Just got the keys to your bare unit and now planning your own house renovation? No plans to move anytime soon but just want to know how the heck we spent RM57k on our house renovation in Malaysia?
You’ve come at the right place – we just completed our house renovation and I’m happy to finally share the breakdown!
But first, pics. This is how my living room attached to kitchen space looks like. I am biased, but I absolutely love it!
What I want to stress is this is our actual living space. It’s a practical space, rather than just decorative. I’m intentionally showing these pics because tbh I’m bored of aesthetic but hyper-minimalist home pictures (so empty?? Don’t they own anything??)
As mentioned, we spent approx RM57k on our unit in 2022, which was approx 600-700 square feet newly-built apartment in Klang Valley. Your own house renovation cost will depend on many factors, but you can use this as a rough guide for your own house renovation in Malaysia.
Also, when I say we spent RM57k on our house renovation in Malaysia, that amount includes everything we did and bought to make the space liveable, and not *just* the renovation cost.
Breakdown of My RM57k House Renovation
Of the RM57k, we spent:
- Approx RM35k on Renovation works, including interior design, installing fixtures, etc
- Approx RM20k on Furniture and Appliances, moving services
- Approx RM2k in miscellaneous products/services we wanted/needed
If your first thought was, OMG! I didn’t realise home renovation can cost that much! Don’t shoot the messager, but that amount can be considered on the lower side.
And we were lucky the unit already came with nice flooring, toilet fixtures and basic kitchen unit. If not, that’s an additional RM10-15k more. It’s not uncommon for home renovation projects to cost six-figures.
This is true especially for subsale houses – forget interior design, forget aesthetics. First you have to make sure the house you bought is safe to live in and things are not falling apart. Depending on the condition of the house, you might need to change flooring, plumbing, wiring, rooftop etc. Foundational work is NOT cheap.
Anyway. Let’s do a further breakdown.
1) RM35k on Renovation works (The Makeover Guys Review)
When we received the keys to our unit, we briefly considered DIY house renovation before scrapping that idea completely. Me? Who never touched a drill in my life? Me? With my full-time writing job? Me?
Yeah hahaha nope. We decided to engage with professional house renovation service providers.
Having said that, cost is definitely a consideration, so I did what I usually do when faced with this kind of situation: I requested quotations from at least 5 places that do house renovation in Malaysia.
This turned out to be quite hard, since most of the interior designers asked for lots of information. As someone who doesn’t know what I want or what the unit requires, this overwhelmed me. Maybe this would work if I had some experience in property, but I was a complete newbie.
Selecting a house renovation company
Long story short, in the end I went with The Makeover Guys, or technically speaking their sister company Easyhome. The former specialises in renovating investment properties, the latter specialise in own stay. But let’s just call them The Makeover Guys since more people are familiar with that name.
I went with The Makeover Guys for a few reasons:
- I had a couple of friends who also went with The Makeover Guys and had good experience
- Online reviews look good (4.8 out of 5 stars!)
- Sean Tan aka iherng the property enthusiast/ Youtuber works with them (not sure in what capacity but he promotes The Makeover Guys quite often)
- Got 0% instalment plan
- Can install lights, curtains, water heater, aircon (arranging with contractors to do this myself would be so mafan!)
- One of their template designs caught my eye (can you guess which one? :))
Most importantly, they gave me the cost estimate without overwhelming me. In fact, all I had to do was fill in the cost estimate form on the Makeover Guys website, and they sent me an 8-page estimate via email.
Here’s a simplified list of the works done by The Makeover Guys for our place:
- Feature wall design
- Lighting fixtures
- 2 x ceiling fans
- 3 x aircon
- 2 x water heater
- Security grill
- Built-in wardrobe
- Built-in fridge cabinet/kitchen island
- Bedside table
- Wiring works
- Curtains for 3 rooms
- Decorations, soft furnishings and styling
- Design and project management
- Replastering, touchups, cleaning, disposal
After everything is done, my final bill ended up totalling RM34,316.37, divided into 3 payments:
- RM17,157 (upfront payment to confirm house renovation work – 0% instalment thanks to credit card)
- RM10,588 (0% instalment)
- RM6,829.91 (I paid lumpsum)
The Makeover Guys Review
Tbh I had an amazing experience with The Makeover Guys/ Easyhome. I’m glad I went with them. I am so happy with the results and service given.
The team assigned to us were so sweet and attentive. They answered every question and concern we had (and I had a lot). They were so helpful in assisting us to add in extra fixtures, too – we added things like fridge cabinet/kitchen island, extra plug points and door grill.
In fact, the only fault of theirs that I can think of is we couldn’t start the house renovation immediately and had to wait a couple of months because they were fully booked!
(Another con may be if you don’t like any of The Makeover Guy’s design templates. If that’s the case, better hire another interior design firm, and/or your own contractor. Then you can make it as simple or custom as you like)
If you happen to go with The Makeover Guys too, whether for property investment or for own stay, you can get RM500 off your house renovation cost. Just tell Easyhome that Suraya Zainudin referred you, that’s it, you get the discount edi 🙂
2) RM20k on Furniture and Appliances, moving services
The house renovation package from The Makeover Guys is designed to make your unit as move-in ready as possible. All you have to do is choose one of their templates and they will give furniture and fixture suggestions.
However, you are not ‘locked’ with their choices. You can take out whatever you think you don’t need or like.
For example, I didn’t like the bed option from Makeover Guys/ Easyhome (it’s a nice enough bed, it’s just we know our cats will scratch the hell out of the headboard). So we told them to take out the bed, and later picked out this storage bed from IKEA.
I also didn’t like all 3 dining table and chair options they gave us (again, perfectly nice furniture, just not to our taste). So we told them to take it out and looked for those items ourselves.
Obviously, what furniture and appliances you need depends on your family’s requirements. So I’m just going to leave here a list of what *we* bought, as a household of 2. And of course, I also included the cost of professional moving services.
(At least 10 of the above, like the bed, dining table, tv console etc could have come from The Makeover Guys, but we looked for it ourselves. It would be cheaper AND less mafan to go through them, but hey.)
I have to say, selecting furniture and appliances was probably the most fun part in this whole house renovation process. I really enjoyed visiting furniture showrooms and home stores. It was fun researching and making selections that would work for us.
For example, the sofa. I had experience buying a normal fabric sofa before, and I knew I should pick another material because the cats totally destroyed it! In the end, we got this scratch and stain resistant sofa.
(Is it truly scratch resistant? I’m sorry to report while the damage is not as bad as fabric, my cats still managed to leave visible scratch marks. Just giving an honest review. The anti-stain part is good though).
I didn’t like the moving part, but the selecting furniture and appliances part? I would happily do these again, if given the chance 🙂
3) RM2k on Miscellaneous products/services
Aside from approx RM55k spent above there were other odds and ends spent during the house renovation process. These include:
- Professional defect check
- Robo vacuum cleaner (One of my best purchases ever! I use it daily!)
- Cleaning and drilling services
- Boxes for moving
- Things like floor rugs, shower curtain, tablecloth etc
I didn’t put these under my house renovation costs, but they are part of it.
House renovation in Malaysia: How did we fund it and can you do it for cheaper?
Together, we spent approx RM57k on our house renovation, all of which came from our savings (we saved a lot of money from NOT doing a wedding reception). I also benefited from the 0% instalment – I didn’t need the 0% instalment, which means there’s no harm for me to take it, so I did.
Can we do house renovation for cheaper? Yes. Could have selected cheaper furniture and appliances. And perhaps we could have hired a contractor instead of going with an all-inclusive interior design package with The Makeover Guys. Just install the necessary – just the lights, curtains and security grill, that’s it.
To be clear, doing house renovation in Malaysia is not cheap. Unless you can do DIY house renovation and DIY interior design, and plan to thrift all your furniture, prepare RM15-20k, minimum. And while I won’t speculate, I am aware material prices have increased quite a lot too.
Anyway, I’ll end here. If you have questions about doing house renovation in Malaysia, or have tips to share, please let me know in the comments section, I’d love to hear your experience 🙂