People living in apartments really do know how to make use of small spaces. But, at a certain point in their lives, there will come a need for a bigger apartment. And, when it comes, even the most resourceful apartment dweller will be forced to look for more square footage someplace else. Thus, they move into a house, into a bigger apartment, or into a combined apartment. So, what is a combining apartment actually? It is when you buy an adjacent apartment to the one your currently own. That can be done with an apartment next, under, or above your apartment. This sounds like a great idea, but there are some things that you should be aware of before you make this idea come to life. Do not worry, we got you covered. So, here is what you need to know when combining apartments.
Reasons to Combine Apartments
Let us start on a positive note and talk about reasons to combine apartments. First, if you already know that the condo lifestyle is for you, and if you already love your building, your neighborhood, and your neighbors, you should definitely consider combining apartments. You will not have to move nor adjust to different spaces or people. Moreover, doing this may be a lot cheaper than buying a house or a bigger apartment. If you already own your current apartment, you will just have to buy one that is adjacent to it. Lastly, when staying in the same building, you will be able to avoid broker fees too!
Reasons Not to Combine Apartments
Everything that has pros must have cons as well. The same applies to combining apartments. So, one of the biggest con of doing this may be ending up with an awkward space. If you do not inspect your bearing and non-bearing walls correctly, you may end up with one big apartment that has many strange hallways and abstract corners. Your life there will be a nightmare, and if you do decide to sell it one day, well, it is needless to say that you will not be able to impress the potential buyers. Moreover, you will also have to pay bigger taxes and additional maintenance costs.
Ask Yourself the Following Questions As Well
Before you decide to buy (or not to buy) an apartment next to yours, be sure to ask yourself the following questions:
- Does your building allow combinations?
- Will you be combining horizontally or vertically?
- Can you combine the two apartments so that you can create an overall flow?
- Is merging heating and cooling possible?
- Are the apartments in similar condition?
- Are the floors and ceilings on the same level?
If the answer to most of these questions is -YES, then you are good to go. In this case, combining two apartments and making one big living space can be a great idea. However, if the answers are mostly -NO, then better start looking for a real estate agent soon. Trust us, even if one of the things mentioned above is not in order, you will have a lot of problems combining apartments.
Building and City Requirements
Acquiring building and city requirements are an inevitable part of combining and remodeling apartments. So, first, contact the building management and have them give you the list of all the building requirements. Examine them and make sure they fit with your architectural plans. If everything seems to be in order, then, go to the Department of Buildings (DoB), and have them give you a list of permits you have to get as well. And, brace yourself when doing this! Acquiring all the documents for combining two apartments may be a complex and stressful process. So, it might be a good idea to consider hiring an expeditor! He or she will make this process a lot easier and faster, and before you know it, you will be renovating and buying the basics every household needs when moving into a new home (or into a prolonged home, in your case).
Time Necessary for Combining Apartments
As mentioned before, combining apartments requires gathering a lot of paperwork. And, even if you live somewhere where all legal systems are developed perfectly, you will still have to wait t couple of months for this part. Acquiring all the paperwork, reviewing and signing it, and finally having them checked and approved can last anywhere from six to twelve months. Moreover, you will also have to count on the time needed physically combine the apartments. For that, you will need an experienced architect to come and examine the walls and other things that have to come down in order to create an open flow. Lastly, you will need time to reinvent these two apartments, that is, to renovate them so that they could become ‘one’.
And now, the part that we all hate – the costs. Nobody likes talking about the costs, but it is something that has to be done in order to prepare your budget. So, right from the start, let us tell you that combining apartments is expensive. We are not going to talk about the price of buying the other apartment, as that can vary a lot. Instead, we will talk about the prices that generally stay the same.
So, for instance, you will have to consult an architect, structural engineer, and interior designer. Their fees range between $500 and $1,500. Next are permits and requirements that cost approximately $2000. Labor work can be the most expensive as it can cost anywhere between $80,000 and $100,000. Remodeling and equipping the new apartment will depend on your needs and taste. And, finally, there will be taxes and maintenance costs for both apartments.
As you can see combing apartments can be quite expensive. So, before you do this, be sure to have enough money in your budget. However, even though this is expensive, it is a lot cheaper than buying a house or buying a big apartment. So, take everything into consideration and take some time to think about your plans before you decide to combine apartments