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Singapore 2024 Renovation budget – Condo Renovation Cost Forecast


The Idea of Partially Furnished

Ever thought that Condos in Singapore being furnished with Air Conditioners, wardrobes, Kitchen Cabinet, Vanity cabinets and a host of other built ins would cost lesser to renovate? We find out if this is true.


It's More Than Meets the Eye

New condo for sale at Hillhaven comes with smart kitchen appliances such as a cooker hood and hob, and a built-in oven. Image source: Hillhaven, Far East Organisation Singapore


Singapore's condominium market often attracts homeowners who are looking for a degree of convenience and luxury. Many condos in Singapore come "partially furnished," meaning that developers often include built-in features such as kitchen cabinets, bathroom fittings, cabinetry, and built-in wardrobes in bedrooms. These inclusions can affect how homeowners’ budget for their new home.


Homebuyers might feel that they can allocate a lower budget for furnishing their condos because these features are already provided. This could save them significant amounts on purchasing and installing these items themselves. For instance, custom kitchen cabinets and wardrobes can be major expenses in a home and having these included as part of the property purchase can be financially beneficial.


Unseen FactorsHowever, it's essential for homeowners to consider other potential costs that may not be covered by the developer's provisions. This might include appliances, additional furniture, decorative elements, and any upgrades or personal customizations they desire. We have curated a list of considerations that may change your perceptions of why Condo renovation may end up costing more.


1.    Higher CeilingMost HDB flats are about 2.6m high whereas a typical condo is 2.9m. This extra height means that customised fixtures like cabinets or wall feature needs to be higher than their HDB counterpart. In most cases, the commonly used carpentry laminate is 2.4m in height, which means pricey, special orders need to be placed if you want a seamless tall, laminated fixture. 


2.    Working Hours are Shorter

In most Condos, strict adherence to the working hours must be always maintained. This is to avoid complains from neighbours, high peak traffic timing and avoidance of incidences. In comparison, as HDB does not have a security or MCST management officer roaming the estate, chasing the contractors to stop work, the lax environment allows for faster, less noisy, or extended work behind closed doors. Ultimately, this means that the condo’s renovation will be protracted and takes longer to complete.


3.    Breaking the Mould

Customise TV feature wall that comes with storages. (Image source: Cheng Yi Interior Design)


Since all condos come fitted with standard and repetitive fittings, most homeowners would want to have unique customisation done to stand out from their neighbours. The typical customised carpentry would include TV feature wall, Dining feature walls, customised false ceiling. In conjunction with the prestige attached to staying in a condo, most customisation will include the use of more expensive materials and fittings like branded hardware. 


4.    Smaller Space Needs More Innovation

Foldable wall bed design in a one-bedroom condo. (Image source: Yang's Inspiration Design)


Ironically, the condos seemed to have smaller floor space as opposed to their HDB counterparts. As such the designers need to have more innovative approaches to increase the mileage of customised furniture in the apartment. This could include a desk that can be transformed into a bed, or a wardrobe that has a hidden study desk, suffice to say, all these features will cost more to design and build.


5.    Management Has An Eye on You

Besides the security eyeing the contractors like a hawk for noise disturbances, there are also strict building guidelines to adhere to for the renovation to be carried out. This could include professional engineer endorsements for hacking of walls, a hefty renovation deposit, the rental of lift protection daily for delivery and disposal, insurance for public liability and others. HDB has a process too, but it has in place their HDB licensed contractor system, which ensures that the work will be compliant to their rules, whereas a private apartment does not have this and will need to rely on their own house rules to ensure the renovation is compliant. Eventually the costs will be added back into the overall renovation sum.


Cheaper or Not?

The convenience of moving into a condo that already has essential fixtures in place is a compelling selling point for many condo developments in Singapore, making them appealing to a wide range of potential buyers, from first-time homeowners to property investors. This is exactly one of the major reasons why many will expect the renovation costs and budgeting to be lower. However, there is always a caveat, customisation will cost more, innovation can cost more. In most cases, condo owners will accept that since their property costs more, it is acceptable that their renovation will costs more. Nevertheless, it helps to know the above ways and you can decide how you can lower your renovation budget by optimising and discussing with your interior designer in advance.



Posted on 1st March 2024


Written by the Designerd

SIXIDES Editorial Team

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