If you're thinking of adding a bathroom to your house, you're probably wondering whether it's worth the time and effort. After all, if your entire family's crammed in one bathroom or otherwise waiting to use the loo, an additional bathroom could ease tensions around the home and (not to be dramatic, but let's be honest) change your life!
On the other hand, a bathroom renovation will cost a lot. Will it translate into extra value when it comes time to sell your home?
All good questions. Allow us to explain.
How much does adding a bathroom cost?
According to Remodeling magazine's Cost vs. Value report, a midrange bathroom addition will cost an average of $49,596. An upscale bathroom addition—one with more bells and whistles—will run $91,287.
But the price of a bathroom addition will vary greatly based on where you live and what you want done. Adding a full bath (with toilet, sink, tub, and shower) will cost substantially more than a half-bath (just a toilet and sink).
Another factor that will boost the cost greatly is if you're making an addition to the home, rather than carving out room in your current floor plan.
What's the ROI on a bathroom addition?
On average, a midrange bathroom addition has a return on investment, or ROI, of 54%, which means that if you spend $49,596 on that bathroom, it will add $26,807 to the value of your property when you decide to sell. On an upscale bathroom, the ROI is similar, at 55%.
Real estate experts also agree that adding a second bathroom will bring more buyers to your door.
"Homes with more bathrooms sell for more money," says Aaron Hendon, a real estate agent with Christine & Company in Seattle. "It will also appeal to more buyers. Buyers with kids will almost always want more than one bath."
Is a bathroom the best use of the space?
Another factor that might help you decide whether or not to renovate: Will you be adding on to your home or will you be converting an existing room? The former is preferable, according to the experts. That's because second bathrooms are attractive to new buyers, but a cramped home is a big turnoff that you need to consider if your new bathroom will be built within your existing floor plan.
"If your home has only one bathroom as it is, it's probably on the smaller side," says Laurie Rose, a real estate agent from Naples, FL. "Without adding an addition to the house, losing valuable space might offset any gains from the second bathroom."
If you are going to build within the existing structure, Rose advises being creative in the way you rearrange rooms to incorporate the new loo.
"Think about the tiny-house movement, and use the area wisely, include as much storage as possible to offset any lost space," she suggests.
One idea that can pay off: Incorporate your laundry area into the new bathroom, as pairing the two is often a hit with buyers.
How to make a second bathroom pay off
Let's face it: Sometimes you just need another bathroom, for the same reasons why it will be attractive to buyers. There are ways to improve your own quality of life while also keeping your long-term goals in mind.
- Focus on the primary bathroom: When it comes to ROI, a master bath off the main bedroom is significantly more attractive to buyers than a half-bath off the guest room. However, this may not be an option for every home. "Houses that don’t have a master bath when originally built are generally built in a way that you can’t just add a bathroom," says Hendon.
- Add a tub: If your current bathroom has only a shower, consider making the new bathroom one that has a tub. "Many buyers prefer to have at least one tub in the home," explains says Carrie George, a broker associate with Keller Williams Top of the Rockies Real Estate in Kremmling, CO. This is especially true for families with young children.
- Create a suite: Adding a luxe, en suite, full bathroom with a walk-in closet will offer the highest ROI, Rose says. Her one caveat: "Keep the costs in line, and be mindful not to overimprove your home for your neighborhood when going this route," she says.
- Pick a free-standing tub over an insert: Tub/shower inserts that connect to the wall tend to be less expensive than a free-standing tub. But if you want to impress buyers, a free-standing tub surrounded by tile might be the way to go.
- Keep it neutral: Buyers always want to see themselves in a home, and that's harder to do in a bathroom with a wild color scheme they just can't stand. Sticking to neutral colors also signals to potential buyers that they won't have to sink a ton of money into retiling or replacing bathroom fixtures to feel at home in your home.