Make Your New Bathroom Pay for Itself


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Image provided by author

The National Association of Home Builders reported a record remodeling market index (RMI) of 57 last October. This was the sixth consecutive quarter of high market activity for this sector, and forecasts continue to be rosy well into the new year.

Among the most popular projects undertaken by homeowners last year was bathroom remodeling. This comes as no surprise considering bathroom remodels consistently rank among the home improvement projects with the highest recoup rates. According to Remodeling Magazine’s “2014 Cost vs. Value Report,” midrange and upscale bathroom remodels retain 72.5% and 63.6% of their value at resale, respectively.

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Image provided by author

If you’re among the many American homeowners interested in upgrading a bathroom, you stand an excellent chance of a good return on your investment. In fact, you may even be able to make your new bathroom pay for itself over time in the following ways.

Resale Value

Real estate agents say that the bathroom is one of the few areas in the home where buyers can tell at a glance if money has been well spent. If you’re thinking of selling your home and the competition in your housing market is fierce, an upgraded bathroom is a surefire investment.

How much of a return you can expect depends on where you live. In some housing markets – think Baltimore, Washington, DC, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, Minneapolis and their respective metropolitan areas – triple-digit returns on a bathroom remodel are not uncommon.

Functionality & Aesthetics

Aesthetics is always a big issue in bathrooms. Buyers are willing to pay a premium for things like updated fixtures and granite or marble countertops, so if you want to make your new bathroom pay for itself, these are among the features to consider.

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As far as functionality is concerned, it’s always a good idea to spend money on changing an awkward layout and creating a multifunctional bathroom lighting scheme. An efficient layout and good task, ambient and accent lighting go a long way toward making the space feel more open.

Other functional goodies that attract buyers and increase the value of your bathroom include walk-in showers, heated floors, double vanities and generous storage space.

Water & Energy Efficiency

Upgrades that lower water and energy consumption not only retain their value at resale but also offer tangible long-term savings. According to Home Energy magazine, even simple retrofits like low-flow faucets and showerheads can save the average family 17,000 gallons of water per year and $60 to $120 per year on energy and water bills.

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Upgrading the water heater also pays off: you can reduce your water heating energy costs by 4% to 9% by insulating an existing water heater and by up to 30% by installing a new and more energy-efficient unit.

Final Tips

  • Research industry trends. What homebuyers find attractive can change drastically over time, so take the time to figure out which upgrades are worth your time and money.
  • Know what you want. Are you remodeling with resale as your end goal or do you just want a brand new bathroom? List your specific goals and visions for the project and talk them over with a professional.
  • Hire a licensed, insured and bonded contractor with plenty of industry experience. Doing so will protect your investment and help you get the best value for your money.

Author Bio: Randy Savage is passionate about helping homeowners build better, safer and more comfortable homes. He works for Maryland home improvement company Blair Construction  LLC, where he uses the knowledge and experience he has gained in his seven-year career to help homeowners maximize their remodeling dollar.