Home Insight - Property Value and Home Price Check
The Master Suite: A Place to Escape
Written by: Lankarge/Nahorney for HomeInsight

For those homeowners looking for an oasis, a master suite is one of the most highly valued additions. Today's master suite is large enough to not only help couples avoid doing the "sideways shuffle" (to navigate around large pieces of furniture), but to provide them with a place to unwind from a stressful day at the office. A master suite now often includes a sitting area - a perfect place to relax, read a book, or watch television - without getting into a wrestling match with the kids for the remote control.
Top Master Suite Features
Master suites are among the most valued additions to homes, recouping an average of nearly 70 percent of the project's cost, according to Remodeling Magazine.

Today's master suites feature more than just an extra bathroom. The most popular additions would put a five-star hotel to shame and include:

  • Walk-in closets with dressing areas
  • Wine refrigerators
  • Kitchenette areas, complete with coffee makers
  • Flat-panel televisions


But the high-end accessories don't stop with the flat-panel TV. They may also include DVD players, a wine refrigerator for your favorite evening beverage, and even a microwave for that bowl of popcorn. However, before you embark on a major home improvement like adding a master suite, search for other homes in your desired location to make sure it doesn't make more sense to move to a home that already has the space and some of the other amenities you are seeking.

You may want to consult with a real estate agent who can provide you with local market information. You may find that your home is already in the upper end of values in your neighborhood, so you'll likely have a lower return on your home improvement than if you owned the home worth the least in your neighborhood. Click here to see home values in your neighborhood. At the same time, you might learn that many homes like yours do include master suites, and that adding this room will likely provide a strong return for your improvement dollar.

Location

If you do plan to add a master suite, make sure it's located in a more private area of your home. Adding a master suite directly above a family room with a booming surround-system is a terrible idea. Find a location that makes the suite feel like a retreat - preferably with at least two walls exposed to the outside of the home. This adds to the privacy of your space. And don't forget to add insulation in the floor (if there is living space below) and even in the interior walls.

First-floor master suites are even more valued in many parts of the country, as an aging population appreciates not having to climb stairs. And, they also have the advantage of possible outdoor access- perhaps to a secluded patio or deck.

When planning your master suite, be sure to take all of the time necessary to properly plan your project. A project like this will take you four to eight weeks to complete and will cause major disruption to your life.

Be sure you have planned long enough to ensure that it meets your current needs, as well as your needs going forward. For more information about planning a large project as this, see Adding On Instead of Moving Out.

Most Popular Features

So just what are the most popular features you may want to consider to ensure you will get the most value from your master suite addition? Here are the top six:

  • His-and-her sinks in the bathroom. Nothing promotes harmony better for couples than two sinks, with either separate mirrors, or one mirror large enough for both to get ready at the same time. One of the biggest reasons why master suites are added is because there just aren't enough bathrooms. Those folks who pay the mortgage shouldn't have to take a number to take a shower in the morning.

  • A walk-in closet (or two). These should be large enough so that you don't need to switch clothes seasonally. Closet space is at a premium in most houses and adding enough to the master suite is critical. Anything smaller than 8 ft x 6 ft may be a waste of time and money. When designing your closet, consider adding enough storage space for things like luggage and extra blankets.

  • A large soaking tub or whirlpool/bubble tub. You may consider adding one of these for your comfort, as well as resale value. Home spas are still very popular. Just remember that whirlpool tubs aren't good with add bath oils, which clog the jets over time. Bubble tubs are the better choice. In areas of the country with a large senior population, think about installing a shower with low-step entry and a bench inside for added resale value.

  • A fireplace. After a hard day at the office, nothing sets a relaxing tone better than the warm glow of the fireplace. Today, gas fireplaces are most often added in master suites so you don't need to drag in wood. You just flip a switch, and the realistic flames come to life. And even when it is too warm to enjoy, the fireplace remains the focal point of the room.

  • A heated floor in the master bath. Stepping onto warm tile in the morning is a great way to start your day. Tile can be warmed either by adding a radiant hot water system or electrical wire system below the tile. And don't forget the heated towel rack as well.

  • An entertainment center, especially one that gets tucked away when not in use. Flat panel televisions with a DVD player and a surround-sound system are making their way into master suites. But many are choosing to hide the high-tech gear in an armoire or other furniture that keeps it out of sight when not in use.