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Remodel Recoup: Bath Changes that Pay Back

•Learn how to design a bathroom that pleases you and also attracts future homebuyers.
•Create a bathroom that adds the most value to your home.

 The idea behind any remodel is to tailor your home to suit your personal taste and your family’s lifestyle. But if it's possible you'll be selling that home within a few years, it’s smart to consider how future homebuyers will react to your design decisions. 

When it comes to bathroom remodeling, luckily, it’s easier to strike a balance between those two ideas than you might think. While the enhancements you make are sure to entice future homebuyers, the best part is that you and your family can start enjoying them right away.

Remodel Recoup: Bath Changes that Pay Back

Stay neutral

Consider sticking with white fixtures and a neutral color scheme if you want to play it safe. Neutral-toned walls and tiles are versatile, and offer future homeowners more design options. You can always incorporate color in the details, says Diane Saatchi, of Saunders Realty in Bridgehampton, N.Y. Add vivid hues and patterns with accessories like towels or artwork.

But if you fall in love with a bold-color sink or other fixture, go for it. It's your remodel, after all. And chances are there'll be a potential buyer out there who shares your taste.

Keep it simple

"From a design perspective, clean and simple is always more marketable than anything that's ornate or off-the-wall," says Claudine Coco Clayman-Cook, a broker who helms her own realty agency in Los Angeles. 


For the floor, ceramic tile tends to bring the greatest return on investment, says Spence Bowthorpe, a remodeling contractor in Murray, UT.

Just add water

Among Saatchi's East Coast clientele, steam showers have surpassed whirlpool baths in popularity. "But keep mind that there are tub people and there are shower people," she says. If you install only a shower, make it a roomy one—at least a five-footer—-so the next owners have the option of removing it and putting a tub in its place.

Hi-ho silver

Traditional faucet finishes tend to be more versatile than gold or bronze.
For a classic look with timeless appeal, silver tones like brushed nickel or chrome faucets typically work best.

Shower power

Handheld showerheads facilitate cleanup and are considered a "must have" by many remodeling professionals and homebuyers. Handshowers with slide bars combine sleek good looks with function and flexibility.


Small changes, big difference

If you're looking to remodel without spending big bucks, consider the impact of just a few updates. Repaint your cabinets rather than replacing them, and swap out knobs, towel bars, and other accessories for a fresh, updated feel. Small changes can make a big difference and leave a smaller dent in your wallet.

Other bathroom upgrades known to appeal to buyers are dual sinks, particularly in the master bath. Other popular options that are very pleasing to prospective buyers are recessed medicine cabinets, dimmer switches, a shower light, and solid surfaces such as natural stone or acrylic.

Also remember that consistency is key. Revise your bath in a way that is in tune with the rest of your home.

Everything in its place

Bathroom storage is important to potential buyers, and the more the better. If you have the space, install niches or cabinets along the wall. Vanities can add a cozy, furniture appeal to the bathroom, and provide storage space below the sink. If you're looking for that little extra feature to separate your bathroom from the rest, consider the unique appeal of a shower storage unit.

To build or not to build

Adding another bathroom to your home might increase your list of potential buyers. If you have a four-bedroom, one-bathroom home, an additional bathroom may add more value than a remodel, particularly if it brings your home more in line with comparable homes in your neighborhood. 

While it is smart to try to see your home as a buyer would see it, think of updating your home primarily as a way to improve your quality of life. As you can see, those two visions are not really so far apart after all.



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