, toilets, and lighting are essentials that you should not scrimp on. You need these to be of decent quality to enjoy your new home. Investing in good quality fixtures will also allow you to save on maintenance costs in the long run.

What you can scrimp on is furniture. Expensive sofas, dining tables, desks, or dressers can wait until your finances recover. In the meantime, you can shop for cheaper furniture options on e-commerce sites or even purchase second-hand furniture.

4. Purchase big-ticket furniture at discounted prices

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If you want fancy, expensive furniture in your new home, you can purchase discounted items during seasonal or clearance sales while still adhering to your budget.

Some retailers even offer special prices for BTO or condo group buys. A group buy involves residents from the same estate coming together to place bulk orders. This dramatically reduces delivery costs, allowing the whole group to enjoy discounted prices. The discounts from these sales and group buys can be quite significant, precisely what one needs on a tight budget.

5. Save on materials

Do your research to find cheaper options in terms of materials. For example, vinyl flooring is significantly cheaper than hardwood or stone flooring. Ceramic tile or laminate kitchen counter tops are much more affordable than their quartz or marble counterparts. Even opting for wall paint instead of wallpaper will significantly save costs.

However, be careful not to go for the cheapest option. You still need it to be of decent quality so that you won’t be forking out more money for repairs down the road.

This article was first published in 99.co.