YOU Magazine - April 2007 - Remodeling Your Bathroom A Luxury Worth Affording Subscribe to YOU Magazine and other timely market alerts from Laurie Gardner.

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Laurie Gardner     Laurie Gardner
Senior Mortgage Loan Originator
Alaska USA Mortgage Company NMLS Unique ID #204060
Phone: (907)796-1202 / fax 907-929-6711
Fax: WA Consumer Loan Co. License #CL-157293
License: Mortgage License #AK157293
Alaska USA Mortgage Company NMLS Unique ID #204060
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Remodeling Your Bathroom
A Luxury Worth Affording

Remodeling Your Bathroom - A Luxury Worth Affording

Luxury is an unusual word. On one hand, its meaning is quite positive. Conjuring up thoughts of comfort and ease, it's a designation that signifies the highest in quality. But it's also a word that stirs up feelings of guilt, mostly due to the notion that ultimately, "luxury" is about frivolous spending.

The problem here is two-fold. For starters, when something is considered to be a luxury, it is simultaneously tagged as being "non-essential", perhaps even excessive. Secondly, many of us tend to devalue our personal comfort, dismissing it as a side effect of over-indulgence.

If this sounds familiar, then we have great news for you. Believe it or not there is a way to fuse luxury with necessity, creating a divine experience as well as a logical option. If you are a homeowner who's looking for a little more luxury but just can't justify spending the money, we've got two words for you � bathroom remodel.

The Beauty of a Bathroom
You can live without a theater room or a home office, but any house worth buying must have at least one bathroom. This may seem obvious, but take a minute to think about it. Aside from the kitchen, there is no other room that's more utilitarian. The bathroom actually has multiple uses, possibly making it the most necessary room in the house.

The bathroom enables you to start your morning with a hot shower. At the same time, it allows you to refresh yourself at the end of a long day with a warm bath. We wash our hands, comb our hair, shave, brush our teeth, bathe our children, put on make-up, jump on the scale, and fine-tune our appearance in the bathroom.

But above all, the bathroom is a place where everyone can relax. Simply put, there is no other room within your home that allows for more personal privacy. It promotes true peace and quiet via the ability to lock a door and have no questions asked.

The indulgent reasons for creating a luxurious bathroom are fairly apparent. After all, who wouldn't enjoy watching a flat screen TV while relaxing in their Jacuzzi tub? But here's where the idea becomes practical. In terms of increasing your home's resale value, there aren't many projects that rank higher than a bathroom remodel.

Dollars and Sense
According to remodeling expert, Dan Fritschen, author of Remodel or Move? Make the Right Decision, there have been significant drops recently in the cost of both labor and construction materials. In other words, remodeling and upgrading your home has become quite affordable.

Many homeowners are utilizing these price drops to their benefit and are moving forward with their desired projects. The next step is to choose how to conduct the remodel from the three options available. The first option is to hire a contractor who does all of the work involved. Provided a qualified individual has been retained to perform the work, this is the easiest method for the homeowner. It is, however, going to be a more expensive route.

Method number two involves homeowners doing the remodel themselves. This is potentially the most cost-effective method, but it requires personal skill, not to mention elbow grease. It also carries some risk in that there's no financial safety net if the job gets botched.

The third method is to share the work with a contractor. This involves figuring out what jobs you can do and which materials you can purchase, leaving the remainder to a skilled professional. This method does save money, but it requires good communication and a working relationship between you and the contractor.

In terms of remodeling a home's bathroom, the returns can be staggering. Some studies indicate a national average return of 90% (upon sale of the home) for mid-range bathroom remodels. In cases where a bathroom has been added to the home, the number is closer to 86%.

While the amount of your return depends upon your local economy, as well as the state of the housing market when you sell, it's very unlikely you would take a loss on a bathroom remodel. Some studies show an average return of 65% in stagnant markets and as high as 109% in boom markets!

Think about what this means. Depending on how long you decide to stay in your home, you have the ability not only to upgrade your way of life, but also to break even financially. In some cases you can actually turn a profit, but timing is everything. The goal is to remain in the home long enough to enjoy the upgrade but not so long as to warrant another remodel.

The Options are Endless
When it comes to the particular upgrades for your bathroom, the options for luxury and function are many. There are two main factors to consider: what specific upgrades will enhance your life, and how much money can you afford to spend? The following are just a few ideas of awesome upgrades that also function as sound investments:

Make It Bigger
A major trend is to expand the size of the master bathroom. Adding space to this room is a wonderful luxury as well as a potentially huge selling point. An augmented master bath allows you, as well as any potential buyers, the ability to make other additions.

Build for Two
One of the major issues for homeowners with only one bathroom, or couples sharing a master bath, is the inability for two people to use one bathroom simultaneously. If size permits, this problem can be alleviated with upgrades, like a double sink, a separate shower and tub, and a short wall to enclose the toilet area.

A Designer Touch
From tubs and toilets to fixtures and flooring, there is literally no end to the combinations of great looks. These types of improvements are relatively inexpensive in comparison to the dramatic upgrade they give to the look and feel of your bathroom.

A minimalist retro look, characterized by a pedestal sink and a freestanding tub, has been popular for some time. Nowadays, however, it's not uncommon for homeowners to turn their bathroom into a Zen spa or even give it the look of a 5-star hotel bathroom, complete with a sunken or raised tub.

Old counter tops can be replaced with granite or marble, and vinyl flooring can be upgraded to tile. Walls can not only be repainted, but they can be painted with murals. It's important to remember that just like other rooms in your home, the bathroom can be decorated to reflect the look you're trying to achieve.

The Spa Experience
If luxury is what you're looking for, you may want to think about an oversized tub, either sunken or raised, with Jacuzzi capability. State-of-the-art showerheads can also be installed, giving you options like receiving a water massage or bathing under a rainfall. Tile floors, towel racks, and toilet seats with built-in heating elements can bring added warmth during the colder months. And don't forget the fog-free mirrors. This addition allows you to get the bathroom as steamy as you want without having to wipe down the mirrors.

When it comes to updating the look and functionality of your bathroom, the sky is the limit. You could invest very little time and money by merely repainting the walls, changing out your fixtures, and doing a little decorating. You could also pull out all the stops and completely remodel an existing bathroom or even add one on. The bottom line is that a great bathroom is something you will enjoy for as long as you own your home. It may also add to the home's overall value, as well as cache.

If you're looking for a contractor to update your bathroom, we suggest obtaining referrals. Professionals like loan originators and real estate agents are a great place to start. In addition, it's always wise to screen potential contractors through the Better Business Bureau by conducting a search at

You can also utilize the expertise of remodeling guru, Dan Fritschen. Aside from being a published author, Dan has a website dedicated to the subject of remodeling. By logging on to Remodel or Move, you can use Dan's calculator to figure out whether you'd be better off remodeling your existing home or purchasing a new one. His website is a great resource for obtaining a free estimate on your project of choice, along with lots of helpful advice.

Good luck and remember - luxury doesn't have to be frivolous.

License AK# 157293 Washington Consumer Loan Company license# CL-157293 California Residential Mortgage Lending Act, License# 4131067

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