top of page
  • Writer's pictureDreamakers Interior

Planning Differences in Renovating BTO vs Resale Homes

When it comes to purchasing your first home, Singaporeans have some options to choose from. We have discussed the main differences when it comes to cost but the time has come to dig a little bit deeper. Renovating a BTO and a resale flat are not one and the same process. This is why you’ll need to engage in some careful planning before initiating the job. Also, you’ll have to find the right HDB renovation contractor to handle the specifics of the renovation.

Budgetary Considerations

There are significant differences pertaining to the amount you’ll have to spend on either HDB home types.

BTO Flats

A BTO flat will essentially give you an empty canvas. It’s up to you to decide how you’re going to decorate and furnish such an apartment. In some instances, you’ll also have the option of choosing certain add-ons like flooring of preference directly from HDB.

The budget for BTO interior design and renovation will depend on the size of the flat and the types of work you’d want to have done. We’ve previously discussed the cost of BTO renovation and the average for a four-room flat is 53,000 dollars. The price range is usually in the vicinities of 20,000 dollars for a small flat to 50,000 dollars for a much larger property.

Resale Flats

Resale flats, on the other hand, will have a couple of additional factors determining the cost of renovation. The condition of the flat and how it has been maintained up to that point will matter the most. Any unit that’s been around for a longer period of time will obviously need more extensive renovation.

Structural work and rewiring of older properties can be quite costly, reaching a total budget of about 20,000 to 30,000 dollars. With all additional work, the sum can expand to about 50,000 to 90,000 dollars.

Needless to say, there are ways to reduce the cost of renovation, no matter which type of unit you choose. Discussing the situation with your HDB renovation contractor will give you a detailed price quote, plus some of the best opportunities to save some cash.

Differences in BTO vs. Resale Flat Renovation

A new BTO flat is usually cheaper to buy (usually, there is a 20 to 30 per cent price difference). You will, however have to wait. Also, you’ll get a completely blank and stripped down version of the property. It will be up to you and the renovation team to elevate the interior and bring it close to the home that you’d want to live in.

Some essential steps to plan for when renovating a brand new BTO flat include:

  • What’s the interior design style and functionality you’re going for (based on your lifestyle preferences)

  • What materials do you prefer (natural, affordable, sustainable, etc.)? Keep in mind that the materials are one of the biggest contributors to the overall cost of the renovation

  • Do a thorough assessment of the flat’s current condition

  • Will you be hiring an interior designer or just a team of contractors for the job

  • HDB permit planning – what documentation will have to be handled and received for the property to get modified

  • Determine if more extensive re-construction and modification work will be taking place

  • Shop for materials, furniture, accessories, fixtures

  • Come up with a timeline for the completion of the project with your HDB renovation contractor

When going through a resale flat renovation, take note of:

  • Perform a thorough assessment of the flat’s current condition (with special focus on structural elements, plumbing, wiring and other expensive upgrades that may have to take place)

  • Create a list of all the upgrades you want

  • Review the HVAC system, ceilings, doors and windows

  • List must-haves that you definitely want but aren’t featured in the flat right now

  • Find the right contractor that’s experienced enough to upgrade a resale flat

  • Get a detailed quote and negotiate some of the steps/procedures/timelines

  • Evidently, the approaches are quite different. That’s because BTO and resale flats have their distinctive advantages and shortcomings. Renovation planning in both instances will aim to ramp up the first and completely eliminate the second.

Creating Your Dream Home

The one thing you have to understand clearly is that both a BTO and a resale flat can give you the home of your dreams. The perfect home is the one you have envisioned. Bringing that vision to reality depends on choosing a suitable unit and a knowledgeable renovation contractor who understands your idea.

Reach out to our Interior Designers at Dreamakers Interior today to assist you in creating your dream home. We understand the specifics of BTO renovations and we are an interior design company that is also a home renovation contractor, so we know the difficulties faced by Interior Design firms who are not. Don’t hesitate to contact us today and begin the journey towards crafting your perfect home.


At Dreamakers Interior we believe that every space has the potential to become unique, harmonial and beautiful. We are proud of what we do and are prepared to work overtime to guarantee that you are satisfied with the way your space looks. From full-scale projects to small renovations, we invite you to take a look at our gallery and see what we have done. Below are some of our favorite projects. If you need professional help for design conceptualization or space planning, let us know.

👉 Our portfolio: 👈

👉 Chat with our interior designers: 👈



bottom of page