Bathtubs vs. Shower Stalls in the Sale of Houses

Tub or shower? That is the question.

Tub or shower? That is the question.

Even if you don't care personally about having a tub or a shower, it does matter if you're buying or selling a house. A shower stall works well for most homeowners, but others will demand a bathtub. As a general rule, you will get more interest from potential buyers if the home has a minimum of two baths with either a shower, tub or combination of the two.

Full vs. Three-Quarter Baths

Real estate agents use the terms "full," "three-quarters" or "half" to indicate the type of baths in a home. This has nothing to do with the physical size of the room; it describes the room's fixtures. All have at least one sink and toilet, but a full bath means the house has sink, tub and a toilet, and usually some sort of showerhead. Houses listed as three-quarters have only showers in the bathroom and no tub. Some newbie realtors give showers extra weight and label the home with showers as full baths. If you're looking to buy a house, make a special note of the bathrooms to confirm the listing information. If you're selling your house, take a look at your listing information to make sure it matches your bathroom configuration.

Mini- vs. Full-Stall Showers

Homes built before 1960 typically have small baths. Back then, any extra space was given to other living areas in the home. Modern homeowners look for large baths tricked out with fireplaces, mini-bars, saunas and jetted bathtubs. Vintage homes frequently feature mini-shower stalls, while newer homes have more space in the actual stall. A home with a room-type shower enclosure may be more attractive to a buyer if you break out some wall space to enlarge the shower stall.

Combo Units

Most modern homes feature a combo unit with a bathtub and plumbing above the tub for showering. Tiled-shower combos usually get buyers more excited than plastic-insert units, but this also depends on the funkiness of the enclosure and the condition of the tile and the grout. If you have chipped tile and grout patched with caulking, do an upgrade to make your bath more attractive to resale buyers. If your house is vintage and has a tub, without the upper plumbing, take the time to add the shower plumbing extension to modernize the bath.

Separate Plumbing and More

Some homes feature the shower and tub as separate bath components. Large families undoubtedly find this feature attractive since two people can use the facilities at the same time. While this can make the home more attractive to buyers, it may not be the only change you'll need to make. Buyers looking for this type of bath frequently want other features older homes also typically lack, including open floor plans, spacious walk-in closets and living rooms opening to the great outdoors -- for urban dwellers, this means your backyard.

About the Author

*I have written chapters and articles for Oxford and Harvard University Presses, ABC-CLIO, and others. Arcadia Press published two of my local history texts and I have also written for numerous "article sites," including Pagewise in 2002. My "How to become a...real estate agent" is available as an online text from a Canadian publisher. *I taught writing courses at a branch campus of Indiana University. *I held a California real estate license and have remodeled four of my own homes and advised others on financing homes, repairing credit to qualify for loans, and managing construction (including meeting local, state, and federal regulations for restoration and development grants). *I served as an AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteer and wrote nearly $75,000 in small education grants (under $1,000). *My travels include frequent road trips in Canada, Mexico, U.S., and Europe. I attended school at Cambridge University and used this as a base to explore the UK and Europe.

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