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Alterations, conversions and more in New York and elsewhere.

5 mistakes New Yorkers make while Altering their Homes

By Ritu Saheb, Architect, AIA

Renovating your home is a difficult job in any part of the country, but much more so in New York city. This is a simple guide for a house owner on how to avoid 5 major mistakes most building owners make.

Can we convert this historic building into 3-unit apartment building?.

Can we convert this historic building into 3-unit apartment building?.

1. You have to begin much earlier than you expect to. Most owners believe their renovation will be completed in 3 months. While that is mostly true, they do not consider time spent on hiring professionals, coordinating between a team of consultants and vendors, building approvals, permitting etc.

2. Don't go it alone. Hire a professional who knows how to do it- an architect and/or an interior designer who will oversee the entire project. It would be a good use of your time and money, while making this challenging job much easier for you.

3. Get the bidsYou can ALWAYS save lots of money of money by having architects, designers, kitchen vendors, contractors etc bid for your project. Don't be shy. Be sure to compare apples to apples in order to 'level the bids'.

4. Sign an extensive contract with the Contractor. Do not just have the contractor have you pay an ongoing invoice, sign a contract before you begin work specifying the terms clearly. Google for standard type of contracts that exist- lump sum, cost plus fees, bonus and penalty etc.

5. Hold on that last 10%Most contractor will leave last few things hanging in the air, such as closing a permit, aligning that wall plate, obtaining manual for your fireplace etc. That is why you need to hold on the last 10% of the final payment, to have the job completed as per your satisfaction.