Bathrooms are one of the most popular rooms in a home to renovate, and it’s clear why. People spend hours in their bathroom every week getting ready, cleaning it, and practicing basic hygiene. In fact, a study in England found the average adult will spend 416 days of their life in the bathroom.
Given the importance of a good bathroom, it goes without saying that prospective buyers of your fix-and-flip home will scan bathrooms and make quick judgments on them. Well-maintained bathrooms with new fixtures and updated features can often seal the deal for residential properties.
Moreover, compared to kitchens, most properties you’ll come across will have more than one bathroom.
For instance, the City of Detroit is known for its affordable housing stock (you can snag great homes for as low as $40k). But look at how many Zillow listings in the city have at least three bathrooms:
Especially if you have multiple bathrooms like this in a property (like in multifamily buildings), you need to have a strategy in mind when approaching bathroom renovations. Remember, good outcomes are a result of good planning. Poorly planned bathroom remodeling projects can quickly turn into a financial nightmare—stalling the project’s completion and depleting its potential gains.
So today, we’ll show you 9 specific steps to use as you remodel your bathrooms. Use these for a flip that’ll sell in seconds—without going over your renovation budget.
1. Replace Cabinets? Just Reface Them
Ever heard of refacing kitchen cabinets? You can do the same thing to bathroom vanity cabinets. It’s easy, and it saves you a ton of money instead of replacing them with new ones.
Here are some general steps to go about it:
- Sand all exterior surfaces
- Make veneer cuts to cover the existing cabinet
- Paint the cabinet with contact cement to give it a milky glow
- Apply the veneer to the cabinet
- Trim the loose edges and add the molding
- Lastly, install doors and some drawers
Aside from refacing the cabinets, you can also save a couple of bucks by covering up dents and holes in the wallboard with wainscotting. It looks brand new without replacing anything.
2. Be Cheap, But Don’t Overdo It
You may be tempted to cut down costs as much as possible. And avoiding expensive features, like new bathtubs, showers, toilets, and sinks can save a lot of money.
That being said, you should steer clear of rock-bottom offerings that will turn off most home buyers. Everyone can tell if a bathroom is renovated with cheap materials. Plus, it’ll wear out sooner and actually cost more to maintain in the long run, which is something rental investors, in particular, will be wary of.
Instead, find the sweet spot of quality and functionality without steep price points.
Check big box stores like Home Depot for bathroom remodeling bargains. They’ll have everything from faucets to large mirrors, so you’ll have a wide variety of products (and prices!) to choose from. If you go with higher quality brands, you’ll also get hardware with lifetime warranties for your faucets and showerheads, which is a nice perk to pass along to potential buyers.
3. Keep the Throne Glistening
The toilet is the main feature of any bathroom. Every potential buyer and investor will expect it to be clean, sparkling, and fully functional. Any amount of rust or grime could turn them off from considering the property at all.
One pro tip we can give you is to replace the toilet seat. We know, it’s really simple. But this crucial DIY can change the entire look of the toilet, making it look brand new without spending tons of money on replacing the entire bowl.
It’s inexpensive and does the job of impressing prospective buyers.
4. Save with Laminate Flooring
If you’ve been in the industry for a while, you probably know that laminated floors have a bad reputation for being boring and dull. However, for a flip-and-fix project, laminated floors for bathrooms check all the boxes.
Here are the advantages of choosing laminated flooring:
- It’s inexpensive and easy to source.
- It holds up against moisture and stains.
- It’s pretty easy to clean and maintain.
- It’s extremely durable.
You don’t have to use laminated flooring for the entire property, as that can lower the value of the home. But, installing laminate in your bathrooms is a great, affordable decision.
5. Refresh the Bathtub
Does the house come with a bathtub? Great!
Is it in good condition? If not, there are ways to fix it.
With good refinishing, you can turn any old tub into a new one. Try using special paint to cover up cosmetic blemishes. If the task is too much, you can also contact a professional bathtub refinishing company, like Permaglaze or Miracle Method, to do the work for you.
Refinishing will always be cheaper than replacing the tub. The finished result looks like new, without the “new” price tag, and that keeps both you and potential buyers happy.
6. The Devil’s in the Details
Ensure that you repair or replace essential fixtures like door hinges, doorknobs, towel racks, showerheads, all the faucets, and even the toilet paper holders. These are all inexpensive and do wonders when it comes to making a bathroom look more high-end.
Another pro tip is to avoid polished chrome or polished brass finishes. The style is outdated and can look quite cheap. Instead, try going for brushed nickel, stainless steel, or matte black to create a more modern look.
It’s even better if you can match the fixtures for a consistent “branding” or design. Spending a few extra bucks for matching fixtures will look more impressive to prospective buyers and investors.
7. Clean Out the Caulking and Grout
Caulking and grout—especially in bathrooms—can look dirty over time. So, ensure that you clean or replace them to brighten up the bathroom and give it a refreshed look. You can do it yourself with a toothbrush or hire professional cleaners to scrub the corners throughout.
If there are any signs of mold or mildew in the shower, you can also create a DIY bleach solution to remove it. Here’s how to make it yourself:
- Mix 1 part bleach with 10 parts water.
- Put the solution in a spray bottle.
- Use the spray bottle, soak the affected tiling.
- Spray more on visible areas like light-colored tile grout or caulk.
- Be patient and wait for at least five minutes to let the solution sink in.
Are you pressed for time? You can also contact professional cleaning services in your area to clean your bathroom for you. It’ll cost you extra money, but it certainly saves you a lot of work.
8. Don’t Fix Anything That Isn’t Broken
For a fix-and-flip project, it’s always better to keep everything that’s still functional.
If the toilet isn’t dripping, don’t replace it. If the bathtub isn’t leaking, don’t change your entire plumbing system. Is there any mildew or moldy spots? Clean them up and open the windows to ventilate the place.
Basically, don’t fix anything that isn’t broken. Every upgrade should be necessary and add value to the property. If you spend too much, that will eat into your profits when you go to flip it.
Moreover, moving or replacing the plumbing system is crazy expensive. Just use HomeAdvisor’s calculator to see how everything adds up. Given that you want to protect your flipping profit at all costs, don’t replace or move the plumbing system unless absolutely necessary.
9. Add Extra Lighting Fixtures
With everything spick and span, ensure that you put enough lights in the bathroom to show off its design. Flickering or struggling lights can turn off prospective buyers and investors. After all, no one wants a dimly lit bathroom.
Make sure you also replace the light bulbs with a higher wattage, especially if your budget is pretty tight. Add ceiling lighting and some vanity lights if you can afford it, too. This will brighten the space and make it feel bigger.
You’ll be amazed at how a simple light improvement brightens up a small space.
Now you’re ready to renovate that bathroom and improve your profits on your next fixer-upper. By following the tips in this article, you can boost your profits by impressing prospective buyers and investors with a great bathroom. Set the tone for the rest of the property with a clean, freshly renovated bathroom.
Remember to reface instead of replacing, never sacrifice quality for lower cost, avoid over-renovating, and pay attention to the smallest of details. All of these tips help you bring bathrooms up to par without eating into your budget
Anything else we’ve missed? Comment your personal tip down below to help other flippers!