One question we often get at Total Home Remodeling is whether a bathroom remodel would be worth the expense. We understand their hesitation: bathroom remodels aren’t always cheap. You can’t get away with DIY-ing every fixture installation, after all, unless you’re an experienced plumber or have a background in construction. You have to invest enough time and money on bathroom improvements so they come out the way you want them.
A lot of times, bathroom improvements come down to the cost (the 2018 national average hovers at $9,742, although minor remodels can cost only $2,500). Here’s the thing, though: bathrooms are the most private rooms in the house, but it is also the one place everyone, even guests, will no doubt enter. From this fact alone, you should consider improving your bathroom (if it’s not meeting your needs, there’s a good chance it will also fall short of your future buyers’ expectations).
If you’re worried about the cost, consider these facts:
Attractive yet functional bathroom fixtures increase a house’s appeal to buyers.
- You could recoup 60.2 to 67.2 percent of the remodeling cost of a bathroom remodel.
- You could recoup over 100 percent of bathroom remodel costs in hot real estate markets, like Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, and Washington DC.
- Minor remodels can still give resellers high returns.
With the right remodeling plan, a team of competent builders, and a contractor who’ll be on top of the entire project, you can get the most out of your bathroom renovation — including an increase in your house’s resale value.
Bathroom Projects that Bring Home the Bacon
Let’s get to the meat of the matter: which bathroom improvements can give you the highest returns?
1. New Bathrooms
The number of bathrooms can be a deal-breaker for many house buyers: there have been plenty of accounts of owners who’ve had trouble selling their houses until they built an extra bathroom in the basement or the master bedroom.
Moreover, bathroom additions can increase a house’s resale value. Exactly how much profit they can generate depends on the type and scale of the project.
If we are to go by the Remodeling Magazine’s 2019 Cost vs. Value Report, a new, upscale bathroom can cost you over $87,000, but it will raise your home’s resale value by $51,000. Meanwhile, a mid-range bathroom addition that costs over $47,000 can add over $28,000 to your house’s market price. Both project types can, therefore, increase a house’s value by more than 50 percent of the total cost of the new bathroom.
How many bathrooms should you add? Put yourself in your buyers’ shoes. Would the number of toilets and baths become an issue if you were to have a full house? Or is the number just right, but you’d like to see improvements in the design and layout? The choice between a bathroom addition and a remodel will depend on your answer.
2. Improved Floor Layout
From here onwards, you’ll get our recommendations for value-adding bathroom improvements. Let’s begin with the layout.
Changing the layout of your bathroom is a major remodeling project that may include tearing down one of the bathroom’s walls and adjusting the room’s dimensions according to your specifications. The goal of changing a bathroom’s layout should be to improve the flow of movement inside the bathroom.
When changing the layout of a bathroom, consider doing these:
- Install a bath and shower combo if the floor space is limited.
- Separate the vanity and faucet area from the toilet and bath.
- Keep a respectable distance between the bathtub and the commode.
- Keep plenty of open space for walking and moving around (no bumping into walls and corners at every turn). Maintain at least 30 inches of floor width for the toilet, and measure at least 20 inches between a wall and the center of the sink.
- Position the toilet and bathing area away from large windows.
- There should be enough room for bathroom doors to swing open fully.
A cramped bathroom is a telltale sign that a house is not high-end. Even if this were true, homebuyers would still want to make the most of their money. If given a choice between two houses of the same price range and with similar features, they’ll most certainly choose the one with the least flaws. You can be sure that a flawed bathroom layout will be one of the drawbacks that stands out the most.
3. Water and Energy Saving Fixtures
Many house hunters today are drawn to sustainable home features. They are trendy but, more importantly, they allow homeowners to save money in the long run by helping reduce their water and electricity consumption. The promise of paying less for water and electricity can attract buyers to your house like bees to honey.
Which home home elements should you prioritize for energy-saving upgrades? Start with the toilet.
The average toilet uses three gallons of water for each flush, and the average person goes to the bathroom five times a day. Multiply these figures by the number of people in a household, and you’ll have an idea of just how much water families use every day for toilet flushing alone. If you want to make your house attractive to pro sustainability house buyers, switch to a water-efficient toilet that only uses half the standard amount of water for each flush.
Below are other features that make your house attractive to buyers (and therefore improve its market appeal):
- Install water-efficient faucets. Models with a WaterSense label can lower the water flow from the standard 2.2 gallons per minute to just 1.5 GPM.
- Switch to a smaller bathtub.
- Use a low-flow showerhead, similar to a WaterSense faucet.
- Install an aerator to your showerhead, which adds air into the water flow. It produces a mist-like shower, which uses less water than laminar-flow showerheads.
- Choose energy-saving lights for your bathroom.
4. Luxury Features
If you’re gunning for maximum returns on investment, go for in-demand luxury bathroom features. These can add value to your property because they appeal to buyers who’re looking for homes where they can always feel comfortable.
What are the examples of luxury bathroom fixtures?
- Heated floors
- A heated towel rack
- A second sink and accompanying mirror
- Shower seats
- Ceiling-mounted showerheads with “rain” settings
- Wall-mounted, “body spray” water spa features
- A well-designed ventilation system
- Warm lights that balance the clinical white often used in bathrooms
- Natural stone counter over the vanity (alternatively, a floating vanity)
- Separate water closet, shower enclosure, and tub room
These additions come with a hefty price tag, but as Remodeling Magazine estimates, you can recoup more than three-fifths of the cost. If you get in touch with the right prospects, a luxury bathroom could even make your property sell faster.
A word of caution, however: only consider a high-end remodel if your property is in an upscale neighborhood. It’s pointless to build a luxury house when its next-door neighbors are your average three-bedroom, one-point-five-bath homes. Even if the house is right, luxury home buyers won’t bite when the location isn’t.
Not all value-adding bathroom improvements will cost you an arm and a leg. If a large-scale remodeling isn’t feasible at the moment, focus instead on more affordable aesthetic enhancements.
An example would be choosing Carrara marble instead of Calacatta. Carrara costs less to buy and install, but it looks very similar to Calacatta. With it, you can achieve the aesthetic you wanted with Calacatta, but at a lesser cost. The best part is whether your new marble fixtures can truly add to your property’s market value or do nothing more than make your house more appealing to buyers, you still win.
Here are other worthwhile installations you can try:
- Replace or refurbish your vanity.
- Install a new sink (or two).
- Install a new, trendy-looking faucet.
- Repaint the interiors to create a contemporary feel.
- Customize existing cabinetry to match your bathroom’s new look.
- Replace your old-fashioned, freestanding sink with a vanity cabinet with a built-in or mounted sink.
Real estate agents recommend aesthetic improvements because they attract buyers. You don’t need to spend on expensive decorative features, too, because the average buyer won’t even know the difference. As long as the additions are done well and built with quality materials, it wouldn’t matter to buyers that they’re not luxury features.
There are more bathroom additions that you can consider to increase your house’s value — we’ll be happy to discuss them at length with you.
Get in touch with Total Home Remodeling, and our bathroom design experts and builders can advise you on how to remodel your bathroom. You can reach our Kansas City headquarters at (913) 270-8570. You can also ask us for a free quote.