Bathrooms, Resale, and Profit: Helpful Info for Realtors

Your clients want to put their home on the market, but they’re not thrilled with what the comps are telling them. They expected more in profit! After all, So-and-So the next street over sold their home for “X” amount, and their home is around the same size and age, right? And they stopped by the new subdivision that’s had all the buzz, and not only is it located further out, but the inventory homes are all a little smaller! So surely, they can expect to get more from their sale than you’re telling them, right?

We’ve all been there: having to tell a homeowner that they can’t expect what they thought they could, because they don’t know the ins and outs of competing in the housing market. And sometimes, your client has a flexible enough timeline that you can help them get more buck for their bang. Maybe the kids are nearing the end of high school or college, and they’d like to downsize, but they don’t need to do it immediately. Or perhaps the opposite: maybe the family needs more room, but again – not an immediate need. What can they do to increase their resale value before putting their home on the market?

In the hot Dallas-Fort Worth home market, competing with all of the new builds available, with their shiny, new everything, up-to-date kitchens, and luxurious master bathrooms can be a challenge for resale clients. Competing with other resales may not be easy, either. A home with similar square footage could have any number of improvements that will bring in more money: an upgraded patio, a more luxurious kitchen, or a higher-end bathroom, etc. While any number of improvements could help make their home more desirable, a master bathroom update may be the best option.

While a kitchen remodel averages $23,561 and an outdoor kitchen $12,357 , the typical bathroom remodel runs approximately $10,348 , so for homeowners wanting to either conserve their budget or use less of their home’s equity to make improvements, a bathroom renovation is the less expensive option. However, just because it is the budget-friendly choice doesn’t mean it isn’t one with “wow” factor! A gorgeous master bathroom is a huge selling point and definitely increases a home’s appeal.

If your clients are considering a remodel, it’s important for them to have their time frame in mind when making choices. If they want to move sooner rather than later, then they’ll want to make style choices that are as neutral as possible to appeal to the broadest market. However, if they may be in their home a bit longer, they may want to take their lifestyle and preferences into account so they get a little use and enjoyment out of that bathroom until it’s time to go.

How to Help Them Get Started

If they’re on a tight budget (and who isn’t when doing a home renovation?) then it’s smart to select a focal area. By creating a visual focal point, they can easily save money in other areas while still upgrading the look of their space. A beautiful vanity, a luxury shower, or free-standing tub can be the centerpiece of the room. Even if most of their design choices are budget-minded, a single high-end item can elevate the look of the entire bathroom if chosen carefully.

What to Update? Showers and Baths

One of the first things they’ll need to choose is the style or type of shower enclosure. One popular option is the frameless glass shower door. With their sleek, current look, frameless shower doors are generally composed of thicker glass and require sturdier hardware in order to stay in place without a frame. While most people are updating a master bathroom in preparation for a move, a frameless shower enclosure can also be installed in a secondary bathroom, making it appear much larger as well as updated. To save some money on the renovation, it’s possible to install a new shower or bath enclosure without getting a new shower or tub. These can usually be refinished rather than replaced if needed. (Saving money isn’t the only advantage to refinishing: it’s faster, involves less mess, and the old shower or tub doesn’t need to be hauled off to a landfill.)

When your clients do put their home on the market, you’ll be glad they chose a frameless glass enclosure: they’re easier to keep clean than framed showers. There is no need to scrub with frameless glass. With only a squeegee, the shower is spotless again, which can make prepping for a showing on the fly that much quicker.


Porcelain, ceramic, and stone tiles are all beautiful and water-resistant options for a new bathroom. The size of the tile chosen will be a factor in their renovation budget. While smaller tiles may cost less to purchase, they will require more labor to install. Tile accents are also labor-intensive, so they’ll want to bear that in mind when designing or choosing accent patterns. To save money on new tile, it’s smart to look for closeouts at big box stores like Home Depot, Lowes, and Floor and Decor. They should always plan to buy more than needed, because purchasing a close out tile may mean not finding the right tile to finish the job if they run short. The savings should still be substantial.

The effect of beautiful tile with an eye-catching design and elegant new fixtures is all but lost if they are hidden behind a shower curtain or obscured by a framed shower. A big plus to choosing a frameless glass shower surround is the opportunity to showcase the tile and fixture choices they’ve selected. Framed shower doors tend take up visual real estate because the edges are covered in rubber, metal or some other form of a seal, while a frameless glass enclosures and doors put the tile design and fixtures on full display.


Counters are an important design element to consider when remodeling a bathroom. There are many elegant and attractive options. Some of the most popular choices are: laminate, granite, marble, quartz, concrete, Travertine, and tile. • Laminate counter tops are an option for homeowners with a limited budget. It comes in many appealing finishes and in a range of colors sure to match any décor. This material would not be recommended if trying to increase a home’s value. Laminate would be used only to do the bare minimum replacement of worn or damaged laminate in order for the bathroom not to cause a potential buyer to pass on the home. • Solid surface counter top materials are made from a blend of acrylic and polyester particles bonded together with resins. Generally resembling stone and available in various colors and styles, these “faux stone” counters occupy a mid-level category of counter materials, in between laminate on the lower end and quartz, granite, marble, etc. on the high end. • Porcelain tile is durable and water-resistant, as well as available in a wide range of colors and sizes to compliment any design style. Glazed ceramic tile can mimic the look of Travertine, slate, or other natural stones. Glass mosaic tiles can compliment other types and be added for color and interest. This is a mid-level material. • Although commonly referred to as simply quartz, engineered stone counter tops are made from quartz crystals held together with a resin binder. Quartz is a higher-end material that would be fitting for a home needing to compete with upgraded homes in a similar price point nearby. • Concrete counters are composed of cement, sand, water, stone, pigment and reinforcement fibers. It can be formed into flowing shapes and with a variety of finishes. A customized concrete counter top is an investment and would fall on the higher end category of counter top materials. • Travertine is a type of limestone and a higher-end material. Travertine counter tops have four types of finishes: polished, tumbled, chiseled edge and honed. The holes of travertine are filled before installation. Resin and grout are usually used for this procedure. • Granite, marble, and other stone counters are mined from solid rock. Natural stone counter tops are considered luxury materials and have an average lifespan of 30+ years. While they may be changed due to changing trends, they won’t usually be changed because of poor condition. With proper care, granite, marble, or stone counters should last around 50 years.


If your clients are not moving any lighting, updating the fixtures is a quick and easy way to a bathroom. The wrong lighting can make a bathroom feel old, outdated, and dingy. The right lighting, however, can make a bathroom feel like a luxurious spa. Which way would they like potential buyers to feel about this bathroom?

Your homeowners should consider the style and finish of other hardware in their bathroom and home when selecting new lighting fixtures. The faucet, handles, towel bar, shower head, and all other hardware should match the finish of the lighting fixtures for the best look. Choosing lighting fixtures that are proportional to the size of the space and adding recessed lighting where it may be needed will update a bathroom’s look considerably!

Warning: Avoid the Budget-Buster

A budget can skyrocket as a result of plumbing changes in a bathroom remodel. Unless your clients have an unlimited budget, relocating a toilet, sink, or bathtub within a bathroom will be expensive. Extensive plumbing installation will be required, which will result in a significant increase in the cost of labor and expenses. If they are determined to relocate any bathroom plumbing, they’ll will need to plan for a larger budget, as well as additional funds in the event that other obstacles appear once work begins. As their realtor, you may need to mentally prepare yourself for a listing delay on their home.

What your clients get back on their investment in a bathroom remodel will depend on the value of their home, the value of homes in their immediate neighborhood, what the home market is doing at the moment, how soon they sell after making improvements, and the quality of the upgrade. According to HGTV, “In the hottest housing markets, springing for a kitchen or bath remodel is a sure-fire investment, often returning more than 100 percent of the cost.” While it may not be possible to guarantee a 100 percent return, making a home more competitive in a hot market increases your clients’ odds of getting more profit than putting an outdated home up for sale and hoping for a miracle.


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