Cost Guides / By Serena Solomon / April 10, 2018
Home Renovation Costs: Westchester County Edition
With a realistic reno budget in hand, you’re one giant step closer to your dream space
Brooke and Paul’s Pelham renovation
Moving into a new house—or realizing your home hasn’t kept up with your lifestyle—can make renovation feel like a path to reinvention. Creating a budget for that planned remodel is unique to every project; the many variables range from your own taste for materials and workmanship to changes in layout or moving plumbing or gas lines, all of which factor into the equation.
Sweeten, a free service matching homeowners with vetted general contractors, has compiled a general guide to costs across Westchester County, focusing on four renovation categories: kitchen, bathroom, basement, and permits. Keep in mind that every professional contractor will want to have a detailed conversation and inspection of your home before developing an estimate specific to your needs and wants.
Cost per square foot
It’s no secret that Westchester County, with its close proximity to New York City, is one of the pricier areas when it comes to real estate. That is also reflected in the cost of renovations, according to Sweeten contractor Gregory. Many of the projects he has worked on in the area that involve multiple rooms or a gut renovation start at around $250 a square foot. “The cost can go upwards of $500 a square foot,” he said. “This usually applies to one or more specialty trades, such as architects or engineers, and insurance costs which adds to the overall budget.” Choice of material will also affect the cost per square foot.
Similarly, a higher cost stems from the quality and experience of the skilled workers the contractors hire for the project. “Costs for construction vary based on experience, which increases for a higher-end result,” says Sweeten contractor Chuck. “A presentation representing the finished product—design and organizing, scheduling, and advising on the materials—is a service that adds to the budget.”
Remodeling’s Cost vs. Value report puts a typical mid-range kitchen renovation at $320 per square foot or $64,000 total, as an average for the New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania areas. These figures are based on a 200-square-foot kitchen with laminate countertops, a standard sink, and faucet with an energy-efficient range, built-in microwave, and ventilation system. It also includes a garbage disposal, custom lighting, and resilient flooring such as vinyl, linoleum, or cork.
For Majid, a Sweeten contractor who works in Westchester, a low-end kitchen remodel costs around $40,000 for 150 square feet, or about $260 a square foot. This gets you, among other things, value-for-money appliances, semi-custom cabinets, and granite or quartz countertops. Projects on the higher end of the scale can tally up to $200,000, according to Majid. A large part of that cost can be the cabinets, with one client recently spending $50,000 on fully custom European cabinets.
A mid-range bathroom in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey will cost on average $20,000, according to the Cost vs. Value report, which is $570 a square foot for a 35-square-foot bathroom. This includes a recessed medicine cabinet, a standard toilet, solid-surface vanity counter, and a porcelain-on-steel tub. Bathroom renovations can cost less if the majority of materials come from big-box stores like Lowe’s or Home Depot.
That same report put a high-end bathroom renovation and expansion at $63,249, based on a bathroom expanded from 35 square feet to 100 square feet. It worked out to be $630 a square foot; this is in line with budgets for some of the high-end bathrooms Majid has worked on, which have cost around $70,000. With that budget, clients are looking at faucets that can cost $2,000 apiece, marble flooring, custom vanities, built-in medicine cabinets, a rain shower, and top-of-the-line lighting fixtures. At times, those pricey finishing materials can amount to half the budget. Whether it is low-end or high-end, a good general contractor can work with a reasonable budget and strategize how clients can get what they want.
Sweeten contractors have worked on basement renovations that cost anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000. For Majid, a basic basement remodel can cost as little as $50 a square foot, which works out to be about $40,000 for an 800-square-foot space. The elements that could bring up your budget include adding a toilet or a shower, as well as any work that needs to be done to bring the room up to code. Some town regulations might require two forms of egress or natural light (by adding a door or a window) or a certain ceiling height, which means digging down and lowering the floor. An average basement conversion in the New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania areas is $75,000, according to the Cost vs. Value report. The project for this size budget includes a 20×30 foot room and a 5×8 foot bathroom with a shower and a bar area as well insulation and laminate flooring. This example project works out to $117 a square foot.
The cost of permits changes from town to town in Westchester County. However, typically the cost will be determined by your budget and require a bit of high school math to figure out. For example, in Pelham, building permits cost $250 for a project costing under $5,000 plus $12 per each additional $1,000. In Scarsdale, building permits cost $255 for a project costing between $10,000 and $50,000. For projects budgeted over $100,000, a permit costs a flat fee of $1,755 plus $14 for each $1,000 or fraction over $100,000. In Katonah, permits cost $14 for every $1,000 of a budgeted project, while in Hastings-on-Hudson, the fee will cost $17 per $1,000 of the estimated construction cost.
These figures provide a jumping off point for your Westchester County renovation budget. On the (more fun) planning side, Sweeten’s Renovation Checklist offers you a downloadable roadmap to organize all of the moving parts of a renovation including laying out your “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves.” Once you post your project on Sweeten, we’ll match you with multiple excellent contractors who can provide their expertise and estimates, then stay involved until your project is completed.
Having a reasonable budget range from the start means fewer headaches and a smoother path to the home you’ve always wanted.
Find out how long it takes to renovate a typical kitchen or bathroom renovation and become familiar with each step in the process.
Refer your renovating friends to Sweeten and you’ll both receive a $250 Visa gift card when they sign a contract with a Sweeten general contractor.
Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, and scope, helping until project completion. Follow the blog for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.