Image: 123rf/dolgachov

A renovation is an exciting yet nerve-wracking experience for some, especially first-time homeowners who are tight on budget. Hidden costs can burst your budget so fast you don’t even know what hit you.

A case in point is the couple who saw their original budget of $60,000 swiftly rise to $95,000 for a 4-room minimalist home in Mediacorp reality series Designer In The House. This got the internet up in arms over the shocking price tag, condemning the interior designer firm involved for exploiting the situation.

Whether or not the couple got bamboozled (the internet later uncovered that the husband is an employee of the firm, so maybe not), it is very common for renovation budgets to exceed by 20% or more. Why? It’s partly because of seemingly small things that we tend to overlook that may creep up on us.

Don’t forget these essential things that may lead you to exceed your renovation budget!

1. Electrical works

Like clothes, power points never seem to be enough. If you are anything like me, you’d want power points at every corner of the house so I can charge my phone and laptop anywhere. But every power point costs extra as the electrician has to pull and rewire the cables to each location.

According to Qanvast, “In general, electric works, including supplying and installing parts like your data, telephone, SCV (TV) cables, lighting and fan points will take up a couple of thousand dollars in a renovation.”

Plan properly so you don’t have to pay extra for points you don’t end up using.

2. Kitchen hinges and runners

Most carpenters will use their own brandless hinges and runners for your kitchen carpentry but they may first ask you whether you would like to upgrade to brands like Blum. For my case, I had to top up $100 for each set of runners. If you have a lot of storage, the amount can quickly add up.

However, don’t compromise on quality as we eventually changed our only two brandless drawer runners to Blum due to the significant difference in quality.

If we could do it all over again, we would go down to Blum to have our kitchen customised with their products for aesthetic and also quality reasons.

3. Tiles upgrade

When your interior designer (ID) or contractor gives you a quotation, they would put down a price range of the tiles you can choose from. When you go down to the showroom, you might quickly realise that most of the tiles you love, whether it’s due to the design or country of origin, don’t fall within that price range.

If you are unable to “unsee” and resist the nicer tiles you like, you will have to top up and it can be quite a significant difference, especially if your floor area is big.

Before you commit to anything, go down to the showroom to have a look at prices of the tiles you prefer. Ask your ID or contractor to factor those costs in when they provide you with a quotation so that you can ensure that your budget account for that. That way, you can see where else you can move your budget from to pay for the tiles.


4. Lighting fixt