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.
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.
- Better Homes and Gardens: Building a Nonenclosed Shower
- Top 5 Projects to Boost Home's Value for Resale
- National Associate of Home Builders: The New American Home Program Guide 2011
- Chicago Tribune: 3 Model Homes on Display in Libertyville Subdivision
- American Standard: History Repeats Itself in Bathroom Design
- Ideal Standard: Showers in History
- Wall Street Journal: Blueprint for a New American Home
Lee Grayson has worked as a freelance writer since 2000. Her articles have appeared in publications for Oxford and Harvard University presses and research publishers, including Facts On File and ABC-CLIO. Grayson holds certificates from the University of California campuses at Irvine and San Diego.