Bathroom vs. Kitchen: Which Remodels are Worth the Money?

Remodeling a home involves a series of difficult decisions. Increasing the value of your home requires keeping a difficult balance between common style and personal taste. Often, questions about remodels will come down to choosing which room to focus a remodel on, and which rooms will bring the greatest return of investment. The most commonly remodeled rooms are the bathroom and kitchen, but which remodel is most worth the money?

Freshen that kitchen

Know what renovations you actually need ahead of time. If you have a kitchen that has a well-planned space, you don’t need to start knocking down walls and tearing down cabinets. Sometimes a simple face-lift will work wonders on your kitchen and still be appealing to potential buyers. If you have good quality kitchen cabinets, you will actually get more return by spending a little to refinish them instead of spending a lot to replace them with completely new cabinets.

Examine your space with a critical eye. You may be used to your home, but what will the space look like to someone who has never been here? Understanding what buyers are currently looking for in homes today can help to guide your remodel decisions. For example, if you think you have a good kitchen but you notice that your appliances are older, it may be worth it to spend the money to upgrade to stainless steel appliances.

Before you grab a hammer and start in on your kitchen, slow down and crunch the numbers. For example, while kitchens do yield bigger rewards (82% return versus a 72% return for bathroom remodels), it is also possible to go too far on your kitchen. Part of what dictates the value of your home is the other houses in your neighborhood. If you have a neighborhood with an average home value of only $175,000, then do not put in a $50,000 kitchen renovation. Spending too much can cause you to lose money from a remodel. Stay within what your budget and your neighborhood can allow if you hope to make money off the deal.

Bettering your bathroom

If you are looking strictly for a good financial return, then focusing on your kitchen will be better than remodeling your bathroom. But if you do choose to spend money on the bathroom as well, understand what is in high demand. For example, if you have a four-bedroom, one-bath home, it may be more worth it to add in a new bathroom instead of renovating the old one.

If you are getting rid of an old bathtub then consider simply putting in a shower stall instead of a new tub. A new tub will, on average, cost about $2,300 while a shower unit can cost just under $1,000. This will update your bathroom and save you money. People today rarely have time for a bath, so the extra square footage can be used to make either a more spacious room or to create a large walk-in shower.