The following is a guest post from Chris Long, a Chicago-area Home Depot sales associate and a regular contributor on plumbing topics for homedepot.com. Chris' advice on bathroom designs for homeowners ranges from fixtures and accessories to DIY remodeling. I asked him to do this article as I just went through this process -- doing little fixes to my house in order to make it sell at a better price.
Are you ready to put your place on the market but worry that you might end up leaving money on the table? If you have minor repairs or updates that need to be done, you may be doing just that.
When potential purchasers visit a property that has visible "deficiencies" (they can be as minor as outdated décor and as major as showerheads swinging from the sheetrock) they automatically assume the worst and the dance of the dollars begins: buyers overestimate costs of repairs and ask for everything including a new kitchen sink while sellers resist making pricey concessions for cosmetic line items.
One way to avoid this struggle altogether is to fix some of those issues before you ever list the property. Even if you have no plans to sell, but want to spruce up your pad, the bathroom is a great place to start because you can add value without investing large amounts of time or money.
Here are a few bathroom updates to consider and some related figures to help you figure out how you can get the biggest return on your investment.
Start with a Plan
Before you dive right in, put an overall plan down on paper to make sure your expectations, your budget and your design scheme are on the same page.
Due to the fact that there are so many elements in play in the bathroom – electrical, plumbing and cosmetic aspects - one of the most direct routes to an updated bathroom is to work within the existing bones of the space and keep your updates superficial.
Simply stated, moving plumbing supply lines and installing new electrical outlets for fixtures can not only increase the cost and extend the timeline of your updates, but your simple bathroom refreshing can turn into a super-sized renovation, especially if you have an older home and cannot safely (or legally) tie into the existing plumbing and wiring.
That said, national averages place a bathroom renovation around the 50-70% return on investment rate. Interestingly, the return does not increase the more you invest so don't fret if you are only able to update minor items and not overhaul the entire room.
And no matter the degree of your remodel, avoid the urge to place your creative stamp on the space. Keeping a neutral palette not only allows a potential buyer to imagine living in the space and incorporating their own style but it also increases the odds that the buyer will not factor redoing the bathroom (to undo all of your taste specific selections) into an offer.
Update the Walls
Don't underestimate the value of a fresh coat of paint – or the impact that comes with stripping away several decades' worth of wallpaper and starting with a clean slate.
Sweat Equity Tip: Few things date a space faster than old (and equally taste specific) wallpaper. Moreover, removing wallpaper is one of the highest ranking remodeling projects that potential purchasers avoid.
If you do the work on the front end yourself you can transform the entire room for little more than the tedious and time-consuming annoyance of the chore and that can equal big returns when you're ready to show the property.
For paint, go with a neutral color that brightens up the room in a matte or washable flat finish (to mask and minimize any imperfections). Pair this with a fresh coat of a clean white semi-gloss paint on the trim to create contrast.
A single gallon of wall paint can cover upwards of 350 square feet and a mid-range brand can cost anywhere from $35-$60 a gallon.
Fix Your Fixtures
New light fixtures and plumbing fixtures like faucets, showerheads and toilets are easy swaps that immediately update an older bathroom.
- Faucets: great options are available in the $50-150 range
- Showerheads: from $30-$300, with many options in the $50-$100 range
- Toilet: can cost upwards of $400 but a new water-saving toilet can be yours for around $150
Tip: Be a forward thinking remodeler and select eco-friendly or water-efficient fixtures that will stay relevant in the near future.
Also, make sure to select finishes that will not become outdated before their time. Brushed nickel and chrome are mid-range options that are neither too taste-specific nor cost-prohibitive.
Finally, make sure your plumbing fixtures and light fixtures are in the same style and finish to create a seamless look overall.
Bang for Your Bigger Bucks
Although it will cost more, one of the smartest bathroom updates you can make is adding another sink because it can really increase the functionality of your bathroom, the desirability of your property and the value of your home on the whole.
Install a Second Sink: A double vanity or dual pedestal sinks are not only a nice touch but they may even be the deciding factor for a family thinking of purchasing your property down the road.
If you have two bathrooms but they each have two sinks, you automatically elevate your property's desirability over area comps that only have a single sink in each of their two bathrooms.
Cost Cutting Tip: If possible, install the two sinks within 30 inches of each other to streamline the plumbing costs: you can avoid installing separate drainage and supply lines when they do not exceed this distance.
What are some of the plumbing updates or bathroom remodeling projects you plan to undertake?