You need a second bathroom. Every time you have a party, a line forms down the hallway; and every time your sister-in-law comes to visit, you have to schedule showers and trip over extra shampoo bottles. But you’re not going to stay in this house forever, so you don’t want to put a lot of money into remodeling unless you can recoup your costs through increased resale value. That’s smart. The good news is bathrooms are big selling points, but the not-so-good news is the return on investment, or ROI,on home remodeling has taken a hit in recent years.
Back in 2005, when the real estate market was peaking, the ROI on a remodel was almost 88 percent, meaning that you got back 88 percent of the money you put into remodeling through the increased value of your home when you sold it. By 2011, ROI dropped to about 58 percent, with the average for bathroom additions specifically, at 51 percent. One of the reasons for this is that remodeling costs did not drop as much as housing prices. These are national averages; some regions of the United States fared better.
Location, Location, Location
According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2011-12 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report, the Pacific Region (California, Oregon and Washington) maintained a high ROI: over 71 percent. The West South-Central (Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana) and South Atlantic (Atlantic costal states from Virginia to Florida) Regions did better than the national average as well. Cities in the West North-Central states (North Dakota and Minnesota down to Kansas and Missouri) had the lowest ROI of just under 50 percent. (Source 1)
Budget v. Style
Luxury bathrooms, while terrific selling points, don’t have an ROI as high as more budget-conscious ones. Net Worth IQ reports that the average midrange full-bath addition costs about $37,202 and comes with an ROI as high as 66 percent, while a "Remodeling" magazine report shows that additions with a $40,096 price tag have an average ROI of 51 percent. Luxury bathrooms can really wow the prospective buyer -- not to mention you every time you step into a walk-in steam shower with multiple showerheads and LED lighting – but the costs of high-end features can be astronomical. That steam shower may make you feel like a million bucks, but it’ll cost you $18,000. Kohler’s NUMI automated toilet will “spray you, dry you, heat you, light you – and play music for you,” says designer Blanche Garcia of B. Garcia Designs, but it has a $4,800 price tag, which may be great for your bottom, but not for your bottom line.
You can save a lot of money by doing some things yourself, but even if you’re very handy around the house, don’t skimp on having your bathroom addition designed by a professional. Bathrooms can be tricky, with lots of plumbing, drains and electrical issues -- and there are municipal codes and regulations to consider. Having to redo construction can be a lot more expensive than hiring a professional from the beginning.
Lisa Dorward was a corporate financial executive and business consultant for more than 15 years before becoming a writer in 2003. She has B.A. degrees in both history and creative writing and earned her M.F.A. in creative writing in 2008, specializing in novel-length historical fiction.