Ask a Realtor: How Important Is Master Suite in Upscale Area?

Question: I am buying an older home with four smallish bedrooms. (actually two are very small and two are OK). I can either keep all four bedrooms or use one to expand the current master bath (which is a 3/4 bath). To add a tub to the master suite, I need to sacrifice the smallest bedroom (which is 8-feet by 10 feet). Which is better for resale: four bedrooms with a small 3/4 bath in the master, or three bedrooms and a great master suite? Also, if I go for the larger bath, does it make a difference for resale to have two smaller closets with sliding doors in the master vs. one larger walk-in? — Cathy L., Santa Monica

Answer: From David Kean, real estate agent with Prudential California:

In your case, it would be wise to expand your master bath. In today’s market not having a full master bath is a major negative. In luxury home construction, the master bath has been elevated to the ranks of a spa getaway.

Since you are giving up a bedroom, make sure the bath is well designed and appointed. Keep the overall look and material choices in line with the architecture of the home. Stick with neutral colors. Look at high-end interior design magazines for current trends on materials so you don’t spend time and money building a bathroom that already looks out of date. Many homebuyers want not only a tub in the master bath but also a separate shower. Dual sinks are a plus as well.

If you can create two good-sized, well-designed closets, this may be sufficient for a master. Having a his-and-hers closets will be a great selling point. It would be wise to consult with a professional closet designer. A designer will know how to best maximize every square inch of space. There are also alternatives to sliding doors, such as movable wall panels, that could create a custom look and make up for any lack of space.

However, if the two closets are too small to be adequate for clothing needs, combining them into a larger walk-in would be advisable for the master bedroom. Today’s homebuyers put a premium on a self-contained master suite that meets all of their needs and is a sanctuary from the rest of the home.

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(Photo: L.A. Times)