Rehab cost estimate in upper state NY (Albany)

8 Replies

Hi All,

We are looking for our first property to invest in and want it to be a multiple family that needs some rehab, financed using an FHA 203k loan.

We are struggling finding a general contractor that can give us a realistic price for the type of project we want to do. We are looking to invest on a neighborhood where rents are between $700 to $1000 for a 2 bed/1 bath and would like our property to be above average without anything fancy.

The issue is that we get quotes ranging from $45 to $155 per sqft!

Here is a description of the latest property we are considering:

Partial rehab project of a 3800 sqft multiple-family brownstone building of 3 stories (3 units) in Troy, NY. Built year: 1890. All 3 units have the same layout (3 bed/1bath) and are redone the same.

- Kitchen upgrade and vinyl flooring replacement (replacing countertops and backsplash with plumbing and sink/faucet with new appliances, we will repaint the cabinets ourselves)

- Bathroom remodeling to include demolition, installation, plumbing repair or modification, and tile flooring (~42sqft per bathroom)

- Convert two bedrooms into one with a walk-in-closet

- For the flooring: Remove all carpet and refinish hardwood floor

- For the painting: patch and repair walls and ceilings and re-paint.

- Verify the existing installation for heating and water heater (new heating system on 3rd floor)

- Remove asbestos insulation and pipes in the basement

- Verify the existing electrical installation and upgrade to support new appliances

- Some windows to be changed and we may consider to change them all depending on pricing

- Repair the roof if needed

We are also considering doing most of the work on the unit we would live in (other than plumbing and electricity) but we really need to find a GC that can work within our budget!



@Yoann Mamy Randriamihaja    It sounds very exciting!  The range in pricing is pretty consistent with a wide range of qualified/unqualified contractors.  I would pick a few in the middle to middle upper range and call references.  I have a blog post on  finding good contractors.  Characteristics of Good Contractor This might help a little.    Remember - cheaper is usually not better - it can cost you a lot of extra money in the long run.

@Yoann Mamy Randriamihaja  I'm also interested in investing in Troy and came across your post.  Was wondering how you made out in finding a contractor to help with your rehab and how that's going for you.  

@Dave Anstatt this is definitely not easy!

Here are several things we tried:

  • search for BP members in the area and contact them to get references (it worked OK, we've got one GC that we definitely want to vet through a rehab project)
  • we went to the AIN meeting (real estate investing meeting) close to Albany which occurs every 3rd Monday of the month. There are several contractors there plus a lot of investors with potential references (met a great foundation guy there)
  • we went to construction material stores (like grossman's outlet) where contractors left business cards and called them all after writing a screening script (found one GC that we'd definitely like to work with in the future)
  • registered to Angie's list to try to find more information
  • found another GC using the website thumbtack that we are considering for our first project
  • posted on BP but didn't work out :(

We haven't tried yet going to the home depot at 6 am at the pro-desk to randomly ask contractors but that's on our to-do list if we ever need more contractors.

Still looking for our first deal. We were very close last week to make it happen but home inspection revealed severe foundation issue ($20k more than expected) so we couldn't move forward but there are tons of other deals around! :)

I hope that helps!


Is there a lot of variance on the asbestos removal prices you are getting? A lot of GCs can vary a lot on things that the standard consumer would find scary (if that's the word). In Florida, some contractors will come at you with INSANE prices for chinese drywall and mold. In reality, they aren't that crazy to overcome/remediate.

I don't see where you would be hitting even $42/sf. That seems pretty high.

Also, why are you wanting to convert the 2 BRs into 1 BRs? If it is 2 BR existing, I don't see why you would change it?

Paint is another place I see some contractors expand prices. I pay $1.25/sf (of the house) max. I would never pay over $1.50 - and that is if I was in a bind. That is for labor only. Be careful of contractors who start measuring walls. Best option is to have a contractor who would spray. Saves a ton of time (especially since it sounds like it is vacant) and more likely to hit your price. They could prob paint your place within a week.

Let me know if you have any questions. 

Good Luck,


@Steven Segal asbestos removal prices estimates that we got were fairly comparable.

One interesting thing that was told to us is that if the property is owner occupied, then the owner can remove the asbestos themselves. Not sure if I would risk it though!

The actual layout is 3BR, but very small ones, so we wanted to make a nicer "master" bed room with some real closet.

Thanks for the price range for painting! Will definitely be useful.


@Yoann Mamy Randriamihaja ,

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Hi. Does anyone know any investors in

Middleburgh, NY?

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