5 Renovation Tips To Maximise The Value of Your First Home

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Last updated 07 February, 2019

When it comes to renovating your first home, it can be easy to get carried away. If you’re planning to sell your property any time down the road, here are 5 tips to help maximise resale value without compromising too much on aesthetic goals.

You probably can picture exactly how your dream home looks like. Some people like plenty of built-in cabinets that allow them to achieve the minimalist aesthetic. Others might favour big, bold looks with lots of colour.

But beware: If you overdo it, you just might be hurting your home’s resale value. Even common renovation tips, if followed, could make it difficult for you to sell your property.

Don’t want to scare off potential buyers? Avoid renovation works that could potentially wreck your property’s resale value. Here are 5 common ones to steer clear from if you want to sell your home above valuation!

(Pro tip: If you need funds for renovations, consider exploring options like a personal loan or a renovation loan, which can provide the financial support you need while preserving your property's value.)

Tip #1: Avoid installing a false ceiling

Most homeowners turn to false ceilings because they want to run light fixtures without unsightly wiring covers. The effect looks like you’re living in a posh hotel suite, where every ceiling light is a recessed downlight.

One disadvantage that false ceilings bring, though, is that they reduce the height of your room by as much as 15cm. If you’re working with a standard HDB ceiling height of 2.6 metres, and you install a 15cm false ceiling, taller folks might even be able to touch the ceiling on tiptoes.

If that doesn’t sound claustrophobic, consider the implications; you won’t be allowed to install a ceiling fan off a false ceiling in a HDB flat as it’d be too close to the ground (there is a minimum clearance requirement of 2.4m from the lowest part of the fan to the ground).

Do this instead: if you don’t have the luxury of high ceilings and downlights are a must in your book, refrain from making the entire ceiling a false ceiling; confine the false ceiling to the edges of the room and leave most of your ceiling in its original height. Most homeowners go for the downlight-cove light combo, which could help make your ceiling feel higher than it is. In smaller rooms, consider going without dropped ceilings altogether and opt for track lights instead.

5 Home Renovation Tips to Maximise Property Value | SingSaver

A downlight and cove light combo with false ceilings only on the edges of the living room.



Tip #2: Try not to hack walls

Apartments units are getting smaller, tempting owners to knock down walls to combine rooms for a more spacious feel.

However, your potential buyer might not like the fact that you sacrificed a bedroom for a bigger living room, or turned a separate space into a walk-in closet. Rather, we observed that many buyers would rather have a unit in its original condition; it’s not that they do not like your decor, they just like to think that they would’ve done things differently from you.

We’ve also observed that, in many cases, the buyer will bid lower for apartments with hacked walls that reduce the total number of bedrooms in the unit. We put this down to the fact that, with fewer bedrooms, the buyers perceive less utility, and lower rental yield if they were to rent out the whole unit. In fact, buyers have far less objections about hacking a kitchen wall over a bedroom wall.

Do this instead: Keep your hacking to a minimum or, if you must hack, create flexible spaces that can be enclosed with sliding or folding doors. If a buyer expresses interest in your property but has reservations about the modified space, you may consider offering to restore the space to its original condition (i.e. by getting a contractor to rebuild the hacked walls).

Check out these homes in their “original condition” on 99.co.

5 Home Renovation Tips to Maximise Property Value | SingSaver

Not every buyer will appreciate that you turned a 4-bedder into a bachelor pad.



Tip #3: Refrain from too much built-in furniture

The conventional wisdom is that built-in furniture maximises storage space, especially if you have troublesome corners in your apartment that conventional, standalone furniture wouldn’t fit. Built-in furniture also helps to eliminate the gap between your furniture and wall that’s created by your tile/floor skirting. So, built-in furniture is a no-brainer, right?

Not quite, as it turns out. When you have loose, standalone pieces of furniture, it’s easy for you (or the potential buyer) to replace as and when you like. On the other hand, built-in furniture is more difficult and expensive to dispose of and replace, often requiring a contractor with a sledgehammer.

Because of this, built-in furniture is understood as included as part of the cost of the entire property, something buyers aren’t keen on if they judge your built-in furniture to be ill-conceived, excessive, or just not their cup of tea.

Do this instead: Keep built-in furniture to a minimum. Other than your bedroom wardrobe and kitchen cabinets, refrain from going full-on built-in when you’ve just moved into your new unit. Implement additional built-in furniture progressively on a “need-to” basis as you get a feel of the space and can make more accurate decisions about how much storage you need.

5 Home Renovation Tips to Maximise Property Value | SingSaver

Having a platform bed with storage might just be too much built-in for homebuyers.



Tip #4: Don’t go overboard with colours

Bright reds, yellow, oranges, pinks — these hues might look better in a colouring book than on your living room wall. Your friends might compliment you on your bold, statement-making choices (because they’re your friends), but if you choose to splash your walls with vibrant colours, potential buyers might skip over your property’s listing, going by our observation on user behaviour and enquiries made on our portal.

After all, there is a reason why you always see condo show suites in agreeable shades of white, beige, cream etc instead of garish, right-in-your-face colour schemes. Not only are neutral or pastel colour schemes more broadly accepted, but they also won’t detract potential buyers from the plus points of your home. This also enables them to better picture and plan the unit’s spaces in their heads, and visualise it as their own home.

Do this instead: Believe us when we say an unblocked sea view doesn’t matter when your toilet walls are blood red. If you are a proud owner of a bold-hued apartment, consider repainting your walls in a neutral shade or with pastel colours if you want to sell, and sell at a good price. If you really want bold colours, have them in the form of moveable, standalone (i.e. not built-in) furniture such as sofas, or accessories such as vases and paintings.

5 Home Renovation Tips to Maximise Property Value | SingSaver

Say what you will, but very few buyers will agree with this colour scheme.



Tip #5: Forget about the cement screed flooring

From conversations with contractors and interior designers, vinyl and tiles are easy to maintain. Cement screed? Not so much. (But they still get recommend because it nets them a bigger profit margin than tiles would.)

We’ll let you in on a little secret: cement screed flooring is notorious for uneven surfaces, running tones and weird patches, and the picture-perfect cement screed floors that you see in magazines are typically done over a few times (and perhaps even photoshopped to look better than it actually is). In other words, cement screed floors being “easy-to-maintain” is a myth at best, and a lie at worst.

Not only that, it’s also common for chips and cracks to appear on cement screed floors, sometimes in less than a year. This is because of heat expansion and the fact that cement screed floor has no grout spacing — unlike tiles — to allow for natural expansion and contraction. Moreover, the treated cement surface tends to wear off with time, which requires expensive resurfacing. Tiles and vinyl flooring doesn’t empty your wallet periodically like this.

Do this instead: Opt for concrete-inspired laminate flooring or homogeneous tiles – these look like cement screed, but they’re a lot easier to maintain.

5 Home Renovation Tips to Maximise Property Value | SingSaver

Concrete-look tiles help you achieve the look with far fewer headaches than cement screed.



Here’s another renovation tip you should follow: Never do anything that goes against regulation (e.g. HDB rules). This includes drilling holes in your bomb shelter, removing your bomb shelter door, and anything else that you aren’t supposed to do.

This article was originally published on 99.co.

Compare and apply for renovation loans on SingSaver

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Buying your first home? Apply for a HSBC Home Loan through SingSaver and enjoy SIBOR rate at 0.50% p.a. or 2 Year Fixed Rate from 2.80% p.a!

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Read these next:

When To Use a Personal Loan for Home Renovations

Follow These 5 Tips to Save Money on New Furniture in Singapore

4 Times In Life You Should Consider Getting a Personal Loan

HDB Resale Market: 4 Key Predictions for 2019

Singapore Home Loans: What does the Bank Jargon Mean?

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