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Couple planning and estimating renovation cost

Home Renovation Cost Estimates in Singapore (2021)

Purchasing real estate in Singapore is one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make. So it’s only natural to want a home that reflects your tastes and needs. But it’s rare to find a home that is exactly as you’ve imagined. That’s why you might consider a home renovation.

But how much does a home renovation Singapore cost? How do you find a renovation contractor? Do you have loan renovation options?

The last thing you want is to get a final bill that is way above your budget. To help you, this guide will list the cost estimates, loan options, and more.

Average Home Renovation Cost In Singapore

Here’s a quick look at the estimated renovation costs for a 3-, 4-, 5-room HDB flat in Singapore. These types of flats are very common. In fact, 32% of all homes in Singapore is a 4-room HDB flat.

These figures are taken from Qanvasts’s renovation calculator.

Type of HDB Flat

Ave. renovation cost for a new flat

Ave. renovation cost for a resale flat

3-room flat approximately 60 to 65 sqm

$32,000

$42,000

4-room flat approximately 90 sqm

$42,600

$58,500

5-room flat approximately 110 sqm

$52,100

$65,200

Based on the figures above, you’ll pay more for renovating a larger room. The 5-room flat is the most expensive to renovate among the three HDB flat sizes.

Additionally, renovating a resale home costs around 25% to 38% more than it would for a new flat. This may be due to additional factors. For instance, there might be repair or restoration costs. Or dismantling or demolition costs. All these can greatly inflate your renovation expense.

Factors That Affect The Cost Of Renovation

  1. Type of Home

Is your home an HDB flat? Or a condo? Or a landed house?

The type of home you have will greatly affect your renovation costs. For instance, a new condominium unit will cost less to renovate than a new HDB flat. This is because some units already have kitchen and bathroom fittings.

A newly built HDB flat will probably need the following:

  • Floorings
  • Walls
  • Kitchen with built-in cupboards
  • Bathroom

But renovating a new HDB flat will cost less than renovating resale flats. This is because you might need to demolish already built fittings or rebuild from scratch to fit your needs.

  1. Home Condition

The cost of renovating a new flat and an old resale flat will be completely different.

Resale flats may already come with furniture and fittings. But you might want to dismantle those and dispose of the furniture. Additionally, old homes may have other issues like faded paint, damaged floorings, or less than stellar plumbing conditions.

That said, before your start renovating your home, consider the age and condition of the house first.

  1. Type of Materials

Another factor that affects the total expenses is the type of material you’ll use. For instance, if you prefer marbled bathrooms and granite countertops, you’ll be paying more.

Consider these costs from the Qanvast Cost Guide:

Choosing laminate flooring will only cost a maximum of $7.50/sq. ft. as compared to marbled flooring which costs a maximum of $47.50/sq. ft.

Another example is the materials you use for your walls. A basic painting package will only cost around $1,000 to $2,000. But adding a feature wall and false ceiling will add to your total costs.

  1. The Contractor You Choose

Different companies charge differently. Typically, you can three options:

  • Interior Designers
  • Contractors
  • Design and build services

Later we’ll discuss how these three are different from each other.

  1. Extent of Work Required

Are you satisfied with the current fittings and floorings of your home? Or do you want to dismantle everything and start from scratch?

The extent of work required will also affect your total renovation costs. Here are some of the major work you’ll need to watch out for:

  • Hacking: This means dismantling the walls as well as rebuilding and retouching them. The labor cost usually depends on the wall size, thickness, and how much work needs to be done.

Note: Before the contractor can start hacking away, an endorsement from a professional engineer is needed. You’ll have to obtain approval from the HDB or your condo’s MCST. This will cost you a few hundred dollars. Plus, you’ll need to consider the cost of hauling and cleanup as well.

  • Masonry: This work involves flooring, tiling, building a new wall, or fixing an old, damaged wall. The costs depend on the labor as well as the size of the area.
  • Carpentry: Do you want to build new cupboards, cabinets, or desks? Contractors can offer customized solutions. The cost will depend on the size of the area and the workmanship required.

You’ll also need to consider the costs for these works:

  • Renovating fixtures, such as ceilings and partitions.
  • Plumbing works, especially when you need to add bathroom fixtures to a new HDB flat
  • Electrical works

Renovation Budget Estimates

Need a clear picture of the renovation work and costs involved in creating your dream home?

Let’s say you have a new 4-room HDB flat with 2 bathrooms (90 sqm). Using this example and Qanvast’s renovation calculator, you’ll have a rough estimate of the cost of your renovation work.

Living Room

Renovation Work

Light

Moderate

Extensive

Hacking

$100 to $400

$400 to $700

$700 to $3,900

Masonry

$100 to $1,300

$1,300 to $3,000

$3,000 to $22,000

Carpentry

$200 to $3,400

$3,400 to $6,100

$6,100 to $23,700

Ceiling and Partition

$200 to $800

$800 to $1,200

$1,200 to $3,200

One Bedroom

Renovation 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

Ceiling and Partition

$0 to $600

$600 to $1,100

$1,100 to $5,000

Kitchen

Renovation 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

Bathroom (one)

Renovation 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

Dining Room

Renovation Work

Light

Moderate

Extensive

Hacking

$100 to $400

$400 to $700

$700 to $3,900

Masonry

$100 to $1,300

$1,300 to $3,000

$3,000 to $22,000

Carpentry

$200 to $3,400

$3,400 to $6,100

$6,100 to $23,700

Ceiling and Partition

$200 to $800

$800 to $1,200

$1,200 to $3,200

Estimated Costs for Other Renovation Works

Renovation 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 Aluminum

$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

HDB Renovation Rules

Homeowners are responsible for any renovation project done in their home. But the Housing and Development Board (HDB) has a lot of rules and regulations. Keep these rules in mind before you start renovating.

  1. Engage a contractor listed in the Directory of Renovation Contractors (DCR). This is a must even for renovation projects that don’t require HDB’s approval. Doing so ensures that the contractors will not damage the building structure during the renovation.
  2. Submit renovation plans to HDB for approval. Certain types of renovation works can only be carried out with prior written approval from HDB. For instance, the demolition and hacking of walls require approval. This is because some walls might hide important wiring and piping.

    That said, an HDB approval ensures that any work done will not affect the structural integrity of the building. Hacking without a permit is not only illegal but will also endanger the safety of the public.
  3. 3-year restriction period on the removal of bathroom walls and floor tiles. This is due to the waterproofing membrane that prevents leaking through the flooring of the unit. As a result, it might seep through the unit below.

    As an alternative, you can lay new floor finishes over existing floor finishes. The adhesives used must be subject to HDB’s guidelines.
  4. Use a pre-packed cement screed. It is now compulsory to use pre-packed cement screed on dry areas. This includes walls and floors of the living room as well as bedroom areas.
  5. Front doors must be fire-rated. If you’re thinking of replacing your front doors, make sure that the replacement is fire-rated. This is a safety precaution to prevent the spread of fire. A fire-rated door will help contain smoke and fire within the unit.
  6. Windows and grilles restrictions. Don’t replace your existing windows with a bay window or floor-to-ceiling window. This is for safety reasons and to maintain the cohesive look of the HDB’s exterior. Additionally, you can’t remove or tamper with the safety railing or grilles.
  7. Renovation works must be done during the permitted time by HDB. This is to avoid disturbing your neighbors.
    • Excessive drilling must be done between 9 am to 5 pm on weekdays.
    • General works must be carried out between 9 am to 6 pm on weekdays.
    • Complete the approved renovation within 3 months from the date of the HDB permit.

Interior designer working with couple

Who Should You Hire To Do The Renovations?

Interior Designers (IDs)

These professionals offer a full-fledged service. They’re not only in charge of the design works but also sourcing as well as project management. An interior designer will coordinate with contractors.

However, they usually charge a separate fee on top of the renovation work. Plus, some IDs may include a markup on the actual cost of material and labor. That said, it’s something you need to consider if you’re on a budget.

Contractors

These professionals focus on construction and building. You’ll be in charge of project scheduling and managing. Additionally, you’ll also be in charge of conceptualization and design. So don’t expect any input on design and theme from contractors.

A renovation contractor is the perfect option if you already have a design in mind. But you’ll have to set aside time to oversee the work. Take this into account when deciding who you should hire.

Design & Build Service

These professionals offer design works and renovation services. But they don’t have the flexibility of an Interior Designer. What they provide mostly comes as a set package that follows a template. You might find something that matches your taste and your budget. But don’t expect them to make customized pieces and fittings.

How to Find A Renovation Contractor In Singapore?

Avoid renovation horror stories by choosing a renovation contractor properly. But there are a plethora of choices in the market. Take note of the following tips to find the right contractor.

  1. Choose an HDB-approved Contractor

The number one HDB renovation rule is to work with contractors listed in the Directory of Renovation Contractors (DCR). That said, before you engage with any provider, verify that they’re on the list.

Why? Because these contractors know the rules and regulations of HDB. Most importantly, they know how to avoid structural damage to the unit or building. However, HDB is not endorsing the quality of the contractor’s work. The contract is strictly between you and the contractor.

  1. Choose CaseTrust-Accredited Interior Design Firms

If you’re hiring an interior designer, then check whether they are accredited. A renovation firm with such accreditation means they possess the foundation of good sales practices and standards. What can you expect?

  • Clear fee policies. The policies on fees and fee refunds are clearly documented, articulated, and fully disclosed.
  • Well-defined business practices. They have clearly defined dispute resolution policies for the business and consumer.
  • Well-trained personnel. The sales staff provide accurate information regarding the renovation.

The list of CaseTrust accredited renovation businesses can be found here.

  1. Perform Due Diligence

After verifying the business’ accreditation, you must also look into their previous renovation projects.

  • Perform a background check.
  • Look into their track record. Does the interior design firm have a good reputation?
  • If possible, check previous client reviews. Did they receive a lot of complaints?
  • In case of complaints, were they able to address them swiftly and fairly?

Additionally, the contractors or Interior designer firm must provide clear information about your renovation projects. They shouldn’t use vague phrasings in the quotation. Additionally, verify all costs. In doing so, you’ll avoid possible hidden charges.

Lastly, when creating the contract, make sure that all renovation details are stipulated. For instance, if you requested branded items, then they should be listed.

Renovation Loan Options In Singapore

Banks’ Renovation Loan

Banks offer highly competitive interest rates. Plus, they also offer flexible loan tenures. That said, you can get financing for the amount you need. The table below compares the interest rate and monthly repayments of some of the most popular renovation loans in Singapore.

Bank

Interest Rate

Processing Fee

Monthly Repayment for $20,000 loan, 5-year tenure

Standard Chartered CashOne

3.48%

0%

$391.33

RHB Renovation Loan Monthly Rest

4.18%

1%

$369.96

OCBC Renovation Loan Monthly Rest

4.18%

0%

$369.96

RHB Renovation Loan Flat Rate

2.98%

1%

$383

Maybank Renovation Loan Monthly Rest

4.2%

0.75%

$370.14

CIMB Renovation-i Financing

4.2%

1%

$370.14

Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered CashOne

Key Features

  • Borrow up to 4x your monthly income. Maximum loan amount of $250,000.
  • Interest rate from 3.48% p.a.
  • 0% interest rate for a 1-year loan tenure with 4.5% processing fees that will be deducted from the total disbursed loan.

Eligibility

  • Must be a Singaporean or Permanent Resident
  • Between the ages of 21 and 55 years of age
  • Salaried employee or self-employed
  • $30,000 minimum annual income

How To Apply

You may need to prepare the following documents:

  • Front and back of NRIC/Passport/Employment Pass photocopy
  • Salaried employees must bring their latest month’s payslip or the latest six months’ CPF contribution history
  • For self-employed, bring the last 2 years’ Notice of Assessment
  • For commission-based earners, bring the latest 3 months’ payslip or the latest 6 months CPF contribution history

RHB

RHB Renovation Loan Monthly Rest

Key Features

  • Borrowers can take an additional furnishing loan
  • Borrow up to 6x your monthly salary
  • Loan tenure up to 5 years

Eligibility

  • Must be a Singaporean or Permanent Resident
  • Between the ages of 21 and 65 years of age
  • Salaried employee, variable/commission-based employee, or self-employed
  • $20,000 minimum annual income

How To Apply

You may need to prepare the following documents:

  • Front and back of NRIC/Passport/Employment Pass photocopy
  • Salaried employees must bring their latest computerized payslip, or the latest 12 months’ CPF contribution history, or the latest Income Tax Notice of Assessment
  • Contractor’s quotation (signed by homeowner and contractor)
  • HDB Letter of Approval
  • For joint applications – Marriage Certificate and Birth Certificate

RHB Renovation Loan Flat Rate

Key Features

  • Borrowers can take an additional furnishing loan
  • Borrow up to 6x your monthly salary
  • Loan tenure up to 5 years

Eligibility

  • Must be a Singaporean or Permanent Resident
  • Between the ages of 21 and 55 years of age
  • Salaried employee, variable/commission-based employee, or self-employed
  • $30,000 minimum annual income

How To Apply

You may need to prepare the following documents:

  • Front and back of NRIC/Passport/Employment Pass photocopy
  • Salaried employees must bring their latest computerized payslip, or the latest 12 months’ CPF contribution history, or latest Income Tax Notice of Assessment
  • Contractor’s quotation (signed by homeowner and contractor)
  • HDB Letter of Approval
  • For joint applications – Marriage Certificate and Birth Certificate

OCBC

OCBC Renovation Loan Monthly Rest

Key Features

  • The only bank in Singapore that allows third party borrower
  • Borrow up to 6x your monthly income or $30,000 whichever is lower
  • Fast loan disbursement. Only 1 working day after approval

Eligibility

  • Must be a Singaporean or Permanent Resident
  • Between the ages of 21 and 59 years of age
  • Salaried employee or self-employed
  • $24,000 minimum annual income

How To Apply

You may need to prepare the following documents:

  • NRIC
  • Salaried employees must bring their last 3 months’ payslips
  • Contractor’s quotation
  • Proof of relationship for joint applications

Maybank

Maybank Renovation Loan Monthly Rest

Key Features

  • Borrow up to 6x your monthly salary or $30,000 whichever is lower
  • Loan tenure up to 5 years
  • Attractive interest rates

Eligibility

  • Must be a Singaporean or Permanent Resident
  • Between the ages of 21 and 55 years of age
  • Salaried employee or self-employed
  • $30,000 minimum annual income

How To Apply

  • Submit application form
  • Front and back of NRIC/Passport/Employment Pass photocopy
  • Salaried employees must bring their latest computerized payslip, or the latest 6 months’ CPF contribution history, or latest Income Tax Notice of Assessment
  • Self-employed or commission-based employees must provide their Income Tax Notice of Assessment for the last 2 years.
  • Final renovation quotation or invoice
  • CPF statement of withdrawals for property payment
  • HDB information form from HDB’s website, sales order, and confirmation letter
  • Property tax bill

CIMB

CIMB Renovation-i Financing

Key Features

  • Borrow up to 6x your monthly salary or $30,000 whichever is lower
  • Loan tenure up to 5 years
  • Attractive interest rates

Eligibility

  • Must be a Singaporean or Permanent Resident
  • Between the ages of 21 and 55 years of age
  • Salaried employee or self-employed
  • $24,000 minimum annual income

How To Apply

  • Submit application form
  • Front and back of NRIC/Passport/Employment Pass photocopy
  • Salaried employees must bring their latest 3 months’ computerized payslip or the latest 12 months’ CPF contribution history
  • Commission-based employees must provide their latest 2 years of employer’s commission statements or Income Tax Notice of Assessment for the last 2 years.
  • Original contractor’s contract/invoice signed by homeowner and contractor
  • Proof of property ownership
  • Cable TV, internet or utility bills, or any bank statements
  • For joint applicants – Marriage Certificate or Birth Certificate

Happy young couple taking personal loan from a money lender

Moneylenders’ Personal Loan

Do you need quick cash for your renovation?

A great alternative to bank financing is applying for a personal loan with a licensed moneylender. These agencies have a more flexible approval process. Plus, they keep the background check to a minimum. You can get a loan considerably faster than from the bank.

How will you know if the moneylender is legal?

Before engaging with any moneylender, you must first check if they are verified by the Registry of Moneylenders Singapore. You can check the list of licensed moneylenders on the Ministry of Law Singapore website.

  • How much can you borrow?

Secured loans don’t have any cap in the loan amount. But you’ll need to provide collateral. For unsecured personal loans, take a look at the table below:

Borrower’s Annual Income

Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents

Foreigners Residing in Singapore

Less than $10,000

$3,000

 

$500

At least $10,000 and less than $20,000

$3,000

At least $20,000

6 times monthly income

6 times monthly income

  • What are the interest rates?

Licensed moneylenders charge a maximum interest rate of 4% per month. This cap applies regardless of your income. If you fail to repay the loan on time, the maximum rate of late interest is still at 4% per month for each month the loan is not paid.

Eligibility

  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Minimum salary of S$1500 for citizens and permanent residents and S$2000 for foreigners
  • Loanable amount of up to 6x the borrower’s monthly income

Requirements

  • Proof of income and employment
  • NRIC
  • Proof of residency
  • SingPass to log in to CPF, HDB, and IRAS websites
  • For foreigners: Passport, work permit, proof of residence, proof of income and employment, and SingPass to log in to IRAS website

Apply for a personal loan or foreigner loan at BugisCredit. You can contact them at 6345-9123, apply online, or visit their office for a customized loan plan that fits your repayment ability.

Tips To Stretch Your Renovation Budget

  • Set a Realistic Budget

One of the most common mistakes of homeowners is setting their budget too low. They think they’ll cut down costs by choosing the cheapest materials. Some even consider doing the renovations themselves. That’s why they set up an unrealistically low budget.

But this shouldn’t be the case. For example, you’ll need to spend money on hiring contractors or ID firms to get the job done. And if you want to achieve a certain look, it’ll come with a price.

As a rule of thumb, renovation costs must not be more than six times your monthly income. Say you’re earning $10,000 per month. Your total renovation cost must not exceed $60,000.

  • Stick To Your Renovation Plan

Resist the temptation of changing your renovation plans along the way. Why? Because doing so will help you stick to your budget. If you keep changing your mind or adding renovation works, you’ll end up with an inflated fee.

Secondly, the renovation plan is already approved by the HDB. You can be assured that the plans are safe and will not cause potential damage to the building.

But what if you really want to change your choices of tiles? Then find out how much it’ll cost. Determine if you have enough cash to spare. Or you can set it aside for a later project.

  • Be Specific On What You Want

Do you want custom built-in cupboards? What kind of countertop would you like? Do you want laminated or parquet flooring?

Be as specific as you can with what you want. In doing so, your contractor will be able to give you a close to accurate quotation. It’s also a good idea to do your research.

Talk to family or friends who have had similar renovation projects. List the things you want to get done as well as your preferred materials.

Qanvast has a compilation of the cost of various items. From electrical fittings to floorings. With this information, you’ll get a ballpark idea of the renovation cost.

  • Set Aside Fund for Surprises

Even though you’ve planned everything down to the last detail, some things will not go as planned. There will always be unexpected expenses. For example, there might be repair work that needs to be done. Or maybe the material you want is not available.

So factor in these costs as well. Consider adding a 15% buffer. In doing so, you can be assured that your renovation works can be done within your budget.

Final Thoughts

Undertaking a renovation project takes time and money. Renovation costs between new and resale HDB units have a huge difference. Generally, new 3-room homes are friendlier on the budget.

Need financing for your home renovation? Get a personal loan or foreigner loan from BugisCredit. They can help you get a personalized loan package so you can begin your renovation project in no time.

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