How to Find the Best General Contractors in Northern New Jersey

These expert guidelines will help renovators navigate the process of finding a first-rate general contractor in Northern New Jersey for a major renovation:

Step 1: Prep for your remodeling project and determine your goals.

First things first: figure out what your project involves. The scope will impact your timeline, budget, and ultimately who you hire for the job. Decide what rooms you plan to renovate, whether they’re “wet” spaces like baths and kitchens, and/or “dry” spaces like living rooms, bedrooms, and offices.

Step 2: Research costs.

Renovation costs in New Jersey can vary by region. In the northeastern part of the Garden State, particularly in cities in close proximity to New York City, costs are generally higher in comparison to the western cities. Sweeten, a free service that matches homeowners with vetted general contractors, estimates that higher end gut renovations in Northeast New Jersey range from $250 to $500 per square foot, with the price differentiation coming from material quality. Labor, finishes, permits, and board approvals also contribute to these costs.

Once you have a grasp on your scope of work and budget, you have everything you need to post your project on Sweeten at no cost—or obligation. Our matchmakers will find the best general contractors in Bergen, Essex, and Hudson Counties for your project based on the criteria you provide: scope, budget, timeline, location, and style.

Step 3: Evaluate the experts.

The more you know about what to look for in general contractors and how to work with them, the better you’ll be able to navigate the renovation process. Ahead, we highlight must-haves and how we can help.

Sweeten was founded in 2011 by trained architects with decades of construction experience. We take the intimidation out of renovating by matching homeowners and business owners with licensed, insured, talented general contractors for each project, providing support until project completion. Our service is absolutely free to the renovator.
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Sweeten is free and simple to use

1. Post your project

Tell us about the renovation you’re planning and we’ll match you with the right general contractors for your project.

2. Meet your matches

We’ll send you a shortlist of contractors matched with your project, you can browse past work, read reviews, and get introduced to your favorites.

3. Start renovating

After meeting your matches and receiving estimates, hire your favorite and get started. Sweeten will be there to help throughout the process.

General contractors in Northern New Jersey: What to look for

A successful renovation starts with finding a trusted professional with relevant experience. For any major renovation, regardless if you’re tearing down walls or updating bathroom fixtures, general contractors are there as your partner to navigate each step of the process. They help finalize the scope of work, create the schedule, review site conditions, obtain licenses and insurance, and coordinate subcontractors and other trades as needed. General contractors are there to manage the project from start to finish. Since you’ll be working together closely, hiring someone you trust and can communicate with is crucial—personality matters!

Past work experience and references also speak to a general contractor’s qualifications. Find out what previous clients thought about working with a general contractor and see if the general contractor completed work similar to what you’re looking to do.

It’s essential to ensure a general contractor maintains the proper licenses and insurance for protection and accountability. When you work with a contractor who has the right paperwork and documentation, you can feel confident about who is working in your home and that the work is up to code. Sweeten general contractors are all vetted to ensure they have the right credentials and knowledge of varied building codes whether you’re in Ridgewood, Paramus, Montclair, or Hackensack.

Key takeaways:
  • Every contractor you work with should have a (HIC) or Home Improvement Contractor license. Every Sweeten contractor is vetted and maintains the proper licenses.

  • Be sure to check out photos and reviews of contractors’ previous work.

  • Make sure a general contractor is a good fit personality-wise.

  • Ask if the contractor guarantees the work; Sweeten contractors’ work is guaranteed for a minimum of one year post-construction.

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Kitchen Remodeling in Northern New Jersey

The average cost for a mid-range kitchen renovation in Northern New Jersey falls at $64,000 or $320 per square foot. The costs go up based on the quality of materials chosen, and whether plumbing and gas lines need to be moved, which require additional licenses and permits. Sweeten kitchen remodels in Northern New Jersey range from reconfiguring a galley kitchen layout to optimize storage in a Jersey City kitchen, to replacing cabinetry, appliances, and tile in a Fort Lee kitchen.

Key takeaways:
  • Extending plumbing or gas lines increases the cost, as will choosing higher-grade materials.

  • Create a makeshift kitchen elsewhere in the house for use during the renovation.

  • If you have the space to store things, try to purchase cabinets and appliances before demo even begins, so that you’re ahead of the game for installation.

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Bathroom Remodeling in Northern New Jersey

In Northern New Jersey, a mid-range bathroom of about 35 square feet will cost $20,000 or about $570 per square foot. The construction period typically lasts about a week, though expect the entire process, including planning, demolition, and execution to take anywhere from two weeks up to three months. A “rip-and-replace,” which involves swapping out fixtures and finishes while keeping them in the same place, will typically take less time than reimagining the layout to make it bigger or moving plumbing. Homeowners often focus on maximizing storage, light, and updating outdated fixtures. Recently, more Sweeten projects have involved making bathrooms more accessible, through the installation of safety bars, curbless showers, and higher toilets.

Key takeaways:
  • A 36-square-foot bathroom in Northern New Jersey starts at $20,000.

  • A “rip-and-replace” should typically be cheaper and take less time than a bathroom renovation involving layout changes.

  • Accessible design is on the rise in bathroom renovations.

  • Delivery delays can affect your renovation timeline. If you have the space to store things, try to purchase tile and other fixtures before demo even begins.

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Basement Remodeling in Northern New Jersey

Basement renovations can cost on average $117 a square foot in Northern New Jersey. The existing condition of the basement, however, plays a big role in the price. If the plan is to add a bathroom or major entertainment area, for example, and there are no existing plumbing or electricity lines, costs will go up. Other factors, including ceiling height, local egress regulations, and insulation needs also have an impact on timing and price. But keep in mind that the work you put into a basement will be recouped in your property value! A Sweeten renovation in Bergen County, New Jersey involved creating a new laundry room, in addition to a music space and hangout area.

Key takeaways:
  • Basement renovations in the area cost on average $117 per square foot.

  • According to Remodeling’s 2017 Cost vs. Value report, 70 percent of what goes into a basement renovation will be recouped in the value.

  • Evaluate how you’ll use the space to get a better sense of cost and timing.

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When should you meet with and hire a general contractor?

Homeowners typically start meeting with contractors 1-3 months out from when construction begins. Every project will have a unique schedule, so look at this as a starting point. The pre-construction phase of your project can be planned even 3-6+ months in advance.

Regardless, a start date should be a big factor in your search for a general contractor. Some contractors could be booked months in advance, while others have a schedule that aligns with your timing. When you come to Sweeten, we’ll start the matchmaking process to find estimates from multiple general contractors. If you do select one of our experts, you’ll receive regular check-ins until the project is complete, with encouragement to reach out with any questions to renovate with confidence.

Our renovation expertise includes:
Single-Family Houses
Condos
Duplexes
Landmark Buildings
Kitchens
Bathrooms
Living Rooms
Bedrooms/Nurseries
Basements
Outdoor and Exterior Renovations
Wood Flooring
Gut Renovations
Historic Restorations

Sweeten also handles commercial projects, including restaurants, retail spaces and offices. Find out more here.

Locations:
Hudson County
Essex County
Bergen County

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