How much does it cost to combine two Upper West Side apartments? 

Bolster helps a first-time renovator understand the cost of their upcoming renovation project.

Eric's Project

An Upper West Side (10024) family of four (and soon to be a family of five!) were looking to combine their two bedroom apartment with their next door neighbor's one bedroom apartment. Their home is in a co-op at the heart of the Upper West Side, with a highly experienced and exacting Building Management team. The family's objective was end up with a three bedroom, three bathroom home with an open plan kitchen and ample storage for the family's sports equipment.


Eric's Problem

Eric didn't have a set budget for his project and when his Architect began receiving bids from several general contractors, the numbers varied enormously and the information contained in each bid was hard to compare like-for-like. Eric didn't know who to trust or where his money would be spent. 


Bolster's Solution

One of Eric's colleagues recommended Bolster and within a matter of days, met with his Bolster Specialist and Bolster Contractor Aaron Borenstein and received his Cost Report. The report showed very clearly where money needed to be spent to do their project (the right way) and that the cost would be at a minimum $803,750 ($412 PSF) and at a maximum $893,750 ($458 PSF) and revealed the areas where he could save money. The report also helped Eric settle on a budget of $850,000 ($436 PSF) for his project.


Interpreting the Cost Report

Here's how the costs for Eric's project break down:  

  • Architect's Fees: $0 – $0. Not included.

  • Compliance Fees: $0 – $0. Not included.

  • Rough Construction & Labor Costs: $401,875 - $445,875. These costs refer to the building materials and qualified trades people required to build Eric's renovation. Aaron forecasted that Eric could save around $40,000 on rough construction and labor on his Audio Visual and kitchen costs by choosing a semi-custom kitchen instead of a full custom kitchen. Eric's building management are also mandating he use the building;s approved plumber and electrician. It is possible that negotiations can take place to help make their fees a little more competitive and save perhaps $10,000 to $20,000 on their ~$100,000 cost.

  • Fixtures, Finishes & Appliances: $80,375 - $89,375.  Savings of around $20,000 on the Audio Visual and kitchen costs could also be achieved here. 

  • Project Management & Insurances: $120,563 - $134,063. It is standard practice for contractors to inflate their direct costs with a portion of their indirect costs (e.g. add 50% of their overhead and profit to your material costs) as they fear homeowners will not understand the true value they add in protecting, managing and delivering their project. Aaron did not need to inflate his direct costs because Bolster's method helps educate Eric on the exact indirect costs required to deliver his project successfully. 

  • Contractor Overhead & Profit: $200,938 - $223,438. These fees are standardized at Bolster and calculated as a percentage of all other costs and so if Eric indeed chooses the semi-custom kitchen option and other cost-saving recommendations, Aaron's overhead and profit will also be lower. 

  • Bolster Financial Guarantee: $40,168 - $44,688. Eric can opt to have his 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. Eric's financial exposure to cost overruns and contractor failure on their project are $810,743 with a traditional contractor following the traditional renovation process, $100,743 with Aaron Borenstein following the Bolster Renovation Process and $0 when they purchases Bolster’s Financial Guarantee.

Based on the information provided in the Cost Report along with Aaron's recommendations for cost savings, Eric is proceeding so he can get a Final Bid for his project. 

Want to Know the Actual 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.

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* Bolster Costs Reports provide a narrow min /max range of costs for home renovation projects worth $75,000 and over. In a random sample of 100 renovation projects, 98 of their final project costs fell within this narrow min / max range and we are constantly working to improve this number.