Understanding Renovation Loans in Singapore: A Comprehensive Guide

By Dawn Chew Understanding Renovation Loans in Singapore: A Comprehensive Guide | Published 18 Mar 2024 3 minutes

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At a glance

When your dream home aspirations surpass your savings, securing a renovation loan emerges as a strategic solution. Renovation loans are specialized financial products designed to fund home remodeling efforts, excluding furniture or appliance purchases. These loans offer a borrowing limit of up to $30,000 or six times your monthly income—whichever is lower—with repayment periods extending from one to five years. They feature lower interest rates compared to personal loans, direct disbursements to contractors, and eligibility exclusive to property owners. Obtaining a renovation loan involves assessing your needs, selecting a suitable lender based on interest rates and fees, verifying eligibility, preparing necessary documentation, and submitting your application.

Intro

Embarking on a home renovation project can be both exciting and financially challenging. You might have a Pinterest board ready, but realize it’ll cost a lot to get it all done. What’s the next step when your vision for your dream home exceeds your savings?

Securing a renovation loan to make your dream home a reality is the answer.

However, obtaining a renovation loan in Singapore can seem overwhelming. Fear not, as we’re here to demystify the renovation loan process for you, providing insights into its features, selection criteria, and application process.

Renovation Loan Definition

You may need to build certain fixtures in your house and realise it costs more than you expect. A renovation loan is going to help you increase your budget. It’s a sum of money that you can borrow from a legal, financial institute to restore or remodel your house. Examples include wall repairs or installing fixtures. 

Key characteristics of renovation loans include:

  • Borrowing limit of up to $30,000 or six times your monthly salary, whichever is lower.
  • The repayment period ranges from one to five years.
  • Interest rates for renovation loans are generally lower than those for personal loans.
  • Loan disbursement is made directly to the contractor via a cashier’s order.
  • Renovation loans cannot be used for furniture or appliance purchases, though some lenders offer specialized packages that cover these items.
  • Only property owners are eligible to apply.
  • Lenders may inspect the renovation work to ensure funds are used as intended.

Key Insights on Renovation Loans

Renovation loans stand out due to their unique features. Let’s break down these features to prepare you better:

  • Interest Rates – The lowest bank interest rate for renovation loans is 3.88% annually, translating to an effective interest rate (EIR) of 4.29%.

A comparison of rates from DBS Singapore and licensed money lenders shows:

DBS offers a rate of 4.88% with a monthly installment of $897.51 over three years.

Licensed moneylenders offer rates from 1-4% per month, with monthly payments reaching $1,374.11 over three years.

  • Renovation loans offer lower interest rates than unsecured loans due to:
    • Lower principal amounts.
    • Specified spending according to quotations.
    • Possible lender inspection of renovation progress.
    • Direct payment to contractors.
  • Maximum Loan Amount – The maximum loan amount is less than $30,000 or six times your monthly income.

For instance, a monthly income of $4,000 qualifies for a $24,000 loan, while $6,000 income caps at $30,000. Considering the average cost of renovating a four-room HDB flat ranges between $40,000 and $65,000, options to bridge the gap include multiple renovation loans or a combination of renovation and personal loans, adhering to the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) limit of 55%.

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Important Info

Here are some tips to help you keep to the TDSR ratio of 55%. You can prioritize important renovation features first or get a loan to help you pay for the most urgent repairs. Once you have fixed these problems, quickly get your contractor to provide a quotation for other renovation works and apply for a loan simultaneously.

  • Additional Fees – Banks may charge processing fees(usually 1% of the approved amount), late payment penalties, early repayment fees(1-2% of your remaining amounts), and cancellation fees(1% of the approved loan balance). They might also charge extra fees to transfer funds to various contractors. In addition, specific charges, like DBS’s 1% insurance fee for loan repayment in case of death or total permanent disability, may apply. Licensed money lenders may charge administrative fees(up to 10%), late payment rates(up to 4% of the missed payment), and penalties(up to $60).
  • Use Restrictions – Most renovation loans are designated for specific home improvements such as electrical work, built-in cabinets, and basic bathroom fittings. Ensure your contractor adheres to HDB-imposed restrictions on renovation timings and noise levels. Review the loan term restrictions in your packages for those who may want to use the renovation loan for furniture. There are loan packages which have fewer restrictions.
  • Eligibility Criteria – Banks require applicants to be Singapore citizens or permanent residents aged between 21 and 65, with a minimum annual income of $24,000. Joint applicants must be related or married and meet income requirements. The property owner must be the principal applicant. Apart from banks, licensed money lenders offer more flexible conditions, so you may not require a minimum income, although income will still be considered within the loan conditions. Most lenders also do not have a maximum age for borrowing

Application Process

The application process involves:

  1. Calculating Your Needs – Work with your contractor to estimate the renovation cost and compare it against your eligible loan amount to determine if multiple loans are necessary.
  2. Choose a Lender – Evaluate different providers based on interest rates, fees, and eligibility criteria. Use online calculators to estimate monthly payments.
  3. Verifying Eligibility – Ensure you meet the bank’s criteria to avoid application rejection and potential credit score impact.
  4. Gathering Documentation – Prepare documents including ID, income proof, contractor’s quotation, property ownership proof, and any required joint applicant documentation.
  5. Submitting Your Application – Apply online or in person, with online applications often providing quicker initial responses. Arrange a meeting with the lender to finalise the loan agreement, ensuring all terms are understood before signing.

Current Bank Renovation Loan Rates

Below we offer a detailed summary of current bank renovation loan rates available in Singapore. It is worth noting that some of the featured rates are for personal loans, which can be utilized to finance home renovation projects. These personal loans provide homeowners with a versatile funding solution to transform their living spaces according to their desires and requirements.

LenderAnnual Interest Rate Effective Interest RateProcessing Fee
CIMB Bank 3.38% 6.32%$0
Citibank 3.45% 6.50%$0
Standard Chartered 3.48% 6.95%$0
OCBC Bank 3.80% 7.49%1.0% of approved loan
DBS 3.88% 7.56%$100
POSB 3.88% 7.56%$100
Maybank 3.88% 7.29%$200
HSBC 4.00% 7.50%$0
OCBC Bank 5.42% 12.11%$200
*Today's Personal Loans Rates - 08 April 2024

Loan Matchmaking Platforms

When searching for the ideal renovation loan, it is highly recommended to consider using a loan matchmaking platform like ROSHI. These platforms offer a convenient and efficient way to compare multiple loan offers from a wide range of lenders, all in one place. By submitting a single application, you can receive personalized loan recommendations that match your unique requirements and credit score.

Even if your credit score is less-than-perfect or you have existing loans with other financial institutions, their extensive network of lending partners offers flexible approval criteria, which may still qualify you for a renovation loan. This means that you can access the funds you need to transform your living space into your dream home, without being hindered by strict eligibility requirements.

 


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Conclusion

With this comprehensive guide, you now have the knowledge and tools to embark on your dream home renovation journey. Take advantage of the information provided to explore the various renovation loan options available in the market. Consider factors such as loan amounts, interest rates, repayment periods, and eligibility criteria to make an informed decision about the most suitable loan for your specific needs and financial situation.

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