When it comes to New York City, unfortunately, the rumors are true: everything costs too much. In 2017, the average sale price for Manhattan condos in existing buildings was approximately $1.9 million.
So what about finding and purchasing a more affordable apartment or home in the city? You can always remodel and improve its value afterward, right? True, but NYC remodeling can be just as expensive.
According to Brick Underground, NYC remodeling jobs are important, but can be extremely expensive. There are, however, steps that property owners can take to at least minimize the financial damage.
“Some homeowners can be surprised by the initial estimates,” said Aaron Borenstein, a contractor with Bolster, an NYC company that empowers property owners to control their major renovations. “Together, we’ll go through the budget line item by item to contextualize why it’s so expensive. But once we help homeowners understand exactly where their money is going and why, they can make informed decisions on where to invest and where to save.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 30% of national remodeling activity involved major additions and alterations, 40% was for minor additions and remodeling projects, and 30% involved tasks pertaining to maintenance and repair needs. Clearly, NYC apartment owners and homeowners need major, minor, and repair jobs done — but not at extremely expensive costs.
Here are some important things you should be aware of before you renovate a NYC apartment, home, or condo:
- Find and gather affordable materials — If you are in the process of remodeling your NYC property, you should find your own materials so you’re not being charged even more by your contracting team. Many property owners end up visiting NYC showrooms to find quality materials, but that can be a serious mistake.
“When you shop at a showroom in the city, the city-rate rent of that showroom is incorporated into the price of your material,” added Borenstein. “In other words, you’re not just paying for that tile, you’re paying for the tile and a fraction of the cost to keep the showroom lights on.”
- Determine early on what services you actually need — Before you begin any remodeling task, you should figure out whether you need general contractors, interior designers, or an architect. The majority of remodeling contractors can handle typical kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects, and hiring an architect can end up costing a lot more. In fact, architects usually charge from 5% to 18% of a remodeling project’s total cost.
“Architects are typically focused on high design projects with lots of zeroes at end,” said Fraser Patterson, founder and CEO of Bolster, an online service that helps people find out a “fair price” for their remodeling projects.
- Set a stick to a realistic budget — Whether you’re living in a million dollar NCY condo or a small area just outside of the city, you need to determine a realistic budget and stick to it no matter what.
“Unlike almost every other purchase on the planet, there isn’t really a way to window shop to figure out your price range for renovating,” added Jean Brownhill Lauer, who struggled with NYC remodeling projects in 2008. “So, the first thing you need to do is think about how much money you can put toward your renovation, because your budget will largely dictate the quality of materials you can buy and the level of labor you can afford.”
No matter what kind of remodeling project you’re considering, or how much your apartment or home costs, make sure you’re setting a sticking to a realistic budget, work with a trusted team of remodeling contractors, find affordable materials, and constantly look for more affordable ways to remodel — good luck!