If you're dreaming about that spacious whirlpool bath, to-die-for tile floor, luxurious granite countertops, or maybe you're just debating whether to replace your outdated fixtures, experts say it's worth it to make it a reality because you'll likely recover most of the money you put into a bathroom remodel when you sell your home.
Indeed, Remodeling Magazine's 2002 Cost vs. Value Report indicates you can have a bathroom you love and expect a payback on your investment; the national average return rate is 88 percent.
Depending on where you live, a mid-range bathroom remodel - spending close to $10,000 to update a bathroom at least 25 years old - will recoup anywhere from 60 percent in Phoenix to 151 percent in Oakland, Calif.
The report also evaluates an upscale bathroom remodel, which includes expanding an existing 5-by-7-foot bathroom to 9-by-9 feet within existing house footprint, doubling the number of windows, replacing the tub with custom dual shower in tile and glass surround, relocating the toilet into a partitioned area and replacing it with one-piece color unit, and adding a custom vanity cabinet with twin sinks set in granite tops, among other amenities.
Homeowners who had the upscale bathroom remodel saw even more bang for their buck with a national average rate of return of 91 percent. That means if you spent the average of $22,639 for upgraded bathroom goodies, you can expect $20,609 in resale value.
In his book Improve the Value of Your Home Up to $100,000 (John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 2003), Robert Irwin said you should take a cue from the spacious, luxurious master bathrooms being built in new homes, which accommodate the homeowner who wants a place to relax.
"As a rule of thumb, the amount you spend on the bathroom should not be more than 5 percent of the home's value," says Irwin, who has written more than 50 books on a range of real estate issues. "The total cost of a quick and simple makeover need only be a few thousand dollars. If done prudently, it will add multiples of that amount of money to the value of your home."
So if you're ready to put your bathroom remodel plans in motion, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry recommends you think about the following factors before embarking on a bathroom remodel:
Meanwhile, if money is tight but you'd like a small makeover before you put your house on the market, Irwin has a few suggestions.
First, you could replace your countertop and flooring with inexpensive tile. Irwin says this could be done for about $1,000 for a small bathroom.
Or you could replace the sink and faucet. That will cost you at least $300, plus another $100 or so to have it installed.
You can also think about refinishing the tub or redoing the shower, which typically involves retiling.
And, if you're looking for a really quick spruce-up, add new towel racks, put in new lights or repaint - nothing changes the look and mood of a room more than a new color.