New Windows or New Bathrooms?

bbtondoNovember 20, 2013

I'm a long time lurker and have learned so much from reading this forum and now have a question I hope you all can help me with.

My husband and I are planning on retiring in 3-5 years. At that time we will be selling our home and moving to our vacation home. Our current home has some new windows and some original to our 30 year old home. They are in working order.

We have two bathrooms that are original to our 30 year home. They are in good shape, but certainly could use an updating.

If you had to choose one to do, new windows or updating two bathrooms (not high end). Or, neither, and lower asking price.

We have already put in a new kitchen which I would hope is a good selling feature when we sell.

Thanks for your replies!


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Bath rooms. While people may appreciate new windows, they won't want to pay substantially more for the house (same for roof, HVAC systems, etc.). On the other hand, at least in my area, buyers want an up-to-date, move-in ready house and are willing to pay a premium for it. Now, I have to admit that I'd rather get a good deal and renovate a bathroom to my liking, but I think I'm in the minority in my area.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2013 at 8:51AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Renos as "added value" for resale are always money losers unless it's a completely DIY job where you shop smart. Bathrooms will lose you less money than windows though, and will make it easier to sell the house. If you can't DIY the jobs, with smart budget choices, then leave well enough alone and just reduce the price by 30K or so. That's the average cost of renovating two bathrooms.

If you want to DIY, we can walk you through the steps. Or, maybe just do a "refresh" on one, and the complete update on the other. It all depends on what you're working with currently.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2013 at 8:59AM
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Below are some data. Of course, you also need to consider how much faster your house will sell.

Here is a link that might be useful: recouping cost of home improvements

    Bookmark   November 20, 2013 at 9:06AM
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Thank you so much for the suggestions. Looks like bathrooms is a better choice! Hollysprings: I was also thinking of a refresh on one and an update on another.

We are DYI people for sure, so that is also another option. We wouldn't expect to get more for our home after remodeling the bathrooms, but would expect our house easier to sell. In the meantime, we would be enjoying the new bathrooms.


    Bookmark   November 20, 2013 at 9:34AM
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bbtondo why would you replace the windows? Are they rotted? If so, then yeah either replace your rotted windows or find someone that does window restoration.

If they are not rotted, the bathroom update will probably help sell the house more than new windows would.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2013 at 5:50PM
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Vote for bathrooms!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2013 at 10:44PM
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    Bookmark   November 21, 2013 at 10:47AM
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As a buyer I know my new house needs new windows and I am willing to accept that. I liked that the main bathroom was updated, and the house has two half baths. So I vote bathrooms.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2013 at 12:52PM
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neither, lower the price. When we shopped I specifically said- why would I want a newly renovated house with a higher price that was renovated not in my style vs a lower price home that i can renovate myself to my liking? No brainer, lower the price and they can put that money into fixing it up their way.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 2:52PM
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Many people want move-in ready and not bother with renovations.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2014 at 4:04PM
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I have to agree, people want move-in ready. If your windows are aluminum, rotting or in terrible shape replace the ones that are bad. Remodel bathrooms smartly, go to some model homes and see what they have done then try to get a similar look for less. Vanities can be gel stained or painted, granite or quartz can be installed inexpensively if you shop around for remnants. Faucets can be purchased on ebay or clearance. Keep an eye on the homes for sale in your area, what has been done and how quickly they sell.

As Nosoccer said, most people want move in ready, the Gardenwebbers are the exception to most buyers, we hang out on decorating sites and can envision the "after", most people can hardly get past a bad paint color that is easily changed in an afternoon.

Pictures would help.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 3:31PM
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Having windows replaced is (in my opinion) less disruptive to every day life and is done faster so I also vote for redoing the bathrooms.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 8:00PM
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Bathrooms. House buying is an emotional decision and people are more likely to notice old bathrooms than old windows, for the most part, I think.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 9:19PM
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I went to an open house not too long ago and had a long chat with the realtor. Windows were old, cedar shaker roof was old, furnace was old, water heater etc., but the bathrooms and kitchen were newly redone. Great staging, just like out of a magazine. He told me that buyers in this area and price range want move-in ready and up-to-date but don't care about things that are necessary but boring and not really "wow", like the roof, etc. People just don't get excited about windows as they do about marble counters and a rain shower.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 10:05PM
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Its really not possible to answer this question without seeing the bathroom and the windows in question and knowing what your local market is. What exactly does a 30 yr old bathroom in need of updating mean? Something paint and new accessories or cabinetry would fix, or something more?

Unless there really is some obvious problem that needs to be addressed, I vote for "neither." Sure people are attracted by a shiny new kitchen or bath... up until the point the inspector points out rotting windows and the price tag to replace - then priorities will shift.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 9:29AM
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