NYC Renovation Chronicles

NYC Renovation Chronicles: 5 cheapish ways to improve your apartment before you sell

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The Situation

People who are concerned about their economic future do not want to buy an apartment that looks like it needs a lot of money to fix up before they can even move in. In this uncertain economy, you need to distinguish your apartment from the competition when preparing to sell. 

The Deal

Here are the five most cost-effective ways to repair and freshen up your apartment so that you can get the highest sale price possible. 

1. Paint – Paint all the walls in the apartment, and if your walls are dark, paint them white. You do not want your personal preference for a certain color to scare off a potential buyer. White walls also make an apartment feel bigger. Expect to pay $3,000 and up to hire someone to do it, and allow for as many as 10 working days. 

2. Re-grout bathrooms --  It’s okay if potential buyers think your bathroom is dated. It’s not okay for them to think the bathroom is disgustingly dirty, crumbling or otherwise falling apart--so regrout the wall tiles and floor tiles. Given the average-size of a New York bathroom, expect to pay about $1,250 for a top-notch job. Completely re-grouting should take about three to four days. 

3. Kitchen cabinets – Patch and paint them if needed. Clients of mine wanted to list their Upper East three-bedroom for several million dollars while certain parts of their kitchen cabinets had been water damaged. Patching and painting gave the cabinets a suitably simple, clean look -- good enough to be viewed for purposes of a sale. The cost is about $2,500. Figure on the work taking five to seven days. 

4. Refinish the floors – Refinishing your floors will make the apartment look clean and attractive. It also enables a buyer to move in right away without being inconvenienced and having to delay their move-in date to refinish the floors. Expect to pay $3.50 a square foot for a good job that will take five to seven working days.

5. Fine cleaning – Have the entire apartment thorough cleaned. Every surface should be wiped down including all the windows and screens. Professional cleaning can cost $500 and up, and it can take several days depending on the size of the apartment and how much construction, if any, was done. 


Yoel Borgenicht is the president of King Rose Construction, specializing in residential and commercial renovations in the New York City metro area.  

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