I want to spend some money to update my pre-war co-op apartment, but am unsure which remodeling projects make the most sense for my budget. Should I go for looks (new floors, fresh paint) or worry more about functional items like updated appliances, new fixtures, modern furnace? Thank you.
MB ~ Brooklyn, NY
Hi MB. I'm not sure what type of arrangement is in place for the utility costs of your apartment, but if you are paying for them, upgrading its old appliances might make good sense. Installing a new high-efficiency furnace could lower your heating and cooling costs and there are also many new kitchen appliances available that are designed for efficient operation. Installing a few Energy Star models could contribute to lower electric and gas costs every month. I know living in Brooklyn can be pricey, so any improvements to your apartment that might lower monthly expenses could help your long-term budget and allow for a few more nights out on the town.
I'm assuming that you own the apartment and may want to sell it at some point in time. If that is the case, upgrading its appearance in hope of increasing its market value can also be a good idea. Cosmetic improvements such as interior painting and installing new flooring are often looked upon favorably by potential buyers. I usually use Remodeling Magazine's annual cost vs. value report as a resource for determining what home improvement projects might provide the most value for their initial cost. The report's focus is on single-family homes, but it could also be helpful when planning your apartment upgrades.
I also suggest that you talk to a few successful Brooklyn real estate agents. They should be able to tell you what apartment improvements are popular with current purchasers. It's possible to do remodeling projects that make the apartment more enjoyable and efficient while you still own it, but also more attractive to buyers when it's time to place it on the market.