5 Things to Know When Remodeling a Condo in Los Angeles

Living in a condominium in Los Angeles comes with many benefits including less maintenance, great amenities, and close proximity to countless dining and shopping options. However, one of the biggest problems with owning a condo is that it can make remodeling a hassle. While homeowners are generally free to change their homes, condo owners must follow stricter rules and guidelines. 

While you do own your unit, condo owners are part of a community that often requires certain guidelines. This makes it critical that you do your research before you start swinging a sledgehammer. Indeed, knowing what your condo association allows ensures that your renovation goes smoothly. To help get you started, here is a look at 5 things to know before you start remodeling a condo in Los Angeles.

Here at GreatBuildz, we speak with clients every day who are looking to find a great contractor for a condo remodel in Los Angeles and the greater Southern California area. GreatBuildz is a free service that connects homeowners with reliable, pre-screened home contractors, then provides ongoing project support to ensure a stress-free experience.

Know The Rules

How to remodel a condo

Before you plan your condo remodel in Los Angeles, contact the condominium board to find out the rules and regulations. There is no set standard, and rules can vary wildly from one condo association to the next. Start by talking to the property manager, as they will know how to put you in touch with the board, and they may have relevant materials and forms that can help provide guidance on what you can and can’t change, and on what steps you need to take to get permission before you start making changes to your unit.

Not looking into these details in advance could prove to be a logistical nightmare, as you may find work grinding to a halt if you did not get the right approvals, and you may find yourself in hot water if you made unauthorized changes to the building.  

Know Your Limits

Before remodeling a condo, set realistic expectations about what you can achieve. While you might dream of taking out a wall, you may be surprised to learn how expensive substantial changes such as these can be. This is especially true if you have to move plumbing, gas, etc. It is important to go into your remodel with realistic expectations about what you can achieve and afford. The fact is that you may not have to take out a wall, or move a sink across a room, to transform the look of a space.

With a little creativity and maybe the help of a professional designer, you can get the most out of your condo’s current layout. However, this highlights the importance of taking time to think about your budget before you start planning your remodel. Knowing how much you can realistically afford allows you to make a list of what major changes matter the most.   

Don’t Be Afraid of Color

What to know when remodeling a condo

You will spend a great deal of time debating what paint colors to use throughout your condo. While paint color plays a key role in defining spaces, many people are afraid to use bold colors. They often worry that they will end up hating dramatic colors. Alternatively, the fear of using anything other than a neutral tone could negatively affect resale value. However, it is important that you do not let these fears stop you from trying a bold new paint color.

The fact is that, unless you plan on selling your home soon, you will likely have to repaint it when you sell. So, don’t let a fear of resale value stop you from trying something new. Additionally, you can always repaint if you do not like how dramatic a new color ends up looking. However, bold paint colors can help to completely transform a space without breaking the budget. So, don’t be afraid to play around with different paint colors during your condo renovation.

Expect Delays When Remodeling a Condo in Los Angeles

planning to remodel a condo

With any home remodel, remain flexible with the timeline, as delays are often unavoidable. This is particularly true with condo renovations, as numerous potential problems can affect your timeline. One of the main reasons why condo renovations often take a while is many condo associations have restrictions on when/where construction can take place. For example, what days/times materials can be brought in. They may even have restrictions on which elevators construction crews can use and where they can park. 

The fact is that you are sharing walls and common areas with other people, and the building has a responsibility to ensure that your neighbors are not disturbed by the construction. However, these restrictions can slow down the construction process. Therefore it is important that you budget enough time for your renovation and plan how you can coexist in the space.

Find a Qualified Condo Contractor

Los Angeles condo remodels often come with additional challenges one does not encounter when renovating a detached home. Thus, if you are considering making changes to your condo, it would be particularly beneficial for you to work with a skilled, licensed contractor who can help walk you through this complex process.

However, it is imperative that you find a condo contractor who has experience. You will need a professional by your side who knows what permits will be required, what limitations you may face during the remodel, and who has the experience to ensure that your remodel goes as smoothly as possible. When interviewing contractors, you should then take the time to ask them about their work history.

Find out what kind of experience they have working on condos. Additionally, do they have experience working on projects like yours? Ensure that the condo contractor you partner with is up to the challenge. For any contractor you are considering, check out their online reviews and also their licensing information at the CSLB website. Make sure they have no complaints on their license and that the company has both General Liability and Workers Compensation Insurance. Incidentally, its quite possible that your HOA will require that you provide them with the contractor’s insurance information and may even require that the policy name the HOA as additional insured

Although there are a large number of contractors in Los Angeles and Southern California, not all of them will be open to working on condominium projects. Contractors like to specialize in what they know best, be it commercial work, home remodeling, additions, ADUs, etc. You’ll need to find a contractor who specifically chooses to do condo projects. So, when you call around to various contractors, this might be your very first question for them. Alternatively, you can contact GreatBuildz so we can match you with local contractors who are experienced with condo remodeling work.

Related: Comparing Contractor Bids for Remodeling

Condo Remodel Costs

When it comes to the cost of remodeling a condo, a good place to start is this blog about home remodel costs. These same pricing guidelines that are appropriate for a home are also pertinent for a condo, but let me discuss some of the differences. On the one hand, you’d expect a condo remodel would be cheaper than a home because a condo space is usually smaller. For example, most condos will have a kitchen smaller than a single-family home. So, from that standpoint, the condo kitchen should cost less. On the other hand, a condo will often be a more complicated remodel for a contractor and require more effort/labor. The contractor may have to deal with transporting materials throughout stairways/elevators, tolerate community restrictions or limited working hours, and have to deal with challenging neighbors. All of these issues will increase the cost of working in a condo as opposed to a single-family home.

Learn More About Remodeling a Condo in Los Angeles

If you are considering remodeling your Los Angeles condo, taking the time to research your building’s rules, and making sure that you find a contractor with the proper experience can go a long way in helping your remodel go as smoothly as possible. Feel free to contact us to learn more about what you should know, and the things you should consider before you remodel your condo.       

When it comes to finding the best condo contractor for your project – GreatBuildz is simplifying the contractor search in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura & San Diego Counties. GreatBuildz is a free service that connects homeowners with reliable, thoroughly screened home improvement services and provides project support from start to finish.


Call now (818.317.3567) to chat with a real person about your next renovation project or visit our website for more information: www.greatbuildz.com.

Hi, we're Paul and Jon - Co-Founders of GreatBuildz. We believe everyone deserves to find a great contractor, have a stress-free renovation, and enjoy their beautiful new space. There are so many contractors out there and it's often hard to tell the good from the bad... until it's too late. We started our company to help simplify your contractor search and help you have a stress-free renovation experience. We're always available to help, no matter where you are in the process. Click here to learn more about our story.

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