When thinking about selling, many homeowners consider areas in their home that might need a little pre-listing TLC, and bathrooms are commonly on the list. In fact, 26 percent of sellers make some sort of improvement to a bathroom before selling, according to the Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report 2018. Remodeling a bathroom before resale can help attract more buyers, but getting every dollar invested back at the time of resale is not guaranteed.
Zillow data shows that bathroom remodels yield the biggest returns in terms of boosting your home’s resale value. For minor cosmetic changes, you’ll see a $1.71 increase in home value for every $1 you spend. This includes things like painting and refinishing cabinets, swapping out the mirror or upgrading hardware.
So, even if you only have the time and budget to make small improvements, focusing on bathrooms is usually a smart move.
Should I remodel my bathroom before selling my house?
If you’re in the Pacific region (California, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon and Alaska), a bathroom remodel is likely a good idea, as it offers the highest average ROI in the country, according to Remodeling magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report for 2018 — more on those stats later.
Regardless of where you live, ask yourself the following questions before remodeling your bathroom.
Does the local market show demand for new bathrooms?
Run some recent comps or have your real estate agent run some comps. Is there a lot of new construction in your neighborhood near your target listing price? If you’re going to be competing with brand-new homes, a brand-new bathroom may just do the trick.
However, just because you won’t get a 100 percent ROI doesn’t mean a bathroom remodel won’t help your sale in other ways. For example, by having an updated bathroom, you might be attracting buyers who wouldn’t have considered your house otherwise.
Does the bathroom already need repairs?
If your bathroom is in good working condition with only slightly dated materials (cherry cabinets and tan granite, for example), it might not be worth undergoing a full remodel just to get that Pinterest-worthy look.
However, if your bathroom has cracked tile, mold, water damage, structural issues or substandard electrical, you’ll definitely want to remodel, as most of those issues will come up in a buyer’s inspection anyway. When selling a home with serious issues, you’re going to end up paying for the repairs one way or another — by doing the repairs before listing, negotiating with your buyer after a poor inspection report, or by listing at a lower price in consideration of the work that needs to be done.
Is a new bathroom the best ROI project?
Just because you have the money for a bathroom remodel doesn’t mean you should move forward. If you have money set aside for pre-listing renovations, ask your real estate agent for the home features that sell best in your area.
For example, in Dallas, the best return you’ll get on a midrange project is