Nobody Wants A House With Only One Bathroom

The way we live changes. It’s not the same today as it was 50 or 100 years ago. So it makes sense that architecture would also change. Particularly, how many bathrooms a house has.

50 years ago things were different

Half a century years ago it was normal for a family to live in a house with one bathroom (and maybe a toilet or shower in the basement).

Back then you were lucky if your house had two baths. But today’s family and lifestyle requires at least a second bathroom.

Case in point: there was an architect who lived on our block. He’d done some nice updates to his own home. Then he and his wife, due to an expanding family, put their house on the market. It’s sat and sat and sat

Why? I suspect it’s because it only had one bathroom. I see that homes with a single bath have a hard time selling.

Put in a second bath

My wife and I bought a turn-of-the-century home recently. It has one bath. On the second floor. This means we won’t be able to “age in place.” We also hesitate to have overnight guests. It’s a bit uncomfortable to have visitors or party guests use the same facility we use every day.  It feels, to quote my wife, like we have no privacy. Needless to say, we’ll be remodeling soon.

The three updates we’ll make are:

  • A new kitchen
  • A main floor bath
  • A mudroom with a washer and dryer (and dog shower, but that’s another story).  

Does it make sense to update before I sell my home?

This is a question I get again and again when I meet with people who are thinking of doing a major remodel.

There are several things to consider. The first is your priorities: If there are two people living in your home and you have one bathroom it may be OK to leave it for now. If there are four people in your home with one bathroom, it’s likely you’ll need to put in another ASAP.

If you and your partner like to cook and you have a terrible galley kitchen that doesn’t work then it’s time to do a kitchen remodel.

You’ll have to consider your budget to decide which products make sense. Remember, IKEA kitchens and baths can be great, budget-friendly options when done right.

Of course ROI is always a consideration. If you’re planning on living in your home for another 10 years, then by all means make the updates you need to live more easily and enjoy your home. The ROI is immediate: your everyday increased comfort level. Plus, it’s very likely you’ll get a noticeable return on your investment when you sell.

If you’re planning to sell right away, then my suggestion would be an updated kitchen and a main floor bath. People want move-in ready homes. You’ll recoup your investment when you sell.

This has been my experience in my own home remodel projects over the past 30 years.

If you think the cost will be less in one, two or five years from now consider this: How much did a bathroom remodel cost in 1970? How much did the same remodel cost in 1980? How much did it cost in 1990? It always costs more, not less. So waiting doesn’t really make sense. And house prices always go up in the long run. Recessions do happen but you can’t plan for that.

The “seven essential” cosmetic updates

If you are thinking of selling and just want to make cosmetic updates, consider what real estate agent Noel Krueger says are the “essential seven” things to do:

  1. Update and freshen the landscaping: Put down fresh mulch, add potted plants and bright flowers that can be seen from the curb.
  2. Declutter and remove large furniture. Use small pieces that don’t take up as much space.
  3. Remove personal items: All family photos, jewelry, heirlooms, liquor and medications before showing. Always.
  4. Paint. Use fresh, neutral colors; this is usually the biggest bang for your buck.
  5. Replace or remove worn-out rugs and carpets.
  6. In older homes refinish the hardwood floors.
  7. Consider painting dated cabinets and vanities.

Noel noted that buyers start their journey online. These updates will improve the look and appeal of your home and bring in more potential buyers. For more information about my remodel services, check out my website page.

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