It’s all about the budget

This week has been an eye opener for the budget.

Husband and I were planning on fixing up the facade and hiring a crew to help us finish the third floor this spring so we can finally, finally, finally finish the house. Outside, we wanted to replace the siding and windows, and replace an existing window on the parlor level with a door and a build a stoop up to it. Would make the house look a little more traditional, and it’s how it used to look anyway. Story continues after the jump.

Well. Then the contractor we’ve worked with most often said we definitely need permits to do that — and an architect to draw up the plans because it’s a “change of egress” (aka entryway). So I started calling recommended architects. Turns out we’d also need a structural engineer because we’re replacing a window with a door (even though the door USED TO BE THERE), and to have a professional survey done to prove the stoop would be on our private property, even though it’s behind the fence in our little front yard! Price quotes for JUST drawings and permits ranged from $8,000 to $17,000. And we were warned it would take 3-4 months for DOB to approve the permit. So at this point, we wouldn’t even be starting work until nearly September.

Seems like a lot of work for a doorway and stoop, no?

So now we’re considering skipping the stoop and keeping the entryway on the garden level. You don’t need permits or architects to replace windows if they’re the same size, or to replace siding.

Is a stoop and door worth $20K extra (nothing ever comes in on budget), and 4 months of dealing with DOB? Or do you think we lose a lot of charm to not have the traditional old rowhouse entryway? I mean, the idea of a stoop is lovely….

Speaking of budget, the contractor suggested again that we splurge for a master bathroom while we’re renovating up there. Again, we’re looking at an extra $20K to re-support the floor, add new plumbing, and build the bathroom. And we’d lose a closet. I bet it would be good for re-sale value, but there is something nice about having two BIG closets in a master suite, and there’s a nice big bathroom on the floor already. This is NY — do we really need three bathrooms, and three bedrooms? Aren’t two full bathrooms enough?!

What would you do?

p.s. We haven’t even gotten the price quote yet on having a crew help us with the third floor. Pretty sure this is going to be a week of sticker shock.