So, you have purchased your new home, congrats! The next step - the process of renovating your purchase into your dream home - is going to be a one hugely rewarding, albeit often times stressful one. Here are some potential budget-busting issues to take note before you embark on your journey, save yourself some blood, tears and sweat later on.
1. Conduct an Inspection (early)
It is recommended to have a licensed home inspector inspect a new home before purchasing or during early phases of construction when more of the house is visible. Due to the complexity of the house structure and many facets needed to work in tandem, a professional walk-through and assessment is important and ensures a peace of mind.
Here are some examples of common issues found during inspection:
Moulding walls and ceiling
Unevenness in floor levels
Cracks in floor/walls
Gaps in parquet flooring
Plumbing issues, low water pressure
Old Air-con units, water heater
Outdated Electrical Wiring
Asbestos material in old buildings
Rusty window hinges
One can never truly know the quality of workmanship from previous renovations; even a brand-new condo may come laden with defects due to a rushed completion.
While there is a stipulated defects liability period for the developer (for new condos) to rectify your laundry list of repairs; depending on the extent of your list, the seller could choose to do only a some of the smaller repairs, leaving you to handle remaining repairs at your own cost.
In purchasing a landed property, the list may be comparatively longer, as the building is more exposed to external factors such as weather, vermin and the land it sits upon.
For a more detailed guide, check out BCA's Quality Homes: A Homeowner's Guide
2. Acquire Approvals from Authorities
Upon purchase of their home, home owners are generally beyond eager to move in. Often, this means they forgot to factor in sufficient time to obtain necessary clearances from authorities, in the early planning stages, prior to construction. Different property types will require difference clearance of building works from various authorities:-
For strata-subdivided buildings (condos), the owner is advised to consult the Management Corporation (MCST) before commencement of works.
For landed homes, according to the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), the local Building Control Act exempts certain minor building works and alterations from plan approval or a permit for carrying out building works from the Commissioner of Building Control.
However, re-construction and new-erections on private property will require a Planning Clearance from URA, and also Building Plan approval from all technical departments (BCA, NEA, PUB, LTA, NPARKS . A Qualified Person (QP) is to be appointed at this point to ensure works comply with all the planning requirements, carry out the submissions and obtain all clearances with all technical deparYments. As this process takes time, it is better to engage the Interior Designer early on to streamline the design process prior to submission of plans.
3. List your Must-Haves and Things To Upgrade
When it comes down to the definition of 'dream home', some home owners have it all figured out - from their lifestyle to their Pinterest board to even the paintings to be put up on new walls.
For others who are not quite there yet, one can start with the simple but important task of making a list of 'must-haves', which will inform a clear design brief for your Interior Designer to interpret and transform into your 'dream home'.
Beyond basic requirements like number of bedrooms and bathrooms, tune in to the lifestyle you seek to create that is truly yours. If you are a nature advocate seeking to create a green respite from urban living, invest in your landscaping, be it creating a planting bed, a feature tree or green wall. If you are huge on cooking and hosting, list down your ideal kitchen features.
There are also upgrading options to consider in your budget, some arising from he defects/ issues spotted earlier in your building inspection, like replacing your Air-con units to a more energy-efficient models, up-grading to LED lighting fixtures, polishing old parquet floors, changing WC seats, replacing main door. With planning, simple actions without drastic layout can is also able to breathe new life into a room and make the property feel truly yours.