Local realtors say, kitchens and bathrooms are hands down the most important rooms in a house. If they are less than stellar, they can be a deal breaker when it comes down to an offer. The bathroom is the most expensive room in the house to remodel, largely because of the variety of skilled labor required from plumbing and electrical contractors, carpenters, and other experts.

Materials, too, take their toll in cost. So, make sure you take your time at the beginning to make sure each decision reflects your tastes and meets your needs. You don't want your bathroom project to be a financial burden, so make sure you really need the high-end solution in each case, and plan as much as possible in advance to avoid costly changes in the middle of the project.

To ensure you won't leave off something essential when you fall in love with an expensive item in the showroom, make a list of everything you'd love to have in your new bath. Now, divide this list into A) things you really need and B) things you want but could live without for now. As you shop and plan, make a note of the nice-to-have items you find, but don't commit to them until you've finalized the essentials and added up the costs. Keep in mind that it’s important to get the floor plan and any back-of-the-wall structural needs accounted for first. Make sure you don’t skimp on a good tub, sink, and lighting. These are all things that you’ll have to live with for years to come!