It’s a seller’s market in many parts of the country right now. But if you’re serious about selling your house fast, you need to make sure your bathrooms are updated to impress.
“Kitchens and bathrooms sell homes,” says Kris Lindahl, CEO and founder of Kris Lindahl Real Estate. “If a buyer sees a bathroom that still needs projects or upgrades, the home is going to be much less appealing to them.”
1. Go for double sinks
This is one of those cases where two is better than one. A double vanity upgrade is a worthwhile splurge, according to the pros.
“Upgrading to double sinks is always appreciated by buyers,” Lindahl says.
Worried about space? You might be surprised by how much you can fit into a modestly sized bathroom.
“You don’t need a big bathroom to pull it off,” says Susan Kelleher, an associate broker at R New York. “Even two small sinks are so much better than one in a home with limited bathrooms, and one waterline can be diverted to a second sink.”
2. Install new bathroom hardware and accessories
This upgrade requires zero DIY skills, and it’s guaranteed to instantly elevate the look of a bathroom. All you need is a few hours and a screwdriver.
“Swapping out hardware like light fixtures, towel bars, cabinet pulls and sink fixtures can make an impact relatively affordably,” Lindahl says.
If you’re updating your hardware, this is also a good time to make sure everything matches.
“Your faucet, doorknobs, and shower frame should all complement one another,” says Tricia Turner, owner of Tricia Turner Properties Group in Houston. “Try not to have mixed metals clashing with one another.”
And what about the mirror, mirror on the wall? Swap it for a framed mirror or frame the existing one to add some style.
“Framing the mirror over the sink can add so much value to the space without costing a ton of money,” Turner says.
3. Replace or paint your vanity
The vanity is a centerpiece in any bathroom, so don’t overlook this feature when preparing your house to sell.
“Luxe sophistication and clean lines: That’s the theme for bathrooms in every price point,” Kelleher says. If you can’t afford a sleek new vanity, she suggests painting the cabinets in a high-gloss white or pale gray.
For the vanity countertop, opt for a high-quality stone like quartz or granite. A new medicine cabinet above the vanity can also make a bathroom look more luxurious,
“I love the mirrored medicine cabinets from Restoration Hardware—functional, beautiful, and tres chic,” Kelleher says.
4. Update old floors
If you have scuffed-up vinyl, chipped tile, or—heaven forbid—carpet in your bathroom, you’ll definitely want to invest in new flooring.
“Updating old floors to tile or luxury vinyl tile really adds appeal,” Lindahl says.
Bathroom tile is a simple enough project for some DIYers, or you can hire a contractor.
5. Install new light fixtures
Unfortunately, ’80s-style lights gathering dust above the vanity are more tacky than throwback. Swapping them for simple, sophisticated light fixtures is your best bet.
“Great lighting [and] high-end faucets and hardware appeal to buyers in every price point,” Kelleher says.
Lindahl agrees: “Updating light and plumbing fixtures is a quick way to modernize an old bath.”
The best part? Most light fixtures are simple enough to pick up from the hardware store and swap out on your own—no electrician needed.
6. Add space and storage
Who doesn’t want more space in the bathroom? From room for toiletries to linen closets and king-size showers, buyers expect bathrooms that make the most of the space.
“Buyers are looking for more space in new homes, and the bathroom is no exception,” Turner says. “Think about expanding the shower in the master bathroom to fit a bench or seat. It’s an important feature that can be utilized in a lot of different ways.”
It might even be worth it to borrow space from a neighboring room to expand a bathroom.
“Take the adjacent linen closet to make a larger bathroom,” Kelleher says. “Even a small closet can make a big difference, and you can create cabinet space under each sink for maximum storage.”
7. Make your bathroom bright and light
When in doubt, replace loud, bold patterns with clean neutrals in all your bathrooms. A blank slate is more likely to appeal to a wide array of potential buyers.
“Classic white never goes out of style in a bathroom,” Lindahl says. “Replacing an old, colorful tub with a white one is a good idea.”
Plus, a neutral base will make the rest of your bathroom improvements shine—and will sway buyers in the right direction when it comes time to make an offer.
Lauren Sieben is a writer in Milwaukee. Her work has appeared in the Guardian, Washington Post, Milwaukee Magazine, and other outlets.