Now the exciting part of the whole purchasing of HDB Flat has come..
After all the negotiation to get the best price for your resale flat, you think that is the end of your headache and sleepless night. However, the real headache is about to take place! Many would consider finding a Contractor / Interior Designer (ID) is even more challenging, including myself.
First of all, let me share with you the famous HDB Renovation Indemnity Form!
This Form is generally used by Buyers who wish to either start their renovation Before 2nd Appointment / Immediately after 2nd appointment (If you are hacking any walls etc). If you do not have this, you can only start renovation at least 1-2 weeks after your 2nd appointment. You would need to inform the Seller/Seller’s Agent that you require this form to be signed and explain your intention politely while crossing fingers that they are cool to sign it. Basically this form is to confirm that the Buyer will be responsible of everything since during the start of renovation, the rightful owner as per HDB records are still the Sellers. By explaining your intention and how this indemnity form protects the seller, chances are good that you’ll have this signed. Good luck!
Note: Generally if you are only hacking floor tiles & wall tiles, these approvals come almost immediately once your contractor/ID submit online.
Let me share our journey with you and hopefully it will be helpful to some
1. Choosing a Contractor / Interior Designer (ID)
It seems like more are going to contractors as many would already know what they want & it is slightly cheaper. Personally, we’ve chosen a contractor since we already know what we wanted and it has work out perfectly for us. I felt the main difference of hiring a Contractor / ID is about Design Ideas.
– A Good Contractor will listen to your ideas and points out to you what is feasible and what is not.
Bonus points: Good Contractor will offer you alternatives to your ideas that are not feasible.
– A Good ID will listen to your ideas and propose a design plan incorporating your ideas.
Some ID incorporates so little of your ideas that you will not even notice it’s what you wanted. This might work for you but it did not work for us as we wanted our design, period.
The biggest Myth of contracting a Contractor is that one will have to manage and chase a lot. However, that is not quite true. If you manage to find a Good Contractor, there is seriously nothing much you should be worrying. A Bad ID might be even worse than a Contractor. So bear that in mind when you’re searching for one. In addition, there can be great reviews about a specific individual ID/Contractor. However, you have to note that you will only get the same great service if you engage that individual. If you are engaging someone else within the same company, chances are you will not get the same service. There is no minimum or maximum number of companies one should visit. For myself, I have probably went to 15 of them? This is indeed the most tiring decision to make. Trying to compare them did not help much too as it is almost impossible to make comparison due to different Contractor / ID offers different things. My sincere advise is to go with the one with reasonable pricing (Not necessarily the cheapest), willingness to listen & prompt at responding. Your favourite website for the next few months will be Renotalk for sure!
Here are some of the Contractors / ID I have met and a brief review for your easy reference.
A) Koong Yee Renovation Works – Joe Ong (Contractor)
Review: Found them at an Expo show. Being the first Contractor I’ve met, it is a not as fruitful session as I would have thought. Reasonable pricing and is one of my shortlisted Contractor but let them go in the end as responsiveness is not as good.
Location:18,Tradehub 21 Boon Lay way, #04-144, 609966
Contact: 6899 0348 / 9455 4374 (Joe)
B) Absolook Interior Design – Ben (ID)
Review: Decided to go his Showroom at Ang Mo kio since there are pretty good reviews about him. First impression wasn’t very good as he was late for 30mins. This company is really good at offering promotions / freebies. However, when you look at the whole package price, it’s actually similar/more expensive than the other ID’s I’ve met. The so called “Freebies are actually being factored into Reno price”. Let him go as well as it’s more expensive and ID makes several mistakes on the revised quote.
Location: 7030 Ang Mo Kio Ave 5, #01-40 Northstar @ AMK, 569880
Contact:6366 3383 / 8666 3843 (Ben)
C) Design Profession – Andy (ID)
Review: Initially contacted Kelvin as there are many good reviews. However, was pushed to serve by Andy since Kelvin is too tied up. Went down to Toa Payoh to meet and discuss. By this time, I am totally farmilier with what to say or I can say, a little tired of meeting contractor/IDs. However, Andy did left a good impression to us. Always prompt on revising quote and attending to my queries via Whatsapp. He was shortlisted but gave him up as prices are one of the higher ones.
Location: 177 Toa Payoh Central, Singapore 310177
Contact:6356 5075 / 8102 0890 (Andy)
D) NID Design Studio – Vincent (ID)
Review: Good reviews from Renotalk. Prompt to meet up for discussion and super prompt to provide quote. To be exact, within a day. Quick response to my queries via Whatsapp and price is reasonable. Shortlisted him but gave up because I feel more comfortable with my choosen Contractor. I would highly recommend him to anyone looking for an ID!
Location: 9 Kaki Bukit Rd 1, 415938
Contact: 6844 2451 / 9018 7023 (Vincent)E) I.D. Note Design & Build – Henry (Contractor)
Review: The famous ID Note – Henry in Renotalk! Quick to meet up and was initially surprised as he’s actually a very busy man! 4 days to provide me with the quotation. Can feel he is a little pushy in terms of idea. He will push for the way he wants, making it difficult to communicate the things I wanted to do. Quotation was one of the cheaper ones. A little pushy with rebates tactic as well. Shortlisted but didn’t like his pushy attitude.
Location: 100, Jln Sultan, #04-27, Sultan Plaza, Singapore, 199001
Contact:6368 9321 / 9007 3683 (Henry)F) H2O Interior Renovation – Mr K (Contractor)
Review: Kevin Tee Aka. Mr K is also superb famous in Renotalk. With the given track records, I’ve decided to call him up and give it a go. He is rather quiet but listening to all my requirements. A little difficult as Mr K is more of a chinese speaking guy whereas my chinese is totally “Private limited” . Provided quotation within 3 days and price was surprisingly on the higher side. Due to the communication barrier, I’ve decided to give it a miss.
Location: Blk 1 Kaki Bukit Ave 6 #02-14 Autobay @ Kaki Bukit, 417883
Contact: 9022 2321 (Mr K)
G) Basic Image Interior Design – Mr Yeak (Contractor)
Review: This man is by far the most famous one in Renotalk. You can easily find reviews in renotalk about Mr Yeak. A little longer to meet him up due to his tight schedule but he still provided the quote in 3 days time. Quote was reasonable and though he listens to you without any questions, he got everything I wanted noted. I don’t know how he did it but that impresses me. Prompt at revising quotes when I needed it. Shortlisted but was more comfortable with my chosen contractor.
Location: 292 Yishun Street 22, Singapore 760292
Contact: 6752 0504 / 9238 9340 (Mr Yeak)H) 3D Innovation – Rachel (ID)
Review: Walked in the mini showroom beside Toa Payoh Hub and was greeted warmly by Rachel. She took down our requirements and gave us one of the best advices and highlighted issues that no other Contractor/ID highlighted. I was truly impress with her professionalism and was looking forward to award my reno project to her. Unfortunately, her quote was at the higher side and it was really sad to let her go. This is an ID whom I’ll sincerely recommend her if you could afford a little more.
Location: No.24 Sin Ming Lane, #01-91/92/93 ,Midview City , 573970
Contact: 6834 4333 / 9388 3884 (Rachel)
I)North West Interior Design – Sebastian (ID)
Review: Another company offering Freebies & promotion package. It is very surprising that the ID english was very limited. However, he tries his best and provided quote promptly. North West track records was not that impressive which in the end I have chosen not to go with them.
Location: 246 MacPherson Rd, 348578
Contact: 6744 5115 / 8266 1200 (Sebastian)
J) Impress 21 – Henry Goh (Contractor)
Review: Decent reviews found in Renotalk. Manage to make an appointment with him just one day after I contacted him. Overall experience was good. Gave good suggestions and alternatives. With him was Janice who is his assistant. Quote was provided promptly and it was one of the cheaper quote I’ve gotten. Henry was very open with negotiation and is definitely reasonable. So, as you may have guessed, he’s my chosen contractor!
Location: 1 Blk 108, Hougang Avenue, 530108
Contact: 6383 6066 / 9831 6066 (Henry)Impress 21 Website
Bonus tips! Expo Show’s Contractors / ID (In my perspective):
Walking around Expo, I realise they are mostly NEW or Huge companies. The new ones are hilarious as they did not know their things when I am querying them on my requirements. In particular case, I have been approached by a particular ID and I’ve never heard of this company during my research so I’v decided to just check them out. This ID wasted an hour of my life. Bullshit and full of crap. After ignoring my requirements and pushing their ideas, they went on to sell their design package! Pay first (I forgot how much, probably $1000) then get the design to see if you like it. I don’t know if any other company practices this but it is totally ridiculous to me. Manager was very unprofessional with all sorts of pushy techniques. I’m not gonna name which company is this but wish you great luck and run far far away from them if you met them. Going to Expo was totally useless in my opinion.
***Feel free to leave a comment below if you would like to know more about any of the contractor/ID that I’ve met. I will try to assist as much as I can***
2. Renovation Loan
This is one the most worrying issue of couples especially newly weds. I have included this topic into choosing of Contractor / ID as Renovation loan does affects your choice.Some of the Contractors & IDs we have met told me they have special interest rates as they have contacts with some banks. Some told me to find our own. Some told me that their bank contacts could loan for me a higher amount than others. All of these did not impress me till we met one of the IDs who recommended his contact, we were amazed.We engaged takeOne Loan Centre. Initially I was a little skeptical about going to a Loan Centre than a Bank. However, going to them was the best thing that has happen to me.
Let me share with you what was so attractive.
A) takeONE Loan Centre can get multiple loans from different Bank for your Renovation (Say goodbye to the maximum cap.)
B) They offers lower interest rates than going directly to the bank. Just this 2 points blows me away! I was having trouble finding a Bank that can loan me a certain amount. However, it is extremely difficult till I’ve found this loan centre. Apart from that, the person that served me was professional and provided me with a better repayment plan that I did not even thought off. That helps me from repaying for only 3 years instead of 5 years.
Contact: Mr Ong +65 9188 8882
takeOne Loan Centre