Lose a Bedroom to Add a Bathroom?

Lesslie Giacobbi answers homeowner’s question.

Q: Currently I have a smaller master bedroom and 2 smaller bedrooms with 1 bathroom. I’m considering knocking out the wall between the 2 smaller rooms and adding a 3/4 bath (shower, not tub) and creating a master bedroom suite with its own bathroom and larger closet. This would be a relatively expensive project obviously, so with my $135,000 home, is it worth the investment? Or should I sell it as is?
~ Nathan

A: Nathan, this is a really interesting question and there are some variables in the answer. Ordinarily I would say that by taking away a bedroom, you will limit your buyer pool. The three-bedroom plan, even with sharing one bathroom, lends itself to some flexibility with the type of buyer who is buying. With a three bedroom, you can have a couple with two or even three children, or an owner who wants a guest bedroom and an office. With just two bedrooms and two bathrooms, your buyer pool is more limited—even though almost everyone would prefer not sharing a bath.

I would carefully look at what has sold in your neighborhood in the last 4-5 months — how many total homes and how many 2 bedroom homes and 3 bedroom homes. Are the numbers equal? Is a two bedroom a rarity? What is the difference in price for similar square footage? This research will help you determine whether or not you should do this.

One last item: is it not possible to simply add a bath to the master and possibly a closet with a “pop-out” that might be comparable in price to what you were going to do on the inside? What would the difference in price be? Perhaps by spending a few thousand dollars more, you’ll be able to add the bath without eliminating the bedroom.

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