Will a Shower Stall Reduce the Value of a House?

A high-end shower enclosure attracts homebuyers looking for modern-interior appointments.

A high-end shower enclosure attracts homebuyers looking for modern-interior appointments.

The ultimate value of any home rests on what the buyer will pay to the seller. Appraisers set standards for house values, and real estate agents use comparable sales to help in home pricing, but buyers can ignore both when making an offer. A shower stall in place of a bathtub impacts the value of a home in the eyes of the lender, appraiser and the real estate agents, but buyers look for features meeting personal needs in purchasing a home.

Bathroom Configuration

A shower stall won't impact the appraisal value of a home with multiple baths as much as a home with only one bathroom. Real estate sale listings group baths under standard descriptions, including full, three-quarters and half baths. A full bath has it all: shower, tub with shower, toilet and sink. Three-quarter baths have the basics, but in place of a tub, the bath features a shower stall. Half baths have only a sink and toilet. Appraisers calculate the financial value of a home using these standard descriptions. The appraisal value of a three-quarter bath varies with each appraiser, but universally, appraisers rank shower stalls less valuable compared with a full bathroom.

Young Families

While a home with only a shower stall reduces the appraisal value of a home, it also reduces the intrinsic value of the home for potential buyers with children. Young families typically look for homes with at least one bathtub for use in bathing children. Offering a safe, confined space to sit while washing, a tub is the most convenient way to bathe a child while minimizing getting soaked in the process. Parents with toddlers look for homes with at least one bathtub.

Elderly Buyers

Elderly home buyers look at bathroom features differently compared with families with young children. Many senior shoppers look for a home with a shower stall. Seniors sometimes have trouble climbing over the edge of the bathtub to use a shower-bathtub combination. A home with only a bathtub requires the senior to maneuver on a slippery tub surface. Walking and sitting down in a slippery bathtub increases the risk of falling for the elderly. A shower stall allows the bather to enter without scaling a tub edge, and seniors can easily place a chair in the shower stall to reduce the risk of falling.

Modern Baths

One exception to the reduction in the financial value of a shower-only home is a house featuring a high-end, walk-in shower stall. This type of stall offers barrier-free access for handicapped residents, with more space compared to traditional showerheads positioned over bathtubs. High-end shower installations incorporate glass blocks, rain showerheads, imported tile walls and multiple showerheads located at different levels on the walls. This type of shower enclosure, when completed in a style that complements the house, typically increases its appraisal value.

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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