Of course, no one wants to put anymore money into the home than they 'have to'. Oh, I got that loud and clear! It seems it's the first words uttered when I arrive to do consultations or give an estimate. So, with a trusty consultation report guide in hand, I make my list of all necessary and recommended changes to be made. Even when there isn't a budget to work with, I always take into consideration the costs and usually give two or three reasonable options to choose from, when making recommendations to update or change. This particular home won't be listed for another year or so and the homeowners have decided to tackle the DIY upgrades themselves, as they can afford it.
This Master Bathroom is in a home that'll eventually list for somewhere between $225,000-$250,000 over the next year or two, dependant upon some necessary updates and maintenance issues throughout the entire home. Based upon my findings for this room, here are my recommendations:
- Remove the circa 1996 scalloped, floral border.
- Freshly paint walls and trim. The color was a little too light and it was in a semi-gloss finish which makes unsightly light reflections. The trim had never been painted since the original builder's primer, so it was in dire need of attention!
- Remove carpeting from bathroom (UGH, I know!), remove tiles from toilet room and replace both with one style of tile, preferably a natural, stone look. The existing tiles are the cheap 6"x6" shiney white ceramic tiles...the same tiles currently surrounding the tub. Ideally, the tiles around the tub should be changed, as well.
Although changing flooring doesn't have the highest return on investment, there are times that it will be necessary to keep prospective homebuyers from turning their nose away...Dingy, stained, worn capeting is not appealing! Traffic patterns and water stains on the wood flooring in the entry way make a bad first impression! Old linoleum in the kitchen just says 'cheap'. And, why oh why, do some builders put CARPETING IN BATHROOMS?
- Change the window because the frame was rotting. Recommended getting a window that opened for ventilation rather than just replacing with another 'picture window'.
- Remove vanity light fixture and replace with a fixture that takes less expensive bulbs. The cost of a new fixture could pay for itself by replacing the expensive lightbulbs in the existing, one time each. Besides, it was ugly and looked cheap. Unless you are performing on stage, you do not need that kind of light blaring in your face!
- Paint vanity cabinets with an oil-based paint and replace hardware with metal for contrast.
This home is in a very consistent, moderately priced neighborhood so the need to upgrade the bathroom completely, isn't really necessary. Although the ROI for bathroom upgrades are typically reasonable, it may not be recovered in this particular home, therefore I did not recommend upgrading any of the plumbing fixtures, including sinks, tub or shower, or replacing the vanity cabinets. If the home could be sold for $300,000 or more, I'd say consider doing those upgrades because newer homes in those price ranges would have comparable upgrades.
Well, now for the budget and priorities of what can be done now and what can wait for another day. The decision was made to start with the DIY projects first:
- Replace the window. The frame was rotting and would have to come out at some point, anyway. Cost for the window: About $260.00, specially ordered to fit existing opening. Homeowner was capable of doing this...Cost of labor: ZERO. Window was removed and replaced the same afternoon.
- Remove border and paint. I recommended a slightly darker color to balance the white and cream fixtures. I also recommended an ultra-bright white high-gloss paint on the trim to balance the darker, matte finish paint on the walls. Cost of paint: about $40.00. Cost of labor: ZERO. It took a weekend to complete the painting.
- Replace light fixture. A newer, nickel finish fixture was selected that cost about $70.00 plus $6.00 for 6 new bulbs...not $6.00 each like the previous fixture! Thinking ahead to staging, the selection was based upon a generally styled fixture...nothing too specific in taste. Homeowner replaced the fixture, as well. Cost of labor: ZERO. It took less than an hour to install.
- A minor suggestion to frame the mirror cost ZERO because homeowner used trim that he currently had in his workshop. Although it's not exactly the trim I would have selected, it is better than the floating-mirror effect. It makes it look more like an accessory. I suggested, down the road, replacing it with something more substanstial, though. The scale isn't right.
- Used selected accessories currently exisiting in the home...ZERO cost. (This is for a neighbor who has been gracious to me, so I brought over a few, inexpensive things like the Posters-turned-into-canvas-art and some floral stems for an arrangement. Also,my neighbor is the reason I was able to get some pictures during the progress! I guided with the use and placement of accessories.)
Next project will be to paint the vanity with an oil based paint and replace the hardware with something in a nickel finish. Homeowner will complete this project on another weekend when the humidity is lower.
The final projects will be the removal of the carpeting and the installation of tiles. Some nicely detailed staging will finish it off!
The cost for this DIY re-design, eventual staging project, as of now, is about $376.00. So far, so good, for less than $500 and a weekend's worth of work!
Abby Reilly, ALR Home Staging and Showcasing