How to set Budget for your Home Renovation: BTOs vs. Resale Flats

After touching on budgeting for your home renovation, we can now go more in-depth on this topic, which is to compare the costs between renovating a BTO flat vs. a Resale.


There is a common misconception that the costs to renovate these two types of flats are the same. However, there are numerous factors that say otherwise. In this entry we will attempt to cover as much as we can, so that home owners of either will have a more rounded understanding when it comes to budgeting for their renovation.


For BTOs, being unfurnished, it is easier for home owners to manage and play around with their budget more as compared to resale renovations. BTOs allow you to add-on whereas resale will require other considerations such as modification or elimination.


Let us first discuss the process of budgeting for renovation to a BTO flat. As mentioned in the previous entry, a BTO flat is like a blank canvas to an artist. You can either choose to go minimalist in terms of renovation with a simple design or maximize the design by having the whole house renovated with custom built furniture and finishes.  Home owners of BTOs have lesser restrictions, when it comes to how they want their house to be renovated. The cost will, of course, vary based on the extensiveness of works done for that particular project.

For example, if home owners prefer simple and minimal designs, then the renovation cost will be low. These owners usually prefer to have just the bare essentials done for their homes. Such as, kitchen cabinets, wardrobes, display/storage cabinets and shoe cabinets. It is highly likely that they have taken up the HDB flooring and doors as well.


However, if home owners prefer to have their homes fully furnished with ceiling works, new flooring, new doors, customized built-in carpentries to the whole house, hacking of non-structural walls and even down to new sanitary fittings etc., then the renovation cost will be significantly higher than the first example.


Touching a little bit more on the latter, these home owners have to bear in mind not to get carried away with their imagination if they have a strict budget to follow. Many a time, they unexpectedly burst their budget because of over-expectations. This kind of scenario can be avoided by consulting your interior designer, of whom, will then advice you on whether the things you want are the things you need. Sometimes, when we have many ideas from references we come across, it is better to seek professional advice if such ideas are feasible for our situation and pockets.

Moving on to budgeting for renovation to resale flats, the most significant difference between these two topics would be the unforeseen circumstances that may arise in resale flats. Taking into consideration that these flats are fully furnished and occupied for a number of years prior to purchase, existing furnishes will tend to age in time as well.


Some Home Owners decide to purchase resale flats instead of BTOs for many reasons. And just to name a few, they may not want to wait for the BTOs to be ready, they prefer the fully furnished interior or the larger flat sizes of older HDBs as compared to new BTO flats. For owners who purchase resale flats for their fully furnished interior, they will usually plan to retain the interior in its original condition without making any modifications. Instead, just some minor enhancements such as repainting, new light fixtures and sanitary fittings etc.


However, if modifications will be done, then the chances of unforeseen circumstances will most likely arise. The reason being so is because in every renovation, there will be stages involved. For example, ceiling and painting works will usually be the first to be completed while carpentry will only come towards the end of the project, unless in unique cases. In many cases, these circumstances will not be able to be predicted until the renovation works have started. And along the way, additional works and costs will be involved due to such situations.

Picture a scenario where the owner insists on having an existing built-in carpentry to be demolished even though advised not to by the interior designer. After demolishing said carpentry, there might be a chance of damaging the existing flooring, especially, if the existing flooring is wood instead of tiles. One reason for this occurring is due to the length of time that the existing carpentry has been there. Should the owner decide to replace the damaged flooring, additional costs will be involved as well as the risk of compromising the whole process of this project.

Hence, when buying a resale flat instead of BTO, it is necessary to ask oneself if you would like to renovate the entire place or live in its original condition with no modifications done.


When it comes to budgeting, it is safe to say that renovation costs will be higher to fully renovate a resale flat as compared to a BTO, due to the additional hacking and demolishing works to be done (approximately 20-30% – depending on actual works done) . However, this scenario is easily reversed if minimal or no modifications are done to a fully furnished resale. Then, renovation will cost more for a BTO.


So, before choosing which type of flat (BTO or resale) to buy, home owners should also think about the renovation process and setting a budget for this. After which, your interior designers will then give professional advice around your criteria and help to solve any problems or questions you have to the best that they can.

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How to set Budget for your Home Renovation

When we buy our first home, we often ask ourselves, “How much money am I willing to spend on renovation?” And before we get to that, let us figure out what kind of Home Owner are you. There are two kinds of Home Owners with regards to this aspect. We have those who will prefer […]

21st March 2015 0