Advice on choosing a house with 3 bed 1.5 bath instead of 3 bed 2 bath

Asked by anush256, Milwaukee, WI Wed Dec 12, 2012

I am looking to buy a single family house in Wauwatosa but am looking for 3 bed 2 bath. Unfortunately most of the houses are 3bed 1.5 baths. We are a family of 2 (my wife and me) with a baby on the way. I am NOT looking for a starter house and would like to stay for 7-10 yrs. My Max budget is 350-400K. Am i being unreasonable with my 2 bath requirement or should I consider 1.5 bath houses or look elsewhere - Menomonee falls, Germantown etc for such houses for the same price. As for work, I dont mind the distance from falls or Germantown. I do not want to live in Brookefield or Elm Grove. Pl advice.

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Troy Miller’s answer
Troy Miller, Agent, Milwaukee, WI
Wed Dec 12, 2012
Alot of the Tosa homes of interest are no doubt older homes (built 30's to 40's) where having the 1/2 bath in addition to the full bath was considered a luxury bach when they were built. Within your price range the homes you are touring though should ideally have room to expand and possibly add another bath or remodel the 1/2 bath into a would really depend on the house in question. On recent re-hab projects I"ve been involved with we took older 1920's-1940's homes (both had 4 bedrooms) and made some adjustments to the layout to bring the home to modern standards as far as amenities. In both cases we took the 4th bedroom (as most buyers don't need that extra room) and combined with the master bedroom to include both a master bath and a walk in closet.

I guess what I'm trying to say is if you find a home that fits your needs (size, location, etc) and it only has 1.5 baths maybe look at from a different perspective as to how the home could be arranged to add that 2nd full bath or upgrade the existing 1/2 bath to full.

Please feel free to contact me anytime if you would like assistance in your home search!

Troy Miller
Total Realty LLC
1 vote
Kris Plechaty, Agent, Menomonee Falls, WI
Wed Dec 12, 2012
Greetings Anush256!

You ask a very relative and important that will have an impact on the potential resale value of your future home! I work in the Memononee Falls/Germantown area, however, I grew up in Tosa and am familiar with homes in both areas. As a number of agents have already mentioned, you will get a unique and quaint home in Tosa with a smaller yard, less square footage and generally smaller bedrooms,'ve got it...fewer bathrooms! However, it remains a very sought after area with reduced inventory.

You will definitely get more bang for your buck in Waukesha County, especially in the Menomonee Falls area, and extending somewhat into Washington County and the Germantown area. You may also want to consider Lisbon, Lannon, Sussex or Richfield as alternatives...a little farther west, but you tend to get more land for the money (if that's important to you). Menomonee Falls is flush with inventory with tons of potential opportunities!

I feel that as a new homeowner with baby on the way, 2 full bathrooms are imperative. You may not realize it now, but as the demand for shower and bathroom time increases, you will really see the need for 2 full bathrooms. When you are considering resale value down the road, 2 bathrooms will most definitely work in your favor! I have 3 kids at home and 2.5 bathrooms...I don't think we could function with any less!

Please feel free to contact me with questions or concerns, or to view properties in these areas...I'm happy to be of service!!

Kris Plechaty @ First Weber Group Realtors
Menomonee Falls, WI
0 votes
Kathleen Dav…, Agent, Shorewood, WI
Tue Oct 8, 2013
Hi. You are not being unreasonable. You can get a 3 BR 2BA house within your price range, especially with your willingness to look in multiple communities. Wauwatosa homes with 2 baths might lean towards bungalows or an expanded colonial. Do you have a certain type of home that you like the best? Germantown has lower inventory right now but newer houses and architecture. When are you expecting the baby? Would love to talk to you about your options if you like.
0 votes
anush256, Home Buyer, Milwaukee, WI
Thu Dec 13, 2012
Thank you all for the quick response. Yes, i am working with a realtor who has created a profile in MLS and I get frequent updates about new homes. I know with the holidays, many homes are off market, but I was getting a bit nervous because I need to move into a house by may-June 2013. We are looking at the MCW neighborhood - east of 45 and west of 70 street and north of 94. It is the old part of Tosa and also has the charm. I for once prefer a bigger house and a big lot with a finished basement but my wife prefers the charm and feels of old Tosa. I am OK with it as long as we find a middle ground.

The problem with saving room to convert a 1.5 bath into 2 bath ot creating an extra bath in the basement it the hassles of - approval to build one and the time and money. Most of the homes in Tosa come with unfinished basement and they are already at 350K. So if i have to put in money to just barely finish a basement and then on top of it to add plumbing etc to build another bath, I would be exceeding my max budget. Most of the 1/2 baths are so small that I dont think we could expand them into a full bath.

If i were to put in all the money to finish the basement and add an extra bath etc, will I see value on my investment? or should I just take the money and look for a different house in the falls which already come with finished basement, larger lot and 2-2.5 baths for the same price with a lot of inventory and the taxes are much more reaonable. Also, how is the resale value of a house in Falls or Germantown? Am i spending too much money in a suburbs where I may not see any appreciation?

Thank you in advance for all your great suggestions.
0 votes
Eric D Lenz, Agent, Greendale, WI
Wed Dec 12, 2012
Wauwatosa has been selling well and the inventory is somewhat weak. Keep your powder dry and keep looking. Be ready to pull the trigger quick when you find the right house.
Or, you could follow some of the advice below.
Are you working with a Realtor that is sending you immediate information so that you can act fast?
0 votes
Matthew Heit…, Agent, Stoughton, WI
Wed Dec 12, 2012
Great answers everyone. I would also add that there are a few mortgage programs out there that allow you to make improvements to the home and finance the renovations into the total loan amount. The 203k comes to mind.

Michael Collins- SFR, BPOR
Rock Realty Wisconsin

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0 votes
April Hayden…, Agent, Brookfield, WI
Wed Dec 12, 2012
Wauwatosa has many older homes, that is the reason you are seeing so many with 1 1/2 baths. Some have been remodeled to include a 2nd full bath, some have another bath in the basement area. There are currently 8 homes in Wauwatosa between $300 and $400 with 2 full baths. Would you consider a 1 bath that has room for you to add a 2nd full bath? That may be an option. In Menomonee Falls and Germantown you would broaden your selection, many more of those homes were built later when the market started demanding more baths for families.

Resale value is better on homes with 2 full baths also.
If you'd like further information or help please feel free to contact me.
April Hayden-Munson
Web Reference:
0 votes
Peter Doman…, Agent, Greenfield, WI
Wed Dec 12, 2012
At the max price range you are looking at, you shouldn't have a problem finding a 2 bath home. It's always nice to have a master bath for you and the wife. Resell value is better for a 2 bath than a 1.5 bath. If you need help, please do not hesitate to call me.

Peter Domanos
(414) 727-8280.
0 votes
Liz Apuli, Agent, Menomonee Falls, WI
Wed Dec 12, 2012
Wauwatosa has a lot of older homes...often they didn't build 2 full baths. Many have been renovated though. You can find some though. If you're open to different areas, I would look at those areas and see where you can get the most house for your money. If you're not working with an agent, I'm happy to help. Please call, text or email.
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