How much does it cost to partially gut renovate a 4 story townhouse in Brooklyn? 

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Kate’s Project

Kate and her husband have just bought a townhouse to have more space for their family. The house has great potential because it is in an area of Brooklyn that is very near Park Slope and is quickly gentrifying. Kate’s vision is to have a very functional kitchen on the ground floor that can be flooded with light.

She contacted Bolster when in closing as she was looking for a soup to nuts solution for her renovation. She has a budget of $250,000 to tackle the renovation for the entire home and asked for advice on how to make her project a reality.

An adventurous chef, she wants a beautiful kitchen that vents perfectly. Her taste is modern and clean and she needs the renovation to reflect that so she is talking to Bolster Architect Agustin Ayuso about creating a design with very clean lines, less walls and a more open-plan feel. Updating windows and allowing in more light is a key driver for the renovation as is updating the bathrooms and moldings.

Kate also needs advice on how best to budget for a) creating a self-contained apartment with a separate entry for the second floor of the house that includes updating the second-floor bathroom b) bringing the cellar up to its basic shape and c) creating a roof terrace in the mid to long-term.

Overall, Bolster’s platform and professionals are helping make it easy for her to understand her project and how best invest her $250,000.


Kate's Problem

Kate is a smart consumer. She chose her new property carefully and once she builds her roof terrace, she will gain even more living space on her already 3,000 square feet home.  Because her property is an old townhouse, she’s concerned that there may be unforeseen issues with the building structure (and is psychologically preparing herself). This is one of the reasons why she chose Bolster -- peace of mind.


Bolster's Cost Estimate

Kate found Bolster online and within 5 days of a site visit her professionals had produced her free Cost Estimate. The report showed that the cost to do their project (the right way) would be at a minimum $222,652 ($74PSF) and at a maximum $280,760 ($94 PSF) and revealed the areas where they could save money while getting a great result for their $250,000 budget. 


Kate's Cost Breakdown

Architect's Fees: $33,464 – $46,160

Agustin will provide layout options and an action plan for Kate on how best to get value for money for her renovation while making sure there is a common vision driving each stage. As a first step Agustin will provide 3 sketches as an outline design so Kate can “see” what her home will look like without having to commit to paying full design fees.


Compliance Fees: $8,438 - $10,600

Compliance fees will vary depending on the final scope of work. These are pretty standard and include expediting, DOB filing fees etc. As the design becomes ever clearer, this number will be firmed up.


Rough Construction & Labor Costs: $90,375 - $112,000

These costs refer to actual materials to build the renovation. Even though these costs are a first pass, they are accurate to within 98% using Bolster's Renovation Cost Algorithm and provide clarity on the percentage of Kate's budget that will be invested in the unsexy aspects of construction (sorry sheetrock). 


Fixtures, Finishes & Appliances: $18,075 - $22,400

Kate is very down to earth and does not want to overly spend on fixtures and fittings but is definitely interested in durability and function (e.g. her kitchen sink needs to be a full 26” to fit baking trays).


Project Management & Insurances: $27,113 - $33,600

The scope of the project will determine Kate's indirect costs, such as labor and insurances.


Contractor Overhead & Profit: $45,188 - $56,000

hese fees are standardized at Bolster and calculated as a percentage of all other costs and so if Kate keeps the construction costs to a minimum, overhead and profit will also be lower. Bolster is radically transparent about these fees for the health of the project – homeowner, contractor and architect need to know exactly where and how each dollar is being spent on the renovation, otherwise designing to a target budget is impossible.


Bolster Financial Guarantee: $9,038 - $11,200

Kate can opt to have their project financially guaranteed with the Bolster Guarantee.  On approximately half of all traditional renovation projects, cost overruns are between 40% and 200%. Also every year, 17.2% of contractors in New York go out of business taking 77,245 projects and $700M of homeowner's money with them. That's why Bolster developed an algorithm to show how these financial exposures are reduced, and potentially eliminated, when renovating with Bolster. Kate's financial exposure to cost overruns and contractor failure on their project are $174,647 with a traditional contractor following the traditional renovation process, $21,122 with Bolster Contractor Aaron Borenstein following the Bolster Renovation Process and $0 when they purchasing Bolster’s Financial Guarantee.

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.