The phrase ‘home sweet home’ often comes with an image of a calm, cosy and welcoming house. Of course, this is what every homeowner would strive for; a comfortable place to return to after a long day at work.
Not only visually-pleasing, a home should also be free of damages. This means that there will be times when we have to do some house renovation to fix any problems and maintain the freshness of our homes.
This, unfortunately, is not an easy process. It may involve high renovation costs and can be time-consuming. In this article, we will be sharing some pointers on how you can cut back on house renovation in Malaysia.
One who fails to plan, is planning to fail. In order to optimise the benefits that you derive from this upcoming home project, you will need to prepare your resources accordingly. Your target for the end product should be clear and realistic. The estimated overall cost should be affordable with your income or savings. Next, you should also be clear about what you expect to change after the renovation is completed. For instance, if you are planning to expand your kitchen, you should be specific with how much bigger exactly you want your new kitchen to be. This can prevent wastage and even regret after the renovation is completed.
If this is a family project, failing to plan your finances might even lead to feuds. Therefore, it is important to know your budget before executing the project in order to know how much needs to be set aside for the renovations without it disrupting your ability to afford basic necessities.
We are also aware that budgeting can be tricky because of unexpected increases in the prices of raw materials. It is good to prepare an extra 10 to 20% of the overall renovation cost for unexpected circumstances like this.
Alternatively, if you are in need of extra funds, Direct Lending is offering Co-opbank Pertama Housing Loan for those interested in funding home renovations with a loan or buying a new home with affordable rates.
1. List All of The Work That Needs to Be Done
List down all the work that needs to be done. Then, for each of those work, survey the costs involved, including material costs, contractor fees, etc.
2. Materials to Be Used
Renovation works require many different types of raw materials, and each of those also usually come with their own price and quality range. Discuss with your contractors and ask them the materials that suit best with your budget. If you have the capacity to do so, opt for higher quality materials that will last you longer. For instance, perhaps you can use a rust-proof powder coating for your windows to make them last longer.
3. Obtain a Price Quotation From Your Contractor
Once you have a complete renovation plan, it is wise to first ask for a price quotation from your contractor. This will help you coordinate your plans with your budget and have a clearer picture of your renovation plans. With a quotation, you can assess whether your budget matches the amount of work needed or otherwise.
Refurbishing your home does not mean replacing all of your old furnitures and decorations. Use your creativity in recycling old furnitures that are still in good condition. Sometimes, all it takes to have better looking furnitures is to replace their old fabrics or repaint them.
For example, a 5L pail of paint costs around RM60 – RM100 and you can use it to freshen up the look of an old wardrobe. This is as opposed to buying a brand new wardrobe that can cost you up to RM5,000. That is RM4,000+ saved, plus you can also reduce your impact to the environment!
This shows that recycling can save you lots of money. Environmental-friendly materials such as iron, wood, bricks and plywood can also be repurposed easily. You can build a brand new shelf using completely recycled plywood, for instance.
DIY or do-it-yourself is a good alternative to hiring contractors when you are on a tight budget. This also allows you to utilise your self-creativity in renovating your home.
If you have no time to properly decorate your home interior, perhaps you can start by painting the walls first. This is a more cost-saving way as you only need to spend on paint and equipments without having to hire a painter.
Having said that, of course you should hire experts for more complicated tasks, unless you yourself are equipped with the knowledge and skills. For intricate tasks like fixing roofs and tiles, demolishing walls, or wiring, you should leave them to the experts.
There are many smart ways to spend your cash on home renovations. If you have prepared a master budget for your renovation plans, try to look deeper into each allocation to see if you can really squeeze in more savings.
Of course, not everything is possible to be DIY-ed. If you need to buy new furnitures, you can first survey for available promotions in selected stores. Start by listing down what needs buying, and look for stores that sell them. It is good to survey a wide range of stores as you can compare prices and select the best bargain for your budget.
Besides low prices, you should also consider additional services when selecting furniture stores to buy from. Some stores may charge extra fees for installation and home delivery. Do not hesitate to ask before confirming your purchase if there are any promotions, service fees, and even hidden costs.
Besides searching for the best deals from individual furniture outlets, you can also grab some great offers when shopping directly from furniture suppliers or at home expos. Among the well-known home expos in Malaysia are BIG HOME Expo and Modern Living Home Expo. These exhibitions can offer up to 80% price markdowns, plus you can save time from being able to shop various home appliances all in one place!
There will also be many brands showcased, which is an opportunity for you to easily make product comparisons. In order to avoid extra delivery costs, our tip is to transport the purchased appliances yourself, if you have the appropriate vehicle to do so.
The downside of these expos is that they are seasonal. They might only be held near festive seasons like Chinese New Year, Hari Raya or Christmas, and last only for a week or sometimes a few days. You can follow the expo organisers mentioned above on social media to not miss any of their events.
Now that the new furnitures, glossy floors and ceilings are in place, it is now time to make smart choices on home electrical appliances too!
In 2006, TNB (Tenaga Nasional Berhad) had introduced a new labelling system for electrical appliances. These Energy Efficiency Labels are used to display each device’s energy usage estimation with a ranking of their energy efficiency. A one-star rating is the minimum, meaning least energy-efficient, while a five-star rating shows excellent energy efficiency.
These energy efficiency labels are commissioned by the Energy Commission to electrical appliance manufacturers that meet the standards and regulations that are put in place. These labels contain information including the annual electrical energy usage by each device, in kilowatt hours, based on recognised lab tests done by experts. This information is useful for consumers to choose their desired models and devices when making purchases.
Choosing an energy-efficient device can help you save on utility bills over the long run. You may need to pay more for 5-star rating models, but they will save your money in other areas.
Appliances with Energy Efficiency Label rankings:
If you want to know an example cost breakdown of an under RM30,000 home renovation project, watch this video.
This article is written by Direct Lending, a platform for bank & koperasi loans especially for civil servants. Our consultants will help you find the most suitable loan for your needs. Check your eligibility for free.
(This article was first published on the 16th of April 2018 and was updated on the 6th of September 2021).
Yik Seong is the founder of Direct Lending and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charterholder, with over 20 years of finance experience working in Malaysia, London, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Driven by his passion for finance, Yik Seong founded Direct Lending with a mission to provide safe and affordable financing to individuals with restricted access to credit channels. He enjoys long hikes during the weekend and never skips a morning coffee.