8 Important Home Reno Questions To Ask Your ID Before Designing Your BTO Flat

Home renovation questions to ask your ID

Chances are, you’ve had your Pinterest account filled with design inspo ever since you received news that your BTO application has been successful. And now, with just weeks away from key collection, you’re starting to look at interior designers (IDs) who can help turn your moodboard into a home reno reality.

But there are a few things you’ll need to check out before the actual design work even begins. You probably already know to look at their portfolio and reviews to see if they’re worth considering, but we’re guessing that’s all you’re going to ask. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are 8 other important questions to ask your ID before you design your BTO:

1. What is your personal design style?

When meeting with an ID for the first time, it’s standard practice to ask to see their portfolio. But these are likely carefully curated to show off the ID’s best works that could span a number of design themes. That’s why we recommend asking for their personal design style instead. 

Image credit: Starry Homestead

It’s very much like booking a tattoo artist – even the most adept would have styles they specialise in. In the same vein, someone who loves the wabi-sabi movement would know the nuances that separate it from similar concepts like Japandi and minimalist styles. You’re bound to get designs that match your aesthetic this way.

2. What charges are covered under your quotation?

We’ll leave it to you to set a budget between you and your ID. But when you do so, make sure you’re both on the same page as to what the budget will be used for. For further clarity, you’ll want to ask your ID what their quotation covers.

Some IDs, for example, charge extra for 3D renderings of your design, which help you to visualise what your home will look like when it’s fully renovated. Others also charge extra fees for designing larger homes, every round of design editing, sourcing contractors, and interest on late payments. 

Prices of materials and labour may also vary because of inflation or a change in suppliers. You might want to clarify with your ID how much more above the quoted price you would be expected to pay once the project is completed. 

3. Does your contract include a warranty & what does it cover?

An immediate red flag when booking an ID is not having a warranty on their services in their contracts. In most cases, your ID would do a final inspection with you when the renovation is over to rectify any noticeable defects.

Touch-ups are usually necessary once all the carpentry is done – check to see if this is covered under your warranty.
Image credit: Starry Homestead

However, you’ll also want to check if their warranty covers poor workmanship that may only be realised after you’ve lived at your place for a while. Some IDs will chalk certain flaws as natural wear and tear, which aren’t usually covered by warranties.

Therefore, you’ll want to do your due diligence in asking for a warranty period from the date of completion and the kind of defects the warranty covers.

4. Does my home layout work with my ideal concept?

The last thing you want is an ID that readily agrees to all your whims and fancies. Someone that says “yes” to everything is likely to overpromise and underdeliver, leaving you with a home you won’t be entirely satisfied with.

Instead, having an ID be upfront about design challenges shows that they have a trained eye to look at shortcomings with certain HDB layouts. If your ID is experienced, they should also be able to suggest workarounds that’ll ensure your home fits the overall theme you want.

Ask your ID if your design layout can be retrofitted for the next stages of your life.

This is a good time to raise any needs to future proof your home too. The current design might be suitable for just you and boo, but not if a baby, pet, or even your elderly parents move in. Check in with your ID if your design concept can accommodate such changes without having to completely overhaul your home.

5. Will you be able to source fittings for my home?

Some IDs are purely just designers, who only provide a vision as to what your ideal home could look like. The expectation then falls on you to source for your own tiles, toilets, and even materials for carpentry. This works out for those who prefer scoring their own deals with vendors, but it can be time consuming and even costly.

Image credit: Starry Homestead

But some IDs are able to source fittings for their customers as well. They usually have partnerships with vendors they regularly work with. That means they’ll be able to help you secure supplier discounts to help you save a pretty penny.

Of course, you don’t have to commit to using your ID’s vendors just because you asked. As the customer, you have the right to look around to get the best prices for yourself.

6. What kind of furniture do you recommend for this home design?

An ID might be able to come up with an overall concept for your home, but it takes one with a keen eye for design to help pick out furniture for you. Have your ID suggest items like sofa sets, coffee tables, and wardrobes to see if they truly understand the look you’re after for your home.

Image credit: Starry Homestead

It’s not just pieces that look like they would fit into a theme that your ID should be recommending. An ID worth their salt should also be able to advise on specific sizes that best fit the layout of your home. Apart from giving suggestions, some IDs would also be able to source the exact pieces needed to transform your house into a home. 

7. What’s a realistic timeline for my project?

As a rule of thumb, renovations have to be completed within 3 months from the date of the HDB-approved permit. But the renovation process starts way before that. Your ID needs time to come up with and confirm the design, as well as secure the contractors, materials, and furniture needed.

Realistic timelines prevent delays in moving into your home.
Image credit: Starry Homestead

Typically, the whole process should take about 6 months from when you engage your ID to your move in date. With that in mind, your ID should have a project timeline that lists out various milestones, such as the completion of electrical wiring and carpentry. This way, you can plan ahead if you need to shop for fixtures or even book a moving company when it’s time to move in.

8. What kind of clients do you enjoy working with the most?

Think of this question as a way to do a vibe check on your potential ID. We’re often told that the customer is always right, but the last thing you want is a sour relationship with your ID. This at least helps to determine whether you and your ID will be a good match in terms of working styles.

For example, some IDs like updating their clients on every single detail, while others prefer to do weekly updates. Then there are IDs who know how to fill in the gaps with clients who aren’t sure of what they want in a design. But some IDs would rather have clients who know the exact details of their dream home.

You know yourself best, so understanding how your ID works will ensure a smoother relationship between the 2 of you.

Meet with Starry Homestead interior designers for 1 day only

Now that you have your questions prepped, you’re ready to meet with interior designers to plan your future BTO home. You don’t even need to hop from firm to firm to find one; you can network with Starry Homestead’s team of IDs at Star On! 2023.

It’s an interior design and renovation fair for BTO homeowners by Starry Homestead that will be taking place for 1 day only.

Image credit: Starry Homestead

Not only will you be able to meet with a bunch of IDs, the fair is also a good opportunity to score discounts on your renovations. There will also be 10% instant savings on all BTO packages for new homeowners who are about to collect their keys soon, as well as an absorption of the 1% GST increase taking place in 2024.

You’ll even be able to snag deals with Starry Homestead’s partners for essentials for your home. Some that are up for grabs are 10% off water dispensers from Wells, 15% off digital door and gate locks from An Digital Lock, and $999 bundle deals on kitchen hoods and hobs from Hafele.

LoanCompare SG will also be present to offer attractive bank loan rates from as low as 2.5% per annum for renovation expenditures.

Plus, those who sign up for a BTO renovation package at the fair are immediately entered into a sure-win lucky draw where you’ll at least walk away with a cooker pot. However, 18 winners will get an air fryer, 8 will receive a 55-inch smart TV, and 1 will win the grand prize of $8,888.

If you’re a first-time homeowner looking for an ID to build the home of your dreams, then plan to visit Star On! 2023 on 3rd December 2023. It’s free to do so, but places are limited. To ensure you get your meetings with Starry Homestead’s IDs, RSVP via the link below.

Find your interior designer at Star On! 2023

This post was brought to you by Starry Homestead.
Castlery is the official furniture partner for Star On! 2023.

Event Information
Star On! 2023
1 Raffles Boulevard,
Room 321-322,
Summit 1,
Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre,
Singapore 039593
03 Dec 2023
2:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Things to note:

Admission: Free
Register from 1pm onwards

Raewyn Koh

Old millennial.

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