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Bathroom Renovation Tips to Boost Rental Value

One of the best moves an investor can make to increase return on investment (ROI) of their rental property is to renovate outdated spaces. However, not all rental property renovations will boost ROI so it’s crucial to focus your budget on high impact projects that make the biggest difference among potential tenants. One of those projects is bathroom renovations. According to national Zillow data, bathroom renovations on average net a 70% ROI.

There are several factors to consider when taking on a bathroom renovation in your rental property. When done properly, your newly remodeled bathroom will have potential tenants lining up to rent your property. Check out these tips to plan, execute, and showcase your new bathroom renovation: 

  1. Budget 
  2. Planning
  3. Quality of Renovation
  4. Style
  5. Lighting
  6. Color
  7. Professional Photography
  8. Update Listing

Pre-Renovation

1.Budget

ovation, it important that you establish a renovation budget. If you don’t identify how much money you want to put into it, the renovation can become more expensive than you thought it would. With bathroom renovations, there are a lot of little details that can add up quickly.

When budgeting, it’s smart to decide on a max number and stick to it. All the materials and work that you wish to do should fit within that budget. A smart rule thumb of any renovation is to always build in a contingency fund (a pool of money to address any unforeseen expenses that come up during the renovation). There is nothing worse for the ROI of a bathroom renovation than to go over budget.

2.Planning

Now that your budget and contingency fund have been established, it’s time to start planning the renovation! In the planning stages, you’ll want to figure out the details of your new bathroom like layout, quality of materials, style, colors, etc. before talking to any contractors. Once you have all the details figured out, ask for a bid from multiple contractors and shop around for the best price.

One thing you can do to help set yourself apart is to talk to a local property management company about what features are most popular in rentals near your property. These companies provide property management services to local rental investors like yourself and are familiar with the popular features tenants like to see in properties. If you include the features that are most important potential renters in your bathroom, then you have a much better chance at renting your property out quickly and for top dollar.  

Renovation

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3.Quality of Renovation 

Probably the most influential factor in maximizing the ROI of your bathroom renovation is the quality of it. Many investors think that the more money and design features they put into a bathroom means the more money they can charge for monthly rent. This can be a huge misunderstanding. The ROI on a bathroom renovation starts to diminish at a certain point, so it’s best to try and limit your investment rather than throw a ton of money at it. Let’s look at some Zillow data on different bathroom renovations below.

Midrange Renovation: Midrange bathroom renovations use average materials that are good quality but nothing top of the line. They touch most areas of the space like flooring, paint, tub/shower, toilet, vanity, and fixtures so the bathroom looks brand new at the end.

  • Average ROI: ~70%
  • Average Renovation Cost: ~$19,000

Universal Renovation: Universal bathroom renovations appeal to the highest number of buyers. In these bathrooms you’ll see their built to accommodate wheelchairs and have other features that appeal to tenants with special needs. They also tend to be very neutral in design and don’t have any bold features.

  • Average ROI: ~70%
  • Average Renovation Cost: ~$16,400

Upscale Renovation: Upscale bathroom renovations appeal to higher end buyers who appreciate a well thought out design with high end finishes. These renovations can include structural changes to the layout of the bathroom, luxury finishes, and features like freestanding tubs and dual vanity sinks. 

  • Average ROI: ~56%
  • Average Renovation Cost: ~$62,000

From these national numbers, it’s clear to see that the low budget bathroom renovations typically offer the best ROI to investors. That’s not to say there aren’t areas in the country where doing an upscale bathroom remodel is the right move. It’s best to check with local real estate and property management experts in your area to determine the best type of bathroom renovation for your property.

4.Style 

With the quality of your renovation decided on, now it’s time to talk style. The style of your renovated bathroom is key to having the space feel like it’s cohesive with other parts of the property. This is another aspect of your renovation where gaining insights from local real estate experts could benefit you. Often, neighborhoods attract very similar renters so you could learn a lot about what your ideal tenants would like to see in a remodeled bathroom from other properties in the area. Designing your renovated bathroom to the exact style your ideal tenants are looking for is a sure-fire way to increase your rental’s ROI!

A helpful tip with style in your bathroom renovation would be to pull from design elements in other areas of the house to make the bathroom feel like it has always been that way. One of the best ways to accomplish this to take inspiration from the kitchen. Try and use the similar tile, countertops, fixtures, and backsplash that you used in the kitchen, so the space feels more connected to the rest of the house. You can also draw inspiration from the rest of the property too. If your rental is more contemporary or modern, make sure the renovated bathroom is that style as well.  For more bathroom style inspiration, check out these addition tips

5.Lighting

The difference between a small underwhelming bathroom and an open inviting bathroom is often lighting. The lighting options in your renovated bathroom can make the space feel much more open and larger than it is. That is why it’s critical you get the lighting right so your tenants can feel like they are retreating to spacious oasis whenever they’re in the bathroom. A feature they’d be happy to pay more for!

There are a couple of ways to improve lighting during your bathroom renovation. The first is with natural light. If don’t have ample natural light in the bathroom currently and your budget allows, installing a bigger or additional window can fix your problem. The second (and more budget friendly) way you can improve lighting is to switch out light fixtures and light bulbs. Installing lighting fixtures that produce more light is an easy way to make the bathroom brighter. In addition, using soft white bulbs versus yellow light blubs can make the space feel filled with natural light even at night.

6.Color

The last design element you should think about is the color scheme of the bathroom. Color has a big impact on how people feel in a space. A darker color can make the space feel more intimate or in some cases claustrophobic while a light color can make the space feel open or even plain. For these reasons it’s a smart idea to include several colors in your bathroom renovation to help add some dimension and character.

For paint color in a rental property, you’ll want something dark enough that can stand up to dirt, marks, and scuffs while also not being too dark. Since the paint will be the most prominent color in the bathroom, going too dark could make the space feel cramped and small. Choosing a paint color that is neutral is always a safe bet. A good tip to add some color to the bathroom would be to pick a feature wall you could incorporate some wallpaper on. Wallpaper is a great way to add some design and color to a space. Don’t go too crazy on the design and color of the wallpaper though, you still want the space to appeal to a large group of renters.   

Post-Renovation

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7.Professional Photography

Now that you have a beautifully remodeled bathroom in your rental property, now it’s time to show it off to your future tenants! The best way to get your bathroom on the radar of potential renters is to have a professional real estate photographer come into the space and capture photos of it in all it’s glory. It may set you back a few hundred dollars but the impact this will make on your rental listing makes it money well spent because most renters judge a property by the photos on the listing.

8.Update Listing

The last thing you’ll want to do before showing off the newly renovated bathroom in your property is update your rental listing. Be sure to include the professional photos you had taken, list all the amazing features in the new bathroom, and update the monthly rental rate. If the renovation was a success, the rental rate should be a fair amount higher than what you were previously charging (which is why you decided to take on a bathroom renovation in the first place!) Updating the listing is such an important last step, it’s your chance to show potential tenants why your property is so much better than the competition and why you’re asking for a higher price.

Final Thoughts

Increasing ROI on your rental property is a goal you should be continually striving for. The more you can charge in monthly rental rates means more money you’re making from your investment. Bathroom renovations are one of the highest yielding ROI projects you can do in your property. It’s important to do the work and research in the pre-renovation stage, ensure that the execution and design of the bathroom are spot on during the renovation, and that you properly market your newly updated property post-renovation to fetch top dollar for all the work you did. When done properly, bathroom renovations can add a sizable amount to your monthly rental rate. 

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