Read our Guide to Renovating an Apartment in New York

Read our Guide to Renovating an Apartment in New York
Written by
Lisa Mercurio
Published on
June 2, 2024
Read time
Apartment Renovation

Renovating a home or apartment in New York can be stressful especially for new homeowners. Don't worry, Intrabuild has a helpful guide to renovating a home or apartment in NYC. In this article, we will discuss what you need to do for your home renovation. We will be with you every step of the way.

Planning Your Renovation

Before setting up a budget and what you want to renovate, it's imperative that you know what your end goal is for your home or apartment renovation. Are you renovating because you want more comfort or luxury in your home? Is it because of your growing family? Or do you plan to sell your home in the future?

Do your research as much as possible. Know which renovations will have a good return on investment. A reliable contractor — a company highly knowledgeable about NYC design and building management — can definitely help.

It's best to put your money in rooms where household members live the most such as your kitchens and the bathrooms. Should you decide to sell your home, putting more money on these rooms will give you better returns.

While doing your research, get a rough idea of the cost of different renovation styles so you have a guide in planning your budget. You do not need to have the actual cost — your contractor can give you an accurate estimate if you really want to know the exact figures.

Where to Get Inspiration for Your NYC Renovations

Part of planning is to determine the design, materials and then pricing. Most homeowners would look for ideas online, in printed magazines or television. Instagram is a great social media platform for your home renovation ideas. You can search for great designs using hashtags for design or renovation. A kitchen and bath showroom is also a good source. With a showroom, you do not have to visualize the look of the space. You can also speak with your contractors as they will be able to show you different designs for your kitchen, bath, or whole apartment/home renovation.

How to Budget for Your Renovation

Creating a renovation budget is one of the most important steps for your home or apartment renovation. Ask yourself what you can afford and what you can do just in case you go over the budget. It's essential that you are upfront about your budget and talk about it with your contractor. Also, prepare that there will be additional costs due to building rules, regulation and insurance costs.

There are several factors to consider when planning for your home renovation budget. The basic costs usually involve framing, basic demolition, wiring, plumbing, insulation, heating & cooling systems and all materials and fixtures. The cost would range between 200 USD to 300 USD per square foot. It will be in the higher range when all of the visible surfaces in an area are completely replaced. If you are just redoing the space then it would fall in the lower range.

For your kitchen & bath, it will be in the lower range if you are skim coating, painting, refinishing and doing other upgrades. However, if there is extensive work needed such as installing new piping or wiring and replacing walls, then expect to pay in the higher range for the price per square foot.

You also need to have a budget for your permits such as electricity, asbestos inspection and plumbing. Expect to pay about 1,500 USD for asbestos inspection; about 2,000 for electrical and plumbing permits. Speak with your contractor if you want the exact figure so you can budget accordingly.

Of course, the price per square foot will be higher depending on the design, the materials and the amount of work needed for the renovation.

Budget tips:

1. Start from the architectural services that may be necessary, get a price breakdown and understand the cost.

2. Choose the finishes. How much your appliances, plumbing fixtures, lighting, door hardware, tiles, kitchen cabinets, countertops cost?

3. Who is purchasing the materials, what owner supplied materials mean, how this decision can affect the timing of the project and why many contractors do not bid on projects when the material purchasing is not included in their contract? It affects the timing, creates mistakes and miscommunication, creates many additional costs and there are issues with the warranty.

4. Choose your materials wisely. Buy high-quality materials in areas where they will really get noticed and standard materials in other areas.

5. Always consult with the experts. Your contractors are there to help you in every step of the process. Do not hesitate to contact them if you have questions about design or if you need a guide. Experienced professionals do renovations across New York and are extremely knowledgeable about renovations.

Create a Contingency Fund

Keep in mind to always set aside at least 5%-10% of your budget for your contingency fund as there might be unexpected costs or other issues that may occur.  Save this budget for the "what ifs" that may occur. However — if you hire a good NYC contractor though, you will need closer to 5%.

How to Assemble a Team for Your Home or Apartment Renovation

If you are not familiar with home renovations, it's best to find a contractor first so you get more assistance. Do make sure that the contractor has experience doing renovations across Manhattan and Brooklyn. Good contractors offer architectural services and they can recommend good designers based on your needs.

Find a contractor who will put the clients first and who can guarantee quality. They should have a team of highly-skilled craftspeople who can get the job done effectively and efficiently. A good contractor will also take the time to discuss a list of possible scenarios or situations that may come up on your apartment or home renovation. In addition, they can also provide you with the best solutions.

Most importantly, make sure that the contractor has the necessary insurances which are General liability, Umbrella liability, Workers compensation, Disability and pollution policies, just in case someone gets injured on the job. Otherwise, the homeowners or the building will be liable should an accident happens.

This is where Intrabuild comes in. We have been helping out residents in NYC with their apartment and home renovations. You can count on us.

How Long Will the Home or Apartment Renovation Takes?

Some homeowners would assume that home or apartment renovation is completed in a short period of time. Part of a contractor's job is to help the homeowner understand the timeframe for each renovation project and how renovations work in New York. Renovations in NYC would depend on a lot of things such as permits and coordination with the building owner's association, and other factors.

Homeowners should be realistic about timings as every project is different. If you are simply updating your ceiling, walls and floors, and replacing plumbing fixtures, then it should not take more than 8 to 10 weeks. For kitchen and bath, it usually takes about 6 to 8 weeks, but it also varies depending on the size of the area and how intensive the renovations area. For the kitchen, it could take about 4 to 6 weeks but longer if there are custom features that need to be added. For your entire home or apartment, allow about 3 to 4 months for 1 bedroom apartment; up to 4 to 5 months for a 2-bedroom apartment. Speak with your contractor; they would be able to give you a realistic timeline based on your project. A townhouse can take about 6 to 8 months to be completed if it is well organized.

Different Permits are Required for Different Work

Keep in mind that most renovation projects will require a work permit. If you are redoing the bathroom, you will need permits for handling electrical wires or changing the plumbing. Intensive renovations will require an architect to submit plans that should be approved by the DOB or the Department of Buildings. Some renovations such as replacing doors or doing the floors do not require permits.

For apartment renovations, remember that the buildings are regulated by the owner's associations. They have a set of rules for renovations in the building such as what time it's allowed to work. Make sure that you ask for their policies before doing any renovations.

During Renovation

For kitchen and bathroom remodel, declutter or move all items to other areas of your home so the contractor can work properly. If you are doing a whole-house remodel, consider renting a storage site for your belongings.

Contact Intrabuild for Your Apartment or Townhouse Renovation

Do you need a contractor for your home remodeling? We have been doing renovations across New York. Intrabuild is committed to providing the best home renovation service in NYC and Brooklyn. Our professional staff has deep knowledge about renovations in New York and home design. We can help you assemble the right team for your project. Get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation.

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