Renovation – How to Start?

1. Finding a place

Most of the time it’s easier to use agent because they have a wide network across the area that you’re for. Unless you know the buyer personally or else it’s quiet difficult to look for the houses on your own.

Do note that sub-sale process may take at least 3-6 months or even longer. We waited around 4.5 months for our whole process to complete which is still consider ok.

And how I picked my house? Basically it depends on what you’re looking for. We were looking for location and very specific on single story. We’ve seen quiet a few houses but they’re either vacant for too long that it doesn’t gives me a good feeling, or I don’t like the neighbour hood or things like the house is facing main road, there’s eateries around the house which pest will be a huge problem.

2. Have a rough idea on how you want your place to look like and decide on a theme

We are settling with simple, clean and white design.There are tons of designer’s site that they put up lots of nice photos and you just need to search for them. And I’ve listed a few below.


Create a folder by areas – Exterior, Living Hall, Dining Hall and place those pictures inside so that you get a rough idea of your own taste.

3. Getting a good contractor (Very important), having a list of vendors on hand

I really have to shout about my contractor who’s ever efficient and fast yet very affordable. And if there’s any issue, he will definitely come back to rectify. But, there’s always a BUT he’s very busy and you need to monitor, chase and follow up with him all the time.

Also, I already have my existing list of vendors on kitchen cabinets, wardrobes etc, security gate, auto gate system & grill.

The best source of looking for contractors and advices are lowyat.net

4. Having a plan of the layout

Draft the existing layout and also the new layout that you’re looking at to discuss with the contractor. Because you need to measure and compare whether the space is sufficient. Find some layouts from the internet and see which of the layout matches the current one or which layout you prefer the most if you plan to just rebuild the whole house.

Don’t know how to use professional softwares? Nvrm, there’s many in the market. Google for Floor Planner.

5. Getting quotations & Budgeting

Of course you need to get quotation la, if not how to start work?
Quotation for cabinets and grill comes later when they need to take the actual measurement, but if you have a rough idea, you can tell them the rough size and get them to quote you as well.

After that, then you can roughly have an idea of how much you will spend on the reno by listing down everything. But do buffer at least 20% of that amount because halfway through, there will sure be some issues or things that you wish to add or change that might incur additional costing.

6. Explaining to your contractor in detail
Bring the layout you drew and show to your contractor and those images that you downloaded as a reference. Measure the place properly so that you know how to plan for space.

We realised that the space for the rooms are way too small during this process and we decided to draw the layout again and swap the living room to bedroom and bedroom to living room vice versa. Unless you have a designer, this step is very important because this will cost you money if you change your mind halfway.

7. Deciding on tiles and lightings

From the pictures that you downloaded as reference, you will roughly know what kind of tiles to use and what colour to match. Just google a few famous place selling tiles and use their tiles as reference when you go search for tiles. There’s many different type of tiles ranging from ceramic, porcelain, sand stones etc.

8. Grills, gate, security doors, awning, alarm system etc

This only comes in towards the end of the renovation when all the wet works are done. You can get the quotation earlier but the actual measurements only comes in later. Towards the end, that’s when you should call the vendors to come take the measurements if you choose to have the vendors on your own and not “bao” everything by your contractor.

And if you plan to install alarm system, CCTV and internet, do remember to call these people to come ahead before your plaster ceiling is completed, so that all the wiring can be hidden inside.

9. Build in cabinets, kitchen cabinets, wardrobe etc

This will be almost the last step to complete the house renovation journey. The vendor will also require to take the actual measurement of the house after everything is done including tilings.

I supposed at this step, you already have a rough idea from the above steps on the look and feel of your house and you already know what you want from there. For us, we wanted everything to be clean so we went for all white for all the cabinets and with a touch of wood.

My cabinet supplier have been with us since day 1 when we did for the condo renovation. Usually after you tell them what you’re looking for and after taking the measurements, they will be able to generate the 3D view for you.

10. Cleaning Up the Place

The last step is of course hiring professional house cleaners to help you clean up the place. And not forgetting there might be defects that you will need to monitor and get your contractor to come back to fix.

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