Should I Remodel my Bathroom Before Selling?

Should You Remodel Your Bathroom Before Your House Goes On The Market?

It Depends.

Before you make a decision about remodeling, go into your bathroom right now and take a hard look at it. How clean does it really look? Bathrooms take lots of abuse, most of them are used many times daily, and it’s easy for mildew, soap scum, and calcium deposits to ruin fixtures – even if you clean fairly often. We always advice our clients based on how their house will need to be marketed. If the house is pretty much a fixer-upper all throughout, we wouldn’t bother with updating a bathroom. If the rest of your house is in great shape, but the bathroom hasn’t been touched in 10 years or more  – it may be time for an update.

How much should I do?

If your house has a new kitchen (less than 5 years old), buyers will expect the bathrooms to be newer as well. If the rest of your house hasn’t been updated in the last few years, a more gentle facelift may be appropriate.

As always, budget is the real barometer of how much you can really do to improve a dated bathroom. If you have a decent amount of money to spend and can afford to completely remodel the bathroom – go ahead and do so, but do keep in mind:

Neutral is better for resale

Quality installation is more important than expensive fixtures. Make sure to budget for a good installer – poorly set tiles are probably going to be ripped out by the new buyer – regardless of how expensive they were.

A new bathroom may help you market your house, and may help you get a better price from a buyer, but you are not guaranteed to get back every penny you spend on a  remodel.

If you have very little to spend:

Let’s face it, most of us are on a pretty tight budget. Here’s a few things you can do to help your bathroom without spending a lot of money.

file861254098541Deep clean the bathroom – removing all traces of soap scum, lime scale, and mildew. Really get the place to sparkle

How does the floor look? If you have very dated vinyl flooring – you should probably do something about it. New vinyl sheet flooring is a low cost option that will give you a fresh look if new tile floors are out of the budget.

Paint the walls in a light neutral color in quality semi-gloss paint, and paint the trim white.

If the cabinets are old, but in otherwise good shape, paint them a fresh white, off-white, or another simple neutral color. If they are made of real wood (not laminate), you could also sand and stain them a darker color.

If there’s yellow brass hardware – get rid of it! If you can’t afford to replace it, hide it! Remove the hardware, clean thoroughly and spray paint with Rustoleum in an oil rubbed bronze color. (Silver spray paint never quite looks right) This also works on ugly brass lighting fixtures.  Make sure all the hardware match (knobs, pulls, towel racks, etc.)

If you have a little more to spend for staging:

If there’s a shower curtain – get a brand new one in white or a neutral color (beige, tan, etc.) and some fresh white towels for staging.

white_towelsInvest in a new matching faucet and shower fixtures

Make sure there is a nice, bright lighting fixture over the vanity that is complimentary to the rest of the bathroom.

If the mirror or medicine cabinet is old/rusty/ugly – replace it.

Add some decor in the way of a basket of linens, soap dispenser, and guest towels.

Here’s a great video tutorial on how to fold and display towels beautifully.

Check out PinkSoFoxy’s other videos for some great organization tips.

 Final tips for bathroom staging:

A place for everything, and everything in its place. A typical staging mistake we see is people inadvertently making the house look like there isn’t enough storage by leaving things sitting on the counters. If it doesn’t look like you have room for your toiletries in the cabinets, buyers will assume there isn’t enough storage for theirs either.

Always Always Always! Keep the toilet lid closed. Nobody wants to see the inside of the bowl, ever.

Don’t leave wet bath towels out during showings. Imagine drying your hands on a stranger’s moist bath towel – keep the “guest towels” fresh and dry and put your wet bath towels in the hamper.

Make sure the sink and mirror are clear of toothpaste and water spots.

Try using a little Pledge or furniture polish on shiny fixtures to make them gleam.

Stay on top of keeping the bathroom looking perfect for last minute showings. Spend two minutes every morning after you’re finished getting ready to put everything away and wipe down the sink, faucets, and toilet.


We are happy to advise our clients on what their house may need before going on the market. If you live in the Long Beach, Orange County, South Bay, or Pasadena areas,  Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

W. logoThe Wahlberg Group

Keller Williams Pacific Estates





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About coralynwahlberg

The Wahlberg Group are Real Estate specialists based in Long Beach and Orange County, California.

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