Tips for Remodeling a Bath for Resale

Boost home value by choosing quality materials that appeal to the masses.
Brown Patterned Tile Bsthroom

Patterned Tile Adds Visual Interest to Guest Bath

Designer, Vanessa DeLeon, uses textures and pattern to add visual interest to this modern guest bathroom. Clean lines of the fixtures allow the tile work and wood tones to become the focal point of space.

Photo by: Designer, Vanessa DeLeon

Designer, Vanessa DeLeon

By: Kristen Hampshire

Remodeling for Resale

Cameron Snyder, president of Roomscapes Luxury Design Center in Boston, Mass., says:

"For resale, focus on the visuals: nice tile, nice colors, nice fixtures... and don't spend a lot on the high-end utilities because most people can't tell the difference"

When buyers tour homes for sale, they're taking a close look at the bathrooms. For some, the sheer number of bathrooms in a home is critical—they must have a master, a family bathroom (full bath) and a half bathroom (powder room) for guests. So, you might be adding another bathroom to your home before selling time to appeal to the type of buyer who is looking at homes like yours.

But how much should you spend?

"I tell clients if you do a complete gut of a bathroom down to the studs and rebuild from the ground up, you are going to spend $14,000 to $20,000, depending on what [features] you put into it," Perrin says.

Is that too much? "The kitchen and bathroom sell a house," says Ken Perrin, president, Artistic Renovations, Cleveland, Ohio. "And most people buy the most expensive home they can afford. So they don't want to buy a house with a kitchen or bathroom that need to be worked on. That emotional tie is with the house where the kitchen and bathroom are in good condition."

Ultimately, you want buyers to envision themselves in your bathroom. But you should enjoy the space while you're living there and include the fixtures and features that will make the bathroom comfortable for your lifestyle. "Too many people say, 'I want to move, so I have to remodel my bathroom,'" Perrin says. "Then they immediately sell their house. Do it and enjoy it, and if you do it well and it's quality workmanship, you'll get your money out of it because the house will sell."

Think about your "wants" for your bathroom renovation. Also realize, since you need to get a nice return on investment on this project come home-sale time, you must set priorities based on what sells a bathroom. Keep in mind the cost of every component of the project plan. For instance, can you get away with refreshing the look of cabinets by replacing hardware rather than tearing out the whole structure? Do you need a brand new vanity sink, or can you update the faucet and give the space a more contemporary feel?

"For resale, focus on the visuals: nice tile, nice colors, nice fixtures—and don't spend a lot on the high-end utilities because most people can't tell the difference," points out Cameron Snyder, president, Roomscapes Luxury Design Center, Boston, Mass., and past-president of the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA).

Consider the following tips for remodeling with resale in mind:

Talk to real estate professionals. Check out comparable homes in your area. How many bathrooms do they have? Do you need to add a half or full bath to be competitive? Talk to realtors and find out what bathroom features turn on buyers.

Think timeless. Choose neutral colors for a clean look that will last a long time and can be personalized with accessories (towels, etc.).

Add some 'wow!' We're talking wow within reason. For example, if you are already planning on replacing the bathroom floor, you can spend about $600 on radiant heat floor mats that can be positioned as a real luxury attraction to home buyers. "Buyers will remember the bathroom with the heated floors—it gives them an emotional tie," Snyder says. Also, hand showers are convenient, cost-effective and an upgrade compared to the traditional shower head.

Accessorize. A fast, effective refresh in the bathroom can involve simply switching out towels, replacing a dowdy shower curtain and including an interesting eye-catching piece such as a beautiful vase. Even the way necessities are arranged can make a difference. Roll towels and place them in neat rows on an open shelf. Keep clutter off the vanity countertop.

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