Renovation Shopping Hacks: Based On Real Community Reviews
Getting your keys are but the first step to your new home. Following that, there are months of renovation, planning, furniture-sourcing and so on. Our wise community has spoken, showering us with a couple of golden hacks you need to use when shopping for furniture items. If this sounds like you, read on:
Home Furniture At Affordable Prices
When this was first posted on our Facebook Group, many raved about buying furniture from Taobao and we sure know why — it is value for money. Our community recommended buying home lighting, ceiling fans, stainless steel toilet accessories, bedsheets and so on from Taobao and EZbuy.
However, buying furniture online and from overseas means that you would have to IKEA-style DIY your furniture when it arrives, or alternatively buy a container to ship your ready-built furniture over.
Some of our members also recommended paying for the shortest period of EZBuy prime in order to benefit from the $2.99 flat rate international shipping, and buy everything you need before the subscription expires.
Here’s what our Seedly community member who recommended Taobao said:
“I paid $420 in total for all the lights. 5 pendant lights, 4 ceiling lights, and the rest are track lights. HDB 3 room flat.” – Belinda
For those afraid to buy your big-ticket items on Taobao or EZbuy out of the fear of dubious quality, you could buy your wallpaper, stainless steel toilet accessories, placemats, table decor and so on from Taobao!
One of our community members said:
“I bought Hansgrohe products from the US saving 30% as compared to sg including shipping, and dining table set and accessories from Taobao.” – Yirun
However, do be careful when you check the details of your purchases. Prices may indeed be lower on Taobao and EZbuy but do be wary of scams!
“I am buying most of my furniture & lightings from Taobao using EZbuy prime via their wishlist (TV console n dining table/chairs) and the all the remaining items direct forwarders via sea shipment. Not using so much of EZbuy prime as their exchange rate can be quite bad, sometimes you can’t see which seller they buying from and some may have lousy ratings.” – Siew Fen
2. Carousell and Secondhand Furniture
Similarly, for a lower price point, you could browse Carousell for secondhand and even first-hand furniture. Purchasing second-hand items may be more worth the money for items that you do not necessarily need new.
Items that do not involve cushions that require dry cleaning can be more safely bought second-hand. Do also do your due diligence before purchasing!
“I bought some second-hand IKEA chairs from Carousell that came quite cheaply. Doesn’t matter if it’s used since plastic and wooden chairs can just be cleaned. Wouldn’t recommend mattresses and sofas, feels quite unhygienic.” – Justin
“FortyTwo, Hipvan, 2ndhand furniture, tell your friend what you need and get them to buy you for the housewarming.” – Jack
FortyTwo boasts competitive prices for their furniture with a 100-day free return policy. This e-furniture site in Singapore has over 10,000 items across furniture and accessories including sofa sets, bed frames, mattresses, and rugs.
5. Johor Bahru
Purchasing furniture from across the border is said to be an average of 30% cheaper than in Singapore. Popular ones include Maestro, Yako Lighting Centre, Boo Furniture and so on. However, do make sure that they are alright with doing a delivery to Singapore if you require delivery services.
“For ceiling fans and beds, I got them from JB. Do note the fans have no safety marks.” – Siew Fen
Other Useful Renovation Hacks
Hindsight is a beautiful thing. Before you jump into renovating your entire house, here’s some advice our community members gave that may help you.
1. Don’t “Over-furnish”
“I personally think most houses are “over furnished” to look like a standard house instead of serving the function of the household. E.g. you don’t need a tv if you’re mostly watching videos on your phone. Some cheaper furniture like IKEA tables and shelves etc stains and collect watermark very easily. Frequently used items should be of higher quality, the cost will add up if you have to replace an item and got to spend the time to source etc, not worth it.” – Fiona
2. Self-Source Individual Contractors
“Well if you are on a budget, u don’t have to hire a Main contractor to overlook your reno, u can self source for individual contractors and manage the entire renovation on your own. It’s really tough work and it’s time consuming if you would like to save a couple of thousands” – Brandan
“I am in the midst of reno using a contractor. Electrical and aircon I am using separate vendors. Quite a bit of frustration as I m not familiar with reno stuff and my contractor is not that willing to monitor / advise me on electrical/aircon matters, let alone coordinate for me. The color matching is another headache. Therefore I sort of regretted not using ID.” – Siew Fen
3. Remember To Child-Proof Your Furniture
“Think ahead for children and children’s room. Don’t make fixed/mounted woodwork except in the Master Bedroom. It’ll be easier to reconfigure in the future. Many design brochures showcase families without kids and have lots of space reconfigured to study room. It will cost a second Reno to convert that back to a kids room.” – Benjamin
4. Think For Your Personal Use
“Try out the furniture pieces before you buy and do consider how they will be used: is your sofa for hosting or for Long hours of watching tv? If it’s the latter you might want high back and reclining features so it’s more comfortable.
For lightning choose what’s comfortable. Most people prefer yellow light to chill out, but Singaporeans have this weird preference for white light everywhere. Do some research on how much wattage u need at each location, my corridor is too bright and bedroom too dim. Consider the merits and costs of ceiling fans vs stand fans vs no fans.” – Jayesh
“Firstly you’ll have to ask yourself if it’s really needed for 4 cookers? I went for 4 because I know I will be staying at my current place for quite a while (precisely the reason why I bought it because it’s near my parents) and I love cooking.” – Kyle
P.S. Don’t worry about not furnishing your house with home accessories such as floor mats and so on, your friends may just get them for you for your housewarming!
Financing Your Purchases
1. Take A Renovation Loan
Existing renovation loans Here’s our Renovation Loans Comparison.
|Loan||Effective Interest Rates|
(Existing Home Loan Customer)
|Effective Interest Rates|
|Max. Loan Amount|
|DBS/POSB Renovation Loan||4.38% p.a.||4.88% p.a.||$30,000|
|CIMB Renovation Loan||4.85% p.a.||4.85% p.a.||$30,000|
|Maybank Renovation Loan||2.88% p.a.||4.33% p.a.||$30,000|
|OCBC Renovation Loan||5.39% p.a.||6.08% p.a.||$30,000|
|RHB Renovation Loan||-||6.02% p.a. Flat Rate (Loan amount $15-$30k)|
7.27% p.a. Flat Rate (Loan amount below $15k)
6.16% (Monthly Rest Package)
2. Pay With Credit Cards: Earn Cashback and Miles
Also, pay with your credit cards and get as much cashback and miles off it as possible. Reap those benefits!
Based on credit card reviews from real users, the DBS Woman’s Card and CITI Rewards Card seems to meet people’s needs the most. Choosing cashback or miles will greatly depend on whether you can hit the minimum expenditure on your cards and if you frequently travel.