Valeria and Rafael's Project
Valeria and Rafael have a 1,675 square foot two-bedroom apartment (with a den) in an iconic condo building in Tribeca. They recently purchased the 880 square foot one-bedroom apartment adjacent to their unit and are looking to understand the cost of an apartment combination to give enough space and privacy for them and their children while achieving a layout that makes it look as though its always been one single apartment.
Valeria is a chef and wants to update the existing kitchen. The couple is unsure as to whether it makes sense to purchase the corridor next to their apartments in order to improve the entrance to the unit (which could have the added advantage of appreciating the couple’s property value).
Valeria and Rafael's Problem
Valeria and Rafael contacted Bolster because they wanted to understand the cost of the renovation, as well as the process and timeframe to do it right and have the option to rent the one bedroom apartment for a year to help pay for the renovation. The overall objective is to create a seamless flow between the apartments, update the existing kitchen and understand whether it makes business sense to buy the corridor in order to integrate it into the final design.
Valeria and Rafael could do a simple combination just by tearing down a wall. However, in order to have the property they really want, they are willing to invest up to $200,000 on the combination plus up to $75,000 on updating the existing kitchen. They are new to renovation and did contacted Bolster because “we desperately want to get it done right the first time”.
Bolster's Cost Estimate
Within 48 hours of receiving Rafael’s initial email, a Bolster Specialist, General Contractor and Architect visited their apartments and reviewed their requirements. Shortly after they received a Cost Estimate with a narrow minimum / maximum range of costs.
Rafael’s Cost Estimate, estimates that the cost to do the full combination is between $265,405 ($104 PSF) and $394,726 ($154 PSF) as opposed to simply tearing down a wall which would cost around $15,000. Importantly, the Cost Estimate was created specifically for their property, taking into account information given by Valeria and Rafael as well as sample data from other similar combinations in Manhattan condos carried out through Bolster’s platform.
Valeria and Rafael are sophisticated homeowners and understands they can make savings by purchasing flooring from a neighbor (who has remnants) and exploring layout options if they were to buy the hallway so they can properly understand exactly how much the property will appreciate. Valeria and Rafael have indicated that they would like to stay in their newly combined apartment until their kids are teenagers – a minimum of ten years.
Valeria and Rafael's Cost Breakdown
Architect's Fees: $40,964 - $62,660
Design costs will take Valeria and Rafael to the very end of the design process an optimal layout as well as value-for-money fixtures and fittings for the bathroom. The kitchen design is key in this project and represents a significant investment. Experts tip: homeowners looking for a seamless look in their apartment are better off having the architect design the kitchen for them rather than purchasing a kitchen from a high-end showroom (Bolster can help you with either option).
Compliance Fees: $8,100 - $13,225
Compliance fees cover things like expediting—that is, making sure all the required documents and permits are quickly filed and processed at the Department of Buildings—and depend on the final scope of the project. For Valeria and Rafael it is important to understand the cost, but also the timeframe of the project and are starting design a year in advance of construction. As a result they can plan their project with no rush.
Rough Construction & Labor Costs: $108,170 - $159,420
These costs cover the raw materials needed for the renovation—think sheetrock, plumbing pipes, electrical conduits, and carpentry—as well as the labor to install them. During the initial planning stages, these costs will be calculated using Bolster’s algorithm to give Valeria and Rafael a clear idea of what percentage of her budget will go toward these “hidden costs”.
Fixtures, Finishes & Appliances Allowance: $21,634 - $31,884
Valeria and Rafael are not overly interested in high-end appliances and fixtures and fittings. They are likely to choose solid, mid-end options that are robust and durable but not quite luxury to reflect what they care most about - the quality of the construction and design of their apartment.
Project Management & Mandatory Insurance: $32,451 - $47,826
Indirect costs, like labor and insurance, vary significantly depending on the scope of a project. Valeria and Rafael’s project is quite straight forward and is unlikely to pose complications or unforeseen issues during construction – incidentally the building was erected in 2008.
Contractor Overhead & Profit: $54,085 - $79,710
Because these fees are a percentage of the project budget, they depend on Valeria and Rafael’s overall construction costs. Valeria and Rafael’s Bolster Contractor and Architect will fully reveal where each and every dollar is going so Valeria and Rafael can lock-in their fixed-price cost and avoid needing to make any changes mid-renovation (which can send costs soaring).
Bolster Financial Guarantee: $10,817 - $15,942
Approximately half of renovation projects in this country go 40% to 200% over budget; moreover, each year, 17.2% of New York contractors go out of business, taking 77,245 projects and $700 million of clients’ money with them. If Valeria and Rafael use a non-Bolster contractor, their financial exposure to cost overruns and contractor failure on their project are $233,418. By working with Bolster Contractor Aaron Borenstein, Valeria and Rafael’s exposure to cost overruns will be limited to $28,315 and for between $10,817 and $15,942 (depending on the finalized project budget) Valeria and Rafael can opt to have their project financially guaranteed by Bolster, reducing their exposure to cost overruns to $0.
The Bottom Line
The biggest takeaway from Bolster’s Cost Estimate is that Valeria and Rafael were confident in committing to the project and spending between $275,000 and $300,000 on the renovation. When they contacted Bolster they had no idea of what their budget should be for a project like this. Now that they have reliable cost information, they will be able to put a good offer on the hallway area and make their new home a reality.
The next step for Valeria and Rafael is to engage Bolster Architect Agustin Ayuso who will deliver a low-cost set of sketches for their potential layouts so they can “see” what their new home will look like on plan. They are already comfortable with their choice of Bolster Professionals and confident that working through the Bolster platform si the best way for them to achieve their combination in a way that makes financial sense. They also know the figure they need to save over the next year in order to do the renovation the right way.
Want to Know the Cost of Your Renovation?
Homeowners rarely get reliable cost information about their home renovation until its too late. With Bolster, our professionals use a proprietary algorithm to give you accurate figures* for your final project cost - before you commit.
About Bolster’s Cost Estimates
Homeowners rarely get reliable and accurate information upfront about their project's total cost before engaging professionals. Bolster's Free Cost Estimate provides owners with a statistically accurate range of costs* from proven professionals to help them make informed decisions about the scope, design and cost of their renovation project, before they incur professional fees.
* Bolster Costs Reports provide a narrow minimum /maximum range of costs for an owner’s renovation project. In a random sample of 100 projects, 98 of Bolster’s Winning Bids (the final project cost) fell within this narrow minimum / maximum range.