As real estate agents, we can tell you that often its great kitchens and bathrooms that sell homes quickly and bad ones that can stall a sale. So, upgrading your bathroom can be a solid investment to increase your home’s value.
If you do however, it’s easy to be tempted to create the dream spa you’ve always wanted. But you should resist the temptation to create a show room for yourself and let your real estate agent guide you to make sure the money you put into your bathroom doesn’t go down the toilet.
Save those spa dreams for your new place, and concentrate on the important bathroom upgrades only. Here are some tips for doing just that.
Need Vs. Nice to Have
Let three things guide you as you consider what to make over in your bathroom: what’s falling apart, what you can afford and what your agent suggests. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” is a good start, especially if you’re talking about an expensive item such as a tub, but that perfectly functional but bulky and dated vanity might need to go in favor of a more buyer-attractive pedestal sink.
Review your budget if you have one to determine the effect the upgrade will have on your finances. Decide if you can afford the entire upgrade all at once, or if you will need to complete it in phases.
After you meet with your agent and get their sage advice, write a list of the improvements you want to make to your bathroom.
This could include a new toilet, vanity, sink, shower, tub, tile, wallpaper, paint, lighting or a tub-to-shower conversion. Measure your bathroom to help estimate tile, paint and wallpaper costs and to help as you shop. Visit a home center or shop online to price the products you want to buy, looking for manufacturer rebates and coupons.
Write down the total costs to upgrade your bathroom, including purchases and labor. Add a 10 percent cushion to ensure you have money for cost overruns. Add annual interest if you plan to put the remodeling costs on your credit card.
Meet with a contractor to discuss the installation costs of the items you need. Show them the list you’ve priced and ask if they can reduce your purchase costs with any contractor courtesy discounts they receive. Discuss the feasibility of installing different pieces of equipment and floor and wall tile at different times to spread your payments out during the cost of the year. Ask about any permitting requirements the work will require and if there are any costs associated with those.
If you use green products, contact your electric and water companies to determine the remodeling’s cost savings and environmental benefits so you can share them with potential buyers. Generally green bathrooms can result in some big savings, and this is information most home buyers will love. In addition, your remodeling work might quality for tax credits for buying green products such as a low-flow toilet or shower, or more efficient hot water heaters.