Realtors often advise that kitchens and bathrooms sell homes, so upgrading your bathroom can be a solid investment to increase your home’s value. When you remodel your bathroom, you will be tempted to create the dream spa you’ve always wanted -- resist the temptation to create a show room for yourself and let your realtor guide you to make sure the money you put into your bathroom doesn't go down the toilet.
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 realtor 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 fine 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 realtor, 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 installation costs of the items you need. Show him the list you’ve priced and ask if he can reduce your purchase costs with any contractor courtesy discounts he receives. 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. The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority estimates homeowners will save $78 annually in water bills in addition to using less water. Energy efficient bulbs not only reduce electricity costs, but also save on bulb purchases. Your remodeling might quality for tax credits for buying green products such as a low-flow toilet or shower. Ask your utility about any state or local rebate or tax-credit programs of which it is aware.
Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such Smart-Healthy-Living.net, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.