A Guide to Remodeling Your Bathroom

There are a variety of reasons that a homeowner may decide to remodel their bathroom;  they could be looking to increase the value of their home for a future sale, they may have discovered repairs that need to be made, or perhaps they’re simply looking to maximize their enjoyment of the space. Whatever your motivation may be, consider the following information before the hammer hits the tile to make sure your bathroom remodel turns out as successful as you’d hoped.

A Guide to Remodeling Your Bathroom

Which bathroom remodel projects have the highest ROI?

Before you decide which projects to tackle, it’s worth your while to identify which bathroom remodeling projects have the highest ROI. This can be especially helpful if you’re thinking about selling your home in the near future. According to recent nationwide data released by Remodeling Magazine, bathroom remodels can have as high as a sixty percent return on cost, while larger projects like bathroom additions return roughly fifty percent of their costs. The point is you likely won’t recoup every dollar you spend on your bathroom remodel, so choose your projects wisely. If you’re preparing to sell your home, talk to your agent about which bathroom projects are seeing the highest return in your local area.

How can I save on my bathroom remodel?

There are various ways to keep your costs down when remodeling your bathroom, but it depends on the scope of your project. If, while preparing to sell your home, you identify a handful of outstanding repairs that need to be fixed before you list, it may be difficult to pull off a low-budget bathroom remodel while still fetching a competitive sales price. Neglecting these issues can be a costly mistake, and in some cases can even jeopardize a sale.  

One way to save money on your bathroom remodel is to do it yourself. Identify the pros and cons of either doing a project DIY or hiring a professional. Though you may save money on labor, if you get in over your head on a project the costs can add up quickly, and you may end up having to hire a contractor to remedy the situation. If you decide to hire a contractor, thoroughly research multiple companies, ask for referrals from family and friends, and get multiple quotes before deciding which is best for the job.

Simple Bathroom Upgrades

As the scope of a bathroom remodel changes, so do its costs. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2021 Cost vs. Value Report, a midrange bathroom remodel cost an average of roughly $24,000 nationwide, while an upscale bathroom remodel was just over $75,000. But fear not, there are ways to give your bathroom a makeover without having to break the bank. Here are a few ideas for budget-friendly bathroom upgrades.

  • Refinish Your Tub: Remove all hardware from your tub and sand the entire surface smooth, evening out any chips or cracks and filling them with epoxy. Once the epoxy has dried, sand those areas one more time. Apply multiple layers of primer and topcoat as advised and buff the surface to finish off the job.
  • Add Décor: A well-decorated bathroom can revitalize the space. Add a fresh coat of paint to the walls, install a new faucet and shower head, and match your towel rods and shower curtains for a quick bathroom refresh.
  • Finishing Touches: The right bathroom lighting can make all the difference. Experiment with softer light bulbs or dimmers to create a sense of calm and relaxation. Add candles, scented oils, and new towels to make your bathroom feel like your own personal spa.

For more ideas on remodels, décor, and all things home design, visit the design page on our blog.

Windermere Blog – Design

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How to Choose the Best Flooring

Flooring is a key component of a home’s design and can often be the centerpiece of a renovation or remodel. Because it covers such a large surface area it will significantly impact the look and feel of your home, so choosing the right material can be stressful. Weigh your options before making a decision. Learn about the different types of material, assess your budget, and form a plan for installation.

How to Choose the Best Flooring

Room Function

How you spend time in any given room will help you decide which type of flooring is best. In your home office, choose the flooring that best accommodates your working needs. Carpet can be comforting while hardwood and laminate are more durable. Entryways, mudrooms, playrooms, and pet rooms will undoubtedly see their fair share of dents, cracks, and dings, so a resilient material is best for these areas. Consider materials that are strong and easy to clean, such as tile. The kitchen is a high-traffic area that is constantly being cleaned and re-cleaned. Explore solid yet easy to clean materials like vinyl, hardwood, and ceramic tile. If these common flooring materials aren’t to your liking, certain alternative flooring options may appeal to you, including bamboo, cork, and concrete.

Budget

Your budget will be a major deciding factor in which type of flooring you ultimately install. Are you replacing your flooring as part of a larger, full-scale remodel? If so, there may be other projects that will warrant a larger share of your budget. Are you looking to make the flooring a selling point of the home? If so, you’ll likely dedicate more money towards the material and installation. Talk to your agent about which types of flooring have the best resale value and what buyers in the area are looking for. For example, if you live in a climate that experiences cold temperatures, heated flooring may give your home a competitive advantage over other listings when it comes time to sell.

Installation

There are two approaches to a flooring installation: DIY or professional. Installing your flooring on your own is a great way to save money on the project, but it’s also a lot of added responsibility. Before making the decision to install on your own, understand the risks involved with the project and the time it will take to complete it. Vinyl and laminate flooring tend to be easier to install DIY. Hiring a professional will come with increased costs, but you’ll be paying for higher quality work that will increase the value of your home. More involved flooring installations such as hardwood are usually best handled by a pro.

Style & Color

After your budget has been set and you’ve decided on how to install, then comes the fun part. When choosing the style of your flooring, think about how it will interact with the space. Will the flooring be the focal point of the space? Will it compliment the features of the room and the surrounding décor? Knowing these answers will help to sort out the fine details, such as the specific shade of tile or the grain of wood.

Maintenance

At the end of the day, you may simply be looking for flooring that’s easy to take care of. In that case, explore common low-maintenance materials like vinyl and laminate. Vinyl flooring—whether it’s tile, sheet, plank, or peel-and-stick—requires little care compared to high-maintenance flooring such as solid or engineered wood.

 

For more information on home design, visit our Design page. To learn more about interior design, visit our Design Styles page.

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Renovating Your Short-Term Rental

Renovating your short-term rental property will not only keep it in peak condition but will also help it stand out to potential renters. Completing remodeling projects with the goal of increasing the return on your investment is a matter of identifying which renovations make sense for the home, putting together a plan, and taking steps to minimize the risk of the projects going over budget.

 

Start with Repairs

Because rental properties are by nature a source of income, it’s worth your while as the homeowner to reduce maintenance costs wherever possible. This can often mean spending money in the short term on repairs and replacements in order to save money down the road. Furthermore, by upgrading your appliances, fixing leaks, and updating any outdated features, you will provide the most accommodating environment for your renters. Making these improvements can also help set your rental apart from other properties, giving you a competitive advantage in the market. As you go about making repairs, don’t forget to check the working condition of all faucets, electrical outlets, and lights.

 

Renovating Your Rental

Understanding the scope of your renovations and the motivation behind them before you get started will help formulate your plan moving forward. Are you looking to upgrade the home to sell it in the future? Are you renovating to increase rent? Or are you simply looking to be more competitive in the local rental market? Knowing the answers to these questions won’t necessarily change your renovation plans, but it will provide guidance as you enter the remodeling phase. Consider talking to your Windermere agent about how different projects may affect the value of the property.

Even a small-scale renovation can make a big difference in the minds of renters. To create the best first impression from the get-go, consider boosting your home’s curb appeal. Projects like exterior painting, refinishing a deck, and power washing your siding and walkways will help provide an inviting outdoor setting for your renters.

When it comes to interior renovations, kitchens are a great place to start. Thankfully, kitchen makeovers can be simple. Identify the areas of your kitchen that need repair first, then expand your project list from there. Next, consider upgrading the bathroom. Begin by checking your pipes, drains, and p-traps for any signs of wear and tear. Simple things like painting the vanity and updating the bathroom hardware can also make a big impact.

Last but not least, if you decide to hire a professional to renovate your rental property, be sure to gather multiple bids and compare prices before making your final decision.

Learn more about the pros and cons of investing in vacation rentals here: Vacation Home or Income-Producing Investment. You can also read about vacation home renovations by season here: Renovating Your Vacation Home.

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DIY Remodeling vs Professional Remodeling

Deciding whether to DIY a remodeling project or leave it to a professional is a matter of weighing the risks and rewards, time, and budget. Before you start applying a new coat of paint or go about knocking down a wall, create a plan for your remodel to help you decide which projects you can handle, and which ones belong in the hands of a pro.

 

Create Your Remodeling Plan

Knowing your plans for your remodel will help to determine your timeline and budget, which will inform your DIY-vs-Pro decision making. Set specific goals for each project so you’ll know when you’re getting off track but remain flexible in your planning to leave room for any unexpected hurdles that will inevitably pop up in the remodeling process. Your budget will also help you decide who should execute certain projects. For example, if you’re budgeting more for a kitchen remodel than any other project, that is a likely candidate for professional help.

 

If you’re having trouble deciding the best route to take with your remodeling projects, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What risks am I comfortable taking on?
  • How much time am I willing to dedicate to this project?
  • Does this project require a permit?
  • Do I have any experience with this kind of remodel?
  • Am I comfortable giving up control of this project?

 

DIY Remodeling Pros and Cons

Pros: Taking a DIY approach to remodeling projects pays dividends in many ways. Without having to pay labor costs, you stand to save significant money by tackling a project on your own. Going DIY also allows you to set your own schedule for the project. And of course, the sense of ownership and pride you will feel knowing you completed the project on your own is a priceless feeling for a homeowner.

Cons: DIY projects can be consequential. Mistakes at any point in the renovation process can lead to greater costs and sometimes, hiring a professional to fix the mistake. Unfortunately, this can result in the loss of significant time and money.

 

Professional Remodeling Pros and Cons

Pros: Professionals are inherently more experienced, bringing their specialization to the table on every home renovation project, so you can expect them to perform high-quality work that will increase the value of your home.

Cons: Getting professional quality work means paying for it. When budgeting, expect higher costs for any project you’re thinking of outsourcing to a pro. Bear in mind that, especially for large-scale renovation projects, your home will become a construction site. Accordingly, you may need a back-up plan, such as a temporary kitchen set-up or a short-term rental home .

 

DIY Remodeling vs Professional Remodeling: Around the House

The following list breaks down which projects are typical DIY candidates and which ones homeowners commonly opt for professional help to complete. However, the decision is ultimately up to you. If you have your heart on tackling a project on your own, gather your tools and make it happen!

Kitchen

  • Professional: Any large-scale structural changes, new gas lines, or new plumbing projects should be handled by a professional.
  • DIY: Simpler kitchen projects like a backsplash or faucet replacement and any cabinet finishing tasks are perfect DIY candidates.

Bathroom

  • Professional: Plumbing installation, running electricity, or any projects involving an expansion or alteration to your bathroom structure.
  • DIY: If your bathroom is simply in need of some new tile work, basic medicine cabinet restoration, or minor flooring improvements, roll up your sleeves and DIY.

Backyard

  • Professional: Consider hiring a professional for any significant outdoor projects like concrete builds, in-ground pools, and technical deck work.
  • DIY: Common backyard DIY projects include building a garden tool shed, building a fence, and refinishing a deck.

General

  • Professional: It is best to hire pros for new roofing, any foundation work, and extensive demolition projects. For asbestos and drywall finishing, it’s easiest, and safest, to go with the pros.
  • DIY: Any interior painting projects, basic electrical work, or simple trim and door upgrades.

If you’re planning on going through a remodel while you live at home, read this first. For more information on how certain renovations may impact the value of your home, talk to your Windermere agent.

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Buying with Remodeling in Mind

Everyone has their own definition of a dream home. For some, they know right when they see a home that it’s perfect as is. For others, it takes remodeling to achieve their vision. Whether you’re looking for something in need of a few upgrades or a total fixer-upper, buying with the intention of remodeling comes with added considerations.

 

Finding the Right Home to Remodel

 

When it comes to choosing the right home to remodel, you’ll want to look for a property that not only aligns with your renovation plans but has significant ROI potential. How much value a home stands to gain depends on a variety of factors, like the cost of the project and your local market conditions. Knowing this information will help paint a picture of a home’s potential ROI. By conducting detailed Comparable Market Analyses (CMAs), your Windermere agent can provide helpful info on how similar homes in the neighborhood have performed on the market. Though these factors don’t provide a concrete valuation, they will help you understand how much your home could be worth. 

 

Choose the Right Remodeling Projects

 

The right remodeling projects are the ones that align with your plans for living in the home. If you’re looking for an investment property, you’ll be targeting renovation projects that appeal to buyers, like a kitchen remodel, attic conversions, garage door replacement, and exterior projects that boost the home’s curb appeal. However, if you’re planning on putting down roots and staying for an extended period of time, you’ll want to focus on projects that maximize your enjoyment of the space. In either case, any structural issues require immediate attention and should be at the top of your list.

 

Know Your Remodeling Budget

 

Your remodeling budget will help you determine the scope of renovations you’re able to afford, and ultimately, which home is right for you. Knowing this information will help your agent identify which homes fall within your range. It will also guide your conversations with your lender when structuring your loan. For more information on home renovation loans, talk to your Windermere agent.

 

Break Down Your Remodeling Costs

 

Although remodel cost estimates aren’t always final, they give you an idea of what you can expect to spend. No renovation comes without hurdles and complications, so leave some wiggle room in your budget for unforeseen costs. This will allow you to expect the unexpected and stay within your budget. A cost breakdown will also help to identify areas where you can save money by doing-it-yourself. Painting projects, landscaping, and small-scale demolition are common DIY projects that can add up to significant savings.

  

Find the Right Contractor

 

For the remodeling projects that require professional expertise, finding the right contractor is another pivotal step in making your dream home a reality. Start by reaching out to your circle of friends and family for referrals. If someone you know and trust had a positive experience with a contractor, that’s a great starting point. Continue your search by gathering information for multiple contractors in your area and request project bids and timelines from each one. This will allow you to compare pricing and make a more informed decision. 

 

Conduct Thorough Inspections Before Remodeling

 

Buying a home with the intention of remodeling means that a home inspection is likely to produce a longer list of items than a newly constructed home. Conducting a thorough home inspection is critical to formulating your plans for remodeling. Additionally, it will help identify which issues need immediate attention, enabling you to negotiate repairs and concessions, so long as the inspection is performed during your inspection contingency period.

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Renovating Your Vacation Home

Owning a vacation home comes with the reward of having your own slice of paradise, but it can also present some unique challenges if you need to make renovations. It’s important to understand how you will use your second home before diving into any renovation projects. This will help keep you organized and on track throughout the renovation process as you transform your space into a true vacation retreat.

 

Take Your Time

 

Before you start in on any renovations, take time to think about how you will use your second home. For example, if you plan on eventually retiring to your vacation home, you can prioritize projects that increase the quality of your time spent there over the years.

 

If your vacation home is intended to be a place for large family gatherings, you’ll want to consider bedroom and bathroom accommodations accordingly. Vacation homes often have greater flexibility when it comes to sleeping arrangements, just be sure to understand the code limitations of your property before proceeding.

 

If you are looking to sell in the future, you will likely prioritize renovations that help increase the home’s resale value. Keep in mind that the some renovation projects in a primary residence may not have the same effect on the value of a vacation home. Your best bet is to talk to your Windermere agent about how different renovation projects may affect the value of your property.

 

Renovating By Season

 

Is your vacation home primarily a summer getaway or a winter retreat? The seasonality of your stay will help to prioritize your projects as well, regardless of your local climate.

 

Winter – Early Spring

  • The early months of the new year are actually a great time to start additions to your home. Winter conditions are typically better for digging foundation and pouring concrete. Winter is also the perfect time to get started on any indoor painting projects you have in mind.

 

Spring – Early Summer

  • Always the busy season for builders and contractors, the spring-to-early-summer months are perfect for outdoor projects like patios and decks, knowing they’ll be completed just in time for summer. Depending on your local climate, you may want to start a deck or patio earlier in the year, giving the wood ample time to stabilize and avoid early damage from too much sun exposure.

 

Summer – Fall

  • A fresh coat of paint gives your home new life. Depending on the paint you’re using, temperatures need to remain above 40-50 degrees while your painting project is taking place. Accordingly, the summer—and depending on where you live, early fall—months are a safe bet for making your exterior paint project a success.

 

Fall – Winter

  • If you’re looking to get new appliances in your vacation home, look to the fall and early winter months for holiday deals. If your vacation home is the rendezvous for family holiday gatherings, you’ll want to make sure any large-scale renovations are finished before the holidays come around.

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