When you purchase an apartment or a condo, it probably doesn’t perfectly suit your needs. It might come close though with a few minor changes. You might wonder how much it costs to remodel an apartment. In this article, we explore that question and answer some of the most essential other questions about remodeling an apartment.
Remodeling vs. Renovating
Let’s first address the difference between remodeling and renovating. When a homeowner renovates an apartment, they remove walls or features and replace them with other features. For example, a homeowner might remove a wall dividing the living room from the dining room to create an open area that connects to the kitchen. They also might build a floor-to-ceiling bookcase.
When remodeling a home, whether an apartment or a single-family home, the homeowner cleans, organizes, and rearranges items they already own. Remodeling does not typically involve purchasing new furniture or building anything in or onto the home. That makes remodeling a viable option for any apartment dweller, even if you rent!
1. Renting Equipment
When considering the question, “How much does it cost to remodel an apartment?” first consider equipment rentals. Deep cleaning an apartment requires steam cleaning equipment to ensure the carpets smell fresh and that you can remove all of the dirt and grime that the former tenants ground into the rugs. Expect to pay about $30 for four hours of use of a steam cleaner, based on the typical Home Depot rental rate, which starts at $27 for four hours nationally. Consider renting a high-velocity blower fan to help dry each carpeted room, which costs about the same amount for four hours of use.
Besides renting that equipment, you will need to sort through your belongings and those of the prior tenants if they left items, or you purchased a furnished apartment. Contact dumpster rental companies to find a suitable option for your location. Target national companies for the best results, especially if you need to plan your move and remodeling project long-distance. By using a national company, you can visit the location local to you to compare dumpsters and other equipment, so you know what you’re renting in the town or city to which you’re moving.
Using a national company can also lock in a rate. According to Budget Dumpster, renting a dumpster varies in cost throughout the U.S. with a national average of $470. The range varies from a low cost of $217 to a whopping $1,040 for a dumpster. Renting one provides you with a spot for all of your trash, discarded furniture, and other items because your apartment complex may limit the amount of trash or types of items that you can place in their dumpsters.
2. Hiring Contractors
When answering the question, “How much does it cost to remodel an apartment?” think about contractors you may need to hire. If you choose to renovate a purchased apartment, then you will need to hire framing contractors and drywallers. For a remodeling job though, you may need to hire painters or wallpaper hangers unless you have copious do-it-yourselfer (DIY) skills. To paint the entire home would range in cost from $1,800 to $10,000 in the U.S., according to This Old House, but painting just one room would cost much less than that.
What if you adore wallpaper? According to Home Wyse, it costs between $4.45 and $10.32 per square foot to install. Those prices include materials and professional installation.
Perhaps you don’t yet have clear ideas about what you want in your apartment remodel. Hiring an interior designer could help solve this problem. This home improvement professional asks questions about your likes and dislikes and how you want to use your apartment. They then design a few apartment décors based on your input, and you choose the one that best suits your needs.
3. Fixing Your Garage Door
Many apartments and condos include a garage. Some connect to the domicile, while others comprise one garage bay in a larger garage. Either way, the remodeling of your new home might include shopping for new garage doors.
Not all articles that consider the question, “How much does it cost to remodel an apartment?” include this cost. Many luxury apartment buildings, especially in the suburbs, do include a garage, so we include the costs. Garage doors typically start at about $900 for a basic aluminum roll-up door design. The most expensive garage doors cost about $4,000 but use materials, such as hardwoods, and swing-open door designs that resemble carriage house doors or barn doors.
Garage doors can last up to 20 years with proper care and maintenance. Most doors of this type need replacement at about age 15 years because they get ignored. If your apartment’s garage door has yet to reach the age of 10 years and has not undergone much damage, you may only need to have it repaired. If you want to improve its appearance, consider purchasing a vinyl wrap that transforms its appearance for a minimal cost of about $50 to $100.
4. Drain Cleaning and Repairs
Here’s an atypical cost in the answer to “How much does it cost to remodel an apartment?” Some buildings handle the storm drain cleaning, while others leave this maintenance up to the apartment or condo owner. Check with your building superintendent or the apartment owners association (AOA) to find out who handles this cost, and, if the AOA does, when it cleans them. According to House Wyse, this costs between $116 and $306 per drain.
Also, ask the AOA or building superintendent about cleaning the roofing gutters. If the association does not handle this task, you will need to hire a roofing professional to clean them. This service typically costs $100 to $250. If your domicile abuts others in a building, you will need to demarcate where your property ends so the roofers do not clean the neighbors’ gutters, too, and charge you for it.
5. Adding Insulation
When people move into an apartment, they tend to expect it to offer a perfect domicile, much like moving into a purchased single-family home. Home sellers of an apartment don’t go through the same process to prepare their home for sale though, because they lack some of the areas of concern of the owner of a single-family home. This means that when you move in, you may find yourself chilly instead of chilling at home. Hiring a spray foam insulation company to add insulation to the walls, ceiling, and floors may help.
You might not have thought of this activity when you queried, “How much does it cost to remodel an apartment?” Typically, it costs an average of $2,360 for a full home insulation. Figure the cost of your apartment using the range of $0.44 to $1.50 per board foot, according to Home Advisor.
6. Customizing Your Home
When you remodel an apartment, you avoid the costs of custom home building. Although renovating could add physical features, it would also add remarkably to the cost. So, when you ask, “How much does it cost to remodel an apartment?” consider what it will take to customize the apartment without construction.
You can still create a custom home in an apartment, but it requires creativity. First, think about how you would organize the space if you could add divider walls, a renovation option. Instead of hiring a contractor, purchase sliding dividers or ceiling-mounted curtains that let you divide the space as you like.
Take stock of what you own. Make a list of furnishings you need to completely decorate the apartment, such as a sofa or a kitchen table and chairs. Organize the furniture you own in the rooms where you want to use it, leaving open spaces for the furniture you will purchase. Measure the available space with the furniture in place so you shop accurately, avoiding furniture that seems like it would fit but doesn’t.
7. Using a New Source of Energy
Maybe you lived in the countryside before moving to the city and your new apartment. You no longer need a propane delivery service but still want to own a backup option for power outages. Install a biofuel fireplace for a viable option that requires no tools and no venting. For just $25 to $200, you can pick up a tabletop fire pit or a freestanding small fireplace.
When you asked, “How much does it cost to remodel an apartment?” you probably didn’t think of installing a fireplace, but with these types of fireplaces so affordable, why not? Biofuel costs between $12 to $15 per quart or liter. A gallon jug costs about $45. Some fireplace designs use gel fuel, which costs about $2 per can with a can burning for two to six hours, depending on the brand.
Although the fuel for these newer designs of ventless fireplaces cost a little more than kerosene, shipping services like FedEx and UPS ship them without hesitation. Kerosene, propane, and butane can prove a little tougher to have delivered in major cities. To get the most out of your biofuel purchase, consider choosing a fuel that works with wicks, similar to a kerosene lamp design. These fuels can provide longer burn times of up to six hours and larger flames.
Some apartment complexes install backup generators, but these typically handle the operation of emergency lights and exterior lights. If you want electricity in your apartment, consider adding a solar generator that you can fully charge via an electrical outlet before a storm and add to the charge during the daytime using a 100-watt or larger solar panel. These small generators cost between $150 to $1,000, depending on the size of the battery built-in, measured in amp hours (Ah) or milliamp hours (mAh), the number of built-in outlets, and the wattage maximum of the inverter. A solar panel to charge it typically costs between $50 and $100.
8. Treating Your Water
Perhaps water didn’t make the list of things you thought of when you wondered, how much does it cost to remodel an apartment? If you reside in an area like Detroit, Michigan, you likely thought of the water problems first. Many people choose apartment dwellings thinking that they will have less to deal with when they buy their home, but as Michigan residents learned in 2022, even apartment dwellers must remain vigilant about their water. Your building might maintain its plumbing, but the city might not maintain its water treatment systems or water mains. In 2022, Detroit, Flint, and Benton Harbor residents faced toxic chemicals in their water and needed to boil their tap water before consuming it.
Consider purchasing a water filter for your home. Many small filtration systems fit onto the existing water tap on a faucet or under the sink. These easy-to-install systems remove toxins and cost between $150 and $1,200.
Remodeling an Apartment in the 21st Century
So, how much does it cost to remodel an apartment? It depends on what you need to do to remodel it. Some apartments only need room dividers and a few strategic pieces of furniture. Other apartments require water filtration systems and roofing gutter cleaning.
When you consider purchasing an apartment, carefully consider whether it meets your existing needs and what it would cost to revamp it. Would you only need a new sofa, or would the apartment require many updates, plus all-new furniture because nothing you currently own would fit the rooms? If the apartment has wood floors, do they need sanding and refinishing? Would the carpet need replacing or steam cleaning?
Consider these questions and others while apartment hunting. Buying an apartment should provide a home in the city that offers a move-in-ready situation. Consider how much remodeling you want to do to make your new apartment feel like home. Expect remodeling to cost at least $1,000, which covers one or two pieces of modest furniture, a ventless fireplace, and a solar generator for safety and security.