Bathroom updates that home buyers want

The bottom line when it comes to what homebuyers want usually comes down to money. Some buyers are looking for a low cost fixer-upper and they know they will be putting time, effort and money into updating the space while other buyers are looking for a move-in ready space that is in good repair and generally updated.

If you’re considering selling your property, it’s important to understand who your potential buyer will be and what they will be looking for. A “fixer-upper” in a great family neighborhood may be attractive to a younger couple willing to put in the effort to update the house on their own in exchange for a reasonable purchase price. But an older couple or busy professionals may be looking for move-in ready spaces and will take a pass on a property in need of significant updating.

If you think your home and location will be appealing to those who want it move-in ready, here are five bathroom updates, from inexpensive to more costly, that will be worth doing. They are some of the best renovations you can do to prepare to sell your house.

1. Repair and repaint all walls a fresh light color: Cleanliness is important and a fresh coat of paint will make a big impact. Match the paint color to the existing tile or stone for the most expansive and modern look. If you have ceramic tile that is perhaps a little too colorful already, a simple white paint on the walls will be the easiest choice.

2. Improve storage space: If storage space is at a premium, and it always seems to be in a bathroom, add improved storage options with a deeper medicine cabinet, shelf storage above the toilet and adjustable shelves in a linen closet, if there is one. Installing pull-out shelves in a vanity is also a great way to expand storage space.

3. Replace all fixtures, faucets and door hardware: Much like fashion, the right jewelry will make a simple outfit look like a million bucks.  There is nothing like a brand new faucet set to spruce up the sink area and add a lot of sparkle, plus older fixtures are harder to keep clean, can be rusty and simply look tired. Replace toilet seat covers or if budget allows, completely replace the toilet itself.

4. Replace the vanity or pedestal sink: If the basic layout of your bathroom is okay, it may be a relatively easy task to replace your existing vanity with a newer, more contemporary piece. If the sizes align, then the job will be a quick one. If the new piece is larger or smaller than the existing one, take care that the plumbing, lighting and door openings aren’t hindrances. If the countertop is in good condition, a simple paint job on the vanity will be an easy one to tackle. Pedestal sinks are often classic in design style and don’t usually look too out of date. However, they don’t offer any storage and if space is needed, a new vanity might be the right decision.

5. Replace a fiberglass shower insert with stone or tile: This is certainly not an easy or inexpensive project, however, the cleanliness of new tile and the updated look will be welcomed by many buyers

Interior designer Linda Merrill writes about Boston-area tile replacement ideas for Networx.

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