Thinking about selling your home? You’re not alone. This year, millions of Americans will sell their homes. To maximize their home value, many of them are planning on remodeling parts of their home before listing. If you’ve been considering tackling a remodeling project or two before you sell, you should really consider focusing on plumbing remodel and upgrades in your kitchen and bathroom. Your pipes, dishwasher, and water heater are essential to your home life. That’s why making long-lasting fixes and changes is a practical, high-ROI use of your remodeling dollar.
Are plumbing remodels worth it?
Every home, market, and situation are different, but the general answer is yes. Most real estate research shows that the three remodeling projects with the highest ROI are:
- Necessary Projects: This includes everything that might immediately turn off a prospective buyer. Projects include everything from fixing a leaking roof to fixing leaking pipes. If it’s a flaw that prevents you from selling your home, it needs to be addressed first.
- Kitchen Upgrades: According to data from bankrate.com, a kitchen remodel that addresses appliances and plumbing will, on average, lead to a $17,000 bump in resale value.
- Bathroom Remodels: Home resale experts generally agree that investing your remodeling dollar into your bathroom will lead to a better return when you go to sell your home.
Your home’s plumbing is potentially woven into all three of those high-ROI projects. Even if there’s nothing inherently wrong with your plumbing, making smart, strategic upgrades can really pay off.
Projects that pay off
So, you’ve decided you want to sell your home in the near future, and you want to maximize your value. Great! Here are a few plumbing upgrades that can really make a difference:
Faucets and fixtures
Arguably the least expensive thing you can upgrade in your home. Nevertheless, you’d be surprised just how much cleaner a bathroom or kitchen can look with new taps and faucets. For an added punch, pair this with a new bathroom vanity setup or a new kitchen sink.
Demand-type water heater
Also, commonly known as “tankless water heaters”. Demand-type water heaters are an incredible upgrade to the ubiquitous standard water heater that has been a staple in American homes for decades. Instead of storing hot water in a tank for later, tankless systems heat water as it’s a must at the tap. As a result, they’re more energy-efficient than their counterparts. But they’re also able to supply your home with a limitless supply of hot water. This is a huge selling point for a prospective homebuyer with a large family. No one likes running out of water on a Monday morning just because they were the last one to take a shower.
Tankless water heaters do have a higher installation cost than standard water heaters. But this cost is often worth the selling point and novelty it adds to your home when you list it. You may also be able to take advantage of local energy rebates in your area. Be sure to talk to your contractor about this if you’re thinking about switching to a demand-type system.
Most morning routines revolve around the shower, as many Americans have ditched the time-consuming and water-wasting bathtub. If you have to choose between remodeling the bathtub or the shower, decide on the latter. You’re more likely to impress more prospective buyers with a clean, modern shower that is roomy and comfortable.
Upgrading an older home
Those who own older homes have an added incentive to upgrade their home’s plumbing. As their plumbing ages, not only are their homes more likely to face those “necessary projects” mentioned earlier, but the widening gap between “old” and “new” means changing outdated faucets, fixtures, and appliances. This becomes more of a necessity than just a good ROI boost.
Modernizing your home
Older homes are great. They often have character and a lived-in quality that newer homes just can’t match. However, there’s a fine line between your home being “retro cool” and it looking outdated. The kitchen and bathroom are two places where design styles and general tastes have greatly changed over the past three decades. If your kitchen features formica counters, wood paneling, and a brightly colored kitchen sink, it might be time for a design refresher. Similarly, a bathroom with gaudy wallpaper, strange tub fixtures, or carpeting needs a makeover.
Let’s focus on the plumbing. You can make a statement in your kitchen by replacing an older, stained sink with a fresh, white ceramic farmhouse-style sink featuring a front apron. Or, for a more practical addition, upgrade your old dishwasher to a newer model that will both clean dishes more effectively and use less water.
Most home builders in the 50s, 60s, and 70s did not take water conservation into account when building new homes. Many older toilets from this period use 3-5 gallons-per-flush, and showerheads were designed to deliver more water, faster. If you have an older home with original plumbing features, consider switching them out for eco-friendly, water-saving ones. You’ll not only save money on your monthly water bills, but you’ll also be helping to save potable water in your community.
Upgraded toilets, showerheads, and other water-saving features can also attract buyers looking for a “move-in ready” property. Depending on where you live, for instance, low-flow toilets can be a necessity for certain homes. By taking care of that switch out ahead of listing, you’re giving the future homeowner one less thing to think about. That’s an attractive quality that can lead to a higher offer.
For some homes, this falls into the “necessary” category, but it can also be a major value boost for an older home.
If your home is more than 50 years old, you should consult with a plumber about the general state of your pipes. Most homes built in the 50s and 60s still used steel for cold and hot water pipes. That combination of water and metal can only last for so long before you start to have issues with corrosion. One sure sign that you need to re-pipe your home is when you experience multiple water leaks. This indicates an issue with the structural integrity of all your pipes.
Plus, if you live in an area with hard water, there’s another problem: scaling. As minerals in water pass through pipes, they can build up on the interior. Eventually, this gets to the point where they begin to form a clog and either partially or totally prevent water from traveling to your shower, sink, or toilet.
Re-piping can be an expensive project, and it definitely requires the assistance of professionals who know how to safely replace pipes. However, once finished, your new copper, PVC, or PEX pipes should last the lifetime of the home. That’s a huge selling point to a buyer who is looking for all the charm of your home and the neighborhood without the impending headache of rusting, leaking pipes to worry about.
There’s no better time than the present
Whether you’re planning on listing your home or staying in it, plumbing upgrades can give your home’s value a boost, increase its overall curb appeal and liveability. Use the tools on this site to start pricing out your remodel and to get quotes from local contractors who can turn your vision into a reality.