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Renovations a la carte -- what is the cost?

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I'm a JH renter of several years now looking at 1BR coops in 1930s buildings, and wondering about the cost of different renovations.

A recent thread covered the cost of a total cut renovation, estimating at least 100/sf, but I wonder about renovations a la carte.

Let's say I'm looking at a spacious 1BR apt (~850sf) with dingy hardwood floors, moldings crusted with paint, old wiring and a dated kitchen and bathroom.

What might be the cost of
--plaster/skimcoating walls + ceilings, sanding existing floors?

What might be the cost of
--upgrading the wiring, say from fuses to a breaker box?

What might be the cost of
--tiling in bathrooms (pouring a new concrete base may add complexity and cost), installing new bathroom fixtures (without moving piping)?

What might be the cost of
--a new kitchen (again, cabinet demo and replacement) without moving pipes or walls?

I figure the first two are most important pre-move, while the latter two can be done later, even if it means moving out for a month or two.

Any estimates or personal experiences that you want to share are welcome.

^realistically, a contractor will find the job a lot more attractive to take on if there are multiple things for them to do. Especially if it's a successful contractor with a lot of work.

The real estate agent you work with should be able to give you a general idea.

When I was looking, after talking with our  realtor, I was pretty clear based on our budget and how much money we would need to have in the bank once we closed to pass most of the coop boards' requirements (and our own comfort level) that while we couldn't afford redoing a whole kitchen and bath before moving we, we could swing putting in a new floor and some electric work. We ended up with an apartment with a pink tiled bathroom, and a largely mostly 1950s kitchen that was functionally adequate and we could live with for a few years while we saved up for a renovation.

I have to tell you from both my own personal experience and more than a decade as a director and board officer:
If you don't do kitchen or bath renovations BEFORE you move in, it will be the biggest mistake you ever make.

You will either never do the renovations you wanted, the way you wanted them done, OR the hassle of trying to live in the space (or elsewhere) while the contractor guts your kitchen and/or bath will create nothing but stress and chaos for you and your family. Remember that especially in these older buildings, most renovation projects will run into some sort of problem along the way, causing either cost overruns, a delay in completion, or both.

This fall, I lived--and worked-- in my one bedroom apartment for eight weeks while renovating the kitchen, doing some electrical upgrades, and combining closets. It wasn't great, but we survived with a hot plate and a microwave. If our contractor and workers weren't so professional, it would have been *awful*. I'm delighted with the work that was done.

The electrical upgrade (fusebox to circuit breaker, bringing kitchen up to code) was $5200. Replacing the pipes back to the risers was $4something. Not sure what the breakdown of the rest of the kitchen was (but were happy with price/quality of work). Moving some wall and combining two closets was $2300. (It involved a dramatic amount of demo.)

Re problems along the way--there were NONE. No cost overruns and workers were out of the apartment three days after estimated date of completion. It helped that we worked with a contractor who already knows our building.

Re skim-coating/floors/electrical first as first round of renos--that makes sense (assuming you're redoing all the electrical-if you're only doing the kitchen, can be combined with kitchen reno). You could probably skim coat later. (if you're repainting at some point) but if you don't do floors before moving in, they are probably not going to ever get done.)

I think some contractors bring in licensed plumbers and electricians for licenses, but then do the work themselves. Our contractor had the electrician and plumber do the work, and it made a big difference. The electrician hardwired our smoke detector and brought a formerly dead switch to life. Don't think the contractor's workers could have done that.

Frances, your contractor sounds like a dream.

Please share their name and contact info here or via a private message if you prefer.


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