3 simple things you wish you knew (that could save you money) before collecting your house keys

5 min read

Collected the keys to a new, resale home? Excited to kickstart renovations, feng shui planning, activate Netflix and chill on your sofa? We know you’re excited but rushing into any of these without pre-planning may cost you more money.

Here are 3 simple things to bear in mind before the big move-in.

1. Defects Inspection

Buying a property is a considerable investment, but you shouldn’t live with problems that surface months later as the new owner. This is crucial if it’s a resale, as there may be wear-and-tear or required fixes in places you can’t see.

For example, there may be faulty electrical outlets, lights and air conditioning units.

For new BTOs and condominiums, there is the standard 1-year Defects Liability Period (DLP). For resale homes – it depends if the seller took excellent care of the property – so the buyer (you) must do due diligence with inspections before negotiating the final price and signing the option-to-purchase.


cracks walls home renovation checks
Always check for structural flaws and faulty wiring after you collect your keys. Mark them with coloured tape and take photos.


2. Renovations

Sourcing for the right home interior design firm can be challenging, especially if it’s your first time working with contractors.

Start scouting at least a year before the estimated keys collection. It usually boils down to seeing their track records, creativity and willingness to go the extra mile with you.

If the resale home you’ve bought requires repairs or fixture changes, you need to make comparisons based on cost and solutions.

Most of them will start design work before key collection, but the bulk of the activity begins after preliminary defects are cleared.


colour palette renovation wall designs architect blueprint
Plan your wall colours, light placements and electrical wiring with your renovation contractors well in advance.


One critical aspect during this phase is the implementation of false ceilings, trunking and how these factor into your overall electrical plan.

Discuss with your contractors the optimal locations to add power outlets, switches and light points. These include the use of energy-efficient LED lights and smart home-controlled lighting.

3. Utilities

During renovations, your contractors can tap into the main switch outside your home for drilling and charging. However, it is always good to subscribe to the essential utilities early before your official move-in date.

These include Internet broadband service, gas, water and electricity.


control lighting using smart tablet device energy efficient
Make your home smarter with energy-efficient lighting and appliances.


When it comes to electricity, if it is a resale home, the previous owner would have terminated his or her existing contract with Singapore Power (SP) or requested a transfer of ownership to you.

Whether it’s a resale or a new home, new homeowners must open an SP Utilities account with SP first. Want additional savings? Change to an electricity retailer.


SP charges homeowners electricity based on a quarterly tariff, which can fluctuate based on oil prices and other factors. On the other hand, electricity retailers have the resources and buying power to offer significant discounts off the electricity tariff to households.

So, before starting on your renovation, take a look at the market and pick an electricity retailer wisely as it has a long-term effect on the electricity cost you will have to pay.

These monthly savings add up over the long run, which homeowners can better use for renovations and household needs.

Furthermore, SP does not impose any fee if you change to a retailer, so that’s a welcome relief.

Once signed, the retailer will notify SP, and the transfer should happen seamlessly, without any disruption to the electricity supply.


Electricity retailers like Tuas Power usually offer both fixed rate and discount off regulated tariff plans that suit any usage.


PowerFIX charges a fixed electricity rate over the contract term, while the PowerDO plan allows homeowners to enjoy guaranteed savings up to a percentage of the regulated tariff rates SP usually charges.

One benefit Tuas Power gives: it uses the same SP bill for electricity, water and gas. In other words, there is no split billing which means there will be no confusion and no missed payment due date.

This also makes it easier to receive U-Save rebates across all of your utilities (if you are eligible). Remember, this is important because you get to enjoy more savings!

Finally, Tuas Power offers rebates just by signing up. Customers get additional rebates when they refer a friend and earn T+ privileges to exclusive deals and promotions.

Enjoy up to S$80 bill rebate* with free 12-month Aviva insurance# on home contents, dengue aid or utilities relief when you sign up with Tuas Power today with promo code <PR99>!

Whether it’s renovations or changing to an electricity retailer, new homeowners should be aware that closing the deal on a new home is just the first step in making sound investment choices.

Once you collect your keys, the pre- and post-move-in decisions you make can determine if you end up forking more money over time or saving more for better things in the future – like choosing the right electricity retailer.

Wait no further and start saving now! Visit Tuas Power’s website for more information or call them at +65-6838 6888.

*Terms and conditions apply. Limited to first 500 sign-ups and limited time promotion. Bill rebate is inclusive of GST. #Terms and conditions apply. Protected up to specified limits by SDIC.



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About Terence Ang

Terence edits and writes about the real estate industry, including Singapore property trends, regulations and home-buying journeys. Other than writing, he also edits other writers' work and oversees the day-to-day operations of 99.co's Insider sections.

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Reader Interactions


    • Hi.
      Is there a website where you give updates regarding the items mentioned in this article which may be more relevant for a TOP in 3Q 2023. This current article may be outdated by then. If areuckes like this are updated over time it would be great.
      Many thanks for this very useful insight.

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