[ren–uh-veyt] /ˈrɛn əˌveɪt/
verb (used with object), renovated, renovating.
- to restore to good condition; make new or as if new again; repair.
- to reinvigorate; refresh; revive.
The word renovation or short for “reno” is largely used in local lingual for up fitting a place of stay or work before we start to utilise the space, be it new or subsale place, residential or office, for profit or own stay. To be precisely correct, renovation is supposed to be used only for existing units and extension works need to be done to refresh the place as compared to newly acquired place in Malaysia which usually comes bare. Be it as it is, we shall use renovation or reno for this article as most people in Malaysia used to the term reno as in everything to do with adding and beautifying the living place.
So what not to be done in planning, carry out a reno process or ending the reno work or simply things to avoid be it to save your last penny, create harmonies amongst the dwellers or just reno to practicality, increase return for your money spent or other factors?
We in PROPCAFE™ with some personal experience in renovation a place for own-stay and for profit here willing to share with you guys the top 75 points of DON’T in RENOVATION – sequel from our previous share of 120 Don’t’ When You Purchase A Residential Property.
As usual, there are always two main aspects of renovation, for own stay or for profit (rent or investment). We won’t touch on renovation of office, warehouse, retails and etc. as these are not within our knowledge level.
Disclaimer: Remember these might not be everyone’s gospel truth. Apply when applicable. Please note that some points are inter-changeable within the categories. Enjoy reading.
PROPCAFE™ is not qualified as an expert or guru when come to renovation. If you are seeking for real professional advice, perhaps you might want to seek advice from the expert like the reputable The Makeover Guys where they have tonnes of experience in renovation as well as interior design work (ID) for more than 1000 units all over Malaysia for investment and own stay purposes. There a lot of good interior designers and renovators out there, but there are not many who understand and good in renovation for investment purpose. For that you have to speak to the right guy – the one who is also an investor themselves.
Renovation/Up fitting for Own Stay Property
1. Don’t do a total “white” kitchen unless you get the approval from your domestic partner.
SUGGESTION: the arrangement of kitchen should be inputted by whoever uses the kitchen more often. If you have an eye for kitchen ID, do collaboration with your partner for functionality.
2. Don’t build swimming pool if you intend to sell your house in near future or not for long term stay. Swimming pool is one of those things that everyone likes to have one, but just not in his/her own backyard.
3. Don’t start to buy soft furniture if there no theme has been established. Your furniture also must go well with your wall colours as well.
SUGGESTION: resist of buying furniture in mega sales or big discount before the house even ready for key collection.
4. Don’t always think about white colour theme if you have small kids with you.
5. Don’t put too many hanging lamps or pendent lighting otherwise your unit will look like a light shop.
6. Don’t use 100% IKEA products otherwise your unit will look like IKEA showroom.
7. Don’t do other renovation work or moving in your furniture prior to lighting work commenced.
8. Don’t save your money on buying white goods that won’t last long e.g. fridge, dishwasher, washer, and hob.
9. Don’t put your praying altar in a tradition cabinet if you are thinking of new and modern theme home.
SUGGESTION: You can create a special area or ‘room/cubicle’ if you intend to keep the tradition and belief.
10. Don’t use fury carpet if you have a baby or toddle. This is where most gems will be hidden even when you clean it periodically.
11. Don’t always think HomeDec will save you money. Always do studies of prices before you go there.
12. Don’t bring your mum and dad to buy furniture for your home, unless they are in the trades or ID designers themselves.
13. Don’t always think that you are creative and have ID (Interior Design) sense despite all the reading of ID magazines and coffee table books. Practical experience wins over theoretical excellence.
14. Don’t hire interior designer if you don’t trust them or want to do strictly your ways.
SUGGESTION: Besides turning into your designing concept into reality, interior designer also arrange or co-ordinates your main contractor or other contractors to have your home interior done accordingly and timely.
15. Don’t put mirror surrounding your air conditioner and dining area. Mirror does give you illustration of expanding your room but the downside is that it reflects whatever images. Nobody likes to see their own image while having meals. Whereas mirror around your air-conditioner will create frost.
16. Don’t let the big gigantic water filter to spoil the beauty of your garden or car porch.
SUGGESTION: Get help from your landscaper to hide the filter or simply plant some scrubs to cover it.
17. Don’t create big balcony at upper floor(s). Most time or not, dwellers won’t utilise the space at all except put some pot plants there. Worse of all, it is a hassle to keep it clean.
18. Don’t even choose a unit with small balcony if it is facing external buildings or heavy traffic. You won’t even open the window!
19. Don’t buy deco magazine because these days all relevant and nice ID concept and pictures are available online. Beside, most magazines have more advertisement than ID pictures.
20. Don’t flip those overseas home magazines as most furniture, appliances and display items are either too expensive, not available locally or simply “made for display purposes” only.
SUGGESTION: it’s good to gauge your theme and concept but refrain from follow blindly. Compromise is the key.
21. Don’t save cost on items where it catches the female attention, mostly if not exclusively the decision to rent or buy is fall on the female’s decision. Guys just need to come up with money.
SUGGESTION: areas where catch female’s attention- well designed and functional kitchen, big enough wardrobe (where space allowed), clean and functional bathroom.
22. Don’t place dark colour furniture if your unit is not big, it will create a deceptive smaller room. Same effect with dark curtains or blinds.
23. Don’t do too much contrast on colours unless you have consulted your ID designer. Remember – fashion comes and goes, but styles stay.
24. Don’t even think of doing a “raw and industrial” concept without a qualified interior designer. It could be more expensive than you think. Raw and industrial look should stay in café, not your home.
25. Don’t put your oversized wedding photo above your bedhead or at home’s entrance or just about any place in the house. It always never jives with the ID theme and many feng shui masters claimed that it is not good for your relationship with your domestic partner.
SUGGESTION- the best place to put your personal memory treasures is actually in the family lounge area away from the common areas. You just need to keep a standard size of your most loved photos there.
26. Don’t buy teak furniture unless you have a big house.
SUGGESTION: teak coffee table is OK but keeps it to one piece.
27. Don’t overly decorate your unit with decorative items otherwise your unit will look like a gift shops.
SUGGESTION: try to mix and match 1D, 2D and 3D artworks to provide varieties and theme.
28. Don’t always think minimalism is better. If you still can hear the echo while in the unit, you are not renovated enough.
29. Don’t overdo your built-in furniture. It usually more expensive, beside nice loose furniture will make your home livelier and you can easily re-arrange them to give a fresh good look.
30. Don’t install different colour of curtain at each window panels unless you like to live in fun fair.
SUGGESTION: for best result, limit the curtain colours to 2. One for semi blockage and one for full blockage for the entire unit/house. Beside it keeps the flow of the unit, and not compartmentalised your unit into smaller space.
31. Don’t cover up the courtyard just to expand the under-roof build-up of your house. The sunlight and open-space will make your home more lively and open.
32. Don’t always extend your house’s build-up for the sake of extending. Space inside your house is not everything and it has no correlation to a happy home.
33. Don’t build a fish pond unless you ascertain your passion with fish and prepare to foot out the extra electricity bill.
34. Don’t put grills in your house if it is in a fully gated and guarded community. You are wasting your money on grilles and monthly maintenance fee.
SUGGESTION: If you are not ready to live in grill-free environment, then save your investment in GnG home and stay in a fenced and guarded community instead.
35. Don’t overly do your princess’s bedroom. Your princess will grow up in no time and will need to refresh the ID and décor items.
36. Don’t pay top money on latest and state of the art TV as it will be obsoleted in no time. Better save the big splash and aim to replace your TV every three years.
SUGGESTION: there is absolutely no harm in buying the previous model as the price usually drops significantly once the new model is out.
37. Don’t mix your ID ideas with your domestic partner. It will be surprisingly bad (read: not match-made in heaven) when put them together.
SUGGESTION: Seek external help or an ID designer like The Makeover Guys if both of you can’t compromise on common ground.
38. Don’t spend your entire budget on hard furnishing (non-moveable items) and leave nothing or little budget for soft furnishing.
SUGGESTION: There is no shame to recycle your old soft furniture temporarily or permanently if fund is an issue. There is absolutely not a must that your new home must be of show unit’s standard.
39. Don’t do water features in your garden as it belongs to 80s. Beside it is more hassle than you think to keep the water features clean and functional.
40. Don’t tile out your entire outdoor area, including garden strip next to drive way.
SUGGESTION: Leave some space for lawn and plants. It’s not only nicer as view, but it also reduces the temperature slightly for your home’s outdoor space and makes your abode less concrete-like.
41. Don’t buy expensive sofa if you have a cat or dog (or both) no matter how well trained your pets are.
42. Don’t over spend on your kitchen. Most of the time, this “over done” kitchen will end up as demo kitchen.
SUGGESTION: rules of thumb, kitchen renovation budget should not be exceeding 25% of your total budget for the entire unit.
43. Don’t cry when your toddle does his artwork on your wallpaper. If you have a small baby. Keep your wallpaper area in minimum, if it’s necessary.
SUGGESTION: wallpapers only work well in cooler climate or air-conditioned room generally.
44. Don’t put the big mirror on top or facing your bed unless your unit is meant for hourly rental business.
45. Don’t have to do 3-4 kitchens if you don’t usually cook or travel most time for work.
46. Don’t put blind at your main sliding doors. It is just not practical.
47. Don’t be overly concern on small defects which may take away your excitement and exhilaration in getting a new home.
48. Don’t over indulge yourself in pre-renovation process and put behind the real work to start the renovation.
49. Don’t rush in to start renovation immediately if you are moving into strata titled landed development because all external alteration and extension require approval from JMB/caretaker and most time or not, they might not be ready to provide you the right answer to your renovation intention.
50. Don’t be overly confidence or trusting your renovation contractors’ works. Just like any other paid jobs, you need to monitor and perhaps guide their works with occasional spot checks to make sure they didn’t cut any corner or carry out all jobs as per your instructions.
51. Don’t offend the security guards or the management team in your property community even though you are the owner of a million dollar property. You are on high risk of being sabotage or delay access to work done or others similar problems.
52. Don’t make enemy of your defect team and supervisor no matter how bad the conditions are. You will know the importance of befriend with them when you need emergency help.
SUGGESTION: one less enemy means one extra friend.
53. Don’t start drilling before you get the wiring and piping diagram layout. Otherwise you are on high risk of drilling into your own wallet, not to mention someone might get hurt in a way. These days most developers do provide you with water and electricity diagrams of your unit/house (some even provide with air-conditioner piping diagram) with your welcome package. Also its wiser to turn off main switch board and water main when carries out work such as drilling or nailing.
54. Don’t install ceiling fan or pre bought them before your unit even VPed (Vacant Possession). If your ceiling is way too low, especially after plaster ceiling, it will look out of place not to mention it may be dangerous to dwellers. These days new landed hardly have such issue of ceiling height but older landed, city condo and small units may still face these issues.
SUGGESTION: Opt for standing fan, table fan or floor fan where necessary. For small units, fully Air-conditioned is another option.
55. Don’t rush to install everything electrical and electronic when doing renovation. Know your power supply (1phase or 3phase) and the total loading of your electrical items.
56. Don’t install blinds or curtain until you ascertain your home facing. West facing unit probably required thicker curtain (blind is less desirable) or extra window treatment such as tinting might be required (get approval from your JMB [Joint Management Body] 1st).
SUGGESTION: It’s wise to be in your house/unit during the hottest hours of the day to ensure the effect of sunlight.
57. Don’t spoil the relationship with your new immediate neighbours before you start your renovation. Send an “inconvenience note” to pre-warn your neighbours of your impending renovation that might come with some nuisance and noise. This is more prevalence if your neighbour has new born infant.
58. Don’t be too rigid with your renovation budget. Although it is good to have a budget in mind, but in reality renovation budget always over-run. However do limit the over-run budget to not over 20% of your original budgetary. You can always live with less.
Renovation For Profit ( Rental / Investment )
59. Don’t resume all renovation works by yourself if you are not in the trade, lets other qualified ID designer or trade people do what is best of them. Don’t be pound foolish, penny wise. A well renovated unit can stands out and tenanted out months earlier.
SUGGESTION: as customer, you can always share your ID thoughts with your renovation team and must willing to compromise. Ultimately customer always right.
60. Don’t fully furnished (FF) the unit if fully furnished units are oversupply in the condo building or surrounding areas. Study the existing supplies of available units. Partial furnished could be more flexible and save your money too.
61. Don’t fully furnished all the 3 bedrooms (for 3 bed unit). Fully furnished 2 rooms and leave 1 room empty to have the flexibility of target different market segments. Some tenants want the 3rd room to be a study room, a baby room, a mahjong room or etc.
62. Don’t renovate your rental unit to what suit you or your taste. Put yourself in tenant’s shoe. It’s always what the TENANT Similarly, it’s what the market likes, not what you like.
SUGGESTION: You never go wrong with neutral and common theme. Less (ID design) is more or you seek advice from the expert ID or renovator who is an investor and knows what the market wants. The Makeover Guys is one of them.
63. Don’t wear owner’s hat when comes to investment property. Always wear an investor’s hat. Renovation for profit is a business, not a hobby.
64. Don’t start renovation work before you study the market and demand in your respective area.
SUGGESTION: You can study the existing properties as a guideline or talk frequently with seasoned agents to gauge the feedback.
65. Don’t repaint your house facade too stand out from your neighbourhood if it is for rent because not everyone likes to be the center of unwanted attention.
SUGGESTION: to avoid living next to an outstanding unit, try move to GnG (Gated and Guarded) or FnG (Fenced and Guarded) housing estate where there is control of facade alterations.
66. Don’t give in to tenant’s requests asking for an arm or leg, especially after they have viewed the unit and agreed on the rental.
67. Don’t buy new property meant for investment that doesn’t come with at least kitchen cabinets and/or some of the followings: Air conditioner, wardrobe, electrical appliances as these are the main cost items for renovation before rent out.
68. Don’t buy auction unit if you don’t have much working capital for major renovation. Auction unit renovation not comparable to new unit renovation. Auction units usually need repair plumbing, re-wiring and repaint, install or refresh kitchen cabinets and make built in wardrobes.
69. Don’t get too many quotations for your renovation, otherwise you will be confused and slowing your renovation process. Time is Money.
SUGGESTION: Build a good relationship with one or your regular trade persons for one dragon service (one stop service).
70. Don’t let your domestic partner know about your renovation and price for investment units, otherwise they will make comparison to the own stay home and making a big fuss to upgrade either to match or better what you have put into your investment unit.
71. Don’t get too involved in renovation of your investment units and spend unnecessary large amount of time sourcing for materials and items. One needs to strike a balance between productive and non-productive hours and be tech-wise. Otherwise your domestic partner may start to curious of your ‘unaccounted time’ outside the family hours.
SUGGESTION: Leverage the online and disruptors offering.
SUGGESTION: Always offer the opportunity for them (domestic partner) to join you whenever you are involved in the business of renovation where possible.
72. Don’t wait for the developer to finish the defect list. Start your renovation a.s.a.p. and get your contractors to fix the small defects if it is for investment. Otherwise you will have to wait for months before you can start to market your unit for real income.
73. Don’t ever think that your fully ID designed unit will be a hot cake in the rental market. It’s always wiser to study and understand the current market of your unit in a particular area and renovation for demand. ID designer is just ID designer. They might not be well-verse with your targeting market unless they are ID specialised in property investment market.
74. Don’t put your old furniture into a newly ready unit for rent. You could be caught with penny wise pound foolish situation.
SUGGESTION: Put them into other older unit if you want to save some bucks.
75. Don’t install dishwasher, clothes dryer and/or food disposal unit for your rental properties IF they are not 6 stars high end condominium; simply because most tenants won’t appreciate it and it won’t necessary improve your rental.
Of course there are more “Don’t” and the list can goes on and on. Please feel free to share your “Don’t” on the comment below 🙂 and once again this article is just a general guideline and NOT a “Must” follow thingy. Along the course there will be unpredictable series of events bound to happen; you might feel exhausted, frustration, excitement, disappointment, anxious, depression and probably also mixed feeling of confusion. All in all, just enjoy the process and the journey. The more you do it, the more you will get used to it 🙂 .
In our next write up, probably you want to hear what the expert says and we will share the renovation advice from the real expert with proven track record – The Makeover Guys , so stay tuned please!
Domestic partner – anyone you are romantically involved irrespective of marriage status and gender.
Trades – People that are involved in construction and repairs works such as electrician, plumber, bricklayer and etc. We commonly use the word ‘contractor’ in Malaysia.
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