Combining Two NYC Apartments Into One? Here’s What You Need to Know
Combining two NYC apartments can be an enticing option for homeowners in New York City, but there are many pros and cons to consider beforehand.
Are you or your family cramped in your current NYC apartment and considering moving to find more flexibility? If the answer is yes, but you're hesitant to take on the logistical headache associated with moving in New York City, consider combining two apartments. While not always an immediate option, purchasing a neighboring apartment to your current home and combining them can often be the path of least resistance for homeowners looking to expand their footprint in NYC.
Is Combining Two Apartments A Better Option Than Buying One Large Apartment?
There are various pros and cons of combining two apartments in NYC, but let's start with the pros:
Combining two apartments is oftentimes a better option than buying one large apartment, simply because purchasing an adjacent unit next door is more cost effective than to search for and buy a whole new apartment of the same size.
Peace of Mind
Factor in the additional inconvenience of uprooting family and day-to-day routines, and the decision starts to seem like a no-brainer.
Added Resale Value
For those who aren’t looking to move, hearing a neighbor is selling his or her unit at a bargain — perhaps due to its subpar condition or an estate sale — could make way for a wise investment decision. Knowing that a renovated two-bedroom unit will carry a higher price per square foot than the current unit makes the deal even sweeter.
Challenges When Combining Two NYC Apartments
If your NYC remodel includes turning two units into one, there are a few factors to consider before starting the project. As long as you’re prepared to face some of these challenges head-on, you’ll reap the benefits of a successful house renovation:
Permits & Board Approvals
While there aren’t any specific areas in NYC that make combining two apartments easier, there are some elements that should be considered. For example, condo or co-op boards will need to approve any apartment combination before plans can be filed and permits can be received.
When considering horizontal vs vertical apartment combinations, getting approval for combining two horizontal apartments on the same floor is typically easier than for a vertical combination. If you’re the first owner in your building joining two properties and trying to get approval, you might have a harder time than if others have combined units before.
Differences Between New vs Old Units
If homeowners can purchase the second unit pre-construction, the combination will be easier. If buying an older unit, however, there's added potential for asbestos or older materials that aren’t readily available compared with newer products. Either way, be prepared for larger costs associated with electric and plumbing, because taking down walls, rewiring, and rerouting pipes to create new spaces is complicated.
Additionally, homeowners can’t assume they'll be able to live in one unit while the other is being remodeled. It’s possible, sure, but not ideal. Different floor types and heights will likely require work to be done in both units to make them uniform. The same is true for ceiling and door heights.
Homeowners also can’t count on having the ability to move a bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room to a previously “dry” area, like a closet or living room, during their upscale home remodel. Wet over dry areas have the potential to create a liability, which is one of the main reasons projects fail to receive approval.
Two Front Doors?
Most New York City buildings do not allow the removal of a unit’s main entry door, the one that is visible from the hallway or other common area. When joining two properties, some buildings might allow you to wall off the entry from the inside, but the door usually must remain.
The added cost of combining two apartments is usually extra time. If a lot of plumbing work is involved — that leads to open-wall inspections by the Department of Buildings, as well as a lot of red tape - and timeline extensions should be factored into your decision. If you’ve renovated a NYC apartment in the past, don’t expect a project of this scope to be finished just as quick.
How a Design-Build Firm Can Help
Many moving parts are involved in a New York City remodel, especially one that involves combining two units into a single home. There’s the planning and design phase, the board approval phase, the Department of Buildings approval phase, the material selection and procurement phase, and the building phase. You need a luxury home remodeler to supervise all those moving parts.
We Do It All So You Don't Have To
The most effective way to organize and manage a project of this scope is to centralize the processes under one roof — and that’s exactly where Gallery Kitchen & Bath brings the most value to our customers. As a design, selection, and build firm that specializes in the renovation of apartments in Manhattan and Brooklyn, we have a wide range of experience working on these projects. And we handle everything so you don’t have to.
All Under One Roof
Hiring and coordinating the work for a designer, an architect, and a contractor while also choosing and procuring all the materials for a project can get costly and chaotic fast. And ensuring transparency among all your vendors is nearly impossible. Our all-inclusive, turnkey approach means you don’t have to manage multiple vendors and all the moving parts yourself.
At Gallery, we employ designers, plumbers, electricians, architects, project managers, foremen, and carpenters so every aspect of your remodel is under control. We handle the process from start to finish, ensuring every element of the project meets your expectations. For an example of our expertise in combining apartments in NYC, dig into this recap of a project where we combined two apartments in Columbus Circle.
If you’re planning a remodel that involves combining two apartments into one, contact us today to see how our all-inclusive, turnkey approach can help bring your dream home to life.