Apartment combinations are projects that you will often see in big cities, and if you come to think of it, combining two apartments instead of buying a large one makes sense. First of all, it can be much more cost-effective. Second, if you really like the place you are living in now, you will just make it bigger and better. You just have to wait for the opportunity to buy your neighbor’s flat. However, when that opportunity arises, the two apartments don’t just magically combine. Before you get the combination done, there are several things you need to know and do. As a result, we believe you may benefit from some of the advice we have to give. Therefore, here are some things you need to know when combining two apartments.
You will need approvals and permits
When combining two apartments, we recommend you ask for a feasibility study. It’s better to have it before presenting yourself in front of the building management or board. It may make it simpler to be approved and saves you from investing money into a project that you later realize isn’t feasible. Also, if you can, include an engineer in the project. That way, you will know for sure if the combination is possible or if by it you may harm the building’s structure. If everything is in order, you may be able to obtain the rest of the necessary permits and approvals.
However, even if you have all the paperwork, don’t yet jump to conclusions. In some cases, the management of the building may deny you ownership of two flats in the same building. They might not want a single person to possess a large percentage of a building. So, ensure you have all the answers before investing in your project.
You might need extra finances
One of the first things you need to know when combining two apartments is how much you can afford. If you already own one apartment, things will be way simpler. Your existing home equity will be enough to get the money you need for the second apartment. Some banks may provide cash-out refinancing, while others offer a single combination loan. If you don’t already own an apartment, you might refinance to buy the neighboring flat but at a higher interest rate. Also, looking at the high cost of combining apartments, you may need some extra funding.
At the same time, if you need to buy both flats that you want to merge, expect a challenge. For starters, lenders rarely risk lending money for such an investment for security reasons. Second, you need to realize that you will double all your expenses regarding the purchase. For instance, you need to pay two home inspections, two taxes for the properties, and two apartment appraisals. However, because you only need to move once, that’s where you can save some money. The moving team at All Season Movers NJ advises hiring a local moving company that can help you relocate at a reasonable price. This will help you with your project’s financing and bring you closer to reaching your goal.
You have to make changes
And by changes, we are not referring to removing a shared wall. No, we’re talking about changes that can be demanded by the law or by common sense. For instance, the law requires that you keep only one of the kitchens. Therefore, you need to decide which kitchen is the one you like more or which of the two you can modify and enlarge as you would like. Then, there’s another essential detail to consider: where will the entrance to the apartment be? The management of the building may restrict you from closing one of the doors with a wall. In that case, you have both doors, but the main one should stick out for visitors to know where to knock. If you can close one of them, which one will it be? Considering such details will make your life easier when you finally decide to combine the two apartments.
You might need to combine different layouts
Another thing you need to know when combining two apartments is that they might not have a similar layout. And while some are easier to merge, some can make your life more difficult. Furthermore, combining two neighboring flats or two overlapping ones is an entirely different task. Therefore, take your time to think about how people will move around through them. How will you access the private rooms and keep them far enough from the common living spaces? Will you have access to the bathroom from the main bedroom, or will you integrate an existing bathroom into it? Is the new hallway you created big enough to carry the furniture into each room, or will you need to enlarge it?
That is an important question, especially if you have to move into the newly merged flats. You will need to pack all your belongings with care to be able to transport them safely to your new home and put them into their place. Or, you can hire professional packers to take care of this task and simplify your move. But, you will still need to ensure that the furniture and other items fit through the house. So, consider the bigger picture when you decide on the layout of the apartments.
You may encounter difficulties
It can be easier to merge two flats purchased in a newly completed building. If you buy two apartments in an older building, you can expect to find interesting details in them. For example, you may be surprised to discover asbestos in the walls. Or old materials that are difficult to get nowadays, thus requiring total replacement. Furthermore, because old systems cost lots of money to replace, you should expect higher plumbing and electrical renovation costs in older buildings.
At the same time, wherever you buy the second flat, don’t expect to be able to live in the old one during renovations. Although it can be possible, the ceilings and floors of both places may require work simultaneously. That is if you want them to look uniform.
And last but not least, don’t expect to be able to move any room you want to any place you want. Wet rooms should remain wet rooms, and dry rooms should stay dry. Overlaying them can create liability in the structure, this being one of the main reasons such projects get denied.
Of course, there are both pros and cons to combining apartments. However, if you are well informed and know things you need to know when combining two apartments, you have a better chance of success. So, if you’re considering buying two neighboring apartments or only the second one, read our article first.