6 Bathroom Remodel Tips Every House Flipper Should Know

by | BiggerPockets.com

You probably know that the bathroom is one of the most important rooms when renovating a house flip.

This is why you need to equip yourself with a wealth of knowledge, tips and ideas on how to go about remodeling the bathroom before you begin the house flipping process.

The kitchen is considered to be the most important part of the house — but the bathroom is a close second.

Unlike with a kitchen, most properties have more than one bathroom, so if you renovate the bathroom without a plan or you just decide to wing it, your bathroom remodel could easily turn into a nightmare.

Related: Cost of Remodeling a Bathroom

It might even cost you hundreds if not even thousands of dollars to get it back to the way it was before.

However, if you follow a few simple tips, you might save a great deal of money as well as create an ideal bathroom that will win your buyers over.

6 Steps to a Model Bathroom

1. Come Up with A Plan

Before you even start remodeling the bathroom, you need to determine what needs to be improved and what needs to be fixed. Once this has been established, come up with a plan that is going to help you accomplish your goals.

I usually recommend house flippers to go through this step before they buy the property. Since the bathroom has many fixed appliances like a toilet, sinks, bath tubs, showers, etc., it can easily turn out to be one of the most expensive rooms to renovate. Maybe not as expensive as the kitchen, but still costly.

Evaluating what needs to be done to the bathroom before you purchase the property can give you a rough estimate of how much money you will need to invest. This way, if the total cost exceeds your budget, then you might consider not purchasing the property.

If you have already bought the house, you might want to try a hands-on approach before dishing out cash to purchase new material, which may save you a few bucks just through some simple clean up.

For instance, you can try scrubbing out the grime yourself to see if it actually makes a difference. You might be surprised that you do not need to purchase a new fixture or install a new floor after all; all it needed was a good scrubbing. For this task you may just want to outsource it to a handyman.

Related: 7 Signs You’re Entering Into a House Flipping Disaster

A subcontractor can help you get an estimate of how much you will actually need to renovate the bathroom.

2. Demolition

Make sure that you get all the demolition sorted out before you begin installing fixtures or making changes to the bathroom. Demolition here includes stripping the floor, removing appliances like the tub or the toilet and removal of the wall.

If you do not finish the demolition process first and you start making changes, you might demolish new fixtures or end up removing them again to reinstall them.

3. Improve the Toilet

Everybody wants to have a clean, sparkling toilet, so make sure you strive to achieve this. If a potential buyer sees even the tiniest amount of rust or brown grime, they might be repulsed and even decide they do not want the property after all.

To give a toilet a brand new look, replace the toilet seat. It’s stupidly simple, but replacing the seat can actually make a toilet appear brand new.

Think of it as the equivalent of re-facing kitchen cabinets. An entirely new toilet can be very expensive but a toilet seat is not as expensive. Toilet seats can help you get the same effect of a new toilet at the fraction of a price.

4. Replace the Fixtures

Small items such as door hinges, doorknobs, light fixtures, towel racks, shower heads, faucet handles and faucets are inexpensive to buy and install.

In every one of our house flips, we have a standard under-$100 package to replace the essential fixtures in the bathroom. It usually costs us less than $50 in small bathrooms.

Yet when fixtures are replaced, they can make the bathroom really shine. Replacing these small fixtures is a clever technique of making the bathroom look brand new, not to mention that it is inexpensive and does not consume a lot of time to install.

If you can get the fixtures to match, all the better. Don’t mismatch colors and finishes. It just looks plain ugly — and you buyers will subtly notice the inconsistency.

Matching fixtures will bring the whole room together as compared to a random assortment of mismatched fixtures. We usually go with brushed nickel or stainless steel hardware for fixtures.

5. Light the Room

Flickering or dim lights can make a room feel eerie and unpleasant. Just like the kitchen, bright lights make the bathroom look more pleasant.

Sometimes simply replacing the bulbs with a higher wattage does the trick — especially if you are on a limited budget. When you do, you’ll be amazed at how it brightens up the space.

6. Clean it Up

Last, but not least, have a cleaning crew or if you’re doing it yourself, clean the bathroom. Like we recommend above with the toilets, make sure the showers, sinks, floors and faucets all glisten. This is especially important if you do #5 above.

Nobody likes a grimy bathroom. But a clean, well-lit, attractive bathroom could be the difference between an offer and no offer from many a buyer.

How do you ensure your bathrooms tempt potential buyers instead of repulse them?

Please leave a comment below!

About Author

Mike LaCava

Michael LaCava is a full time real estate investor, house flipping coach and the President of Hold Em Realty located in Wareham, MA. He runs the website House Flipping School to teach new real estate investors how to flip houses and is the author of "How to Flip a House in 5 Simple Steps".


    • Yes of course Eric. A solid and properly installed sub-floor for all types of material especially ceramic tile. The finished floor is only as good as the sub-floor and underlayment it is installed over.

      TY for bringing that up!

  1. HD sells the glacier bay for 98$. I found getting the box home far more difficult than the actual installation. What a difference this made! It took me 1 hr my first time and all I knew I learned on u tube!
    Glad I avoided the two flush style as parts are not as easy to find and the #1 flush is a bit weak!

  2. I have told others if they are worried about the budget to just focus on working on sections of the bathroom when remodeling. There is no point in putting a strain on yourself and on your wallet when you really can’t afford a whole customization of the bathroom. By working on sections, you can complete at a much better pace and make it so you are adding value to the home for your future buyers to be impressed with. Perhaps small things do need to be changed, as your example of changing the toilet seat is really all you needed for the toilet, and is very understandable.

    Great tips provided in the article! Definitely beneficial for the budget oriented.

  3. Your comments about light, were interesting. I hadn\’t thought about adding a dimmer switch to the bathroom. But, I a soft light with calm music, sounds like the perfect way to take a bath. I will have to keep these tips in mind the next time I do a bathroom remodeling job. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Deanna Jones

    Thanks for the tips! I’ve been trying to find new ways to improve my bathroom, so this list gives me a good idea of what I can work on. Now that you mention it, the lighting in my bathroom is quite dim. That makes it really difficult to look at myself in the mirror at night, so I should replace my bulbs with lightbulbs in a higher wattage, and I should look into lighting fixtures that will match with the rest of my bathroom better.

  5. These are great tips! I had to learn all of them the hard way, but if I can give any advice, just plan ahead as much as possible and you can save yourself a lot of headache! I have remodeled a few houses before and it has always gone fairly smoothly. I am getting better at it though! Eventually I would like to just hire someone that knows what they are doing and I can get it done right! How much does it generally cost you to remodel a tiny bathroom?

  6. I absolutely agree that a bathroom remodel should not happen without plenty of planning, as the article suggests. There is a lot that goes into a bathroom remodel, and without proper planning things can quickly get overwhelming. Good planning will ultimately cut down on the duration as well as the cost of the job.

  7. I don\’t plan on buying and selling houses for a profit anytime soon, but these bathroom remodeling tips are great for anyone who wants to add value to their home. Replacing toilets that show any sign of wear is a good idea. I can see why potential buyers would look for this in a new home. Thanks for the great advice.

  8. Very interesting post! Thanks for sharing. All these suggestions are awesome but I personally like lighting the room. I think the lighting really opens up a space and can completely change the way you see a room. I will remember these tips during my next remodel.

  9. These are great pieces of advice, and I especially appreciate your tip to come up with a plan before starting any renovations. From the view of someone who is remodeling in your own home, as opposed to flipping a house, I also like to prioritize the improvements I want to undergo. I list things as necessities or just things I want, and plan accordingly within my budget. Thanks for the great information!

  10. Thanks for sharing this advice. This is a project that my wife and I are wanting to start on soon. Our bathroom is very dated. I like your emphasis on the lighting. It’s such a simple thing that can change the feel of the entire room completely. We will definitely have to plan that out well.

  11. Thank so much for the post and everyone for your comments as they are enjoyable to read. My wife and I are trying to remodel our bathroom but are having some problems deciding on what exactly we want to do. These articles really help us with knowing what to do (especially number one).

  12. These are some great tips, and I appreciate your advice to make sure the entire demolition process is finished before you begin the remodeling process. Several years ago, my wife and I renovated our master bathroom, but we hadn’t finished tearing out the floor when we started putting in new fixtures. We didn’t think it would conflict, but we ended up having to remove some of the new stuff we had put in. It’s definitely more efficient to complete demolition first! Thanks for the great post!

  13. Great suggestions listed here. These are vital to a successful bathroom remodel.

    I especially like the pointer: Evaluating what needs to be done to the bathroom before you purchase the property can give you a rough estimate of how much money you will need to invest.

    This information alone can save you substantial amounts of time and money.

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  14. Hey Mike. Thanks for sharing the comment about making sure to clean up the renovation messes. A friend of mine was recently house shopping, and there were some stains on the sink. It really makes a huge difference when the rest of the house is spotless and the bathroom looks used already. I\’ll have to shoot him a copy of this article. Thanks!

  15. Thank you or the information on bathroom remodeling! We have been thinking about doing this for quite some time and are excited to start. I think that the most exciting part will include number four. We have a lot of old looking fixtures and I cant wait to make it look more modern. Thanks for the information here.

  16. Thanks for the tip about using brighter lights to make the bathroom look better. A friend of mine is currently looking to remodel her bathroom because she feels like it looks too gloomy. I\’ll have to share these ideas with her. Thanks again!

  17. I\’ve been looking for tips for inexpensive bathroom remodeling ideas, and it appears as though I came to the right article. Your tip to replace the fixtures in my bathroom seems like a great way to get the look that I want without spending a lot of money. My doorknobs and light fixtures could always look better, so replacing them with something newer and better will give my bathroom the makeover it needs. Thanks for the tips!

  18. I think that your first tip is the most important. I\’ve had plenty of experience with doing projects in my life, and the one thing that makes a difference is planning. If you have a plan, you know where you need to go. That applies to remodeling just as much as it applies to anything else.

  19. Thank you for the advice on remodeling a bathroom! I want to sell my house and I think that this could be a great way to make my house more appealing. I\’ll be sure to think about the demolition before making changes. It sounds like not doing this could really lead to some problems! Would you recommend that I get a professional renovator to help me with this?

  20. Mike, I like the tip about lighting, because the house I’m working on doesn’t have a window for natural light. It seems like proper lighting could make a real difference. Hopefully, we won’t need to install any new fixtures in order to get the space bright enough.

  21. Next month, I am planning on flipping my house and remodeling the bathroom. One of the things that I really want to do is to replace all of the fixtures, cabinets and, even, the toilet. If I’m, doing this on my own, though, and without any type of package, where would you suggest that I go to for budget-friendly supplies to begin working on this very extensive project?

  22. I’ve been trying to figure out what I should do to remodel my bathroom. I didn’t even think about improving the toilet! It makes sense that I would want to strive to get a brand new, clean one. Thanks for sharing!

  23. Thanks for the helpful post on tips for bathroom remodeling. I am planning a large home remodel soon, and it will involve remodeling 2 bathrooms. I also am planning on flipping this house as an investment. I like your tip on lighting the room. I will be sure to get the lighting right in my bathroom. Thanks for the help!

  24. Fantastic suggestions. I couldn’t agree more with a sparkling clean toilet. ANY grime/stain/etc is definitely repulsive to a potential buyer. I think having a plan is the utmost importance. Trying to sort out a remodel haphazardly never works out for the cheaper. Thanks for sharing!

  25. I really like your tip to light the room. That can make all the difference. It is especially important in rooms that tend to be small, like bathrooms. Do you think it is a good idea to add natural lighting if possible? Thanks for these great tips!

  26. I really like your advice to make sure you are replacing the fixtures. It is interesting that many people don’t understand the kind of benefit that can have on their home. They just don’t seem to realize the fact that replacing the fixtures can really really be a positive thing. When it comes to things like your door, you really want it to work well. Do you have any other tips when it comes to bathroom remodels?

  27. Taking the time to try scrubbing out grime before opting for a full replacement of flooring or appliances definitely makes sense to me. Even if you still have to replace portions, anything you can salvage would translate into time and money you end up saving. I imagine that if the project is much larger than one or two fixes that are necessary, outsourcing the remodel of at least this particular room could be the most cost-effective way to ensure that you maximize your resale value.

  28. I agree that before you start on your remodeling of your bathroom you need to figure out what first needs to be fixed. You also mentioned that the bathroom can be the most expensive room to renovate. I think it\’s important to look at tons of pictures of bathrooms so that you can be completely sure that the outcome out the renovation is what you want.

  29. I recently talked my husband into remodeling our bathroom, but I would like to keep everything as affordable as possible. I really liked your suggestion of updating the plumbing fixtures, as it is typically inexpensive and can really change the feel of your bathroom. I’m sure that I will love it for the change, and my husband will love it for the price.

  30. I really like your first time about coming up with a plan before you even start the remodeling project. My husband and I have flipped a few houses over the years and that definitely helps. We are going to be redoing our bathroom in the next few weeks so we will have to keep these tips in mind, thank you for sharing!

  31. Coming up with a plan that is going to help you accomplish your goals is excellent advice. If you know what kind of renovation you want you will probably be able to find the right renovator who will be able to accomplish the task. Planning ahead would also help make sure you get the bathroom renovation that you want.

  32. The point that resonated the most with me was the part where it talked about how step by step planning is the most important thing. My wife and I are in the process of remodeling our bathroom, and I think that we jumped the gun a little bit because we are kind of lost. After reading this article, I am inspired to take a step back and plan more.

  33. I’m considering flipping houses. It makes sense that bathroom remodels would be a big update! They’ve added a lot to the standard bathroom, so lots of old houses could use an upgrade. I’ll be sure to replace the fixtures of any house I get!

  34. My wife and I aren’t house flippers, but we have been looking at having a bathroom remodel done in our own home. I thought it was interesting how the article mentions replacing the toilet, sink, and fixtures are essential for making the space have a new look. I think using the right quality supplies for your bathroom’s plumbing needs would also play a part in the overall look of the space.

  35. I am glad to know that before you start remodeling your bathroom, you need to determine what needs to be improved and fixed. Having a plan would be a great first step of a remodeling process. Hiring an experienced contractor would be a good idea. Interviewing several contractors would be wise to get accurate bids.

  36. This is a very good article. When renovating there is always an unexpected thing will happen, that’s why you always need a reserved budget for it. I have experienced this before and I know this is one of the stressful parts of renovating. Thank you for sharing this valuable article. Keep it up!

  37. Hey Mike, great post and spot on advice as well.

    Even though renovating, fliping houses and everything that has to do with building and construction in general are constantly changing, improving, and we need to stay up to date with everything.

    Your tips Mike are still available, we still need to come up with a plan, we still need to organise everything in order to avoid disasters, losing time by taking bad decisions, stress and all that.

    It’s amazing how sometimes just a little bit of “make up” gives a new face to the house and add value. As you mention, just change the fixtures in the bathroom or paint the existent if it’s in good condition, change handles, put some spotlights or whatever it’s nice and modern … and you are good to go 🙂

    Great article Mike and good and simple tips!


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