What is more valuable, Bedroom or Bathroom?

Asked by Robert, Seattle, WA Sun Aug 16, 2009

I am currently remodeling a house on top of Queen Anne. Currently it has 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom on the 1000SF main floor ( living, kitchen, dining) and a full daylight basement (1000SF). The basement, when (remodeling is complete) will have a media room, office, and laundry room. The basement will also have a 1 bedroom 1 bath ADU with separate access, but also access through the media room of the main house.

My question is, is it worth the $ to change one of the 3 bedrooms on the main floor to a walk-in closet and bath to create a master suite?

What will be more valuable to a buyer?
Main floor:
3 bed 1 bath
2 bed 2 bath (master suite)

bearing in mind the downstairs will also have 1 bed 1 bath in the ADU which could also be used as part of the main house.

The house is just 2 blocks off Queen Anne Ave. It has no views, 2 off-street parking spaces, but no garage. We are thinking we will be in the $700k range when we plan to put it on the market next summer.

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Courtney Cooper’s answer
Courtney Coo…, Agent, Seattle, WA
Tue Jan 12, 2010
Hi Robert - great location, obviously, and having two off street parking spaces is nice.

Is there anywhere else you could steal a bath on the main level besides knocking out a bedroom? Sometimes there are additional options you may not have thought of initially.

Basement level bedrooms aren't very valuable and the ADU is nice, but won't add a ton to the value. Finishing out that space downstairs will definitely add to it - especially by adding a bath down there. I would leave the main level at 3 bedrooms and add the bath and extra living space downstairs.

Queen Anne has been moving well lately - I would think about the first half of this year vs. summer - all of our open houses have been packed lately! Good luck!
1 vote
Patrick Beri…, Agent, Seattle, WA
Sun Aug 16, 2009
You're going to get all kinds of answers from agents on this one so I'll leave that to them. Personally I think it really depends on two things: The house and the buyer. No matter what you do, some buyers will hate it and some will love it. Your goal is to get the right buyer in there who will want whatever you have or haven't done. I haven't seen your house so I can't tell you what I think is best for it, but I can suggest that you take a look at everything else that's going on near you. Figure out what buyers want near you and look at what else is on the market. For instance, if houses with certain characteristics are selling much quicker than others, you might want to research why.

Here's a snapshot of activity near you:

1 vote
Ddd31, Home Buyer, New York, NY
Thu Dec 15, 2016
Which would bring more value at selling an updated kitchen or an extra bedroom?.
0 votes
david_smith2…, Home Owner, Seattle, WA
Tue Mar 19, 2013
I have a 4 bedroom and 2 bath upstairs.. One of the bedrooms are small and butts up to the master bath which is small. Does it bring more resale value to have 4 bedrooms or a big master bath and bedroom?
0 votes
gabriel palo…, Agent, Pompano Beach, FL
Sun Jul 4, 2010
When you need to go a bathroom is always more valuable.
Bedrooms are by choice .
When a purchase is made for rental purpose less is always more.
When you compare values the cost of two bedrooms are always a plus.
0 votes
Trisha Quigl…, Agent, Seattle, WA
Wed Jan 27, 2010
After being in this industry for over 16 yrs. I have seen many home owners make this mistake because they think about what they would like not what the majority would. I would not make this change without thinking about what your goals are. If you are just looking to remodel and sell immediately as you state, focus on the kitchen and updating the baths. If this is something that you will enjoy for years to come then by all means build the master and lose a bedroom.

You said you are thinking of selling in the summer in that case you want to keep the largest pool of buyers possible. Our market has many homes to choose from and you do not want to create a floor plan that eliminates buyers.

If you think of your home as a funnel, with the widest part of the funnel being the largest selection of buyers the more you customize your home, the smaller that selection is. The worst thing you can do to a home is over customize it to small pool of specific buyers.

The key is to make certain you use high quality materials and do not chop up the floor plan. Focus on kitchens and baths.

Trish Quigley
RE/MAX Metro Realty Inc
0 votes
Teresa Hansch, , Fort Dodge, IA
Tue Jan 12, 2010
There are different needs for all buyers...not knowing your area (market) or typical age of buyer for your style of dwelling has a great impact. First of all 1,000 main floor SF is small for 3 bedrooms. If the buyer has older children than the lower level bedroom with 2 on main floor will be of more value. If young family with small children your 3 bedroom will be of more value to that buyer. Remember you will still have 2 bathrooms and you will have 3 plus bedrooms. This also depends on the current bedroom sizes, if the bedrooms are very small, then definately consider the master suite especially if there is going to be access to the addn. through the media room. I would definatly have a BPO prepared (Broker Price Opinion) and or appraisal to determine the comparative sales in your area. I would evaluate if an attached garage with additional living space would actually give higher value based on having no garage, off street parking and no view.
0 votes
David, , Seattle, WA
Tue Jan 12, 2010

I am a Broker in seattle. I have been in real estate for 18 years and I also rehab homes and develop land. I focus mainly on multi-family now. The best advice I would give you is to pinpoint what market you want to go after and deliver the best product for that market group. The advice that if you go one way you will eliminate this group of people and if you go another you eliminate another market may be true but you can't be all things to all people. The positives as I see it is the ADU. Many people today will welcome the income that the extra unit brings to cut into the mortgage (great selling point in this market). Those wanting a big master will want the 3/1 but that market will be probably be those with no or grown children. The 2/2 option could be great for the younger couple with children. Whatever the case the ADU has to be marketed as a plus, it may be difficult though because it has access through the media room so the perspective tenant would most likely not be a stranger or typical tenant so your income may not be market rent but still a positive. Whichever way you go. Also it's very important that the floor plan flow well. Don't chop it up just to get another room. I assume, being on Queen Anne , its an older home. The details on those homes are very distict so make sure you stay with the theme. I hope This has helped you. good luck with the project. As far as price. I have seem 2/2 sell more then 3/1 and vise-versa. Just depends on the quality of the project.
Web Reference:  http://www.nicardgroup.com
0 votes
Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Thu Oct 1, 2009
The ADU is not going to add value; it's going to limit the number of potential buyers.
Robert may have moved on with his plans, but for anyone facing a similar dilemma, my advice is to decide whether you're creating a family home or a couples home, and make the design optimal for them.
Otherwise, you've created a compromise, which will suit neither segment of the market well.
0 votes
Patrick Beri…, Agent, Seattle, WA
Tue Sep 29, 2009
Without having seen your house I'd say 3 bedrooms is better than 2.
0 votes
Van Durr, Agent, Bellevue, WA
Tue Sep 29, 2009

I think you would limit the number of potential buyers for this property if you went with 2 beds 2 baths (Master Suite). The question I would ask my self would be. What are 3 bed room homes with no garage selling for vs. 2 Bed 2 bath no garage and what is the market time for each property type?
0 votes
John Murphy, , Seattle, WA
Wed Aug 26, 2009
Hi Robert - I'm not an agent, but I live on Queen Anne myself, and moved with kids a couple of years ago from a 2bed/2bath in L.A. to a 4 bed/1bath on Q.A. I like watching the market though, so let me just suggest a couple of things to consider from our situation:

1) We had 1 kid and another on the way when we bought. I would never ever have looked at a 2br, master suite or no. Not only was it what we were trying to to trade up from, but even the standard 3 bedroom places looked a bit tight to us. At this stage of life for me, master suite is what I aspire to when kids are in H.S. or gone, not what I expect.

2) Our house in LA sold to a young couple with no kids. In my opinion by eliminating an existing bedroom, you are limiting your market to very young new buyers or older buyers without kids - you probably don't want to specialize that much.

3) You've probably noticed but Q.A. is exploding with kids right now. My daughter goes to Coe and the school has grown over capacity while she's been there and is projected to have bigger and bigger waitlists for the next several years; John Hay is in a similar position. Our district is one of the few in the city that is growing. Families are the ones moving to Q.A. and they need bedrooms. (See #2).

I liked the suggestion about trying to squeeze in a 1/2 or 3/4 bath somewhere - sharing one bathroom is definitely a headache, but for us at least the bedroom(s) were the real the key. Hope this at least gives you something to think about. Good luck!

John M.
0 votes
Courtney Coo…, Agent, Seattle, WA
Mon Aug 17, 2009
Hi Robert - It really is going to depend on what houses are selling around you and what they have compared to yours. That being said, you will seriously rule out a lot of buyers buy getting rid of that bedroom in my opinion. I think if it were me, I would stick with the basement plan which adds a bedroom and a bath, but leave the upstairs alone unless there is room to carve out just a 3/4 bath or something to add value. Taking away a main floor bedroom is just not consistent with what I have seen in the $700k price range around there with no views.

Good luck! I would love to see pictures!
Web Reference:  http://www.cooperjacobs.com
0 votes
Rebecca Carl…, Agent, Seattle, WA
Sun Aug 16, 2009
Hi, Robert --

Is the office downstairs a separate room that could also be used as a bedroom? If not, perhaps you can consider that. By doing this, it gives you a 4-bedroom home, and should alleviate concerns about enough space for kids. Generally, people look for 3 bedrooms on the 2nd level, but it sounds like your home is a one-story, with a soon-to-be finished basement. Therefore, the finished basement is a big plus over comparable homes around you. As the others have mentioned, finish work is key on Queen Anne. People want "old world charm", yet beautifully updated to today's lifestyles. Don't skimp on things such as molding, lighting, etc. especially for a basement remodel. The less the basement feels like a basement, the more your investment will return for you.

Best of luck! I'd love to see the finished product.

0 votes
Don Dutton, Agent, Puyallup, WA
Sun Aug 16, 2009
Sounds like you get two benefits from the bedroom conversion - a master bath and a walk-in closet. This will be the way to go. The downstairs will provide the office and bedrooms you'll need to reach this price. Don't base your remodeling costs on the expectation of a $700,000 sales price. Without a garage even Queen Anne has its limits. Speak with a local Realtor about a realistic price expectation before you go wild with remodeling expense.
0 votes
Karen Hunt, Agent, Seattle, WA
Sun Aug 16, 2009
I live and work on Queen Anne and my husband is a general contractor. I think the master bath is going to be more desirable. It gives privacy from the more "public" bath/powder-room for guests' and childrens' use. It can also be made to feel like a spa getaway for the homeowner. Basically you are going to list the house as 4 bedroom 3 bath. Not many people need a fifth bedroom when you have a media room and office also.
Any way you can add a garage is desirable on QA also.
0 votes
Wayne Lubin, Agent, SEATTLE, WA
Sun Aug 16, 2009
I'm going to go with the two bedroom/two bathroom idea. You're located near Queen Anne Avenue, a busy street with restaurants, grocery stores and offices and I believe families with more than one child would likely want to be located further off the Ave. If your remodel is nicely done, I think you will get more attention with a two bedroom (master suite) with another bath. Just my opinion however!
0 votes
Meredith Laws, Agent, Redmond, WA
Sun Aug 16, 2009
Hi Robert,

I think adding a master suite is a very good idea IF you can do it well and in a manner that enhances the floor plan. You have to consider who the buyer is that can afford and will want to buy a Queen Anne house with no view for $700K. They are going to insist on first-class finishes and an updated floor plan.

Buyers with no kids will love the master suite - and there is still plenty of room for guests. Buyers with kids will love the master suite and will still have the third bedroom option on the lower level if the lower level is truly useable and up to the same standard as the rest of the house.

Make it all nice, make it all match and you will have made a good investment. A botched remodel, though, will devalue property more than if you had done nothing at all.

Good luck!
Meredith Laws
0 votes
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