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Home renovation in New York City is a logistical obstacle course, and that’s putting it lightly. What you pay for, how it arrives, and what you can do with it revolve around permits with the city, the architect, or the building. In the case of a townhouse renovation, you have the luxury of not having to deal with the building.
We can’t solve every renovation hurdle you’ll encounter, but we can help give you a benchmark to ensure you’re on the right path. You can also find links to extend articles on each step within this article.
Your Budget and What it CoversYour Budget and What it Covers
For a few reasons, prices for renovations tend to be higher in NYC, mainly revolving around access. Finding parking, arranging material deliveries, and even getting into the home can present major logistical complications. You may also need to pay the engineering and architecture fees required by the city.
Don’t ask your contractor how to bring down that bill. You know what you want, and your contractor probably knows how to get you there if you allow some wiggle room.
Speaking of “your contractor,” be sure you have chosen the contractor. Your super probably has a recommendation, and you should consult with this person, but look for at least two or three other contractors for comparison pricing. Allow them to pitch you, and you may be surprised at their approach or cost-saving ideas.
Renovation Terms to KnowRenovation Terms to Know
Here are a few of the essential terms to know to help you in the contract phase:
Project ScopeProject Scope
This is the outline of the work that you’re asking for. This part is vital because it defines what the contractor will and won’t do in your home (at least not being paid more).
Milestones are often used to define when a contractor is paid. It’s common to pay some upfront costs and then a bit more towards the total price upon reaching new milestones established by the contract.
Liens and WaiversLiens and Waivers
Liens are scary, but waivers provide you some protection. Any contractor can claim work that was not paid for and place a lien on your property to try and reclaim their money. A waiver is like asking the contractor to “sign off” that work was completed and received.
Approvals from the city can take anywhere from days to years. Contractors may utilize an expediter to speed up this process.
Alteration AgreementsAlteration Agreements
Your building has specific rules for what is to be done during a renovation and must be outlined in an Alteration Agreement. Make sure you’re not buying materials for a job you can’t do by familiarizing yourself with them.
Optional Upgrades that Make a DifferenceOptional Upgrades that Make a Difference
Should you soundproof? Good question, because NYC never stops. Soundproofing is expensive but can also improve energy efficiency with insulation. However, you can enhance soundproofing by adding carpet, rugs, and art to your walls to dampen sound. Energy-efficient appliances, better lighting, and closet storage upgrades are practical upgrades that offer real benefits.
You can improve your home’s value and impact your life with the proper upgrades.