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 homeâ€™s original style. Art Deco remains popular with its bold, dramatic, and usually angular, architectural statements. Check out this Marina Art Deco walking tour: 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 buyerâ€™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, propertyâ€™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.
Well, to play devil's advocate, I'm listing a 1BR now without a tub. There hasn't been one comment about it at any showing or Open House. The real make or break item for female buyers is in-unit laundry. A tub is a nice to have, not something I've ever had someone say is a deal breaker. But in-unit laundry? I've had a lot of buyers ask me to not even show them something without it. If you don't have it, and your condo board doesn't allow it, try to push thru approval of a ventless combo washer/dryer. But if you do have in-unit laundry, you're ahead of many other 1BR condos - tub or no tub :)... more