By Mike Baird
Bathrooms rehabs are some of my favorite on almost any house flip. When I walk into a distressed property and check out the bathrooms, I never know what level of destruction I’m going to find. I’ve seen mold, tubs that were completely demolished, toilets that would never work again, and so much more. The transformation I can make here is one of the most rewarding parts of my job, so I always look forward to it.
However, I don’t just throw every rehab I can think of at my bathrooms. Instead, I consider a few things very carefully so that I make the right renovations to bring the house up to market value without over-rehabbing it or making any mistakes that will keep the house from selling.
What’s Your Bathroom Budget?
First of all, what’s your budget look like on the whole flip? Are there any major structural rehabs that absolutely need to happen before you consider anything else? When you know your budget for the whole project and what you need to spend to make the house safe to live in, then you can decide how much of your budget you’re going to devote to the bathrooms.
Can You Salvage Anything?
Take a good, hard look at what you’re working with before you get into demolition. In most cases, you are going to have to just gut the bathroom and start over, but sometimes you’ll find that the tile is in good shape or that you can reuse the mirror (or save it for another flip).
Reusing materials that are in good shape and can be painted or buffed up is a great way to save on your budget so that you can splurge a little bit on the details that sell houses, like a claw-foot tub or a double-sink vanity. Don’t try to reuse anything that’s questionable, though. You don’t want it to look like you skimped on renovations in the bathroom. It’ll make your buyers wonder where else you cut corners.
What Kind of Plumbing Work Do You Need?
Take a look at your bathrooms with your contractor or project manager, and decide what kind of plumbing work you’ll need to create the effects that you want. If you’re ripping out the floor and the walls are damaged, you’re going to have to redo them anyway, so you might as well take a look at any changes you need to make in the room’s piping. However, if the walls are in good shape and you’re not going to be cutting into them, you might want to discuss your options for working with what you have.
How Much Space Do You Have?
Before you go nuts with a new tub, new shower stall, and a giant counter for your vanity, I want you to take a few measurements and see how much space you have to work with. Especially in a master bath, if you don’t have a wide enough aisle between the vanity and the tub (or the vanity and the wall) for someone to easily walk behind the person washing their face in the sink, then you’ve created a cramped space that won’t sell your house.
Talk to your contractor or project manager about how you want to design the bathroom and listen to their advice. You don’t have to do exactly what they say, but they may help you avoid issues that come with cramped quarters or old materials. Keep these things in mind so that you can rehab your bathrooms in style and avoid extra costs or problems that will deter your buyers.