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Realtor Q and A: Add on a bathroom, add value

Q.: I have a three-bedroom, single-bath, split-entry home (about 1,200 square feet) with an unfinished basement. I am thinking of creating another half-bath.  Would the resale value be diminished if I renovated so the house would become a two-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath or two-bath house?  Or, would it be more profitable to keep the three bedrooms upstairs and create a half bath in the basement? 

A.: Property value is determined by many factors. Location is always the top factor. Commuters search for homes near major routes, parents may prefer certain school districts and horse owners may need a lot big enough for a barn and paddock. Sometimes buyers aren't sure what they want, but after they begin their search they soon learn what they don't want.

In your case, square footage is key. Adding a bathroom does not change the total square footage but it does add value because a second bath is more important to buyers than it was years ago.

Many older homes have only one bathroom and large families were raised in them. We wonder how they all survived the waiting game but it did work, back then.

Today, we are in a quick-paced lifestyle and we need to have the space and amenities in our homes to get ready for work, school, sports, etc. as quickly as possible. An extra bath facilitates that need.

If you are planning one home improvement project for the near future, add a bath, and try to find a way to afford making it a three-quarter bath to include a shower.

The half-bath is also a good addition but having that extra shower really helps the buyer lean toward that property compared with others that don't offer it.

If your project scope has a higher budget, add a family room with a bath in the basement. That is sometimes the determining factor between one property and another.

Adding a bath is a good investment because you will enjoy it while you own the home and resale will be quicker.

This information has been provided by the Greater Manchester/Nashua Board of Realtors in conjunction with the New Hampshire Union Leader's Advertising Department. Any questions about the content should be directed to the realty board at 166 S. River Road, Bedford, N.H. 03110 or by e-mail to

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