I believe most of you will feel the same way as I do. From the day I receive the keys to renovating the new home, every single day feels like years just counting down to the day I can finally move in. The whole planning process was definitely exciting and fun, so just enjoy the process! Many people may get stress with the planning, design, renovation, shopping for furniture and definitely most importantly – their finance. As it is our first home, the cost involved is totally unexpected and it may be much higher than what you budgeted. Hence, it is important to keep track on the costing as you progress. If you are on a tight budget, there are certain things that can be bought later on. Most importantly, never get into debts and loans just to move into your ‘dream house’. It is not worth it okay!

Everyone may incur different costing as it varies from many factors. For instance, condo vs landed property, high quality vs low quality furniture, types of renovation and many more. If your home is a new property bought straight from the developer, they may even give you free gifts such as kitchen cabinet, air con, shower glass and others. Therefore, in this article, the costing are calculated based on my experience when I moved into a new condominium with 3 bedrooms & 2 bathrooms a year ago.

Before collecting the keys

From the day you signed the S&P up to the day you collect the keys, the whole process may take a good 2 months. No time wasted during the wait! I draft up a budget sheet, listing down all the necessary renovation & furniture with an estimated budget for each item. As moving into a totally new house will cost you a massive fortune at the start, you will want to highlight items that can be bought or done later on. I prioritized renovation as it is advisable to do everything one shot prior to moving in. Otherwise, I will incur more cost and trouble if I were to add on later on.


After drafting the budget sheet, this is when the fun begins! Shopping and surveying for good contractors and furniture. I was lucky to engage a good contractor recommended by a friend for the renovation works. He has interior design background, hence he gave me a lot of helpful advice on what I can do within my budget. It is very important to let your contractor know your estimated budget to avoid a pleasant “surprise”.

Once we agreed on the renovation works, my contractor advised me to get approval from the developer to allow us to enter into my unit to take measurements and check on defects. This will speed up the renovation process as he can prepare all the materials and start straight away once I get my keys. Below is the whole list of renovation done with pricing for your reference:

Furniture and Fittings

As for furniture, curtains, electric appliances and home equipment, I surveyed in different shops, home fair and IKEA before deciding. There were certain things that I splurged on for long term investment while there were a few things that do not have to be of too good quality. The few items that I splurged on are built-in wardrobe, mattress, leather sofa and curtains.

As my unit came with 4 units of air con, kitchen cabinet, shower and shower glass, I managed to save some cost there. Below is the whole list with pricing and where I got them from for your reference:

After collecting the keys

As everything was discussed and planned much earlier, the renovation only took 1 month to complete. The contractor was very efficient and he was able to let me know the completion date. Hence, I was able to engage a part time cleaner to help with massive cleaning the very next day and arranged delivery for all furniture and fitting the following day. As I’m of finance background, I’d want to make my monthly loan repayment worth every penny. Hence, the pre-planning and arrangement so that I can move in as soon as possible!

Other stuff that I only bought much later on are coffee table, glass panel for the dining table, window tint and adding a few wallpaper.

TOTAL COST INCURRED = RM 18,392.00 + RM 41,988.90 + RM 80 (Cleaner) = RM 60,460.90

Lessons Learnt

We all will definitely make mistakes and there will be certain purchases that we will regret. It is our first house after all. Let me share with you some of the lessons I learnt from this experience so that you can avoid them.

  1. As it is a trend to go to IKEA when you are moving into a new house, I was no exception. The smaller household items that I bought from IKEA was worth the money. However, as for the bookshelf and dressing table, I realized that I could get cheaper and better quality ones from furniture shops. Not only I don’t have to go through the hectic process of assembling them, my other furniture that I bought from furniture shops were at a better condition a year later.
  2. Do view your unit or house a few times in the morning, afternoon, night and when it’s raining. This enables you to check on defects and as well as to compare any differences with the house during the weather change. Although I viewed the house in the afternoon and night, I neglected the morning sun and only got a semi-blackout blind for the master bedroom. Only after moving in, I realized how humid and sunny the room is in the morning that it affects my sleep. Hence, I have to get it replaced with a blackout blind.
  3. I bought 2 rugs to be placed in the living room as they are lovely looking, especially those soft furry ones. However, it is a pain to clean it! After awhile, I got tired and just kept it away in the wardrobe.

As I mentioned earlier, everyone will incur different costing as it varies from many factors. Try to lower your expectations and you will seek joy and excitement in having to move into a new home! Most importantly, this is a milestone in your life! Some planning and budgeting is all it takes. Good luck guys! But before that, do subscribe to our site for more weekly money tips and occasional free gifts!

Disclaimer: This article is solely based on personal experiences from FINPosts personnels. You may or may not use this as a reference.