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- 2,100 square foot
- New Kitchen
- Add a Full Bathroom
- Convert another Full Bathroom to a half bathroom
- Full wall and floor work
- Mid to High End Fixtures and Appliances
- HVAC system
- Full Recessed Lighting
- A/V cabling
Lots of unknown variables (e.g., millwork), but could be $600-800K.
If you are saying mid to high end fixtures I will assume you want mid to high level work as well?
How many rooms? Is it a loft?
500-700K seems to be an overestimate. I suspect 250k would be reasonable. But obviously the sky's the limit.
you're doing a lot. no way this gets done for $250K, and everyone on these boards knows I tend to come in low on reno estimates. I'd say around half a mil, possibly $400K if you really pinch your pennies.
DG Neary Realty
I saw a $150K kitchen recently. I think the fixtures and appliances are one key question.
Electrical and plumbing are the second. You are creating a bathroom - it the pluming already in place? where does it need to come from?
$250K? Impossible. Period. I don't know what "full walls" means--skim coat, replace, move and reconfigure? And reduce a bathroom to a half bath mean total gut. New ceiling lights throughout with A/V cabling? I think this will end up meaning very extensive electrical needed throughout by time all is said and done. HVAC? That ALONE is $100,000 if you are talking central air.
$500,000 MINIMUM with architect fees and client does all specifications. More likely, we are talking $600,000 which comes to a bit under $300/sq. ft. and that is what a high end gut is going to cost to start with. It could be more if buyer doesn't exercise serious restraint.
Thanks for all of the thoughts. I think this gives me a good idea. Some more details as we have been talking with an architect and several general contractors over the past week so we have a better idea of what is involved.
- Wall work - re-configure from a 2 bedroom to a 3 bedroom plus home office layout plus the bathroom work. Pipes will be encased with 6 new radiators (also enclosed). Some custom millwork (shelving) and custom closets throughout (walk-in-closet in master bedroom, one closet each per 2nd/3rd bedroom, kitchen pantry and utility room). Sound insulation.
- Floor work - engineered floors, full re-tiling of kitchen and new bathrooms
- HVAC - 3-4 ton capacity
- Ceiling - drop ceiling throughout the apartment for HVAC ducts and recessed lighting. Approximately 30 light fixtures with lutron light switches. Ceiling speakers and AV closet.
- Appliances - Viking/Sub-zero grade
- NO scaffolding work required.
how much to gut a townhouse to the bone--4 stories, 18 wide, new everything??
$175K - $250K/sq ft. With lots of self leg work -- you can keep within budget. Good luck.
manhattanfox: if you are addressing the OP, you are out of your mind. That's what a one bdrm/one bath 3/4 gut without new flooring will cost for high end.
Malko: You are talking about the $600K job I discussed. If it comes in under that, be happy. Be prepared for it not to. If you don't have the money to handle the outside costs, don't start. And as for floors, why, oh why, on earth, would you undertake a top end reno and then stick engineered floors in it? The is the most disconcerting thing you've written on this thread. It makes me seriously wonder if you have any idea what you are getting into. True hardwood is nominally more in the scheme of things and will last longer, have more appeal upon resale, and has so much greater warmth. You don't buy a Jaeger Lecoultre watch and put a plastic strap on it so you don't have to spend a bit more and get the proper alligator or metal band.
I think manhattanfox was estimating $175-250 per square foot for this job....not 175-250K for the entire job (though his post is confusing, e.g., "$175-$250K/sq ft.") So his estimate is low, but he may not be out of his mind :)
And I agree with you re the engineered floors.....unless we are missing a critical piece of information, it doesn't make any sense to put an engineered floor in a high-end renovated apt.
Meanwhile, I reiterate my earlier estimate of $600-800K for this job.
Kyle, actually we are going with more expensive engineered hardwood floors so it is not a cost issue. My designer prefers engineered hardwood. The forums seem to have a mixed opinion about which is better - engineered hardwood vs. true hardwood. I do not have a major preference either way.
maklo: you may not have a strong opinion, but many buyers will one day. No buyer says, "Damn--is that real hardwood? I just loathe real wood!" But plenty of people feel there is something un-authentic about engineered floors. Why go the route that will turn some people off versus the route that no one will find objectionable?
I think $800K sounds high. But realistically, if you watch like a hawk, do a lot of work yourself in terms of specifying materials, and if you have a clear vision, don't make changes along the way, and pay for exquisite detailed drawings, you can get this done for $500K-$600K.
agree with Kylewest- dont go with engineered hardwood- we looked at a pre war apt yesterday that was half original hardwood and 1/2 engineered hardwood and the engineered part just looked off and quite frankly even though it was the more expensive kind- it looked cheap.
And i'd also say $600-800k is a good estimate of the costs for a decent high end reno.
can reccomend Design by Francois if you need a designer - www.francoistenenbaum.com
I gut renovated my Brooklyn brownstone (3 floors) several years ago - finishes were high end. I used All Renovation Construction (www.allrenovationllc.com) who delivered an itemized estimate per floor which was extremely helpful with my budget. I would recommend you only consider contractors who give you a very transparent quote NOT bulk price per floor. BULK price per floor usually means Change Order's which will increase your budget.
Well, building on what adam said, and to repeat what I've written many times, any renovation that is to stay within budget and maintain decent relationship with GC must begin with detailed drawings specifying everything down to the number of coats of paint and the brand and product within the brand to be used. The more model numbers, SCU#s, and other specifics of finishes the better. The point is to have nothing left to argue about or change. You'll have to decide it all sooner or later, and by doing it sooner you will make your life easier and spend much less money. Any contract with a GC MUST incorporate by reference a very specific set of drawing.
Agree with Kyle once again.
Without detailed drawings including a finis schedule you might as well assume 20% in extras
Items like paint can range alot as Farrow and Ball is much more then Benjamin Moore
If doors are not specified maybe the contractor is pricing out hollow doors instead of solid core
It goes on and on.
Does anyone have a good sample contract?
For what kind of project?
Contracts vary a great deal. Among the things you want included are a payment schedule (the more payments, the better; so dividing the total due into 8-10 increments, for example, over a 4 month job), a time frame, a commitment to have workers at the job every day work is permitted in the building--no gaps because they are at other jobs, clause incorporating a set of drawings by reference and the contractor's initials on every page of the drawings. These are not the only terms, but they are the terms that can get omitted easily enough. You must READ the contract you are given. They aren't in stone and most GC's will be open to discussing altering clauses if you present good reasons. I look for a fair and balanced contract that everyone feels good about when signing. Your architect should take a look at the contract as well because she will know what is common or unusual and spot deficiencies more easily than you are likely to.
I did a mid to high end gut on a junior 4 of over 1000sf, reconfiguring the entire floorplan and every surface was redone. Total was about 135K...so 250K is definitely do-able if you find the right contractor and do most, if not all, of the legwork yourself. If you spend $300 per sf there is no way you will get your money out.
I do wonder what some people mean by mid -highend. What appliances did you buy? What custom millwork did you order? What kind of lighting? Any home automation? Did you skim coat all walls and ceilings?
I ask these questions because there is no way to do a mid to highend renovation for $100.00 a sq ft.
Maybe just maybe if you can find someone who is not licensed and doesnt use licensed plumbers or electricians.
Most of my clients are mid-hi-end and it generally costs them anywhere from $200-$700.00 sq ft
Primer - that's an interesting question - one which I sometimes wonder about when I see these threads. Has anyone really ever posted "did bare bones to low end renovation"? Cannot recall one.
I am actually currently seeing (in my building) a TOTAL gut renovation in progress: ceilings torn out, floors torn up (with new subflooring put in) EVERYTHING - would love to know $ going in - but no way is it in the the dmasond ballpark.
dmasonmd: very impressive. I do not know how it was possible, but I applaud you. I do not understand because I can begin breaking it down as follows for a jr-four high end:
$30,000: kitchen millwork/counters
$8000: appliances, sink, faucet, pulls
$8500: bathroom fixtures, shower glass, plumbing
Now, I have yet to include flooring, crown and base mouldings and door casings, doors (Trustile-type), polished nickel doorknobs/hinges or the like, new electrical throughout including recessed, cables/wires/etc in walls and CAT5 cable outlets/etc, custom closets, windows replaces as necessary, bath marble/stone, redoing the flooring/drain system/plumbing of bathroom, movement of any kitchen appliance locations.
Next, let's figure costs of demo, materials for wall reconfiguring, subflooring as needed to be replaced...
Unless everyone worked for free and materials were not truly high end (a Baldwin Home Depot doorknob is not "just as good" as one from Samuel Heath...a shower curtain is not the same as tempered frameless glass...home theatre in a box is not a high end installation of integrated speakers...) I don't get how you redo 1000 sq/ft + for $135K using an architect and licensed workers in a reputable building with proper permits.
> I don't get how you redo 1000 sq/ft + for $135K using an architect and licensed workers in a reputable building with proper permits.
So your position is that the renovation can't even be done for $135psf, yet there are some people here who vehemently insist that a purchase will go for $500psf.
I usually do about 7 or 8 complete gut Renovations a year. It doesn't always mean every wall coming down but it always consist of a new kitchen at least one complete bathroom, skim coat all walls and ceilings, custom Millwork( that can really be pricey), new lighting, new wood floors,new moldings, etc.
Most of these projects come in at least 250 sq ft.
>Most of these projects come in at least 250 sq ft.
Primer, in this $250psf for renovation, does that include apt23's backdoor to get to $500psf?
Yes it's 250k for a renovation and that is with a lot of leg work to get great prices. I believe what kyle was saying is you cannot do a mid to high-end project for around 100 sq ft and I agree 100%
A bathroom is 30k
Floors, skim coating, custom Millwork, new electric, etc. Impossible.
That doesn't leave much room to get to apt23's backdoor $500psf.
Primer, it was exactly what I was saying. It is utterly possible to renovate a jr-four for under $100K. But don't tell me that will be a "high end" job. It won't. It will be a budget job. For high end, it is $250/sq. ft plus.
And Huntersburg, what it will cost has little to do with what it will sell for if that was your point (I am not all that clever and have difficulty understanding your posts). Costs for a high end renovation are virtually impossible to recover upon resale. You do it to live in it and love it and enjoy it and bask in it every day you come home. By the time you sell the reno will be slightly worn and even "timeless" tastes shift and reveal some of their age. Hopefully the market will have ticked up a bit to compensate, but for a buyer with a long term horizon and enough money, a high end reno is done to enjoy...not to make money.
kylewest, there is a contingent of loud apes on west 67th street, and some whiney polyannas in apartment 23, who insist that prime manhattan apartments will sell for $500 psf. That doesn't quite seem possible when the renovation itself costs $250 psf. (or possible for many other reasons) http://streeteasy.com/nyc/talk/discussion/25684-w-67s-prediction-come-to-pass-thru-the-backdoor
kyle - reslly wish you could somehow post pictures of your renovated apartment - we've read so much about the whole reno process, would love to see the final result.
It would be nice to see some pics and you really should start a blog anyway.
Most of the projects I am talking about are on my website which has a blog, I am new to blogging so that part could be better. Most of the project I talk about are 250 per sq ft or higher
Primer05, nice work. Too bad the Sheffield "before" pictures aren't there anymore; those were scarey.
I think the before was on a site that I help from time to time.
Will look at website later Primer. Look forward to it. I've kept a nominal line between life on this site and mine in the real world. Prudence has won and thus, no photos. Sorry. But my experience is not just that of my own place as I hope I've conveyed. For 15 years my ex was an interior designer who gutted apartments at the Pierre, the Sherry-Netherlands, the Dakota, any number of prears on CPW, etc. I studied architecture from an art history perspective in college (not a major, though) and loved tagging along with my ex to understand what he was doing. His strength was space planning and creating order for modern living out of some very antiquated layouts and at times ill-considered prior renos. All that tagging along and time spent in his office led me to be drawn into many a friend's project in more recent years. I know my way around a contract, an immediate family member is a contractor specializing in renos... It all adds to having a clue about renovations and design. Putting it all to good use on my own place was a blast and seeing that I might actually have learned something over all those years was great.
The thing about a reno is that when you are done, you have a sort of "expertise" about all these things, but since you are unlikely to jump into another reno if you are normal, it goes to waste. I like being able to share some of what I've learned through others, by watching, and by doing, on here. In the years I've been here, though, Primer is the first contractor to regularly provide reliable, straight-forward info. that I think has made an invaluable contribution.
Kyle - re hardwood vs engineered. I have been told that the engineered is "engineered hardwood". And it is built to reduce the amount of warping that can occur due to humidity. It can still be sanded down and resurfaced, but just not as many times. My designer said recently buyers have been shifting their preference to this vs. your normal hardwood planks.
Look--I'm open to being schooled on advances in engineered flooring. If it has that damned micro-beveled edges on the boards, then don't talk to me though. Frankly, I've personally never seen quality flooring have a warping issue so that sounds like a red herring to me. If warping is not actually a real and common issue, I think I'd rather have flooring I can comfortably have refinished 3-5 times versus flooring that is limited to 1-2 refinishes. So this said, tell me about engineered floors. How are they different than hardwood, what are the pros and cons? Maybe my info is out of date.
Kyle: You're talking about pre-finished flooring which typically has a bevelled edge whether it's engineered or solid. Unfinished engineered flooring has no bevel, and once put down, is indistinguishable from solid hardwood. It's just structured more like plywood, but instead of a thin veneer of real wood on top, it's got a fairly thick piece of solid wood on top. This can usually be sanded and refinished a couple of times, and a thinner piece of engineered can end up being as stable as a much thicker piece of solid. It's great in the city because if you rip out parquet tiles that have been glued down on concrete slab you can replace with engineered wood without having to put down a subfloor (which would lead to raising or cutting all the doors, etc). I guess the con in your eyes is that it can only be refinished twice. I don't know anyone that's wanted to refinish 3-5 times but that's just me.
Yes, depends on what you mean by "high end". Personally, I like to get a high-endish look for as little $ as possible. I dislike spending $ on millwork, because it's generally too personalized to get any return on it, and most casual observers would not even notice whether something is $$$ or $$ or $. Fancy natural stone - same. I would not spend $$$ on a kitchen in a jr. 4 or bathroom fixtures. And if you compare your apt to others in the same class, it is unlikely that high end finishes would make a difference on the market. Renovated and neutral, yes. High end, no.
As for warping of natural hardwood, you may not get permanent warping but I've noticed seasonal variations - the gaps widen in the winter, narrow in the summer. Every single year. This, despite a 3-month winter to spring seasoning in the place of installation.
They are making wood flooring now in several ways, you can get a prefinished wood floor but its real wood and stained throughtout. Look at http://www.wideplankflooring.com/. It is hardwood.
Primer/Kylewest, What if you did not want to change the structural elements. Just wanted to do high-end renovation. Everythink stays where it is. For example, if you take a 25*85 loft, most of the layouts can already be seen from various listing. I have heard if you go to an architect with a layout, they can draw up the plan for your 2000 sq ft loft for 10K. After that you can use high end materials. This would also reduce custom milwork. The apartment will not be in any architecture or interior decoration magzine but it will look as good as any new high end development. What does that cost? Thanks.
I'm about to purchase my first NYC apt. I'll have to gut the kitchen. Its Pretty small, maybe 60-70sq feet including the cabinets. I'll want to install mid-high end appliances, cabinets and fixtures. Any thoughts on how much I should budget (including architect)?
Very good but very tough question.
The best I can do is give you very general numbers based on average.
Bathrooms: 25-40k each
Kitchens: (not custom cabinets) 30-40k
New wood floors including sub floor and base moldings: $30-40k
Skim coating and painting: 20-30k
Electrical: 5-25k, it really depends on what your doing
Profit and overhead
You'll still require finished carpentry work though, Mercer. Inside closets, radiator covers, door frames probably. Also new lighting, and likely you'll want more electrical outlets, CAT5 plugs, hidden cables, speaker system wires hidden, possibly recessed speakers for surround sound...so I think electrical/lighting/sound will be much more than $5K. But Primer's and my view of estimates is usually very close to one another and again I find myself agreeing with him.
I'm going to get yelled at by KW and Primer, but you can always get cheaper. Depends on your comfort level in terms of dealing with trades & types of GCs.
Of course you can always get cheaper.
You can buy a Porshe or you can get a Kia but you relly dont want a used car where the transmission blows out after a year.
Sometimes just sometimes it cost you more money when you dont hire a professional. I cant tell you how many times I get called to come finish a project that another contractor started but never finished.
I am working in an apt right now that was started a year and half ago and is not finished, its an 800 sq ft one bedroom. It has cost the client so much more money because she hired and an inexpensive unexperienced GC.
Same thing happens when people say "Oh-drawings are so expensive. The kitchen cabinet maker says he is also a contractor and the job is simple so he can do it without drawings." Or, "You can decide what exactly you want done once we get started...let's get demo underway...I can assure you this is all within your budget..." These are the ways people "save money" and end up spending ridiculous sums way outside their budgets and suffer untold aggravation in the process. Sometimes going cheap will work. Most often it doesn't. I prefer not to roll dice when it comes to financial decisions. I am always willing to spend a bit more if it will help avoid huge risks. Cheapest is rarely the way to go with renovations. Doesn't mean you must spend top dollar; only that the guy offering the least expensive proposals will usually make the money up down the road one way or another, or he is so incompetent that he's underbid the job without meaning to do so and will walk away from it later when he realizes it.
I have seen different classic 6 renovations, lets call it 1700sft, where:
1 spent $500,000 or $294/sft
1 spent $265,000 or $156/sft
I swear, they both had the same level of quality to it and both families were very happy. These are friends of mine so I will not disclose address. The half mil reno was higher quality materials, very expensive furniture, hidden bar in built in wall, etc. The cheaper one was quality materials too, just not as high end, no hidden bar, no crazy expensive furniture or built ins. I actually liked the taste of the less expensive one, not to say the higher one was bad, just not my style. Everyone has their own taste. To me, the classic 6 that spent 265k, will get the better value upon resale and I would not say they cheapened out on the reno..
Lets see here:
Kitchen - $60,000
2 Baths - $60,000
Powder room - $20,000
New Floors - $30,000
New Wiring - $20,000
Skim Coat/Paint - $20,000
Then you got $55,000 leftover for say closet work, architect fees, wall reconfigs, and other items they must have did for the reno process..Thats $156/sft..for 1700sft reno. Give me 1700sft and $265,000, and I think I can get a very nice reno done under budget. I just dont think you need to double that to get it done. Sure maybe you need to go to 300K, but 500K??
"Costs for a high end renovation are virtually impossible to recover upon resale. You do it to live in it and love it and enjoy it and bask in it every day you come home. By the time you sell the reno will be slightly worn and even "timeless" tastes shift and reveal some of their age. Hopefully the market will have ticked up a bit to compensate, but for a buyer with a long term horizon and enough money, a high end reno is done to enjoy...not to make money."
totally agree with this, as I dont see the 500k reno explained above recouping all those expenses at resale..that would mean a classic 6 they paid 1.9m for, is now 2.4m without changing any market conditions. At 2.4m price point, I think buyers expect more size..just my 2 cents
as noted by nyc10023, a lot of it has to do with how comfortable an individual is being a part of the process. consider the mysteries of purchasing wine. is a $40 bottle necessarily better than a $20 bottle? it is always tempting to believe that there is a right answer and there usually is someone on the other end of the transaction happy to convince you.
Same thing happens when people say "Oh-drawings are so expensive. The kitchen cabinet maker says he is also a contractor and the job is simple so he can do it without drawings."
Totally agree with Kyle here- if youre going to do the renovation their are things you can cut on but you should def get the drawings from your designer before hand with specs so the GC can build according to it. Thats also why its worth it to have an arch. designer do the drawings -and supervise to a certain extent the renovation to make sure the contractors are building it according to the drawings.
I have seen time and again where the homeowner gets drawings from teh designer and then wants to save some $$ so doesnt have the designer oversee the GC- that means checking up on him 1x day to make sure everything is being built according to the drawings- and then the apt/house doesnt get built as per the drawings since the designer watching over it because the homeowner didnt want to pay. Then everyone, especially the homeowner ends up unhappy.
It's worked out for me 4x. Different contractors each time, definitely not a turnkey experience as Primer delivers. I've had architects but not designers, very little custom millwork. Custom cabs once (had drawings for that), off-the-shelf mouldings from Dykes, solid core doors, varying levels of gutting. Look, if you want a turnkey experience, then get one. FWIW, I have never had a contractor who excelled at everything, but I am okay with that.
urbandigs: I think you underestimate the cost of reconfiguring of existing bathroom and creation of new bathroom. As the OP framed the question, you aren't going to gut a full bath down to a half bath and move walls, and actually create a full bath out of nothing with the attendant added plumbing and drains and waste line extensions for $60K with relatively high end fixtures and nice finishes. I'm not talking WaterWorks. Just nice nickel plated hardware, tempered glass frameless shower partitions, decent mirrors/cabinets that aren't from Pottery Barn, good lighting. If all you were doing were renovating existing bathrooms, then $60K can get you there if you watch the budget on materials and limit bells and whistles.
Also, if this were an estate type classic 6, then there will likely be a decent amount of reconfiguring needed to make the maid's room part of the kitchen (if left as laundry or office or guest room, then obviously not as much of an expense). Also, tweaking of original layouts is usually desireable and needn't disrupt the pre-war charm while still bringing the place into line with how people live today. I think on top of the charges you outline, I'd add
$25K +/- to reconfigure maids room, create or move a closet here or there, tweak a corridor to open up a room more, etc.
$25K architect (including bid review, expediting fees and construction oversight)
$15K+ additional for the bathrooms
$5K-10K for lighting fixtures throughout,
$6K for 8 custom closets varying in size from walk-in to linen closets,
$8K+ new bases mouldings throughout (assume existing crowns and door casings can be kept)
$2K Coop building fees for review by building architect and reno "application" (don't know what if any equivalent is for a condo)
$5K+ millwork for radiator covers which are needed in about 75% of pre-war renos
$2K replacement of 5 or so windows where seal is bad or other problems exist
And finally, I think you electrical estimate is low if you include additional outlets (no way is a 1923 apartment going to have adequate # of outlets), new switches on all lights, burying of all cables and CAT 5 wiring, incorporated speakers, a few new overheads or sconces). I'd add $10K for a minimum of $30K in electrical work for a renovation on a classic 6, although I think it could go higher if the homeowner is not very budget conscious and ready to compromise a fair amount.
Total on top of your $210K: about $105K =/-. You had a $55K allowance on top of the budget, so all totalled, I come out to about $50K more than you did for a realistic reno of the type described. A grand total of $315,000 for a decent quality reno.
But here, the OP wants to skim coat and replace all floors too, AND add HVAC which I took to mean central air. Adding that in, I'll stand by my original estimate of $500,000-600,000.
well I say I never did this kind of renovation myself, as Ill openly admit, I cant afford a classic 6 right now or a gut renovation of that kind of a property. Wish I could! hehe..this is just from what friends told me and the finished product I saw. Guess they can understate the total costs though!
digs, I hear you because here also think my reno estimates are low.
In my mind, the problem is the HVAC -- standards have quickly changed from a few years ago, where central air was a real luxury that "rich" people had, to now, where everyone who is spending over $1.5 mm considers it a basic necessity.
So then, once you have to deal with the ductwork, you have to have an architect, and once you have an architect -- well, as one architect explained to some of my clients, "you want it to look architected."
Under that line of reasoning, the people who are spending $300/sf. (or $400/sf.) are part of a movement towards higher "minimum" standards, and will get it back.
Be interesting to see if that's actually the case in five years.
Kylewest is on point here. There is no way you can do a full gut and move around bathrooms etc for less than around $250 psf. We are completing a full gut of a Soho loft and we are moving around the bathrooms and kitchen and putting in central air. The AC by itself is going to cost you 50-70K if you have to run piping to the roof etc. You may also have to run additional electrical power to the unit from the basement if the apartment doesn't have enough power. Plus you have all sorts of costs: Your own architect (assume 12-15% of the project cost), the building's architect, expeditors, etc. The people above who think you can just get an architect to do "plans" and that it are fools. You'll have to negotiate the plans with your building and the building architect and then you'll need to submit them to the Buildings Dept and there may be changes they'll want done. If you are doing a renovation in a Landmarked area you'll also have to do a Landmarks filing. In addition, you'll need to move out of the apartment while all of this is being done.
Our renovation is costing slightly less than $250 psf but we bid it out to several contractors and we entered into our contract last year. My understanding is that contractors aren't as hungary as they were then.
In fairness Noah, a classic-6 in decent shape can be done for your estimate if limited to just redoing 2 bathrooms, kitchen, some mouldings, minor electrical, refinish floors and some of the smaller stuff I mentioned. If you skip moving of walls, plumbing changes and major electrical, and keep a reign on costs by not getting to extravagant, it could be done for under $300K. It is just that most classic 6's I see are a wreck and need extensive deep renovations.
Two questions - although it may be too late to get a response on this thread - 1. it is unclear to me whether the costs above per square foot are "all in" costs, i.e. including permits, third party consultant costs such as engineer and building architect, and the big one, architects fees and 2. what is a standard fee from a decent architect (I have been quoted 18 percent, which seems high to me) and are flat fee arrangements common/better at keeping prices down. Thanks!
ud--the unlikely recoup of spent renovation $$ applies to both renovations done by an owner, and those of owners who have bought freshly renovated/new apts--that shit gets consumed (trashed) or, at best, goes out of style--rarely considered in horizon analysis of re investment
When we refer to sq ft prices that is really just a very rough guesstimate. Just like everything else there are some less expensive architects and designers and some highly priced ones. Use the price per sq ft as an example, but until you meet with architects, designers and contractors you will not get a very clear answer
As for fee arrangements, most work on % of total you spend. I was uncomfortable with that and insisted on a fixed fee contract for services that was broken down into phases and sub-fees: 1) design and drawings; 2) bidding job including assistance identifying prospective contractors and reviewing their bids, and coop board approval process; 3) construction oversight. In the end, it may have worked out to the same as a percentage arrangement, but knowing the fixed price helped us in terms of nailing down our budget. We weren't dicks about it--if something cropped up that needed unanticipated attention from the architect, we accepted the additional fees and understood that was only fair. That only happened once or twice. The contractor took care of all licensing and expeditors so his bid included those fees. As with the architect, we insisted on a hard bottom line price from contractors bidding the job. We submitted excruciatingly detailed drawing that specified every finish and piece of hardware down to the hinges and thickness of the doors. The deal was that everything covered in the drawings was included in the bid. If something was altered, we accepted there would be a fee for the change order. In the end we had mercifully few change orders.
INVEST IN DETAILED DRAWINGS: take the time to make all selections BEFORE the job is bid. If you do this, your odds of coming in close to budget increase immeasurably and your relationship with the contractor is more likely to remain a happy one. It all starts with this. Some people say "I'm not spending $10,000 on drawings--that's stupid." Well, ask those same people how that worked out for a gut reno job. In the end, I am certain the change orders more than made up for that money they could have spent on better drawings that would have obviated those changes.
Really Primer--You have clients that have paid you $700/sq.foot? That's not high end, that's in the stratosphere. Are you kidding me? So 2000' runs to $1.4 million and 3000' only comes to $2.1 million. And I thought Clark Construction lorded over the city. I guess it's possible if you come across the rich nitwit-and I mean really rich nitwit-who has a serious shortage of common sense, he'll want to dress up his "toy" and you'll soak him.
This was a really interesting link and having done numerous gut renovations I see both sides.
I totally understand the prices that Kylewest is sharing, in fact I think it is very generous of her to go into such detail and it is a great reliable guide for people who are after advice and are not going to live there life totally focused on a renovation.
I also understand Front porch and others, who are hearing there estimates are low and knowing it can be done for less.
Personally when I am doing a renovation, I am not doing much else (which I know isn't feasible for a lot of people), I am 100% focusing on getting the best price on items, monitoring every part so that there isn't wastage and savings where possible and making it as beautiful as possible.
Some things I did to save during my renovations.
Appliances and fixtures.
I bought on ebay from 100% rated sellers.
$2,950 36 inch new viking, that had been used for a cooking demonstation (only one of the burners, there was still the plastic in the oven part), instead of $6,995.
$250 - $290 per fixture for new Lefroy Brooks instead of $3,000 a fixture for 3 bathrooms.(ebay London)
$12 sq ft for magnificent calacutta gold tile in Texas (yes it got me 20% more for shipping and extra breakage allowance, which didn't happen) instead of $36- $49 ft here for comparable.
Etc......so I get the high end look with the high end products, however there is hassle attached, getting storage, looking months in advance etc instead of a contractor/ designer ordering for you and following up.
With my painting, I knew I wanted the $70,000 + hand brush paint job, I also knew I didn't want to pay that, so I got the contractor to bring in the $140 day painters from outside Janovic and said I don't want a fast job, I want it to be beautiful and I know how I want it. Patch, sand paper, vacum every crevice, tack cloth over that, prime, sand paper down a paper grade, vacum, tack cloth over that primed area, apply the 1st coat of paint etc.....
I was there like a hawk, watching, encouraging, feeding, 10 days latter a magnificent paint job for a fraction of the price.
With electricity, besides buying the light fixtures, I would also buy the wiring eg the cat 5 I would get it at home depot for $70 for about 1000 ft, this way I negotiated a flat $125 per electric point instead of hearing......."oh all that wire form here to here", when the actual wire is about 7 cents a foot and everything is open for them during the gut stage.
The electrician was fine with this, he said ironically he made as much as a higher quoted job, because I so respected his time and had everything ready for him with no dilly dallying, (as Kylewest said, I also believe very strongly in detailed plans). so when the electrician came in he could see exactly where I wanted everything and there was nothing slowing him down,..... like let me see how high I want this sconce? It was all marked out for him at 54 inches on the wall, the demo guys had cleared the way for the wiring, because obviously they are a lot less expensive then him, the fixtures and wiring were laid out on the table etc
I could go on and on, (as I do :).
The price you pay for your renovation will be determined by how much work you are willing to put in to make sure it is as efficient as possible, or if you want to receive this gift and work by hiring someone else to do it of course it will be more.
Primer can surely answer for himself if he chooses to, but figures of $500+ per sq/ft are more in line with what I would expect for a high end town house gut re-build/reno. For example, the townhouses that have sold in recent years on 9th or 10th streets between 5th and 6th Aves have for the most part required complete rebuilding with virtually nothing more than the facades left after demo. It is like new home construction, and yes, it costs millions. For an apartment, I think to reach that price per sq/ft you are talking about extremely special features like a custom staircase like the glass one in the Soho Apple store, possibly an elevator, extensive LED lighting installations, etc. Trophy apartment owners can be partial to such things. For most mortals, $400/sq/ft is pretty resoundingly highend in an apartment.
As Gabrielle says, it all depends, even for a TH full gut (as in no joists remaining), how much one is supervising the job and getting involved personally.
Unless I had a typo I am pretty sure i did not write that a gut renovation does not cost $700.00 a sq. ft. Did you see that somewhere?
That also doesn't mean that people have not spent $700.00 a square foot because they have, its just not typical
Go back and reread my comment. I did not say a gut renovation "does not cost $700 sq./ft." What I DID say was that price was not just high-end but in the stratosphere, and questioned your credibility when you implied that you have had client(s) that have actually paid you $700 per square foot. Here's an idea, why don't you, on this discussion board, tell us the address or addresses-no apartment numbers, of course, where you did the requested renovation and actually charged the client(s) the aforementioned amount.
By the way, I agree with kylewest that if we're talking about town house rebuild, with supreme high end finishes, then $700/sq. ft. or more is not out of the question. A rebuild, however, takes the description "gut renovation" to an entirely different level.
I did not say that a client paid me $700.00 sq ft. I said it costs my clients anywhere from $200-$700.00 a sq ft. I am not sure what makes someone credible or not in regards to what other people spend. There are some clients who spend over 100k on audio/ video and an additional 100k on kitchen cabinets, throw in some venitian plaster and some gold leaf and next thing you know $700.00 a sq ft.
If you want to see how credible I am or not I do invite you to spend a day just going from project to project and you can see for yourself. Let me know if that would work for you.
With all due respect, Gabrielle, the way you got bargains on fixtures would be exactly why I would not buy from a RE investor/flipper. In particular, it's interesting that you got deals on Ebay UK because I chatted with a guy who worked in a London bathroom fixture supply shop. He said that he and the other employees would grab any out-of-box or returned or slightly damaged fixtures and sell them on Ebay.
I like bargains just as much as anyone - I have bought tiles online (internationally) but when it comes to plumbing fixtures and appliances, I would rather buy new with warranties or at least (when buying with the apartment), know that the owner has lived with said appliances/fixtures for a while and would have fixed any glaring problems.
nyc10023, Hi, I understand and respect your right for your opinion and maybe I am taking it personally as I am a RE investor /home owner (like anyone who has made an investment in RE).
I want to give you additional information, I and others who know me well see me as VERY particular, I would so notice if anything was slightly damaged, which is why I only buy from sellers with 100% rating and full return policies. (I am sure what that bathroom fixture shop man told you was right, which is why you can get magnificent $3000 fixtures for a tenth of the price).
My point to the original question of "thoughts on cost", was it depends how involved you want to be with the renovation.
I see it as by me being so vigilant and time organized, I get to live in a beautiful space (that doesn't cost more than it need to, because I am willing to invest my time) and if I sell it in the future, then they must have liked the choices too.
Sometimes by being vigilant, besides getting the best price you also get the most beautiful.
Example I love calcutta gold marble for bathrooms and kitchens, you may have noticed if you go looking for slabs in Winter it is often more $$ without as much beauty or selection this is because they mine in Italy after the snow has melted, so the biggest collection and most beautiful often arrives into the US at the end of spring/early summer where you will get the largest collection coming in at the best price. So by being organized and buying the item "seasonally" and asking the yard to hold it you gain in both areas of price and beauty.
I agree with you in the sense that a "bargain" isn't a bargain if it brings glaring problems.
PS Primer, I totally agree with you and have friends who have spent $700 psf, ironically on a space where the "before" was also beautiful.
I work as a project manager for a construction company (Aki Renovations, formerly HMF Interior) specializing in interior apartment renovations. I do cost estimates and am intimately familiar with the prices. I find some of these prices absolutely laughable. We renovated 20 apartments at 301 E. 47th St. (Embassy House) last year for a total of 1 million dollars. These included apartments ranging from one bedroom to three bedrooms, for roughly $50,000 per apartment. This entailed a complete gut renovation of each unit, demolition and removal of debris, installation of new HVAC units which also included making new holes in the exterior walls, high end custom finishes and brand new appliances/fixtures throughout. I don't know how that's possible a contractor could command $500 per square foot. Please refer to their website, which has photos of that very project: http://akigroup.co/interior.html
The project was done by the book with DOB permits for all of the work. Since they also have a kitchen cabinet business, they fabricate their own custom cabinets, and not including appliances kitchens cost the contractor about $4,000 each, including a designer back splash (and that's for new kitchens in apartments that rent for $4,000/month). They also didn't use subcontractors, with all employees in-house. For smaller projects, the cost is higher per unit, but not nearly the prices suggested above.
Maybe Primer is posting here in attempt to justify such exorbitant prices, but the $250 sq/ft "rule of thumb" stated is outrageous. The $1 million bid for that job at 47th st was a cut-throat bidding process. But in the end, the project was executed (albeit with a low profit margin) on time and near its budget.
RE: "....Maybe Primer is posting here in attempt to justify such exorbitant prices......"
Clearly you never had opportunity to "estimate" high end jobs.
5-10 years from now you will realize how little you knew about this industry.
What your company does, it is called "commercial" jobs (rentals).
It is all about volume and not quality or "any" architectural significance.
Did your company had to:
- supply plumbing fixtures (single bathroom) that alone cost over $15K?
- supply kitchen appliances (for a typical NYC kitchen) in excess of 20K?
- supply "real" custom built kitchen cabinetry (no limitations, hardware, color, finish, size, species....)?
- install multi-zone HVAC system for 25 - 70K+?
- install "smart home" electrical systems (LiteTouch, Grafik Eye ...) 20-100K?
- install high-tech A/V systems 20-80K?
- water/sound proof anything?
- apply any custom finishes? "Linen white" paint does it all?
What is truly "laughable" is your definition of "high-end" and "custom".
I know for a fact that your company's "custom fabricated" kitchen cabinets
are imported (containers) from China @ 400.00$ each (average) and then "custom" stapled together and sold for 4,000.00$ (average). High-end? Custom?
It might be good business model but it is light years from high-end.
There are many (many, many) companies out there that can provide same services as your company.
But there are really few that can be called and can do "high-end".
thanks, jackson, for the alternative point of view.