Should we convert our 3 bedroom/1 bath into a 2 bedroom/2 bath?

Asked by Judgekata, Salem, OR Sat Jun 26, 2010

We have a 3 BR/1 BA starter home in Salem, and our bathroom needs to be renovated. I was wondering whether which of the following options would be better for resale:
1) giving our current bathroom a more spa-like feel
2) dividing the current bathroom into two small ones, or
3) converting the current bathroom into a master bathroom and turning one of the bedrooms into a bathroom, for a 2 BR and 2 bath home.

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Jim K, Both Buyer And Seller, Honolulu, HI
Wed May 16, 2012
3 BR homes sell better so option 3 out in my opinion. 2BA better than 1 for families. Spa feel nice if you are going to live there. Kitchens and bathrooms are expensive to change due to plumbing and electrical changes and walls in this case. City planning will want plans and then do inspections to make sure compliance with codes. Contractors charge an unbelievable amount for the supposedly hard to do stuff they do. You can do some..if not moving plumbing by yourselves or w/help of a handy guy. Same with moving walls if not load bearing or cntaing plumbing wiring. BUT... Do it yer selfers rarely get it where they want it so be careful.

Remember women buy houses so make any changes based on what a woman would want and the largest demographic kept as buyers. ie. 3 bedrooms better.
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Rene Barrett, Agent, Calistoga, CA
Thu Apr 5, 2012
Bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens make a home more desirable for resale. So you have to consider how long you expect to stay in the home and what type of return you may wish to obtain if you sell later. For the return on investment, it would probably be better to convert the current bathroom into 2 bathrooms and keeping all the current bedrooms. That is IF the two new smaller bathrooms are still usable sizes. Not all buyers expect a spa like bathroom when they buy a starter home. But just having some type of extra bathroom IS a plus.
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Tim Page, , 99037
Thu Apr 5, 2012
I'd keep the three bedrooms and remodel the bathroom. I've been to several homes where they used to have a three bedroom home and they turn it into a two bedroom home. Big mistake, in most cases. The two bedroom home will now pull the value down because the bank will ask for two comps with two bedrooms. Usually, what you will have for comps is smaller homes that offer two bedrooms. Go with option one and keep your three bedrooms.
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Joshua Crain, Agent, Salem, OR
Mon Aug 2, 2010
A little preface for myself... I was in construction for 8 years prior to becoming an agent. I work a lot with investors and the like. I REALLY enjoy remodeling/rebuilding homes including my own 1930's home in Bush park. Hopefully my advice/insight can be of assistance for you...

If I were in your situation I would try to first figure out the value of my home and see if an extensive remodel would be worth the money in the long run. I would hope that after some research you would be confident on the pricing side of things.

Honestly, I would just keep the 1 bathroom and go with a renovation if it were me. Generally people do not want two small bathrooms and would rather 1 nice "Spa-like" bathroom. Ultimately if your home has the square footage to add another bathroom it may be worth it, but never cut down on room sizes to make another bathroom unless the rooms are fairly large.

I hope this helps... If you have any other questions or concerns just send me a message and let me know, maybe I could help!
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Margaret Osc…, Other Pro, Albany, GA
Sun Jun 27, 2010
Great question to ask before you tear into a project that may hinder a sale down the road! Since you say it is a starter home, I assume you won't be living there for the next 30 years and want the home to be easy to sell. Flow, function and being appealing to the general public will be important as you consider a remodel. A job of this scope also needs to be permitted, even if you do the work yourself.

As others have already said, three bedrooms fit the needs of far more home buyers so option 3 isn't feasible. Having a remodeling specialist provide a consultation and advice saves you far more time and money than it would cost. They may be able to provide a good layout for two small bathrooms or for 1 1/2 baths. There are other considerations when adding bathrooms than just resale. Adding fixtures requires permits and may require replacing the main lines from the street. (This just happened on a job we were managing so is fresh in my mind since it added a significant cost to a simple bathroom addition of a shower.) If you want to get more ideas, I'd be happy to refer you to a trusted plumber that we refer to our clients who could give you an idea of costs.

There's always lots to consider when planning updates, but if done correctly it can not only increase your enjoyment of the home, but make it easier to sell in the future. You won't go wrong with neutral hard surfaces and quality fixtures.
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June Lizotte,…, , Portland, OR
Sat Jun 26, 2010
Hello and thank you for the question.

You may be surprised at how much you can do with a good plan. Likely you will be able to come up with a plan that works with keeping 3 bedrooms. Sometimes by moving closets, moving a door and adjusting a wall or two you can reconfigure a space to accomodate a 3/2 when you may have thought that was not an option.
Some of these ideas may help:
Look at floor plans on line with the same amount of sq ft in the footprint for ideas on room placement.
Think outside the box, maybe you can do an additional full bath without the tub...a shower can be the space savings you need- especially if you insert a corner shower.
You might choose floor to ceiling corner cabinetry to use space more efficiently with versatile design style.
A pedital sink, wall mounted sink or petite vanity are all choices that are available in high-style, space savers.
There are even compact toilets (still standard size, but with space saving design).
I hope you keep those 3 bdrooms! You'll lose value more by losing a bedroom than you'll gain by additing a bath in its place. But having both is best. Keep in mind, even a 1/2 bath (powder room) off a kitchen or laundry room would help increase value....depending on layout, you might have more options than you've considered.

I wish you well!

June Lizotte, Principal Broker
June Lizotte Real Estate
Providing REAL Service
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Lana Lavenba…, Agent, Grants Pass, OR
Sat Jun 26, 2010
If there is anyway to get a 2nd bath without getting rid of a bedroom - you will be better off. 2 bedroom homes do not sell as quickly but they can still be of interest if you have 2 full baths. Good luck!
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Melina Tomson, Agent, Salem, OR
Sat Jun 26, 2010
2 bedroom homes are hard to sell because these days most people need an office and often want a guest bedroom. So I would work hard to keep those three bedrooms. What you do totally depends on your floor plan. I have been in many odd remodels here locally and they are really hard to sell. Whatever you do, make sure that you have good flow to the house. Don't start making the flow weird in order to gain a bathroom.

If you plan to do the project yourself, get one of the local architects to help you design the space so that you don't end up making your house weird. You can also hire a local interior decorator to help with materials, which I highly recommend if you don't have good color sense.
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The Stephen…, Agent, Portland, OR
Sat Jun 26, 2010
For resale sake I would definitely NOT do option 3. The market for 2 bedrooms is much, much smaller than 3. I've found many clients are willing to live with 1 bathroom if they can get 3 bedrooms. I would go with option 1 or 2. I'm not sure how small your bathrooms would end up being if you split them. I'm also guessing the layout end up a little strange. Strange is bad for resale.
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Craig Loughr…, , Oregon
Sat Jun 26, 2010
I would recommend option 2, with one caveat. It depends on the floorplan of your house and the size of the resulting 2 bathrooms. Hence it's hard to say conclusively without seeing the house. Generally, however, 3-bed/2-bath houses tend to sell more easily and for more money than either a 3-bed/1-bath or a 2-bed/2-bath.
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Scott Godzyk, Agent, Manchester, NH
Sat Jun 26, 2010
Your first concern should be what works best for you. you are the one living there. if you plan on being there for some time, it has to fit your lifestyle and your needs.

As far as resale value, 3 bedrooms are better than 2. with bathrooms 2 small bathrooms may be counter productive if it hampers their use. if it is tight or not flowing correctly toilet, sink and shower (no pun intended).

Having a full bath and a half bath is better than 2 small full baths.

You have to decide on teh length of time you will be there, if a short term or long term. You are ebetter off upgrading the flooring and fixtures for more value.

good luck with your remodel
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