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Yvette Allen's Blog

By Yvette Allen | Broker in San Antonio, TX

Bathroom Remodel - is it right for you?

Are you thinking of remodeling your bathroom?  A bathroom remodel can be a solid investment, according to Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value report. A $15,000 bath remodel will recoup almost 75% of those costs when it’s time to sell your home, and a more extensive $50,000 job returns 70%. It’s important to keep this in mind – let’s say you have a house that could sell for $70,000 on a good day and your remodel cost is $15,000, you’re not going to have an $85,000 house.  You’re going to have $70,000 house with an expensive bathroom.  If you plan to sell your home in the very near future just make sure you are not pricing yourself out of the market.  A general rule of thumb is that you should only undertake a major remodeling project if you plan to stay in your home for at least three to five years.             

Here are some remodeling tips:

1. Create a plan, and stick to it

You need to thoroughly evaluate how you plan to use the space, what kinds of materials and fixtures you want, and how much you’re willing to spend.  Don’t begin your project until you have your plan.  No rush!  You don’t want to make decisions under duress. Once work has begun—refrain from changing your mind. Some contractors include clauses in their contracts that specify premium prices for changes to original plans.  It’s important everything between you and your contractor is in writing.  I watch too much People’s Court to know we no longer can assume a handshake is a deal! If planning isn’t your strong suit, consider hiring a designer. In addition to helping establish style and effective use of space, a professional designer makes sure all aspects of a project are harmonious so that contractors and installers are sequenced in an orderly fashion.

2. Keep the same footprint

No matter the size and scope of your planned bathroom, you can save major expense by not rearranging walls, and by locating any new plumbing fixtures near existing plumbing pipes. You’ll not only save on the demolition and reconstruction that moving walls and pipes require, you’ll reduce the amount of dust and debris your project generates.

3. Make lighting a priority

When it comes to adding comforts, your first thoughts might be multiple shower heads and fancy fixtures. But few items make a bathroom more satisfying than lighting designed for everyday grooming. You can install lighting for a fraction of the cost of pricier amenities.

4. Clear the air

Because bathroom ventilation systems are basically hidden, they usually don’t appear on a must-have list. Nevertheless, bathroom ventilation is essential for removing excess humidity that fogs mirrors, makes bathroom floors slippery, and contributes to the growth of mildew and mold. Controlling mold and humidity is especially important for maintaining healthy indoor air quality and protecting the value of your home. Remember excess humidity can damage cabinets and painted finishes.

5. Think storage

Adding storage to the bath can be a challenge but there are ways you can do it. Think vertically. Freestanding, multi-tiered shelf units designed to fit over toilet tanks turns unused wall area into storage. Install shelves over towel bars to use blank wall space. Think moveable. Inexpensive woven baskets set on the floor are stylish ways to hold towels. A floor-stand coat rack can be used to hang drying towels, bath robes, or clothes.  Think utility. Adding a slide-out tray to vanity cabinet compartments gives you full access to stored items and prevents lesser-used items from being lost or forgotten.                                                                                                                   

6. Contribute a little sweat equity                                                                                                  

You can shave labor costs by doing some of the work yourself.  Again, discuss this with your contractor; the agreement you both sign should specify what projects you’ll assume responsibility for. Some easy DIY projects: paint walls and trim and install towel bars and shelves.

7. Use low-cost design for high visual impact

If you’d like to add visual zest to your bathroom but are concerned about creating a one-of-a-kind look that might put off a future buyer, go neutral.  Neutral colors for permanent fixtures and surfaces. Then add pizzazz in items that are easily changed, such as shower curtains, window treatments, towels and throw rugs. These relatively low-cost decorative touches provide tons of personality but are easy to redo whenever you want.

Are you ready to remodel?  About 5 years ago I decided to remodel both my master bathroom and the guest bath.  I hired someone to do the work and within 2 weeks I was the owner of two remodeled bathrooms.  When I went to sell my house I did make my money back, but most importantly I loved the fact that my bathrooms no longer had carpet!  Here are some before and after pictures.





By David & Samuel Rifkin,  Thu Jan 31 2013, 11:13
Thank you very much for this great information.

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