4 Lessons Learned from a New York City Apartment Renovation

No matter how many hours of HGTV we watched (and believe me, there were plenty), there was nothing that could completely prepare us for our home renovation a few years ago. The combination of our two-bedroom apartment and the adjacent one-bedroom apartment – as we assumed – would give us enough room to grow our family with an investment smaller than buying and selling a new three-bedroom apartment in the Brooklyn neighborhood. In addition, we can design the house to our liking.

who – which she did It proves true, but not without some hard lessons learned.

A wise friend told us before we started our project that if you can survive a major home renovation with your partner, you can work through just about anything together. She was absolutely right. More difficult, we were raising a one-year-old baby While Combine apartments. We were really into testing.

Now that hindsight has kicked in and the project is complete, I can share some of the knowledge gained that can (hopefully!) help the next person looking to remodel their home.

1. Don’t skimp on due diligence

Your team—from the contractor and subcontractors to your architect—requires a full inspection. Request updated licenses and referrals before getting started. Just because someone comes recommended by a neighbor or friend doesn’t mean they are the right person for your project. Ask about the size and scope of their previous work to ensure that their experience matches the requirements of your renewal. Talk to past clients to hear about the ups and downs. Read reviews online. Even if it takes a few extra weeks to settle, it will be worth it in the long run. Resigning someone halfway for doing a bad job is much more difficult than waiting for the right person to be hired.

2. Ask about each cost

Never assume that the contractor’s estimated price is the best price – or that it includes all the small costs. For example, we were led to believe that a particular flooring company had the best price for the type of wood we wanted to install. But as it turned out, the quotation given to us by the builder only included wood engineering, not shipping or installation, which made the cost as exorbitant as all other bids. We’ve already signed off on the purchase, so this was a huge surprise expense. Whether you’re buying blinds, a ceiling lamp or a floor lamp, always compare prices and ask about any additional fees and costs. Outlets that offer free shipping, like Amazon, are suddenly a boon to us. We didn’t run into unexpected costs and didn’t have to make shopping around town or pay delivery charges. Lesser known fact: Amazon also offers design tools like “Shop by room” And the “home style test . “

3. Try to stay

Our biggest expense in this whole process? moving in. twice. Living during the renovation with a child was not ideal: there will be times when we will not have running water, the apartment will be covered in dust, and the noise is unbearable. And while I don’t regret moving during the transition, we should have started our search to find affordable living options early on. The project (of course) took longer than initially anticipated, which left us struggling to secure another sub-rent and then pay for it through the nose. In hindsight, we should have moved out of town, where short-term housing is more plentiful and less expensive.

4. Apply for permits ASAP

Depending on your municipality or town, some permit approvals may take longer than average. For example, our spray business took several months to get approved (and that was after it was expedited) due to supposed backup in New York City. This is a big deal, unless you are okay with living in an unfinished house and need to invite the contractors again later to finish their work.

In short, home renovations will never be as easy as they seem on TV. The good news is that the renovation allowed our family to grow without having to move out of the Brooklyn neighborhood, where rising home prices could easily have taken us off the market. We survived – and it was totally worth it. And if you keep in mind some basic lessons, you can too!

With great prices and free shipping on millions of items, right to your door, Amazon makes it easy to achieve any goal. To find the tools you need to get the job done in the most convenient and affordable way, visit Amazon.com today.

This article was paid for by Amazon and co-created by RYOT Studio. The HuffPost editorial team was not involved in the creation of this content.

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