NYC home renovation design remodeling architecture

12 Tips to Renovate a NYC Apartment


Gramercy Park Townhouse Renovation

This week, we keep it simple.  You want to renovate your New York City apartment and you’re not sure where to start.  Here is a checklist of 12 items to get you started with the process.  You should know we are also working on a complete workbook that takes you from renovation project idea to completion. This will be a more in depth guide to envision, plan, and execute your apartment renovation or remodeling project. Coming soon.

12 Tips to Renovate Your NYC Apartment

  1. The process to renovate starts with a phone call. Did the contractor answer or did they call you back? You learn a lot right upfront about their responsiveness and how fast they get back to you. Get at least three bids based on a walk-through of the property.
  2. This walk through can also be an inspection. Some contractors may be familiar with the area or building and can suggest ways to save money.
  3. Check the contractor’s references. Call people who did work with this contractor over two or three years ago. Ask how the work is holding up. Call recent clients and ask how fast the work was done. Was the contractor easy to work with?
  4. Will you be living on the property during the renovation? We strongly advise against this, if at all possible.
  5. Renovation for resale has a different emphasis than renovation to live in. Consider this for the design, your priorities, and budget.
  6. If renovating to sell is the goal, then you should renovate to the sell-sheet. You will be choosing appliances that will influence a buyer. You will want the interior to be straight forward. Streamlined and open are the magic words.
  7. Stick with wood floors when renovating to sell. Paint using neutral colors.
  8. PLEASE don’t use cheap materials.
  9. Be “green” or eco-friendly wherever and whenever possible. It’s also makes for a great selling point these days.
  10. Are you thinking of doing-it-yourself? Don’t underestimate the level of professional knowledge needed to successfully plan a renovation.
  11. With a contractor, you want a project manager who will manage the sub-trades and make sure they are cooperative and stick to the schedule.
  12. Renovation is a long and time-consuming slog, but not necessarily high-stress or nightmarish, if you hire the right people and have a strong vision and realistic budget.” Someone said that. And they’re right!


About the Editor:

RJ Diaz is a renovation and remodeling construction management executive in New York City. RJ is passionate about high quality, well-crafted construction and requires the same from every member and subcontractor on his team. RJ started RenovatingNYC in 2010 to share the best resources in the New York City renovation industry.  For advice about your own renovation or remodeling plans, preliminary cost estimates and project opportunities, please contact RJ using the form below.