New York City apartment renovations can be simple or complex, depending on the scope of work that you are out to pursue. For some simple renovations, you might be able to do it yourself, while other complex ones might require the need to hire an apartment renovation contractor. The answer may not always be easy to understand in terms of whether to hire professional help or not. But here are some NYC apartment renovation tips to keep in mind.
1) Get a handle on project scope
Whether you do an NYC apartment remodel by yourself or not, it doesn’t do anyone any good to try to do home projects on the fly. It is important before you do anything, you scope out what you want to do, and understand some of the nuances in terms of what kind of disruption it might take to fix up the apartment. Are you just simply doing cosmetic work, or do you plan to open up walls? What rooms are you touching versus what can be considered safe spaces? Understanding the scope and project limits is always a crucial first step.
2) Understand your project budget
Once you have an idea about what you want to get done, it’s important to look over your budget. What is the maximum amount you are willing to put into your apartment remodel? Oftentimes, a common mistake is to bring on a contractor without even knowing what your project budget is, only to find that many of the projects you thought you could get done will actually need to come off. Make sure that if your project scope has multiple tasks, prioritize what you want to be done in case of project overruns force you to take something off the table.
3) Determine a project timeline
While some people may not have a deadline for getting their projects complete, it is important for most to know how long a tenant or yourself might be displaced in an apartment or have a kitchen or bathroom out of service. It is important whether you use help or not that go over a step-by-step outline of what each task entails, and how long it can be expected to take. It’s important to understand what certain choke points might be, such as needing a home inspector to approve something and waiting on availability, or having materials delivered and anticipating a potential delay. Having a project timeline is essential to ensuring the project is organized and will go smoothly.
4) Always do a design
With the exception of basic jobs like painting and trim work, you should always consider putting together a design blueprint of any work you plan to do. Even for something as basic as replacing cabinets, it’s important to take the time to measure out parts of your apartment that you plan to work on, and have dimensions mapped out so you don’t run into issues down the line. For complex jobs that entail full-on renovations, you may want to consider bringing on a design build for your project.
A design build is a firm that brings designers and builders together in the process to improve communication between vision and final product so there are no issues during construction. More importantly, when designs are completed, be sure to do a thorough review of all blueprints to make sure everything is the way you expect it to prior to construction because it will be more difficult for the contractor to fix a mistake after doing the work.
5) Pick out your appliances and fixtures ahead of time
Even though many appliances come in standard dimensions, the last thing you want is to necessarily assume that is the case and come across a tight fit. It’s important before you pass off plans to your contractor, that you have already picked out what appliances and fixtures you want, so the contractor can design for and anticipate clearance issues and properly design for any connections to utilities. Decide ahead of time if you will procure these appliances or fixtures on your own or if you want the kitchen renovation contractor to do it themselves.
6) Be prepared for revisions
Even though it is expected you will be part of the design and review process, unfortunately, on some big projects, you run into unexpected things. Maybe those pipes or electrical wires are not where your kitchen renovation contractor thought they actually were. Maybe upon opening up the wall, there are things out of code. This is where it helps to have a contingency budget as well as be ready for a plan B if necessary. While it’s definitely a pipe dream to have a project go smoothly from start to finish, you just cannot always bank on that.
7) Communicate consistently with your contractor
A good apartment renovation contractor should be able to bring you on-site periodically to review the work that’s been done and be able to share both good news and bad news with you so you can know what to expect. Hopefully, your contractor can share more good news than bad news to ensure you that your money is being well spent, and give you a heads up on any issues he foresees. Having a good relationship with your contractor ensures that you feel comfortable with the flow of the project and enables the contractor to keep focused on the job.
8) Make sure you do a thorough final walkthrough
When the contractor has come to you to say that the project is finished, do not be afraid to take your time to review the entire work he’s done. Highlight any concerns, as he should be more than willing to make those final little corrections to ensure you have an immaculate product. Keep in mind that once the final payment has been made and the contract is fulfilled, he has other jobs to do, and he may not always be willing to come back later on after you noticed something. Therefore, it is important that you make sure to hire a contractor that will always make you feel prioritized and is not afraid to be a perfectionist in getting his jobs done.