Measuring the value a bathroom renovation adds to your home

There is a lot of value in renovating your bathroom. While it can offer a good return on investment, it is a huge undertaking, costing unprepared investors thousands of dollars. However, with the potential return of $4 for every $1 spent, to make the most of this room it is critical not to overcapitalise.

  • 9 June, 2022

As one of the most expensive renovation projects of a property, those needing to stick to a budget need to spend strategically to see the return when they decide it is time to sell their home.


What sort of return can I get on a bathroom renovation?

Behind the kitchen, the bathroom is the most profitable room to renovate in a property, and it should be on every investor’s list when it comes to home renovation.


The bathroom is also one of the most expensive renovation projects, and to ensure you maximise your return you do not want to overcapitalise on this project.


While anything beyond a simple cosmetic renovation – which covers painting tiles, replacing the vanity and lighting, as well as new fittings – will cost a sum, budgeting carefully and making astute choices can still bring in a significant profit.


Of a property’s total renovation budget, a decent portion needs to be dedicated to the bathroom alone. As a guide, allowing 10 to 20 per cent of the total budget to your bathroom project would be a good starting point.


If you have already tackled the kitchen in your home, the bathroom should be your next project. This is an area where buyers see value.


There are a few ways of renovating this space and it will largely depend on the condition and size of the existing bathroom as well as your budget. There are three options to consider:


The simple makeover – painting tiles and updating the vanity or new tapware. You may need to budget around $2000.

The minor renovation - adding a new vanity, shower screen and/or toilet. This may also cover some tiling. Budget for around $3,000 - $8,000.


The major renovation – new flooring, tiling, bath or shower - this could stretch anywhere from $8,000 to $25,000. Just the price of installing a new shower could cost anywhere from $1,600 to nearly $9,000.


Bathrooms may be a third of the size of a kitchen, but they can cost the same to renovate. For this reason, it is doubly important to watch your outgoings.


A good rule of thumb when working out your budget is to allocate 1.5 per cent of the property value. Generally, of this figure, 50 per cent is labour and the other half is materials.


Unfortunately, there is little scope for DIY in a bathroom renovation due to water proofing. However, there are many ways to save money such as a more affordable selection of materials and hardware. Look for end-of-the-line products being sold through discounted trade or online via Trade Me or Facebook Marketplace. Someone may have over-ordered tiles, which could be your gain.


Keeping the items and fixtures in place may actually be the most effective option. For instance, it may simply be a case of changing tap fittings and handles. You always want to be thinking about the result and whether you have added the wow value or not.


While it may be tempting to switch the position of the vanity or toilet, keeping items in their original place is often the most cost effective option. Changing tap fittings and handles, adding lighting or updating the mirror are some inexpensive ways to give your bathroom a new look. Don’t forget to buy some new towels or even a pot plant to freshen up the space.



How much DIY can I do in my bathroom?

The bathroom is an area that should be left to a professional to ensure your plumbing is well installed and everything is watertight. However, many renovators do consider getting their hands dirty with a spot of tiling.


This can help reduce labour costs, but investors need to be honest with themselves about their abilities. If you do not do a good job, you may reduce the value of the renovation.


The other factor to consider is timing. A professional can usually complete an entire bathroom renovation within seven days.  If you are learning as you go it may take much longer and this can affect the bottom line far more than many calculate.



Pick the best bathroom upgrades for resale

If you are looking to attract more rent or profit, consider your target market. Is this a property where a spa-like bathroom could net some extra income? Do you need to go that extra mile and add in some heated flooring or towel rails, for instance. Or if you are looking for the ultimate in relaxation, what about converting your shower into a private steam room?


Shiny surfaces have a higher perceived value than matte or satin surfaces. Vessel sink vanities with stone counters are also seen as luxurious. If you are trying to appeal to a family, odds are they will want an actual bath included, so don’t rip it out during your makeover. Freestanding tubs remain popular for any bathroom renovation, while frameless glass shower doors make for easier cleaning.


There are many tricks to make cheaper items look expensive. Laying tiles in a herringbone pattern, adding wallpaper or even hanging a chandelier can add a touch of opulence.  


Water-efficient showerheads are also an absolute must, whether for a home or rental property. And don’t forget storage for toiletries and makeup is a must-have for any bathroom.


Overall, it is important to remain emotionally unattached if you renovate a rental property. Too much time on minor details is a sure-fire way to overcapitalise.

LJ Hooker NZ

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