If you’re planning a bathroom remodel, features like heated flooring, walk-in showers, and resurfaced storage cabinets will increase your home’s resale value
A bathroom can either make or break a home purchase deal. And while a bathroom remodel may not necessarily recoup every cent you spent, it’s one of the most value-added improvement tasks you can take on if you’re thinking about selling.
Why Do Bathroom Remodels Add Value?
Bathrooms (and kitchens) are where people spend the most time in their homes. So, a professional bathroom revamp is likely to bear fruit when it’s time to show your home to potential buyers and entertain offers. In fact, homeowner investment in renovation and remodeling projects grew almost 3% to $420 billion in 2020, as a study by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies (PDF) found recently.
Bathroom remodels usually have the highest return on investment (ROI). The average national ROI on a bathroom remodel is about 72.7%. That means that for every dollar you spend improving some part of your bathroom, you’ll see a $1.72 increase in the value of your home.
However, some bathroom upgrades boost your home’s value more than others.
If the grout is beyond scrubbing and the tile looks dated, replace the floor with ceramic or porcelain tile for a long-lasting waterproof finish. If you’re in an area where winter weather runs exceptionally cold, consider installing heated floors in your bathroom to make morning showers much more pleasant.
Vanity, Faucet, and Countertops
It’s a relatively small part of your bathroom real estate, but an upgrade here packs a seriously positive punch. Consider swapping out a pedestal sink for a double-sink vanity with storage. Or upgrade your countertops to a more durable, modern finish like granite.
Even something as straightforward as swapping outdated hardware for a sleeker finish (such as brushed nickel or bronze) can liven up the entire bathroom. Also, consider refacing sturdy and functional cabinets for a more modern look that will appeal more to potential buyers down the road.
Shower and Bathtub
Swapping out a standard bathtub and shower combination for a large walk-in shower can really add to the appeal of your primary bathroom and your home as a whole. (Make sure you leave at least one bathroom with a bathtub, though. Potential buyers with young children will consider that a “must” when shopping for a new home.) Another potential upgrade is adding glass doors to your current bathtub and shower.
“A tub-to-shower conversion is the most popular and biggest ROI upgrade in the bathroom,” says Nick Zindel, owner of Zintex Remodeling Group. “Many busy homeowners don’t have time to take baths. Plus, having a walk-in shower also makes it easier to sell the home since that’s what most customers are looking for when remodeling."
Retiling the Surround
If the bathtub itself is in good shape, with no nicks, rust, or discoloration, then you can save some money and still see a significant improvement by simply replacing the bathtub’s surround or wall. A professional tile contractor should change or replace your tile.
Lighting fixture updates can greatly impact the overall look and feel of the entire bathroom. Outdated lighting can often make the space look outdated or even dingy and drab. That’s especially true if you do any other aesthetic updating, such as painting the bath or adding new cabinetry or hardware.
Ventilation improvements not only make the bathroom more pleasant to use but can also help prevent mold or mildew growth on the ceiling. If your ventilation is less than ideal, consider updating it to protect your investment.
As the U.S. population ages, accessibility will be an increasingly important concern. Future homeowners who can’t access the home’s most important features may not want to go to the expense of renovating the space themselves. Widening doorways, adding support bars, and changing a standard bathtub to a walk-in shower area are valuable remodels that will help improve your home’s resale value.
If you only have one bathroom, consider adding a new one instead of spending money to makeover the existing one. That’s especially true if you have more than two bedrooms; buyers with young children almost always expect more than one full bath to make evening bath time easier. For your investment in a bathroom addition, you can expect a return of about 55% for either a midrange or an upscale addition.
Remodels That Won’t Bring in a Significant ROI
Not all bathroom upgrades will add a lot to your home’s resale value or its appeal to potential buyers.
For example, jet tubs and steam showers might seem like a great idea in theory, but in practice, they can be difficult to maintain and frequently break down, requiring home repair visits that quickly add up.
That said, if adding a jet tub appeals to you, and you’re prepared for the added expense, by all means, add it and enjoy! Just don’t expect any significant ROI on these upgrades.
How to Improve Your Bathroom Remodel ROI
Prioritize Repairs Over Cosmetic Changes
Sometimes, the remodel budget means that you must make some potentially difficult decisions. How well your bathroom serves its function is much more important than how it looks. So, if there’s any aspect of the room that isn’t up to par, fix it before upgrading the flooring or the bathtub. If your bathroom suffers from any items that need repair, like cracked tiles, water infiltration, or mold, you’ll definitely want to prioritize those repairs over cosmetic changes.
Focus on Low-Cost and DIY Upgrades
Another way to increase the ROI on your bathroom upgrades is to choose low-cost projects you can do yourself in a weekend or so. DIY upgrades for your bathroom can include:
a fresh coat of paint that delivers a powerful facelift to a tired bathroom. Blue bathroom paint can increase a home’s resale value by more than $5,000.
swapping out your existing lighting for a fixture that’s a little more up-to-date. Add vertical shelves for more attractive storage options, and replace your existing mirror with a newer model. Install a new low-flow toilet with a more modern, elongated design at comfort height.
These upgrades will cost much less than major remodels yet will still revive a lackluster bathroom’s look and feel for potential home buyers, thus adding to your resale value.
Keep Your Design Neutral
If you’re remodeling your bathroom with an eye on maximizing your ROI, it’s best to keep all your design choices fairly neutral. Stick a neutral palette and choose a bathtub, cabinet, vanity, and fixture styles that are fairly classic or traditional. Of course, if you’re planning to stay put for a few years, then, by all means, exercise your design flair and get as creative as you like.
Talk to Your Local Real Estate Agent
Before you make a final decision about upgrading your bathroom in anticipation of a sale, ask your real estate agent to tell you what home improvements will bring about the highest ROI in your area. This answer can definitely vary from place to place, and your agent is in the best position to give you the scoop. Then to make sure the job’s done right, hire a professional home remodeler in your area to complete the work.