How to Prepare for a Boston Condo Remodel

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Follow These Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Boston-Area Condo Remodeling Project

Remodeling your condominium can help turn your “house” into a “home” – all while maintaining the uniquely pleasant vibe of luxury condo living.

Of course, every condo remodeling project is unique, meaning condo owners will have varying sets of issues to overcome when they decide it’s time for a remodel.

Regardless of the exact situation, however, virtually every condo remodeling project begins with the following question: “Where should I begin?”

If you’re unsure how to initiate your condo renovation or remodel, you can follow these steps to make sure you’re on the right track.

Custom dining room in luxury condo

Talk to Your HOA or Condo Board Beforehand

Most condominiums in the Boston area have a homeowner’s association or a condo board. Therefore, it’s wise to find out your condo association’s exact rules and regulations regarding remodels before any work begins.

There will undoubtedly be guidelines related to where and how you can build during your renovation project from both an exterior construction and interior design perspective.

This is especially true for the many high-rise condos throughout Boston and the surrounding area.

For example, here are just a few remodeling processes that generally require HOA approval:

  • Alterations to walls (both interior and exterior)
  • Alterations to ceilings
  • Flooring finish alterations
  • Electrical, plumbing, etc. alternations
  • Floor plan changes
  • Aesthetic changes to the exterior (and even interior aesthetic changes in some cases)

Kitchen and Living Area in Luxury Condo

If you don’t check these rules and secure approval beforehand, you’re sure to stumble into a headache somewhere down the line – and a costly one, at that. In addition, not following your condo owners’ guidelines can lead to miscommunications when it comes to receiving deliveries and working with general contractors, subcontractors, and the other members of your design team.

In short, make sure you communicate your plans with the condo board or HOA members to ensure you’re not interfering with any relevant policies.

Consider What Your Condo Remodel Budget Might Be

Condo remodeling costs can vary greatly depending on where exactly you live in New England. On top of that, you have to factor in variables as disparate as how many square feet your condo unit is to which exact rooms you want work to be done on.

When it comes to renovating room by room, for example, the cost to renovate a condo kitchen or master bathroom will be vastly different from the cost to alter or install a new kitchen or dining room.

In order to set a realistic budget, be sure to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Which of your rooms needs the most work?
  • How much work will those rooms need (for example, will you only be modifying a few things throughout the living room or knocking down walls to change the entire floor plan?)
  • Where (if anywhere) can you save? For example, what sorts of materials do you plan to use and how much do they cost? Alternatively, are there any parts of the remodeling process that you can DIY?
  • What sort of subcontractors (if any) will have to be brought in? For example, will you require the assistance of an interior designer? Electrician? Plumber? And to what extent?

Custom Kitchen Island in Luxury Condo

Find a Trusted New England General Contractor to Work With

After you’ve taken the preliminary steps of contacting your condo building’s board and considered some of the budgetary necessities, you can bring these ideas to a reputable New England general contractor with years of experience working on custom condo projects. Together, you can comb through your findings thus far while going into more detail about the specifics.

Your general contractor will also help you stay on top of any potential legal complications such as securing the appropriate legal remodeling or building permits before moving forward. They’ll also help you identify which aspects of your plan will require help from outside parties, and will most likely have connections ready to go due to their years of working with local subcontractors. You’ll also be able to finetune that expected budget to something more accurate.

Plus, they’ll help you negotiate those sometimes tricky conversations with your condo board to ensure everything is taken care of from a legal standpoint there, as well.

Put Together a General Contracting Agreement

It’s important to realize that most condo renovation or remodeling projects will be limited in some ways, which can lead to things going slightly awry from time to time. This rule applies to everything from initial design concepts to on-site work to post-project clean-up. For that reason, you’ll need to be open to reconsidering certain design changes in regards to what’s actually achievable during the construction phase.

Fortunately, reputable general contractors will work with you to put together a highly detailed general contracting agreement prior to the actual construction phase. Whether standard or customized, these contract documents will provide assurances to you by detailing, among other things:

  • A timeline for the completion of work.
  • The scope and description of the work.
  • A detailed overview of insurance policies.

Contractor drawing up design-build proposal

With this written contract, you gain extra peace of mind knowing that your primary contractor, subcontractors, and all other parties have a legal agreement holding them accountable. So, whenever an unexpected change order occurs (as it almost always does during any large-scale condo or home improvement process), you’ll be able to reference the original scope-of-work detailed in the agreement and adapt it accordingly. Truly experienced custom contractors will have preemptive systems in place for managing such complications, allowing them to adapt in real-time as priorities shift without compromising your project.

Consider Staying Somewhere Else During the Remodeling or Renovation Process

Since condos are such a small space compared to larger non-single family homes, it’s generally recommended that you find somewhere else to stay during a whole (or even partial) condo renovation or remodel.

Of course, you can remain at home, but you might find the noise from the construction, as well as the copious amount of individuals coming in and out at all hours, is quite distracting.

This is especially true for people whose condos double as a home office. To escape the temporary cacophony, try to find a hotel, Airbnb, friend, or family member who you can stay with during the construction phase.

Be Aware of Potential Post-Project Offerings & Services

Aside from the final walkthrough and post-cleanup inspection (which should be a mandatory part of the process), you’ll find that many general contractors offer different programs and services to help ensure post-construction assurance. For example, our Home Heritage Program applies to both houses and condos. This program was created to help our customers protect their investments through customized packages that help your recently updated living space retain its elegance for decades to come.

Custom bathroom in luxury condo

Contact us today to more about Sleeping Dog’s condo-specific home remodel offerings.

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