mayacu

Should I remodel my master bathroom before selling?

mayacu
3 years ago

My realtor is recommending that I remodel my master bathroom before selling my house. The house was built & purchased in 2006 and I did a add lot of upgrades in the main house, but aside from painting the cabinets and putting in new mirrors I left the bathrooms alone. They're travertine with ugly faucets/hardware and tile counters, not offensive by any means, however the house is in the 2 million dollar price range and buyers in that price range are looking for stunning bathrooms, not 10 year old travertine with home depot fixtures.

She has a relationship with a contractor that has bid the job out at $41,000 (this is in the Seattle area for a remodel that would change all surfaces, fixtures, and hardware, but leave existing layout and paint existing cabinets instead of replacing them) Every site I've looked at shows less than a 50% recoup on the cost of bathroom remodels when selling a house but my realtor seems to think that upgrading the bathroom could increase the selling price substantially. Then again I've known many people who did full bathroom remodels and then sold their home a year or two later and it really didn't affect the selling price at all, but those homes were not in this price category either.

I'm also aware that some realtors and contractors will advise based on their own self interest, not always what's in the best financial interest of the home owner (something I've experienced personally). I'd hate to put a $41,000 bathroom in only to lose half or more of that money and not even have the satisfaction of enjoying it. I have to make this decision very soon and would love a few opinions!


Comments (63)

  • ninigret

    as much as i dont love the bath, there isnt anything terribly wrong with it, and the odds that you would choose surfaces that i liked wildly more is small to nil.

    i'd skip a redo and roll the dice. you could give people a rebate of $35K if you wanted but odds are then they'd think there was something wrong with it.

    the sad truth is it would cost as much to redo this bathroom as it would if it was 25 years old. doesnt matter what you are gutting when its all going in the dumpster anyway.

    mayacu thanked ninigret
  • mayacu

    I should also say that yesterday, after saying "Do not do any demolition on the bathrooms until I approve the bid" they removed the counters and sinks from all of the bathrooms, which we did discuss, but I did not give the go ahead for. Now I will have to do at least that. The counters are ceramic tile and the sinks and faucets are really unattractive so I do think that will make a big difference but I am not happy about having someone else make that decision despite my instructions to wait. Here are a few pics of of the secondary bathrooms, you can see the tile counters more clearly in these.

    Also, I took the pictures for my own reference as I was moving out so I do understand the importance of staging and not having cleaning products in the shot :)

    The cabinets will be painted/stained the same color, they're a bit beat up in the master bath.



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  • acm

    Yeah, and honestly, there will be people who love it -- I really dig the accent tile in your shower, and the look of the tub deck, so I'd only change anything on the order of faucets and lights if I bought it. Anybody who wants more will want to get to specify all the details anyway, so let them spend their own $30-100k to get some grand marble monstrosity (or delicate spa bath, heh) without your trying to guess.

    mayacu thanked acm
  • acm

    Wow, I'd be irate about unapproved demo! Like I'd rip up my contract with that realtor immediately.

    Now that I can see the tile counters, replacing those seems more reasonable -- hope you can find some striking marble that will make the whole bath (master, at least) feel flashy while playing off the colors of the travertine. But I'd change my front door lock and find my own stone installer. This is a serious breach of trust and tells me whose interests that realtor is really looking after. yuck.

    mayacu thanked acm
  • ninigret

    well, i have to say the counters and sinks were a difficult aspect; a top mount sink is bad, multiplied by two and it was a bit painful. hope you are going with undermount this time.

    mayacu thanked ninigret
  • janedoe2012
    New counters and faucets (not oil rubbed bronze and not center set) will probably be worth it. Nobody wants grout lines in bathroom counters.

    Depending on the decor of the rest of the house, some small, but good quality oriental rugs might cover some of the tile expanse and make the bath seem more "upscale." It sounds weird, but I have seen photos where it works. Maybe not in Seattle, though.
    mayacu thanked janedoe2012
  • mayacu

    I don't love the oil rubbed bronze either, but this is the problem with a partial remodel. You have to select finishes that complement the finishes you don't like! Also, replacing the faucets means I have to replace the shower & tub hardware. Then, as a few people have pointed out, the new owners demolish it all and start fresh. It's tricky to know where to draw the line.


    The plan for the counters is white quartz and the cabinets will remain the ebony wood. Rectangular undermount white ceramic sinks. And the faucets either a single hole or wide spread probably in black, which will also complement the hardware in the rest of the house (you can see the door handles and hinges are also black).

  • PRO
    Dragonfly Tile & Stone Works, Inc.

    Oh, well the situation has changed. New countertops and sinks will help (but sorry that decision was made in a less than acceptable manner). Janedoe, in response, the demo and re-build of the shower itself is costly, and high end baths, with high end fixtures can easily result in the cost she indicated. It also sounds like there may be more than one bath involved. Obviously we can't provide an estimate based on a couple photos, but no, not surprised.

    mayacu thanked Dragonfly Tile & Stone Works, Inc.
  • mayacu

    Thanks Dragonfly, good to know the cost is within the norm anyways. The $41k is just for the master bath remodel. The other two bathrooms are now getting new counters, sinks and faucets.

  • acm

    Well, maybe quartz in most, but I think something like Delicatus could make the master pop. Especially with the dark fixtures and cabinets.


    Kitchen · More Info

    Kitchen · More Info
    But maybe I'm just projecting my own fantasies... ;)

    mayacu thanked acm
  • Veronica Forest
    I would be firing some people over the demo work! Also, I would get rid of the contractor. Did you get other bids for the work?
    mayacu thanked Veronica Forest
  • Jolene
    I think the bathroom is fine.
    mayacu thanked Jolene
  • miss lindsey (stillmissesSophie,chase,others)

    Let me get this straight. They did unapproved demolition on your house when you weren't there? Did you have a contract signed with them? Did the realtor let them in?

    This is crazy. In case you're thinking "I can see how this could happen, maybe I didn't make myself clear..." NO. Just no. This is serious. Please tell me you've contacted the realty company and the contractor. I can tell you one thing, the money for this should not be coming out of your pocket.


    mayacu thanked miss lindsey (stillmissesSophie,chase,others)
  • Bailey R

    NO .... a waste of $. Remodeling to sell is a foolish mistake. It's not done where I live & the houses start in the millions!

    mayacu thanked Bailey R
  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    lindsey, right??

    Mayacu,,,,did you sign a contract about demo or remodel? If you did not give the go ahead, it sounds to me like the new vanity top is on the realtor (or demo person/contractor). You can be CERTAIN that I would not be paying for their mistake. That's BS. Please stand your ground on this one. Tell the realtor you'll be taking the cost out of her commission

    Better yet, find a new realtor, after this one pays for her mistake.

    mayacu thanked Beth H. :
  • PRO
    Dragonfly Tile & Stone Works, Inc.

    If it's any help, we have been contracted to re-do high end bathrooms BECAUSE the homes just were not selling and the time sitting on the market costs money too (in some instances). Not saying that is the case here, but it has been a reality, so may want to keep that in mind. The adverse is the situation where a home has been "fixed up to sell", but of marginal quality. That's another story. Still think yours, with tweaks, could have been priced accordingly and sold as is. Best of luck.


    mayacu thanked Dragonfly Tile & Stone Works, Inc.
  • toniaporterdds

    I think you could refresh the bathroom for a few hundred dollars and get a lot of bang for your buck. Change the light fixtures above the mirrors (maybe even the mirrors), hang a chandelier to dress up the room, get a chic vanity stool, replace the hardware in the shower with something more modern. good luck!

    mayacu thanked toniaporterdds
  • mayacu

    Thanks so much everyone! This decision has been stressing me out to no end and you all helped reinforce what my gut was telling me; keep it simple. So I just made the call, I'm leaving the bathroom as is (except for the counters and sinks which I have no choice over). Yay! Very happy not to have this looming over me anymore!

  • PRO
    Linda

    Demoing the items without a written signature on a contract with you is unacceptable. I would be very upset with both the realtor and the contractor. Perhaps they were attempting to force a decision on the matter and hope you will feel an obligation to them now that they've begun working on the house. Even if everything was done with the best of intentions, they've overstepped their bounds.

    mayacu thanked Linda
  • PRO
    Flo Mangan

    Please do not pay for this work when you did not "approve" of it. They will repeat the practice with other clients. Absolutely unacceptable. It would come out of my pocket if I were managing this project, it should come out of the realtor's pocket and she/he can fight for compensation with whomever did the demo without proper approval. Very unprofessional.

    mayacu thanked Flo Mangan
  • pat1250
    Agree with both Beth and Linda. They should replace/repair anything they removed and/or damaged at their expense. Given that, you can "upgrade," and only pay the difference in cost. You could get new faucets and vanity light fixtures, but the white fluffy towels idea is good.....plus you can take them with you! Hope all goes well with the sale.
    mayacu thanked pat1250
  • mayacu

    The unauthorized demo is just par for the course at this point and I'm honestly too tired to put up another fight, I just want it over with. I also just completed a large renovation on my new home (different contractor/realtor) and unfortunately had so many instances of self serving, unaccountable, even downright dishonest behavior from different businesses that it seems to be the rule in this industry rather than the exception. It felt like going to war just to be treated fairly so this barely registers as a blip on the radar.

    Sorry to those of you who actually deal with people honestly (I'm sure you're out there) but this industry doesn't get a bad rap for no reason, it's filled with shady people who seem quite content to make a quick buck off of doing someone else wrong. I'm just all out of fight, simply waiting for the house to sell so I can have my long delayed nervous breakdown in peace and quiet, and I'm only halfway kidding :) One thing I'm certain of is that I will NEVER put myself through another remodel, it just about destroyed my faith in humanity.

  • PRO
    Flo Mangan

    I am so very sorry. While this does happen, it isn't the rule. It is one of the reasons paying for a good designer is so well worth it. Because we "vet" contractors and only use the ones that are reliable, honest and skilled. Lots of folks don't want to "pay for a designer" and then go through the cost both financially and emotionally that you have gone through. But I would not give up. I would find the energy to as a minimum write a letter to the Real Estate Board in your state describing the issues and if the real estate person was in charge of this, the broker of that agent. This is one thing they really understand, because their bread and butter for future listings is what keeps them in business. But not knowing all the circumstances, easy for me to give advice. I just know, if you were my client, I would be doing this fight for you!

    mayacu thanked Flo Mangan
  • pat1250
    Oh Maycau, so sorry to hear of that. I can most certainly sympathize with you......going through the same dismay & frustration with remodel labor woes myself these days. Ugh.
    Chin up, it won't last forever. Keep moving forward regardless of how it seems you're moving two steps back at every turn.
    mayacu thanked pat1250
  • miss lindsey (stillmissesSophie,chase,others)

    I understand your frustration. I'm sorry you're experiencing this, and I wish I could fight this for you. My blood is boiling and I am sincerely ready to go at these a-holes right now!

    I know you don't want to fight, but I have to say that this is not an example of cost cutting or self-serving. THIS IS CRIMINAL. If what you are telling us is accurate, someone entered your home without your consent and vandalized your property. Your realtor must belong to a professional association. Report her. They need to know how she is operating in order to protect others. If the contractor is licenced and bonded, he has a professional association holding him to account as well.

    Please try to find it in yourself to fight this, because this will keep happening as long as people let it slide. Don't ask to be treated fairly, demand it. "This happened, it is illegal, I need this to happen to make it right, and if it does not happen by this time I am prepared to press charges of trespassing and vandalism."

    And call a locksmith, tomorrow.

    mayacu thanked miss lindsey (stillmissesSophie,chase,others)
  • mayacu

    Thanks Pat1250, sorry to hear you're experiencing some of the same, it's a journey down a long tunnel of helplessness and financial bloodletting isn't it? Once you're in it there's no turning back and when you're decent to people who treat that as a weakness to exploit rather than a kindness worthy of reciprocation it's hard not to become jaded. But then you put it behind you and move forward, perhaps with a few more battle scars and a little less naivete which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

    I went through several renovations with my ex-husband but doing one alone as a single woman in such a macho industry was a different experience altogether.. So yes, chin up, hang in there and good luck with your project, I'll have my fingers crossed for you!

  • mayacu

    Lindsey, flo, pat, Beth, acm, Linda, Vernonica, thanks for your input, to answer your questions regarding contracts and the unauthorized demo, I haven't signed contracts with either one of them. I texted the contractor on Sunday evening requesting that he not demo the bathrooms as I'd just received his revised bid that very day, and hadn't had a chance to think it over or speak with the realtor to get her take on the financial upside/downside to doing the renovation now that the bid was complete.

    He texted back "OK". I'd left a key with the realtor and given her the go ahead to make a copy for him and for him to begin work on Monday on the areas that I'd already approved (repairs, flooring, paint, masking off/prep work).

    We spoke on Monday evening on a three way call, I was still trying to decide on the scope of the work, and I was informed that they'd gone ahead and removed the counters and sinks from three bathrooms. That's pretty much it. I do think that the tile counter in the master bath at least needed to go, I wasn't so sure about the secondary bathrooms, I think the point is that this decision was made for me and went against my instructions.

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    Are you crazy they ripped the stuff apart without a signed contract they can put it back together at their cost and IMO a new realtor would be in the cards this sounds like a big scam between him and the contractor

    mayacu thanked Patricia Colwell Consulting
  • d7e001

    You are way to nice about this whole situation. These people probably prey on easy going, nice people. By the way, where do you live and who are you using for a realtor. Maybe this information could spare someone else from getting into this situation.

    mayacu thanked d7e001
  • PRO
    Cinar Interiors, Inc.

    Didn't have time to read all the comments but did read where you stated that the decorator and contractor demoed part of your bathroom without your approval. I would be pissed as all hell. They took it upon themselves to do that and now they can replace it at their own expense. This does not fall back on you nor should any of it come out of your pocket.

    mayacu thanked Cinar Interiors, Inc.
  • pat1250

    Realtor disdain: when we sold our previous home, the realtor advised us to repaint and make some changes, she offered her contractor to do the work. She also gave us the name an appliance retailer to use as they worked with her and could give us the best price. Hahahaha. We did our due diligence and was able to get the painting and appliances for less than via her contacts. theory: they prey on elderly and /or the unknowing who need to get their homes ready for sale and do not know where to turn so they put their trust in the realtor to get the work done. Needless to say, we did not have a very good relationship with that particular realtor, we stood our ground and got our selling price regardless of what she advised us to do. Mayacu, hang tough.

    mayacu thanked pat1250
  • Veronica Forest
    I believe there is a Contractor's Bureau where you can file a complaint as well. I would definitely not pay for the demo work and would seriously consider a claim to repair it.
  • janedoe2012

    I just noticed the cost breakdown. $950 allowance for the tub? Too low. No allowance for faucets or lighting? What about a shower door? Re-use?

    And at $15,000 for tile installation - if you have 300 square feet of tile, that's $50 a square foot. I would be very interested in hearing a pro's opinion.

    For what is it worth, I had to have a shower floor torn up and a new shower pan installed and it was about $4k.

    if I am misunderstanding the bid, and super high end details are included (faucets, lighting, nice switch plates, new wall mounted toilet, etc.) then maybe it is OK. But the way I am reading it, you would not be getting a super high end bath for $41,000 all-in.


    mayacu thanked janedoe2012
  • Dee Sanchez

    Oh my lord. Please don't just take this sitting down. I realize you're tired of dealing with it, but you're being had. I guarantee that realtor is getting a kickback for all the work the contractor is getting out of this. And at the rate you were quoted, it's a good sized kick back.

    mayacu thanked Dee Sanchez
  • D. L.

    I agree with your words: Keep it simple. That and: Nobody wants grout lines or up-mounted sinks in bathroom counters.

    mayacu thanked D. L.
  • PRO
    GOODFELLAS CONSTRUCTION

    To be honest, your bathroom looks great right now. You would only be remodeling to change the style of the bathroom and that is dependent on the eyes of the purchaser. I would leave the bathroom as is and leave it to the new homeowner to change it up based on their own style.
    In order to sell quickly I really recommend staging it with an interior designer.

    mayacu thanked GOODFELLAS CONSTRUCTION
  • PRO
    JudyG Designs

    How did they workers gain entrance into your home in the first place?

    Seems like “trespassing” to me, which adds more fuel to the legal fire.

  • miss lindsey (stillmissesSophie,chase,others)

    I just noticed the cost breakdown too; did you just post it now or did I somehow overlook it?

    I also noticed something else in that post: your realtor brought "quite a few colleagues" through the house. That would make me feel

    a) uneasy that she is competent to handle this job

    b) uncomfortable that she is bringing others in without my consent (although that may be standard practice, I have no idea) and

    c) totally justified in interviewing other Realtors on my own behalf.

    mayacu thanked miss lindsey (stillmissesSophie,chase,others)
  • PRO
    Flo Mangan

    It is good practice for a real estate agent to bring colleagues even Brokers from other agencies through the listing to help them understand the property. That is not unusual and in fact, a good thing. What is not usual is proceeding with work that was NOT approved in writing. That is the solid ground you have.

  • miss lindsey (stillmissesSophie,chase,others)

    Thanks for that info Flo Mangan. I would expect a consult with one or two colleagues. "Quite a few" sounded like a large number so it put me on edge, especially considering OPs other experiences here.

    When our realtor wanted to bring in a colleague to consult on the home we were buying, she notified us first. And we didn't even own that home (we do now though!) and we lived right next door so could keep an eye on things.

    IDK, the whole thing just sounds so fishy...

  • PRO
    Flo Mangan

    Lindsey-there are no doubt, many issues here. I just think we need to be clear on what is proper and what is not. Surely, giving access to a home (which someone did??) is not proper without the proper permission. I have worked with many real estate agents on staging homes for sale and none of them have gotten anything back from the folks we use to do the "contract" work. In fact, they are taking risks putting that effort in, when they don't get paid until there is a closing. So, most agents are well aware of the risks they face. In this case, something drastic happened and I am not sure where the gap occurred. Surely a mess at this point.

    mayacu thanked Flo Mangan
  • PRO
    Linda

    My partner does quite a bit of work for a local realtor. He doesn't claim to be the cheapest guy but he gets the job done acceptably well on a quick time schedule. Putting a high priority on those jobs is part of the reason for the premium. There aren't any kickbacks involved but the realtor sends the jobs his way as he knows the matter will be handled quickly and the sale will go through. In return, my partner rearranges his schedule as necessary.

    Work done to get a house sold is different than work done for an owner who is staying. Materials and fixtures tend to be mid range and bland instead of interesting. The deadlines are more important and underlying mechanical issues are glossed over in favor of finishing the work.

    mayacu thanked Linda
  • Jennifer Eggert

    No.

    never a good idea.

    whoever buys it will make changes to suit their own tastes.

    not worth the money to remodel kitchens and bathrooms are the most expensive and you will not recover your investment.

    sometimes realtors are idiots...

  • Jennifer Eggert

    Contact the Attorney General in your state and file a complaint.

    fire the realtor.

  • Jennifer Eggert

    This is the rule in that business because people allow it since they are "too tired to fight".

    Put a stop to it!


  • acm

    @jmarkham3 Three posts on a thread that's eight months old? Maybe you can spread the energy around to some folks whose dilemmas are still ongoing...

  • Jennifer Eggert
    Yes sir. Right away...
  • Dsantlawr

    Personally, if I was buying in that price range I would rather do the redo myself the way I want it, than have a seller try to mind read what an appropriate modern upgrade would be. Would end up too generic and a wast of time and money on the selle'rs end.

  • jjjomo

    Sell as is. Let the new owner replace the cabinets, install quarts on the new cabinets and under the tub. The top corner of the tub area, & corners, needs edging tile, bull nose, etc...

    The way it is now it is very sharp. Nice big bath, let somone else have their own idies. Baths are the most personal part of your house. When puting money into a house, 3 items most important, are, kitchens, baths, windows. The big 3. Good luck

  • woodteam5

    Please, talk with at least 3 realtors and 3 contractors.

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