Is it time to upgrade the bathrooms in your Multifamily units?


Now’s a great time to do it, because updated spaces make your units more attractive to prospective residents (or tenants) and raise your property’s value, which enables you to collect top rents for your market. When you can charge higher rents, you’ll raise your Net Operating Income (NOI). 

Another reason to upgrade your bathrooms is to match — or exceed — the aesthetics you’ll find in new, Class-A Multifamily units. If your bathroom design is tired, dingy, or out of date, how can your property compete with the influx of new properties? Like most urban and suburban areas across the U.S., your community is most likely in the midst of a Multifamily new-build boom. According to statistics collected by Rent Café, there’s been a marked increase in the number of people who become renters by choice. One notable trend: more high-income renters, making $150,000 a year or more, are interested in renting versus buying. As a result, average rental prices have climbed by 36% across the board.

The opportunity is now! Clearly, if your units have outdated dingy shower wall tile and grout, an upgrade will let you take full advantage to leverage the trend of higher rents.

Upgrading the bathrooms in your Multifamily units may bring up visions of tedious demolition and time-consuming tile and grout setting, or worse, refinishing over your shower wall tile again (and again, and gain…). You could be waiting years before you realize any ROI for your efforts. However, you can pull off a stunning update at a fraction of the cost if you focus your strategy on maximum impact with minimal material cost and labor. Use the following tips to complete your bathroom refresh at a fraction of the cost:

Emulate Spa Spaces

The first thing you’ll want to think about is how the look of your bathroom appears to your tenants. As people browse your listings, think about what they’ll want to see: a bright, tidy space where they can feel good about getting ready for their day. One approach is emulating spa spaces. To lay the foundation, go for a classic but minimalist look that suits any taste and decor. The look of natural materials and light neutral colors will make the space feel clean and fresh — in other words, move-in ready!

Minimize Costly Demolition and Disruption

Whenever possible, stick to cosmetic upgrades that don’t require demolition, retiling, plumbing reconfigurations, rewiring, and other specialized skills. Doing this will help you achieve significant savings. Consider that old vanity with the battered finish. Refresh the vanity with a few coats of paint and new door and drawer fronts. These simple things can spare you the higher cost of purchasing new vanities, along with the labor and expense of installation and disposal. In the long run, you can reduce your per-bathroom expense by hundreds or even thousands of dollars. 

New Hardware

The gleam of shiny new metal is eye-catching and makes a great impression, in photos and during in-person showings. A new set of on-trend cabinet pulls, along with updated faucets and showerheads, are inexpensive but high-impact upgrades for your shower space.

Think Outside the Box

Updating the shower is one of the costliest and most labor-intensive areas of any bathroom redo, especially if you’re weighing retiling versus refinishing the tile. Fortunately, there’s a much better option that can give your shower the look of marble, tile, and linen, with less labor and expense. AquaWalls are lightweight, design-forward, durable shower wall panels that you can modify in the unit during installation to fit and install directly over your old tile and grout. Whether you like the look of solid marble, or laser-etched grout lines like 3” x 6” subway tile, each bathroom can be transformed in three hours or less!

Staging Your Bathroom for Success

Once your refreshed bathrooms are complete and ready for showing, generate some excitement with a little staging. Before taking a single photo for the listing, add a few homey touches to soften up the bathroom’s hard surfaces. Fluffy towels on the rack, a nature print on the wall, an attractive soap dispenser, a throw rug, and a potted fern — any of these can make your listing far more appealing, and even raise the perceived value of your property.

When you can showcase modern and attractive living spaces that align with the like-new aesthetic in the new units, you’ll be in a better position to leverage top rents in your market. Now that you have a strategy to keep labor and material costs to a minimum, you’ll be much more likely to boost your property’s NOI!