How to Avoid a Renovation Nightmare: Advice from Homeowners and Experts
Another red flag was that the company didn’t feature photos of his actual work on his page and only displayed 3D drawings, he said.
Besides checking online forums, you can even ask the renovation company to connect you with current customers to learn more about the process, said Mr. Choo Chee Kwang, founder of the renovation company Azcendant.
“If possible, if the interior designer (ID) is that good, ask, ‘Can I go to the place that’s being renovated, find out how things are done?'”
3. Get three to five quotes
Experts recommended getting three to five quotes to get a ballpark figure for the cost of the job.
RCMA Deputy Secretary Michael Ong also suggested getting quotes from different types of businesses, such as a large business, a small business, and even a two-person business.
Azcendant’s Mr Choo added: “If you meet someone who says anything (you want) can be done, and it’s always the lowest cost, confirm that something is wrong.”
You should also try to familiarize yourself with the prices of certain things, such as tiles, to find out if the markup you are being charged is excessive, said home owner Mr Syafiq.
“Do a lot of research to find out more about the process. Or even doing it yourself would be better because experience is a good learning point.
4. The cheapest is not always the best
Along the same lines, you shouldn’t go with a company just because they have the cheapest quote.
That’s because quotes will differ depending on each company’s approach to including or excluding certain things, said Design4Space founder Richard Yea.
“If the price difference is so big, there must be something wrong.”
RCMA’s Mr Ong added, “It’s also quite possible that they’ll use cheap material and then ask you to make an add-on.”
He also said: ‘I dare say there is no free lunch. Anything that is a freebie has also been rolled into the cost of the package.
For example, if supplying a kitchen cabinet costs S$4,000, some companies may offer an air conditioning unit for free – but then sell the package for S$6,000.
5. Never pay the full amount up front
Avoid paying large sums upfront and instead request that installments be tied to deliverables.
For deposits, you should also try to negotiate to keep them as low as possible, CASE said.
RCMA’s Mr Ong said, “When you want to hire a service, you pay a small deposit of 10%.
“You see someone go down to work, you pay the next 10-20%, you see more work, then the next installment comes. That’s how it is even if the business closes, (consumers) don’t take too much a lot of loss.
6. Make sure everything is black and white
Protect yourself by making black-and-white deals.
“When commercial designers start talking to customers, they will definitely say nice things to entice customers to join, give lots of freebies, do this, do that, although it’s not written in the contract.
“When labor starts, all verbal agreements are thrown out the window,” Mr Ong said, adding that these would not hold up in court.
A written contract will protect your interests, CASE said, encouraging consumers to use its model home improvement agreement. The contract should reflect clear itemized billing and a list of products and services.
Homeowners must also document any outstanding renovation defects by taking photos and ensure that these defects are fully corrected before making full payment.
“Photos can also be used as supporting evidence in case of disputes.”
Landlords should also be clear about termination clauses.
7. Start researching early, be decisive and upfront about your needs
With deadlines dragging on due to a labor shortage, Design4Space’s Mr Yea said homeowners shouldn’t leave the renovation to the last minute.
“My recommendation is to start looking for ID four months before you collect your keys.”
It’s also good to be decisive about what you want, as this will avoid delays.
During a meeting with a designer, Mr Choo of Azcendant advised consumers to find images of themes they like, which will help the designer visualize what they want.
It will also help them provide a more realistic quote and better avoid future instances where costs need to be revised due to additional items.
Homeowners also need to be clear about what they expect to do, how it needs to be done, and whether their budget will be enough for it.
Finding a good home improvement contractor also comes down to whether you have “chemistry” with them — and whether you feel you can trust them, experts said.
“When the client talks to the designer, you can more or less feel whether that designer is genuine or not. You meet a man who is absolutely yes, I don’t think it’s good to go,” Mr. Choo said. .