Five common renovation myths

8 Nov 2015

Should you avoid interior designers who charge a design fee? Do beautifully renovated homes really have higher property value? What are facts or just common misconceptions? We examine 5  common renovation myths to determine how much truth each one has.


1. Interior designer deals = Good bargains

Renovation myth debunked

Myth: Purchasing furniture and appliances from your interior designer or contractor recommended merchants save you money.

True or false: It depends. Mega retail stores (e.g. Harvey Norman, Best Denki, etc) buy in discounted bulk from distributors and mark up the prices for retail. The same also goes for most interior designers and contractors, who sometimes receive a commission from the merchants for every successful referral. This value-added service provided by the interior designer covers the hassle of travelling back to the merchant store if the items have defects. What we can confirm is it certainly saves you time from shopping at various places.

What should you do: Always compare what the interior designer has quoted you with market rates. Of course, there’ll be places offering you cheaper prices. However, it comes with being diligent in doing your research beforehand, which is time consuming.


2. Interior designers who charge a design fee are expensive

Renovation myth 2 debunked

Myth: Avoid interior designers who charge a “design fee”, as this is an excuse for them to earn more. You’ll save money working with interior designers who do not charge any design fees.

True or false: False。 This is a misconception that should be tossed out of the rumour mill. Interior designers who claim to not charge any design fees may distribute the cost into other components (disclaimer: this is subject to the individual company’s practices), which means that you end up paying what you would to a designer who’s transparent with the design fees. The design fee covers the time taken to understand your requirements, which will be translated into rough floorplan sketches or 3D visualisations. It also involves project management work such as coordination with the relevant parties, onsite visits, project supervision, etc.

What should you do: Set a renovation budget and shortlist 2 to 5 interior designers that you’re interested to work with. Research their average renovation costs to get a good idea of how much you may need to spend. If you don’t already know, this information is readily available on the Qanvast app. Meet up and compare the cost estimates provided by each of them, and go with the one who’s willing to work within your budget and best understands your requirements..


3. Trust is all you need

Renovation myth 3 debunked

Myth: Trust is the most important part of the working relationship. It will ensure a smooth-sailing renovation journey with minimal hiccups.

True or False: That’s a largely simplistic declaration, but holds a grain of truth. Effort will be required by both parties. The amount of trust that you invest in your interior designer will determine the direction of the working relationship. The ability to trust your interior designer, who needs to work hard to earn it, will help to foster a relationship of open communication that benefits everyone.

What should you do: Assess your interior designer with a quick checklist. Are they

  • Transparent with renovation costs?
  • Able to understand your design requirements and work with it?
  • Capable of mediating and rectifying any renovation issues that may arise?

Like any relationship, nothing should be left completely to trust as it takes two to tango. Focus on staying open to alternative suggestions, and understand that renovation hiccups (e.g. incurring additional cost) varying in severity are inevitable. Problems can be solved if both parties are willing to communicate and be reasonable in their demands.


4. A nicely renovated home nets a higher property value

Debunking myth 4 - nicely renovated homes give you better value

Myth: People are willing to pay more for a nicely renovated home.

True or false:  Not exactly. A “nicely renovated home” is subject to individual tastes. People like different things, and a hardwood floor that appeals to you may look ordinary to future homeowners. Most (new) homeowners tend to renovate their home unless it was purchased for investment. Also, many homeowners look forward to renovating their home as they can finally bring the dinosaur-themed room of their dreams to life without Mommy saying no.

What should you do: Ensure that the bare necessities of your home are done properly. This may sound boring, but what people really care about is the basic functionality of the home such as level flooring, air-conditioners, window grilles, adequate socket points, house layout, etc.


5. Established interior designer firms = Higher quality and assurance

Debunking renovation myth 5 - established firms give you better quality

Myth: It’s better to go with a bigger interior design firm for its proven track record. The renovation process will be problem-free because of their experience.

True or false: False. It really depends on the level of expertise of the individual designer who’s handling the renovation project. There are interior designers who have accumulated enough experience over the years to set up their own companies. Some interior design firms also prefer to keep their teams small (1 – 3 designers) in order to control the quality of their output.

What should you do: If possible, research the interior designer who’s managing your renovation. Read reviews and past clients’ testimonials. When you meet the interior designer, try to get a sense of the chemistry between the two of you. If you feel comfortable with the interior designer and can have an open and honest conversation, you might have found the one you’re looking for.

Article and images provided by Qanvast.

Qanvast can connect you with trusted interior designers that match your renovation preferences.Hear the stories from our homeowners who used Qanvast to do up their dream home.

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