Home Selling in Marina>Question Details

Marinagirl, Home Seller in Marina, San Francisco,...

I have a 1936 marina home with original bathroom, should I update the bathroom to increase value. Is it worth it to maintain the art decco for?

Asked by Marinagirl, Marina, San Francisco, CA Thu Sep 17, 2009

historical purpose?

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Laura Lambert’s answer
It is always hard to answer this kind of question without seeing the overall condition of your home (move-in vs. minor upgrades, vs. major fixer-upper). Assuming your home would appeal to the move-in or minor upgrade buyer, I would suggest at a minimum you make sure everything looks sparking clean and is in good working order. Tile should be re-grouted and porcelain can sometimes be re-enameled. You should have nice looking light fixtures and faucets. There are many contemporary fixtures that are styled on Art Deco designs. If you have an old sink with separate hot/cold faucets, these can easily be joined. I would consider replacing a 1936 sink that looks old or is cracked (have you seen the wonderful glass sinks that can be lit from beneath and are quite dramatic for a powder room).

The Art Deco style lends itself to be compatible with many other styles, and while it is always important to retain the architectural integrity of a home, updating a bathroom need not clash with a home’s original style. Art Deco remains popular with its bold, dramatic, and usually angular, architectural statements. Check out this Marina Art Deco walking tour: http://www.sfcityguides.org/desc.html?tour=5

Your question relates to home staging, which includes cosmetic touch-ups like new paint, new light fixtures, fresh tile grout, new wood/stone floors, etc. It is much easier for people to imagine living in a home that appears to be in a good, updated condition. Homes that are staged usually sell faster and for higher prices. A comparison of staged vs. non-staged homes in San Francisco showed staged homes were selling 50% faster than non-staged homes and sellers recovered at least 2x their staging costs. Also remember that 80% of buyers are looking online first, so their first impression is from the photos of your home (National Association of Realtors data).

I agree with the other comments about the difficulty in remodeling to match every buyer’s taste, but let me share some information on sales in your neighborhood. Several homes recently sold over asking, including two on Cervantes: a light-filled basic 3 BD home with garage sold for $1.9MM in only 23 days at 5% over asking with updated kitchen/baths (but not high-end) while another basic Mediterranean style 4 BD with garage home with incredible detailing and hardwood floors sold (vacant) for $2.2MM in only 14 days at 16% over asking without updated kitchen/baths. Then there was a stunning eco-friendly remodel of a 4 BD/garage that took 4 months to sell and sold for $2.4MM (13% below asking). There was also a grand Mediterranean 3 BD/garage home with beautiful bay views but with original kitchen/bathrooms that only sold for $1.3MM, 5% below asking, after more than 8 months.

Unfortunately, the data does not ever tell the entire story, and the market depends on supply and demand, which are constantly changing. In my experience, homes with hardwood floors, updated bathrooms and kitchens with high-end cabinetry and stone counters usually sell for a premium, but your real estate agent will be familiar with your local neighborhood and can advise you. It is impossible to generalize because there are so many things that influence how easily a property will sell: price point, location, size, property’s upside potential, features like views/garden, etc. Your agent can send you a nice report with color photos of homes that have recently sold and are currently on the market so you can see for yourself what is selling.

Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 18, 2009
It's hard to say without seeing the home, but I would keep it the same for two reasons. First of all, if you remodel it, who is to say that the buyer has the same taste as you do. Maybe they would prefer to remodel and put their own touches on it.

The other reason is how much do you think it will cost and will it really " make you more money"? Maybe not.

That's a tough call. Some buyers love the original are decco style.

Good luck,

David Tap Tapper
Cashin Company
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 17, 2009
Dear Marinagirl,

David has it correctly that you should not remodeln your kitchen or baths. Most Buyers, indeed, do want to remodel in their own tastes. You would want to factor in the cost of remodeleing and most Buyers, unless the love what you did, would want to offer less because they will factor in the cost for their remodel.

Of course, if you bathroom is totally falling apart, you can think about replacing a vanity and having the tub re-enameled at not a big cost. Any realtor would need to see the bath before giving a final answer.


0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 18, 2009
Hi--Good question, one that I get asked a lot. If you would live in your home long enough to enjoy a remodel, I would say that it is worth pursuing (assuming the remodel is in line with the overall architectural feel & art deco style). However, I don't typically advise remodeling kitchens or bathrooms for sale. As my colleagues have pointed out, your remodeling choices may not appeal to one or another buyer. You're then faced with a potential buyer deducting money off his or her offer price to factor in for a remodel. Unless your current bathroom is in poor condition, it is probably not worth remodeling if you are planning to sell soon.
Web Reference: http://insidesfre.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 18, 2009
Yes and Yes. Highly desirable and if you aren't going to go the whole way and bring in an archicitect to do the entire interior keep the deco motif. You can modernize it really well and stil harken back to the deco.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 17, 2009
Jed Lane, Real Estate Pro in San Francisco, CA
You can update the bath while still keeping the historic integrity of the room and of the home generally. Whether the work will increase the home's value depends on the overall condition and layout of the home. I recommend you take a realtor through the house to give you a better answer.

Shaban Shakoori
TRI Coldwell Banker, SF's #1 Office
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 17, 2009
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