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Chances are, you recently purchased NYC apartment or townhouse will need some renovations before you move in. As you finalize the details of your home purchase, you can begin thinking about what kind of renovations you’ll need. As tempting as it may be to move in right away, taking advantage of the open space you have now before the moving trucks arrive will be far better for both you and your contractors.
What to renovate and at what cost
With so many variables involved, working out a strict budget can be almost impossible. But by knowing what to factor in you can work out a rough estimate. For a gut or non-gut renovation with stock, materials expect to pay at least $100-200-per-square-foot. A non-gut renovation with some customization starts at $200-300-per-square-foot while a gut renovation with customization averages at $400-500.
1. Flooring installation and refinishing
Start first with flooring. Depending on the materials, a refinish can cost $5-10-per-square-foot while replacements can run to $15-25-per-squate-foot. However, this estimate only applies to “dry” areas such as bedrooms and living rooms. “Wet” areas, like kitchens and bathrooms, can run far higher. Bathrooms start as $400-per-square-foot while kitchens start at $250-per-square-foot. Any custom alterations or spatial challengers will increase the costs.
2. Repairing and painting the walls
Painting is relatively cost effective and a great way to personalize your new home. On average, skim coating costs $4-6-per-square-foot and takes about a week to complete.
3. Kitchen and bathroom remodeling
This is where you’ll see the biggest expenses. Depending on your budget, you can either go for a full remodel or just a few updates. Extensive customization and high-end materials can easily see costs run to $500-per-aquare-foot and beyond.
Other costs: regulations and restrictions
If the apartment is in a co-op or condo building, any renovations will require board approval. Some buildings have very strict requirements for renovations such as insurance coverage minimums. Unless a contractor has the required insurance coverage, they won’t be able to take on the project. Also, before any renovations on a co-op or condo, unit you will be required to file an alteration agreement. This protects the building from any renovations that could cause harm to it. It does so by restricting what you can and can’t change as well as outlining a timeline for the project.
You should check with the Department of Buildings (DOB) to see if there are any restrictions on your building for renovations. The majority of major renovations in NYC require approval before work can begin. However, if you are not moving, removing or adding new walls then no permits from the DOB are required. If though you are relocating any electricity or plumbing you will need an architect to draw up the plans and for an expediter to file for approval with the DOB. These permits are not cheap. Electrical permits can run up to $900; plumbing permits up to $2,000 and an asbestos inspection as much as $500.
There may also be restrictions on the types of tools that can be used and the duration of the project. For instance, if jackhammers cannot be used because of noise restrictions, this will mean higher demolition costs as a workaround has to be found.
When choosing contractors try to find someone that you can get along with and understands your needs and expectations. Your buyer’s agent can probably make some recommendations. Because the apartment or townhouse is unoccupied, it won’t take long to perform the initial meetings and walk-throughs before work can begin.
Once you’ve worked out a rough budget allocate an extra 10-15% as a cushion. Most buildings in NYC come with some restrictions and difficulties when renovating so make sure you have a bit extra to ensure you can complete the project.
Read our renovation checklist to get your process started.