BTO versus Resale Flat: How Much Will Renovations Cost?

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Last updated 08 August, 2016

There are major differences in renovation costs between BTO flats and resale flats. Here's why.

There is a common misconception that renovating a resale flat and a built to order (BTO) flat costs almost the same. However, we beg to differ. Here’s why and what goes behind renovating a resale and a BTO apartment. Whether you're considering a personal loan or specifically seeking a renovation loan, the financial planning for each type of flat requires careful consideration and strategizing.

Renovating a BTO Flat

An empty floor plan that lets you design your home, BTOs usually comes unfurnished, and there are options for add-ons such as flooring. As such, you need to fill up the empty spaces from scratch.

A good budget to start with would be in the range of $20,000 to $50,000, depending on the area size, and how extensive the renovation works. Remember, the larger the area, the likely it will be more expensive. Also, flooring and carpentry tend to be more costly than other items in a renovation quote, so if you have a tight budget, your best bet is to minimise carpentry work, or go for the flooring options from HDB.

Renovating a Resale Flat

When it comes to a resale flat, the extent of renovation depends on the condition of the house. If the unit is relatively new or had undergone a renovation recently, then there isn’t a need to do a major overhaul, unless you decided to splurge to live in a home design that you truly like.

If the unit has been around for more than 20 years, there is a stronger need for modification due to wear and tear, and for hygiene purposes. As such, additional costing such as teardown, hack, and/or replacement works may be required.

Typically, these are the areas to consider for renovation in a resale flat:

    • Flooring (if the flat has been around for 20-30 years, it’s recommended to replace kitchen and bathroom floorings for hygiene purposes)
    • Structural work such as wet works and rewiring
    • A comfortable baseline would be, the structural works of flooring, rewiring and wet works could easily set you at $20,000 to $30,000.
    • The bigger the area size, the more expensive it will cost. Including major renovations, a comfortable budget to buffer would be $50,000 to $90,000.



Note: all costs stated here exclude furnishings and appliances

Budget Hacks

Always do your renovation research so that you understand what you are paying for in your renovation. If you need a price list on the various works behind a renovation, check out our price guide here.

    • Salvage what you can instead of discarding and replacing in a resale flat
    • Think of the style you’re going for. Styles like Scandinavian are more cost-efficient as they use mainly loose furniture – this means less money spent on carpentry. The industrial theme tends to have more customised works. For example, a sliding barn door would cost more than a typical sliding door.
    • Pick a style that you can live in for the next 5-10 years



While it’s good to adhere to your budget, there is no need to be obsessed with being too cost-efficient. After all, a home is your love nest so create a space you’d love to be in, at least in the next 5 years!

Pro-tip: in case you exceed your budget and your reno loan runs out, you can use a personal loan for home renovations to make up for it. 

Read This Next:

10 Money-Saving Home Decor Ideas in Singapore

How to Save Money for a Flat Before Your 35th Birthday


QanvastBy Qanvast

Qanvast is a trusted mobile platform that connects homeowners and home professionals. Discover over 20,000+ home inspiration ideas along with renovation costs and reviews. Simplify your renovation journey by downloading the free Qanvast app (available on the App Store and Google Play).



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