Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Remodeling Investments for 2009: Bathrooms Continue to be a Good BET!

In this changed market, many homeowners are choosing to stay in their current homes and remodel rather than make a move. But are you concerned that the investment might outweigh the value added to your home? If you are, you would have good reason. There isn’t one remodeling investment that you will fully be able to recoup all of your costs but if you are considering a bathroom remodel, you can expect to recoup a good portion of it.

As a REALTOR®, I have always told homeowners, kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. A recent report from National Association of Realtors (NAR) agrees. While a kitchen or bathroom remodel will not recoup in sales dollars the way it did in years past, both are still important enough to make the list of the eight quick fixes for home value. In late December, the NAR released the 2008-2009 Cost VS Value Report for home remodels. This study looked at cost data, resale value and percentage recouped for 25 different projects in 80 housing markets across the United States. With a bath remodel, a homeowner can expect to recoup a good portion of their expenses with a 70.7% return on investment for a upscale bathroom remodel and 74.6% on a lower budget mid-range remodel. This is down from studies in previous years but as bathrooms are high on homebuyers priorities, I would say it is still a good investment for future resale. In the Twin Cities area, returns are a bit lower but a bath remodel could recoup roughly 65%. (View all the statistics from the Cost vs. Value Report 2008 for the Mpls/St Paul area.)

Before a considering a bathroom remodel, you need to understand “Why” you are undertaking this project. Do you need a new bathroom because the old layout is not functional? Not enough bathrooms in your home? Or is it because you plan to move and the black ceramic tile and shiny chrome fixtures from the 1980’s are too ugly to get the best price for the home?

To design the perfect bathroom for YOUR home take a Lifestyle Inventory. This is a process where you ask yourself questions to determine the needs and expectations specific to your family for your family.

Here some questions to consider:


  1. Who and how the bath will be used?

  2. One sink or two?

  3. Shower and tub combination or just a shower?

  4. Storage, electrical outlets and counter space needs.

  5. Private areas or completely open?
  6. Will there be handicap accessibility needs now or in the future?
If you are looking for resale value, trends are important in bathrooms. Here are some of today’s hot bathroom trends:

  • Pedestal sinks

  • White Fixtures

  • Subdue shiny fixtures…Chrome is out. Choose warm copper and bronze fixtures instead.

  • Free standing, soaker bath tubs.

  • Heated, ceramic flooring.

  • Separate tub and shower.

  • Furniture-look to cabinetry

  • Bathroom suite with coffee maker and flat screen.
Another important consideration is handicap accessibility needs whether now or in the future. Options today go way beyond a raised toilet and grab bars in the shower. Larger doorways, easy access lighting, easy entry tubs, roll in showers, sinks that raise and lower with the touch of a button are just some of the new options available to persons with special needs. If you are planning to stay in your home for a significant length of time, it might pay to review some of the exciting new products available. In Minnesota, I have had the opportunity to meet and work with an excellent builder/remodeler, Dave Regel who specializes in totally accessible housing. He has model homes that feature unique products that make life easier and more enjoyable to persons will special needs.
If remodeling specifically to put your home on the market, take into consideration the quality and condition of the home. A good REALTOR® who knows your neighborhood can assist you here. In most cases, costs for a seriously spendy remodel are not going to be recouped in the short run. Working with someone who really understands your particular marketplace will help you get your home staged to sell within your budget and sold more quickly.
Spending a little extra time in the planning stage can reduce the headaches and heartaches of a construction project that does not meet expectations. Taking your time will allow you to make the wise decisions that add value to your most important financial investment, your home.
If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet or Homebuyers Success Packet. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.
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