Monday, February 1, 2010

Choosing Interior Designer (ID) for house renovation

Two weeks ago, I received a letter from HDB regarding the approval for my Housing Loan Eligibility (HLE). I know once I received this approval, I am rest assured that I will be getting the keys to my new flat within three months. It is because the HLE is valid for three months only. Then came the stressful part where I need to start thinking about the house renovation part and also the selection of home appliances. Frankly speaking I know nuts about house renovation in the beginning!

For a start, Renotalk forum is a good site to begin with. Do read the threads in there but exercise your due diligence when hearing recommendations and views from the forummers there. There are some “ghosts” in the forum who may give contradicting statements and opinions. You can always check their date of join and history of postings to identify a “ghost”.

Now after weeks of research and reading, I have a better understanding on the house renovation part. I hope new home owners can benefit from this post.

Which renovation company or which Interior Designer (ID) should I select? A good website to source for a company is from the following links.
HDB Listing of Registered Renovation Contractors
RADAC Listing of Accredited Renovation Contractors

From the list, I suggest looking for a company that is located near to your new home. This will provide convenience if you need to travel between the renovation company and to your new home. Then from the shortlisted firms, I suggest doing a background check of the company by using google search. You will most likely be directed to some of the local forums. Do read the comments from the veteran forummers.

After identifying a few renovation companies, then comes the next headache part that is to get quotations and pricings. I have nothing much to share on this part yet as I am still in the process of experiencing it. I suggest downloading the following guide which I extracted from Renotalk. I attach also a model agreement on home renovation prepared by CASE which can be of good reference to new home ownsers.
Renovation Tips - Readme PDF file
Model Agreement on Home Renovation - CASE


Anonymous said...

From Xing Global
My house was done by this company.
Quite a good job.

Ho Leong Renovation Decor144 Upper Bukit Timah Road #B1-10 Beauty World Centre, 588177, Singapore

p: 64669959 f: 64669970

Mike Dirnt said...

Xing can give me the name of your ID. if possible contact number? Thanks

Mike Dirnt said...

Here is my renovation requirements that you can use as a reference.

JKfund said...

I published all the detail cost of my renovation, (just done last few weeks ago)... at my blog..

hope it helps..

ucypmas said...

Mike - some things for your consideration.

1. Beware of the herd mentality on online forums. Sometimes, someone has ONE positive experience, gushes about it on Renotalk and create a stampede for the particular designer/contractor even if they are only so-so

2. Look for 2nd tier people who do a good job, get a mention from the owners of the "reno threads" but no stampede. I think its better

3. Choosing renovation companies on the basis that they are near your house is a goondu criteria. I would round up the contacts of people whom I want to get a quote from and when I get the house, call them and ask them to come and see you at your place and talk. If they are too busy, then walk away as the chances of the ID having the time to supervise your renovations as well are remote (he is too busy). Also during the renovation you will want to go to your house almost everyday to make sure things are done and done properly. You will not have the time to go trooping back and forth the contractor's place.

4. Do you really need an ID-based renovation? Some contractors have their own in-house people to do the design in order to cater for their own direct business. They also do sub-contract work from the IDs so its basically the same workmanship, minus the overhead.

5. Ask for itemised quotations but look at them as a package and do not compare item by items as they are often not on an apple to apple basis. Someone offers you wardrobe for $25 pfr cheaper but he may be using recycled paper to build it. Get a couple of quotations and gauge the market price for the package and see if you are being fleeced by anyone. That's about as useful the numbers are.

Good luck for your reno. There's a lot of work but for first timers its 50% luck that you find someone good.

Mike Dirnt said...

1) Ucypmas yes thats why i decided not engage an ID recommended from renotalk. Those ID must be super busy entertaning the public requests which may affect productivity.

what i did was to shortlist those IDs near my home from RADAC and HDB list. get their quotations and go down to do a site visit of their workmanship. Then i make decision based from their. The company im engaging has their own factory at AMK and employs on Malaysians. Some bigger companies employ China people.

3) i dont quite agree with you. dont forget before you sign up, you may have the bargaining power to ask your contractor to do this and that. meet me here and there. once your house is ready, it may be difficult to reach them if you need any help. so choosing a nearby contractor has a plus point for easy travel and communication.

for example, my new house is near Geylang and im currently staying in Potong Pasir. There are tons of contractors near Hougang and Geylang area. So why need to pick a contractor stationed at Jurong?

Paul Wong said...

heya there.

Was looking for IDs and stumbled on ur blog. Tho I follow your blog more on the investment theme.

read your post and decided to drop a comment to say hi and ask how has everything been since it was about 3 months ago you put up this post.

Got your keys already? I figure that your renovation is in order? :)


Mike Dirnt said...

Hey hi Paul,

i got my keys in March. my renovation has just completed recently. and i have already moved in :P

tell me if you need any renovation advice or for more information you can always read at renotalk

Paul Wong said...

heya Mike!

Cool man! How much did you spend on your reno and how big is ur place?

Lookin around for quotations now for my 3 room. Seems that a full scale reno will cost above $20k. scary.

Just blogged on a ID I just visited. Will be seein more tho.

Mike Dirnt said...

my house is 95sqm only and its a hdb flat. i spent 20.2k. my major renovation works are wardrobes, kitchen and toilets.

my ID is from A&D. their carpenters are good. you may also consider Ideal House which received a lot of positive feedback from renotalk.

i suggest you go down to your friend houses who just did renovation and get their feedbacks instead of researching too much from internet. by words of mouth is much better than reading messages posted online.