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Apartment Renovation: The 5 Questions to Ask Before Starting the Work!

Apartment renovation

Renovating an apartment, whether it's a studio, a duplex loft, an old or family home, or simply refreshing the interior, offers numerous advantages. It's such a significant project that proper planning is essential. Restoring a house often involves rethinking space organization, introducing a new decor, updating installations to meet standards, creating new rooms, renovating the kitchen and bathroom, and more. Such a transformation needs meticulous planning as it requires a certain budget. Every detail must be carefully considered, especially if the real estate investment is intended for rental purposes. Keep reading to learn more.

Renovating for Rent: Is it Profitable ?

To ensure a profitable rental real estate investment, improving and maintaining the property is necessary. It shouldn't appear outdated; rather, it should have an appealing look to prospective tenants. Renovation aims to add value to your property and increase its profitability. On one hand, the property becomes more attractive, allowing you to command higher rental rates. On the other hand, the transformation ensures that the property remains in good condition.

Have you been fortunate enough to find an old apartment for your real estate investment? Opting for renovation can yield significant returns, provided you choose the right type of apartment. Regardless of the location chosen in France, studios always offer an attractive quality-to-price ratio. The entry cost is affordable, and rental demand remains high, especially in student cities like Paris. By renovating a studio, investors can achieve returns of up to 6%.

Moreover, 2-room and 3-room apartments are also a good investment option. They are often occupied by roommates, young professionals, or families with children for years, minimizing the risk of vacancy. Additionally, you can envision a wide range of changes and decorations to appeal to tenants, thereby achieving returns of up to 5%.

If your apartment is part of a condominium, it's subject to condominium regulations governing possible renovations. You can undertake renovation work as long as it does not affect common areas (building structure, plumbing, chimney, piping, etc.). Renovating a condominium is a profitable project because every expense contributes to enhancing the comfort of owners and adding value to the entire property. You can carry out bathroom or kitchen renovations, make the apartment handicap-accessible, perform interior insulation, paint and wallpaper, and install various floor coverings (carpets, parquet, linoleum).

Different Types of Apartment Renovations: A Comprehensive Guide

Planning renovation work is key to the success of your apartment project, especially if you aim to enhance its rental potential. Here are the various types of renovation to consider. 

Simple Renovation or Refreshment

Simple renovation involves refreshing a room, representing the lightest and least costly type of renovation. It includes tasks such as :

  • Wall and ceiling surface repairs and repainting,
  • Installing tiles or wallpaper,
  • Sanding and varnishing floors,
  • Installing parquet flooring,
  • paint renewal,
  • Updating interior decoration

While some tasks can be DIY for those handy with tools, for optimal results, it's advisable to engage experienced artisans.

Partial renovation

Partial renovation involves transforming one or two rooms, such as the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, or living room, to give them the modernization they deserve. Tasks may include :

  • Changing wall, floor, or ceiling coverings,
  • Enlarging windows,
  • Rearranging space and furniture
  • Removing non-load-bearing walls for increased volume,
  • Creating partitions.

For the bathroom, tasks may include installing a basin, changing lighting, laying easier-to-clean flooring, installing a walk-in shower, or adding shelves or storage under the sink. For the kitchen, tasks may include replacing or installing appliances, adding compartments or cabinets, repainting, laying parquet flooring, or updating decoration.

Complete Renovation

A complete renovation involves changing all parts of the apartment to modernize its aging architecture while preserving the building's load-bearing structures. No demolition is planned, and the house plan will be retained. This may include :

  • Replacing old windows with double glazing,
  • Changing electrical networks and installations,
  • Insulating walls,
  • Facade renovation,
  • Plumbing rehabilitation
  • Renovating plumbing, heating, and ventilation systems,

Specialist artisans are required to oversee all these works. 

Heavy Renovation

Heavy renovations involve tasks affecting the apartment's load-bearing structure, falling under the category of "structural work." Professionals may handle tasks such as :

  • Creating or removing interior partitions or walls,
  • Overhauling foundations,
  • Refurbishing floors,
  • Replacing the roof,
  • Attic conversion involving structural intervention.

The cost of such work is quite high. It's recommended for situations where the property's walls have significant cracks affecting its aesthetics, load-bearing floors are damaged, you want to extend the house, or add extra windows or a bay window to the facade.

Remember, during renovations, the sequence of work typically follows :

  • Demolition work (removing partitions, demolishing fitted kitchens, or fireplaces) ;
  • Structural work (installing partitions, plumbing, and electrical renovations) ;
  • Insulation (floor, wall, ceiling) ;
  • Wall and floor coverings ;
  • Painting each room ;
  • Finishing touches (interior design and decoration)

Before renovating your apartment, ensure you're familiar with the regulations and urban planning rules of your municipality. Note that the procedures in Paris may differ from those in other French cities.

How to Budget for Apartment Renovation: A Comprehensive Guide

Planning a renovation project involves meticulous budgeting to avoid unexpected expenses. It's crucial to estimate renovation costs for each part of the apartment. Several factors can influence the final project price, including :

  • Number of rooms to be renovated (studio, 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom, 3-bedroom, or 4-bedroom),
  • Size of the space to be renovated,
  • Location of the apartment,
  • Type of apartment (Haussmann-style, upscale, luxury),
  • Duration and complexity of the project,
  • Engagement of specialized professionals (interior designer, craftsmen, project manager, electrician, carpenter, etc.).

The cost of materials and equipment significantly affects renovation prices. Quality materials usually come at a higher price, so a project using high-end materials will cost more than one using lower-quality products. To reduce costs, consider opting for mid-range materials.

Here are some price examples per square meter to give you an idea :

  • Apartment refresh: between 250 euros and 750 euros ;
  • Partial kitchen or bathroom renovation including electrical and plumbing updates: between 750 euros and 1,100 euros ;
  • Complete renovation: between 1,500 euros and 2,500 euros ;
  • Heavy renovation: 2,000 euros and above.

The cost depends on your apartment's size and the labor costs of professionals, which vary depending on the extent of the work. 

Investing in a renovated apartment can yield significant returns as it becomes more attractive to potential buyers or tenants. To accurately determine the cost of renovations, you can use online estimators or consult a professional to provide a detailed quote. 

Sometimes, renovation costs can escalate quickly. To alleviate expenses, consider hiring RGE-certified artisans (Recognized Guarantor of the Environment). This qualifies you for state aid, the amount of which depends on the nature of the work and the applicant's income. These incentives aim to encourage households to undertake renovations, particularly insulation projects.

Top Reasons to Embark on Renovation

Investing in renovating an apartment requires time, energy, and a considerable budget. Therefore, it's crucial to be properly motivated and have compelling reasons to embark on such a project.

Enhance Everyday Comfort

Apartments constructed several years ago often lack the same level of comfort as modern homes. They may have shortcomings in insulation, ventilation, and heating systems, making them less comfortable. By renovating an older property, tenants can enjoy the comfort they seek. As an investor, you gain an additional advantage over your competitors by offering improved living conditions.

Upgrade for Safety Compliance

Safety is always a primary concern for tenants. When investing in an older apartment, updating the electrical system to meet current safety standards is essential. Over the years, materials and technologies have evolved, rendering older installations obsolete. To avoid hazards, it's crucial to engage an experienced company for proper renovation. Not only does this ensure a safer future, but it also enhances the property's security. A compliant installation adds value to the property, particularly for resale. Moreover, safety upgrades are mandatory for rental properties.

Attract Tenants with Fresh Décor

Renovation offers the opportunity to breathe new life into your apartment with a décor that aligns with current tastes. To attract tenants at first sight, various decorating possibilities are available, such as vintage, Scandinavian, exotic, floral, or natural themes. You can enlist an interior designer to create a distinctive ambiance, offering essential advice on complementary materials. However, when revamping a high-end apartment, it's vital to preserve its charm. This is particularly true for Haussmann-style apartments. Hiring an interior designer ensures the preservation of its quality while infusing a modern touch.

Choosing the Right Professionals for Renovation

Selecting the right renovation professionals is crucial for a successful real estate investment. This project demands expertise and skill. Engaging specialized artisans ensures receiving tailored and knowledgeable advice.

Various technicians can be involved, including carpenters, roofers, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, painters, masons, tilers, general building contractors, or excavation and earthworks companies. Each trade can conduct feasibility studies and provide detailed quotes to clarify the project's scope.

A competent professional guides you through the renovation process, helping you make the most of the project. With their expert insight, they advise on material choices, colors, and architectural styles. By hiring an experienced company, you can entrust your project from start to finish while adhering to your budget, ensuring an excellent value proposition.

Mathieu Amara

Mathieu Amara

Graduated in political science, I have always been passionate about renovation and construction work.

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